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Nelly walks down the street this one chilly evening, holding tight to her woolen duffel coat. The streetlights are flickering and far beyond, she can see dark clouds gathering, a sign of a heavy storm coming. Thin tears cascade down her cheeks and as you look at her wipe her face, all you can see is untold suffering, pain, inner turmoil and despair. Her mind seems to be far away and you can clearly tell that she is as troubled as she comes. She too seems not to be so aware of where exactly she is going, and she is just walking to wherever the road will take her.

As Nelly keeps walking, she comes across a church. For a moment, she stands still outside the door, staring at it. What is going through Nelly’s mind? We cannot tell. She stands there for a while before walking right into the church. Perhaps she felt that is where she would find peace and comfort from whatever was troubling her? Perhaps! Nelly finds a seat and calmly, sits down. After a few minutes of what seem to be a quiet meditation period, she breaks down sobbing endlessly.

At the far right corner of the church, a door opens and Nelly sees a lady coming her way. That was Mary who has been volunteering at the church for over ten years. A very compassionate, kind and a loving lady with a warm open heart for everyone. Nelly tries to wipe her face so fast, forcing a smile. Mary comes and sits next to Nelly whispering to her, as she warmly smiles, “you do not have to wipe your tears and hide your pain.” Immediately, Mary gives Nelly a long hug, tenderly rubbing her back. Bit by bit, Nelly stops crying and Mary holds her hands.

Mary knows how to tap into someone’s inner being and have him or her talk!! As they sit there, Nelly opens up about what has been bothering her and for almost two hours, she shares her story as Mary followed through. For what we seemed not to be aware of, apparently for the past three months Nelly has been through it all. She lost her job which she passionately loved (she is currently in a new one which is frustrating her, let alone paying her well), her single mother succumbed to cancer and she was left with three siblings to take care of single-handedly, with almost zero finances to support her and the siblings.

Nelly was utterly hopeless, depressed and in dismay. Notwithstanding her belief and trust in God, at this point, her faith was on test and she almost felt that the God she believed in was not on her side. Mary having attentively listened, she now took her time to talk to and encourage Nelly. She really took her time with Nelly and the conversation was guided with three major verses shared below;

John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Does it mean that by being a believer you will not go through trying times? Absolutely NO! Hardship and moments of hitting the rock bottom will come, but we as believers should remain faithful, knowing that in all these, God is still with us, even when we do not seem to see or feel it. Such moments would definitely make you fall back real quick to panic, fear and doubt, but believe it, these are the moments to even trust God more and grow our faith in Him. Easy said than done right? No one said it would be easy! Trusting God in every situation and learning to lean on Him is an everyday commitment and journey.

Isaiah 43:18-19 – “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” At times, when going through life trials, it is very humanly not to see the good in things and life generally, because consciously or subconsciously, our emotions are tied to and affected by what one is going through. Again, it is not easy, but even in the darkest of days, we should trust and know that He will make a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland!!

Deuteronomy 31:8 – “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Well, this verse might seem to be so straight forward and easy to abide by but hey, let us be honest, there are countless times we get afraid and discouraged! These times we often feel like just giving up and letting go. It is totally okay to have these feelings and outrightly express them without feelings bad about it. Here is the beautiful part, we are encouraged that the Lord Himself goes before us! So how about we intentionally choose to hold on to that promise? That He will never leave us nor forsake us because for sure, He will not!

After listening through, Nelly’s face brightens up and she confidently lifts her chin up as a beautiful smile is seen on her face. She calmly tells Mary, “I now feel better. Not because all my troubles have been sorted and they will all vanish into thin air immediately, but because I am not alone and I have God, who is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. I am going to lean on Him and choose to have Him be the captain of my ship. Thank you Mary.”

2023 is here with us and thank God, we made it through January. As we live through this February and the rest of the year, let us share in Nelly’s final words to Mary. Let us know that in all seasons, God will be by our side and with Him, we shall conquer it all. It will not be a walk in the park yes, but we stay strong and encouraged because it is going to be an AMAZING YEAR as we choose to have UNWAVERING PEACE in Christ and TREADING IN CONFIDENCE!

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