Wednesday, July 13, 2011

God Speaks Through Yanthy

I was feeling very tired one evening and I couldn’t help but cry. I just felt weary – physically, emotionally and spiritually. l already knew from my previous experience that starting a community can be very tiring and draining but I still took on the responsibility of starting and leading another community recently because I can’t bring myself to say “No” to God. I can’t turn a blind eye to the obvious need in the community where I live. I knew deep inside that God has placed my family here at this time for a reason and that is for me to say “Yes” again to His invitation to help bring more people closer to His heart.

I cried to God while I hid my face on my pillow that night, as I acknowledged the overwhelming weariness that I felt. Then my two year old son came into our bedroom and saw me covered with a pillow. He got curious and asked. “Mommy, why are hiding?” Maybe he thought that I was playing hide and seek with him.

I continued to cover my face even though he tried to remove the pillow because I didn’t want him to see me crying; but he was persistent. I realized that it’s no use hiding from him so I allowed him to get the pillow from me.

When he saw my face with tears, he asked: “Mommy, why are you crying?”

“I’m just tired,” I told him.

What he said and did next surprised me and made me cry even harder.

He said, “Great job, Mommy! Great job!” Then, he embraced me tight.

How could my little boy know what was causing the heaviness in my heart? What he knew is that it is my joy to participate and serve in the Mass. How could he know the right words to say to me at that moment? How could he know what’s in my mind?

I felt that God has spoken through my son! No one knew what I was feeling that evening after we finished serving in the anticipated Mass. I haven’t told anyone, not even my husband. But Yanthy spoke as if he was certain that those words would make me feel better.

Then, I remembered this verse from Matthew 11:25: “I
praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.” (NIV)

I let go of all my burdens and weariness as I embraced my son. It seemed ironic that I felt the Father’s embrace in my little boy’s embrace. Yet that was exactly how I felt that night. I felt God’s powerful presence as my son spoke those words to me. He spoke with the understanding look of an adult in his eyes. That’s when I knew that God was speaking to me through my son. I was still crying when my husband came in. It was only much later that I was able to explain to him how God comforted me and ministered to me through Yanthy. Amazingly, that was not the only time that it happened.

Last Saturday night, I was disappointed and sad again. I made a mistake while leading the choir in the communion song and the recessional. I was embarrassed. It was the first that we sang the communion song in the Mass and I wasn’t confident that I have learned the tune by heart. We could easily choose another song that’s easier to sing and that I’m more familiar with. And yet we chose it because my husband and I felt that it’s very appropriate for the readings especially the Gospel. I thought that my husband would be singing the verses of the communion song with me because I only mastered the chorus portion. Unfortunately, he was focused on playing the guitar during the Mass and he was not able to sing the entire song. It was not our first time to sing the recessional song that evening; however, there were other singers usually who sing it with me whenever we sang that song in
the past. As in previous occasions, I forgot how to sing some parts of the song. Although I knew that it’s part of leading and going out of my comfort zone (in this case leading people to sing in the Mass) to make mistakes every now and then, I simply felt disappointed that I made a mistake.

The words of John Maxwell in his book The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader on courage were not enough to comfort me. “Courage isn’t the absence of fear. It’s doing what you are afraid to do. It’s having the power to let go of the familiar and forge ahead into new territory.”

I knew in my heart that I should not dwell on my mistake and that it’s part of learning. I’m familiar with leading people. But leading people to sing is new to me. That’s something that makes me nervous. I knew that I made God proud by standing up for Him in spite of my fears and choosing to lead when no on
e else was willing to have the courage to make a commitment and take responsibility. I tried very hard to bear these things in mind at that hour of discouragement but my feelings of disappointment and sadness were strong. So, that night as I lie down in bed, I brought my disappointment again to God.

That was when Yanthy came to my side again and asked, “Mommy, why are you sad?”

Here he goes again, I thought. He speaks as if he’s an adult who sees through me.

He further said, “Don’t be sad, Mommy. Great job!”

I could no longer keep the tears in my eyes from falling as soon as he said those words again.

I hugged him tight and said “Thank you, Yanthy. Thank you.”

He kept on saying, “Great job, Mommy! Great job!” He says it looking straight into my eyes even after we let go from our embrace.

I said a prayer of thanks to God in my heart for He has comforted me again in a way that I didn’t expect. He has spoken the words that I needed to hear. He has touched my heart by speaking through my child.

Karl Barth, a Swiss Theologian, said: “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” I perfectly agree. I know that there will be more challenges that I would be facing as I lead our young community and I couldn’t do so without being courageous. I pray that God would always give me the courage to face my fears and the grace to persevere when things don’t happen as I planned or expected. I pray that God would help me grow as a leader as I serve Him and His people, especially now that I have more responsibilities as part of our Parish Pastoral Council. Moreover, I pray that God would raise new leaders in our growing community who will also say “Yes” to His call. Send, O Lord, Holy Apostles into Your Church! For the harvest is great but the laborers are few.