Ordinary, everyday moments.
Times of joy and celebration.
Moments of sorrow and despair.
In each of these moments, we have an opportunity to experience the power and the love of God or to just dwell in His presence in the mundane. He can redeem the past, make miracles in the present, and show visions of the future.
The stories we feature show the power of moments—to heal, to secure, to strengthen, to bring rest and peace. May they point you to the Source of our daily hope and joy.
Banana bread. The smell of freshly-baked banana bread always evokes a warm feeling in my heart. I never really figured out why until recently.
As early as five years old, my mom taught me to bake. She started by letting me read the recipe aloud. It was also her way to check my pronunciation of English words. Somehow, we always ended up baking banana bread for no occasion at all.
Looking back, I realized that my mom was in the middle of doing her thesis for her masteral degree then, which had something to do with fruit flies and overripe bananas. So technically, we were baking the leftovers from feeding the fruit flies 🤪.
I never really thought about it much before. All I knew was that I looked forward to those ordinary Saturday afternoons, because in those fleeting moments, my mom was mine alone.
I was the middle child among five daughters close together in age. On top of that, my mom was a professor and a masteral student. As early as I can remember, it was our yaya who took care of us. And even with her, I had to compete with my sisters for attention. I felt overlooked, starved for love and affection. Unused to expressions of love, I didn’t know how to receive it or show it to others. I carried that with me to adulthood.
Eventually, God revealed to me that I harbored unforgiveness towards my mom because of her inability to fill my need for love. I could only connect with her on an intellectual level, but I had a hard time conveying my affection for her. When I acknowledged my anger, I knew I had to forgive her. And I did… but I still found it hard to connect. I was at a loss. I thought speaking forgiveness was enough to mend the gap, but I was wrong.
It was during a healing prayer session when I discovered the missing piece in the puzzle. In my mind’s eye, I saw myself as a baby, crying in distress. Nobody was around and I felt the loneliness and neglect. But when I looked again, I saw Jesus Christ, with his nail-pierced hand, comforting me and putting me to sleep! I felt so much peace envelop me at that moment, knowing that I was not alone. I was not left behind. It was the breakthrough I needed to truly forgive my mother.
What I needed to fully forgive the one who caused me pain was to experience, not just know, the truth that God was present in all my life’s moments, even the most heartbreaking ones.
At the heels of that experience was a deeper understanding of my mom. She did the best she could, with her limitations and her own brokenness. After that, I learned that she had gone through a miscarriage and a still birth very early into their marriage. It was a heartbreaking experience that she did not get to grieve over before she gave birth to more children and it affected her ability to connect with us. In her own way, she tried to connect with us by doing what she did best: teaching.
Even though my mind did not comprehend that my mom was showing love by teaching me to bake, my body and my heart somehow felt it. It explained the warm feeling of nostalgia whenever I smell freshly baked banana bread. I’m not just remembering an ordinary moment; I was belatedly receiving the love that I needed from my mother. I began to remember other moments I had with my mom, too—when she encouraged me to explore my creativity, when she bought me books, when she fought for what I wanted. And in every remembrance, the connection grows stronger, allowing me to demonstrate love to her and open my heart to her unique ways of loving me.
Experiencing God’s healing moment allowed me to see that my mom has always loved me, albeit in imperfect ways.
Just like my mom, I love imperfectly. We all love imperfectly. But God, in His perfect love, has given us the gift of humility and forgiveness, that we may truly experience unconditional love and acceptance from Him, and from each other.