Archive | June 2014

The Wait Game…Trying to Induce Labor Naturally

I’m backtracking here a little…but I’ve heard so many moms describe their frustrating attempts to induce labor that I thought I’d share what my own attempts taught me.

As soon as I was 37 weeks into my pregnancy, I was ready to go. The hospital bags were packed, the baby van was full of anything and everything I thought I would need at the hospital (most of which I never used!) and I was excited to have reached “full term.”

Family, friends, and co-workers told me stories of their babies arriving three weeks early so I was fully convinced my baby was going to be early too. Needless to say, it didn’t go that way.

The last few weeks of pregnancy stretched on forever. I can’t remember how many times I must have checked to see if my water had broken yet. But like they say – a watched pot never boils!

I tried my best to induce labor naturally because I was scared of the possibility of it not happening on its own. I walked for hours on end at the park and the mall, danced around the house, cooked in the kitchen for hours, went up and down the stairs, got foot massages, did lots of squats, had castor oil…I even tried eating spicy food, pineapple and eggplant parmesan.

Once I passed my due date, I tried even harder. My family encouraged me to walk a lot and told me it would help my contractions progress into the “real” ones.

I got a little emotional during the last few days…each day past my due date made me feel frustrated since people would message me every day asking if baby was here yet. Talk about pressure! I actually cried out of frustration. I was tired of researching ways to naturally induce labor. I was also exhausted by all my efforts to induce the labor myself and discouraged by all the false labor trips to the hospital. I started to worry that baby wasn’t coming, that she would grow too big to push out, that she might poop in my tummy, that I might have a C-section, etc. My husband had started his paternity leave already so it was also stressing me out to think he was eating into his days off.

I was able to get over this emotional bump with my family’s support. I finally decided to just LET GO and enjoy myself. I went to the movies with my husband and we went to play miniature golf the day before our angel was born.

Mother’s Day was rough. The pink “Happiness is Being a Mom” shirt my husband had bought me in anticipation of the day silently mocked me. When I received a bunch of Happy Mother’s Day texts that reminded me I wasn’t a mom yet…I realized how hard this day could be for couples who had lost a child or perhaps were desperately wanting a child. I started to feel silly for being upset just because I was a few days late. There are so many mountains to climb in life and when I took a step back I realized there really was not a mountain in front of me…I was just creating one.

Late that afternoon, I finally went into labor.

Here’s what I learned- The baby will come when he or she wants to come. It’s easy to get impatient during the last few days of pregnancy but when you look at the big picture- it’s really not a big deal. I’m not even sure any of the tried methods to induce labor actually work or if they are just old wives tales. Honestly, I feel so silly I tried to manipulate the timing of one of the most miraculous and divine experiences in the world. I don’t think we were meant to have control over the moment someone dies or is born.

However, it wasn’t all for naught. I do believe all the workouts helped me have a smooth and quick labor/delivery. When I got to the hospital I was already 6cm dilated and I thank my family for encouraging me to walk so much because I feel all the exercise helped!

I also learned…there was no need to rush the biological process. Your whole life changes when another life is placed in your arms. And many sleepless nights follow. So it’s best to soak up every minute of “me” time while you still can.

Timing

Daily Baby TV Moments!

Nope, babies don’t just pee all over people or right as you’re changing them only on TV lol

I try to exercise baby twice a day and when I catch her in a good mood I try to massage her and bathe her head to toe. So after I fed her, changed her, exercised her…I played songs and gave her a massage and sponge bath. Then I put on the Daddy’s Cutie onesie with great difficulty because at this point she’s getting fussy and it takes forever to put on her mittens and socks. I see she has another wet diaper and as I’m changing it, she pees all over the newly washed changing pad and her new onesie…this is the second time this happened today…

For a second I stood still in disbelief – everything I just washed and put on was ruined… but I quickly put on new clothes and socks while trying to calm her down…it’s funny how much work goes into simple things with babies but when you FINALLY see her all clean and content you think…it’s worth it, I LOVE her! It doesn’t seem like work as much as it does an adventure with your little one who keeps you mesmerized every moment….
And of course, as I type this, diaper duty calls again 🙂

P.S. shortly after I posted this …the pee thing turned into a pooping thing. Baby started pooping through clothes and blankets, including on our caught-off-guard friend…again, it doesn’t just happen on TV

Finally Clean!

Finally Clean!

Bathing and Massaging makes it easier and quicker to rock baby to sleep :-)

Bathing and Massaging makes it easier and quicker to rock baby to sleep 🙂

 

 

Newborn Care

Exhausted BabyI always knew moms had a tough job but boy, two weeks into this new role and my appreciation for parents everywhere continues to grow! It is literally a 24/7 job. I’m told the first 4-6 weeks with a newborn are tough and I can see why…

I know people say women take time to recover after labor…but not sure where that “time” comes from. Life has been busier than ever since the morning after baby’s delivery. So if I suddenly seemed to have disappeared…I’m still here, it’s just my life has changed and I’m thankful for it.

I understand now what moms mean when they joke around and brag ‘I took a shower today!’ Being able to do even the simplest tasks with a newborn feels like climbing Mt. Everest. Like brushing your teeth or taking a 20-minute nap while baby is sleeping …those are huge accomplishments! (getting 3 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period is bliss…may I never take sleep for granted!)

It’s almost funny how I am when baby is sleeping. Yes, they tell you to sleep when baby sleeps…. but sometimes I take those moments to get household work done and run errands- and you should see me, I’m literally RACING like a mad woman trying to get as much as possible done. Yesterday I left baby sleeping with daddy and went to the grocery store…I went as fast as I could thinking she could wake up anytime…and I stocked up on groceries like crazy, because I don’t know when I’ll have the luxury or how often to hit up the grocery store again. Sure enough, she was crying at the top of her lungs when I got home.

And I had no idea feeding baby would be a full time job- baby eats 10-12 times a day…so basically feeding and burping takes up about 10 hours of everyday and it can be physically painful at times.…and it seems as often as I feed, my husband or I have to change a diaper.

Today’s my first day alone with her…hubby’s gone back to work (and he is a HUGE help when it comes to baby so I can’t imagine a day without him) so far I’ve had one crying/fussy spell but on the bright side I was able to massage her, give her a sponge bath and change her. In a moment of desperation I tried to give her formula but she didn’t take it. Her feeding was every 3 hours but is now going at barely 2 hours or less before she demands more….and so, I call her my chunky monkey 🙂

There are so many decisions involved too- like can I leave her for one second on the changing pad while I run to grab a washcloth or is there a chance she might roll over? During our long road trip up with her from socal to norcal…is it ok to take her out of her carseat for a little bit while she’s fussy and dad’s driving and there’s no rest stop for miles? Is it ok to get a nanny to help me? But if we as her parents lose patience when she’s having colic and crying inconsolably, then how is it possible a nanny would be able to handle it? How often can I give her the pacifier or formula? Feeding time is the only time I can check my cell phone…but is it ok to have the phone so close to her? So many decisions….!

Baby also messes up her clothes so quickly…and we keep her mittens on because of her long nails but she manages to pull those off twenty times a day…so a large part of taking care of her is doing the same thing over and over again- rocking her, changing her, feeding her, putting her mittens back on, bathing her, etc I can’t think of a better way right now to build patience in us 🙂

She should be in a L’Oreal commercial…because she’s worth it 🙂 It’s hard work (and people don’t always talk about this part) but it’s rewarding too…that angelic smile…or that moment when she falls asleep in your arms…or looks right into your eyes with wonder…in that moment, you feel like it’s the biggest honor that she chose your lap to pee on….and that she chose you to take care of her.Thank you God!

She's teaching me about love...the most pure and selfless kind <3

She’s teaching me about love…the most pure and selfless kind <3

 

Are We Communicating Too Much or Too Little?

In this great technology age where we have iPhones and blackberries that instantly send us phone calls, emails and give us internet access, I often wonder if I’m communicating more or less with my friends and family.

When walking down the streets, no longer do I see people smiling a friendly hello to each other. Instead, I see everyone with their cell phones out talking to someone or the other and missing out on the possible in-person communications that are within reach. Even when talking to my best friends sometimes the communication happens through email or Facebook rather than in person or over the phone. And I have to wonder if I’m getting closer to my loved ones or farther away. Is Facebook just giving me an’ illusion’ that I know what’s happening in my friend’s lives?

I know people who have had internet-based communications, where they were in a relationship with a person for years and yet had to meet the person face-to -face. With online chatting and other technology, it’s very important to do a self-check and see if you are actually getting to know someone or if it is just an illusion.

Let’s face it – Communication can make or break any relationship. And having an “illusion” of communication is not the best thing for a healthy relationship. So how can we disengage from these habits of false communications?

Maybe the first step is to communicate the old-fashioned way: face-to-face. Sometimes, sending a loved one a hand-written letter can be fun too! This shows that you actually care about the person and that they are a priority in your life. Every moment that passes is a moment you will not get back – so when you give someone your time, it is the greatest expression of love.

It’s also important to make sure the conversations are clear. Engage in Straight Talk and don’t leave room for ambiguities or confusion in your relationship. If you don’t know where you stand with someone – ask him or her.

When you do talk, don’t hold back. Say “I love you” “thank you” and “I’m sorry” when you need to say it. Too often the most important things in life go unspoken. What a waste!

As you begin to open up and communicate more with your loved ones, you will feel a stronger connection and greater sense of understanding. It will be harder for misunderstandings to develop.

Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned when it comes to relationships is to talk DIRECTLY to each other and not through others. There are jealous, mean, misguided people out there who may try to break your chance at any good relationship. Sometimes those people can be our own friends and family! Instead of making relationship decisions based on what others are saying, make them based on what you know and you feel. Here’s a quote of mine that fits well here:

“It’s so easy for misunderstandings to develop between people. Blessed are those relationships where two people are more likely to doubt what they see or hear before they jump into doubting each other.”

At the end of the day, every relationship is between two people. Nobody and I mean nobody can understand the sentiments and situations surrounding two people better than the two involved. So instead of asking other people for advice or running to them with your relationship problems, turn to each other. TALK to each other…communicate and do it preferably in person, not through a computer 😉

Fasting

Growing up, I often wondered about fasting and why people do it. I know in certain regions of the world people fast for different reasons – sometimes for religious reasons, as a way to make requests known to God and in hopes of having their requests fulfilled.

In recent years, I’ve come to see fasting as a really resourceful tool of empowering yourself. And it’s a great way to cleanse your body system!

When I started fasting I discovered that the most important thing it gave me was a sense of discipline. All of a sudden, I had control over my body rather than it controlling me. In a world where certain situations and life circumstances are out of our control, it actually feels so good to be able to positively change what we can.

Most of the time I did fruit or vegetable fasts where for a period of 24 hours I would only eat something if it is a fruit or vegetable and that too only when needed. In addition to giving me greater discipline when it comes to my diet, this also helps me eat healthy. And I noticed that the discipline aspect helps me in other areas of my life. When you fast, it’s not easy. At times, you’re denying yourself what you want most – food. But the self-control this builds in you is very empowering. And soon you can start working the self-control into other areas of your life whether its finance, relationships, anger management, gossiping, etc. Fasting doesn’t just have to apply to food. One time, I even kept a no-talking fast for 24 hours just to help me gain control over my mouth, my thoughts and my words.

On a spiritual level, fasting is a good way to fight off your struggles. It’s amazing what a simple 24-hour fast can do in terms of breaking any strongholds in your life that have kept you in bondage. When you combine fasting with prayer, it chases down the negativity in your life and helps you resist temptations.

I personally think fasting is a great way to eat healthy, cleanse your system, gain self-control, and achieve a greater sense of balance and fulfillment in life.

Religion or Atheism: Is there a Middle Road?

A lot of people are weary of religion these days. I guess it’s not serving its intended purpose. More often than not, we see people discriminating and engaging in wars on the basis of religion. Does this mean we should give up on religion altogether?

We give ourselves so many labels – we label our ethnicity, our skin color, our nationality, our region, our gender, our education level, etc. Adding a religious label just further segregates mankind. We invent all these rituals and new ways to exclude groups of people.

I would like to propose this: if you have to pick one label today to describe your religion, how about choosing the label of humanity? This is one label that unites everyone and leaves nobody out. It encompasses what most, if not all religions, preach. After all, we all have the same color blood in our system, we are all human beings. If we adhere to this label, it will remind us all that our duty on earth is to embrace humanity. In essence, that means loving and respecting everyone. It means helping each other and living selflessly.

You don’t always have to choose between being a religious person or an atheist. More important than committing yourself to a religious label is the practice of pledging yourself to basic human values. I believe this commitment to love, peace, harmony, tolerance, acceptance and patience is the main purpose of human life. Rather than getting caught up in labels, we can ask ourselves if we have forgotten what the purpose behind religion is. True religion, after all, unites; it never divides.

I also believe you can still believe in God and engage in prayers without committing yourself to a particular religion or religious activity. Parents are usually more concerned with their children’s growth and character than they are with their children’s names; I’m sure God is also more concerned with our character and our actions than He is with which religious symbols we’re carrying around.

Letting Go is Letting Peace In

Letting go of anything can be scary. Letting go of expectations. Letting go of past hurts. Letting go of your dreams. Letting go of the person you love. Letting go of control.

Sometimes the act of letting go is a choice and the right thing to do. A parent “lets go” of their child when the child becomes an adult. A father “lets go” of responsibility when he walks his daughter down the aisle. A person “lets go” of sweets in an attempt to lose weight.

But sometimes letting go is not a choice. We are forced to let go of a situation or person or desire. Maybe no matter how hard we try to convince someone to stay, they walk away from us. Or maybe no matter how hard we worked, we were passed up for a job promotion and have to let go of that dream.

It might not even make sense at the time – you tried your best, so what happened? Why did it happen? These questions can plague the mind to the point of taking one into a state of depression or something even worse.

Here is what I have learned that has really helped me in my journey of learning to let go: having control, at the end of the day, is just an illusion. If you believe there is a Creator who made the world and is operating it and that you are a mere instrument or pawn in the game of life, then you understand you were never in control to begin with. Put simply, you cannot let go of something that was never yours to begin with.

In Hindi it is said, “Patha bhi nahin hilta iski marzi ke beghar.” Meaning, a leaf does not even move without His consent.

Therefore, refuse to be anxious or depressed or hopeless. If He wills it, it will happen. If it does not happen, there is a divine reason. And to embrace this understanding is faith in action.

This understanding can save mountains of grief if we can truly embrace it. Rather than being held captive by our desires, the truth- that He is in control- sets us free.

Buddha said that pain or suffering arises through desires or cravings. To be free of pain we need to cut the bonds of desire.

I don’t believe this means we cannot desire things at all; rather, it is about not being so attached to our desires that they take away our peace of mind. If you think about it, much pain that we experience in life comes from not accepting or from resisting what is.

Relinquishing control over a situation or letting go does not always mean giving up. In fact, sometimes it’s the best thing you can do- for yourself and for others.

When we hang on to something that God has not intended for us, it creates struggle and disorder in our lives. In fact, I have experienced many moments where I let go of a past dream that was bringing more disturbance than peace into my life only to find myself in a better situation.

Sometimes the reason things do not go as we planned is beyond our comprehension. We cannot grasp the divine plan with our limited intellect. That is where faith makes things easier.

Faith empowers us to let go of our way and accept God’s will. Or rather, it allows us to “let go” trying to do it all on our own and give it to God to take care of. It reminds us that God can do in one moment what we can try for our whole lives and still not accomplish.

The principle of “letting go” also applies to smaller, everyday situations where we do seem to have control.

Many times, people believe they are the victors when they have the last word in a fight or that they somehow have greater leverage and power when they get things their way. But the truth is, when we are able to “let go” of our ego and put the happiness of another above our own, we aren’t giving up- we are building character. We are practicing the art of “letting go.”

The best part of letting go? We get to let go of our worries, our anxieties, our plans, our troubles and give them to God. We can pray for God to remove all those desires in our Heart that are not good for us, and to replace them with what He desires for us.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7 Bible)

In return, he blesses us with a peace that surpasses all understanding. And the strength to let of anything we must let go.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 Bible)

He will direct our paths. He will give us wisdom. Trust Him, praise Him, and let go of anything you need to let go of right now. It doesn’t mean you are giving up. It means you’re accepting His will for you- and a lot of times, whether we choose to accept or not…. thankfully, it still goes His way.

It’s a Blessing!

To the world, Vivek Shauq is known as the Indian actor, comedian, writer and poet who recently succumbed to a heart attack. Those who knew him as the spiritual being that he was had the opportunity to learn much from him.

It was shortly after Vivek Ji’s passing away that I went back and listened to one of his last speeches given at a holy congregation. I’m so glad I did because his words were life changing.

In Hindi, the phrase “prabhu ki kirpa” can be translated to “God’s blessing.”

Everything is God’s blessing.

Vivek Ji takes this one step further and clarifies that as human beings, we should never try to define God’s blessing.

He gives the example of a father who one day says, “With God’s blessing, my three sons failed in class.” People laugh at this man and look at him strangely. And he replies, “If it was God’s blessing when they passed, then it is God’s blessing when they failed too.” This father was on to something.

Why is it we only see the passing grades, or the promotions at work as falling into the category of God’s blessings?? Why do we only say something is God’s blessing when it goes our way? It is a question to ponder.

Because when you believe in God and that He is in control and that He loves you….you also believe that everything happening is not only His will, it is His Blessing.

What is happening is God’s blessing.

What is NOT happening is God’s blessing.

If something doesn’t seem right to us in our limited human capacity to understand the omniscient, even then, there is a reason behind everything.

This was a new concept for me. I always believed everything happening is God’s will. But Vivek Ji showed me that it is not only His will, it is His blessing! And if we can walk with that simple realization, every step will be walked in peace.

The only thing we have to do is surrender to God Almighty. If something is not happening despite our best efforts, that is His blessing. Sometimes “mera kuch karna hi kabhi kabhi rukawat ban jata hai.” In other words, sometimes we try so hard to go for something that is not His will for us and that we ourselves becomes the cause of our own delays or roadblocks.

Word has it that famous Cricket Player Sachin Tendulkar failed tenth standard. But now, in one state in India, one of the lessons taught in the 10th class is about the living legend himself. Blessings come in different forms and different guises. He may not have done well in 10th grade, but Tendulkar is a success. God had a special plan for him.

That is not to say, we approach life with a “given up” mentality. No, we must be proactive and strive to not only work hard but also fulfill our responsibilities and spread love everywhere we go for as long as we are in this world. Once we do that, we can rest in peace with the assurance that when you do your best, God will take care of the rest.

So, the next time something does not go the way you would like it to, remember – it is His Blessing 🙂

A Spiritual Check-Up

When we need to know the status of our physical well-being, we get a health check up. That may entail a physical exam of our body, some blood tests, screenings, etc. But how do we get a spiritual check up? How do we track our spiritual progress?

I heard a parable about a Swami who was known for having conquered anger. One day, he was sitting by a dwindling bonfire when a gentleman who was cold approached him and asked if he could try to ignite some more fire to keep them warm. The Swami said, “No, there are no more embers left to ignite.” The gentlemen noticed a couple sparks and asked again. He got the same reply. After some time he wondered out loud if moving some of the logs might help ignite some flames and he asked the Swami a third time if it was possible to rekindle the fire. This time, the Swami raised his voice in anger as he replied, “NO! Didn’t I already tell you the fire has been put out?!?” The gentleman quietly said, “I was mistaken. It appears there isn’t just a little fire left but now I can even see flames (referring to the swami’s temper)!”

It’s easy to believe we have conquered vices like anger, jealousy, impatience, hatred until we are put to test in those areas.

Perhaps one mechanism of checking our spiritual growth is asking ourselves- How often do I lose my cool and get upset when things don’t go my way? How much time do I spend worrying and complaining instead of counting my blessings? How often do I find myself taking time out to meditate or connect with God?

At this point, you may be asking- why is spirituality even important?

I believe spirituality benefits us. The deeper we travel on this inward journey the more peace and happiness we find. And as long as we are connected and growing in this area, material and temporal circumstances will be less likely to shake us. Instead of worrying about things, our faith will encourage us to approach life with positivity, enthusiasm, and calm acceptance.

The Bible also alludes to the spiritual confidence that embraces us when we are spiritually connected: “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

I recently started taking yoga classes, partly because I was curious as to why millions of people are drawn to this popular practice. You often hear Yoga is great for stress relief, relaxation, and health improvements. What I have learned is that spirituality is at the basis of this “remedy.” Yoga is a means to achieve a peaceful state of mind. It has been defined in several cultures and traditions as “union with the divine.”

“The man who sees me in everything and everything within me
will not be lost to me, nor will I ever be lost to him.

He who is rooted in oneness realizes that I am in every being;
wherever he goes, he remains in me.

When he sees all being as equal in suffering or in joy
because they are like himself, that man has grown perfect in yoga.”
– The Bhagawad Gita

This passage from the Holy Bhagawad Gita highlights the stability and peace that spirituality brings. Connecting with the Higher power within us helps us maintain a state of calm no matter what is happening on the outside. It helps us understand the oneness concept- the idea that at our core, we are all one. The supreme One manifests in every being and every thing equally. There is no point to anger because the one who we are getting angry at is simply a part of ourselves. When we start seeing God in everything, we stop fighting what is happening and go with the flow of every moment. As a result, there is an alignment within our mind, body, and soul and we reap peace and harmony when this alignment occurs.

It is often quoted at the Sant Nirankari Mission that, “If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person. If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house. If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.”

This peace cannot be achieved by looking outward- at worldly belongings to fulfill us. This peace can only come from looking inward and connecting to the Supersoul or stable entity within us all. The by-products of this kind of spiritual connection are self-awareness, love, patience, tolerance, and peace.

If we go to a doctor’s office for a physical check-up, we can go to satsung (holy congregation) for a spiritual check up. Attending a spiritual congregation and keeping the company of spiritual beings can strengthen our foundation. Mediation, prayer, reading holy scriptures, and practices like yoga can also boost our spiritual immune system. Luckily, you don’t have to travel far for a spiritual check-up. You just have to look within.

When Nothing Makes Sense

A woman tries but cannot conceive a child.
A man loses his wife to cancer after five years after marriage.
A child is born with Autism.
A much needed and deserved job promotion never comes.

The most precious thing in your life is taken away from you without warning.
There are an infinite number of stories about challenges people face. Stories of pain, confusion, and loss that only one who has experienced a similar hardship can understand. And with such experiences, even the most spiritual are tempted to ask, Why God? Why me? God, you are so great and powerful, why did you not fix this for me? Why did my prayer go unanswered?

If we had the answers to these questions, we would be all-knowing and in essence- we would be God. To pursue answers to the reason for why things happen the way they do can be fruitless in many circumstances. It is our choice how long we want to engage in such an unrelenting pursuit. Albeit, it is completely natural to want to shed tears of frustration and demand answers from God the way we would from our parents when we are young.

Jho na mile mujhe tho gila tujko,
(When things don’t go my way, I complain to you God)
Hota rehmat par bhi shakh mujko
(Even though you bless me by closing doors for my own protection, I doubt you)

One of the most difficult actions to practice is to look for blessings in a critical and seemingly hopeless situation. Holy scriptures tell us to give thanks in everything, every situation. It sounds easy. But when we go through a difficulty, sometimes we only focus on that problem.

Faith is an incredible thing. It has the power to change your perspective even when a situation outwardly remains the same. Faith in God means the belief that nothing is an accident. It is all ordained by Him. It is the belief that everything that happens, happens for a reason. With this realization, you automatically begin thanking Him and seeing His abundant blessings all around you. And when you have faith that God loves you, you know –without question- He is taking care of you (even when it doesn’t necessarily “feel” like it).

Ek jholi mein phool barein hain, ek jholi mein kante
(Someone has flowers, someone has thorns)
Tere bas mein kuch bhi nahin, yeh bantne vala jaane
(Nothing is in your hands, only the Doer knows)
Are koi karan hoga, arre koi karen hoga…
(There must be a reason, there must be a reason)

When our faith is shaken, the most important thing we can do is cling to it more than ever before- because that’s when we need it the most. In fact, in our darkest moments, faith alone is what can help us rise up and keep going. Without faith and God’s grace, there is no room for possibilities.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”- Holy Bible

Vicissitudes are a part of life. Dawn only comes after darkness. A rainbow only comes after a storm. It’s funny how nature often depicts what is so true for our own life. We have seasons – spring and fall, sunny summers and dark winters. The best part about these seasonal changes in our lives is the knowledge that there is always a spring or summer just around the corner.

No prayer ever goes unanswered- sometimes the answer is just ‘no’ or ‘wait.’ Many times things don’t turn out as we would hope for in life, but that doesn’t mean God is angry with us or is not listening to our pleas. It just means He’s protecting us from something that could prove bad for us in the end. Or He has a better plan for us that may take time to bear fruit.

When a woman is pregnant – just by looking at her, the world may not know that she is carrying a child. In fact, her condition does not become visible for some time. But she knows, even though she can’t see her child, even though she may not be showing outward visible signs of her pregnancy, she knows with confidence that she is carrying a child. But it takes months for this miracle to become visible to the world. Sometimes God works the same way – in secret. You can’t see or feel Him working and it takes time, but with confidence, you can rest assured He is preparing you for the next miracle He has in store for you.

Never give up on prayer. But also don’t cling to your plans- because God’s plans are better. There are a lot of things in life we don’t control – like natural disasters that suddenly leave people homeless. Life changes quickly. Successful people are those who adapt to these changes. Saints are those who surrender to God’s will. If you do things His way and seek His will, He will bless you with sufficient grace so that you can find peace and strength in any situation. God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.

Getting back to those questions raised at the beginning of this article…Why, God? Why me? Notice these are not questions we ask on a daily basis when things are going smoothly in life. We only ask such questions when we forget that we are made by God and for Him. Sometimes God has us go through challenges because He wants to draw our attention to Him. Sometimes He wants to use our tests as a testimony to grow faith in others by showing that with God’s grace one can come out of even the most trying situations unscathed. Whatever God’s reasons are- continuously thanking Him, keeping the company of positive saints, and a strong faith can help stabilize us when we face challenges.

“Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.” – Holy Bible