A More Appreciative 2016

Ahhh, yes. FINALLY. 🙂

It feels good to be back posting my thoughts in this special place I call “blog.” It’s been a month since I last posted as I’ve promised myself to keep the holidays as solemn as possible – an opportunity to spend quality time with me and my husband’s families and loved ones which equates to less social media interaction and doing the actual interaction with people. Yes, I still believe forging stronger relationships can only be done through meaningful conversations, moments of laughter, of just sitting there, reminiscing and just being with people you love.

Honestly and personally, the beginning of this year didn’t start well for me and my family. An incident during the New Year’s eve wherein my niece had a bad fall while we were using sparklers and a disagreement with my hubby made me tell him that this was the first New Year’s eve that didn’t go right and as happy or perfect. I thought of it as a sign or a meaning that is not just what the circumstances obviously portray.

I was too fearful back then and it was this fear that held back my freedom to try enjoyable and good things. But since I got saved, I channeled these fears of mine through prayers and relied on to God for courage. And what I will share are more like God’s answers in a visible way – a way in which we, humans, can relate. Although faith is the assurance of something that we do not see, and yet God also makes us feel His presence in ways that we can relate.

The first of these was a very visible sign – a rainbow. I know as a kid what rainbows meant, they appear after a storm. When I was in high school, Science have taught me how rainbows were created, it’s called prism. But it is God who taught me now what they really are for – to give hope. When my husband and I went to my hometown in Bicol which was struck by the typhoon Nona, the worst that was listed in the history of the town, we saw the devastation it brought upon my townspeople.

As our bus was getting nearer our hometown, I struggled to hold back the tears as I felt a piercing in my heart from what I saw – every house that we passed by was destroyed, completely roofless or blown away, electricity lines were all down, and the once luscious greenery was now leafless, brown and lifeless. I so felt the heaviness inside my heart that if given a private moment at that time, I want to drop down on my knees and weep. I know I have every right to ask God “why?” but I know God has a good reason for everything and I just have to continue seeing the good in every situation. Thus, I prayed silently in my heart – that God would give us hope.

We arrived home and was glad that my parents and my sister were safe and was extremely grateful that not one of our properties near our home was destroyed – not even our tree house! Which really was, for me, a miracle. It also survived super typhoon Yolanda  in 2013.

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Though it lifted my spirits up, I cannot stop thinking about those who will celebrate the holidays without shelter, without clean clothes, without electricity, food and jobs.

It was still early in the morning so my husband and I took the opportunity to go out the balcony at the second floor of our house which faces the rice fields and some houses. Lo and behold, our arrival was greeted by a rainbow in its full spectrum – colors as complete and as bold as they are from one end to the other. This was the first rainbow appearance that I have gazed in my entire life that is so complete. Both my husband and I were amazed, so he decided to capture the moment.

Since that day, we often see rainbows, sometimes two rainbows at the same time even. And my husband and I would just gaze up with a smile. Until came the day for us to leave my hometown. It was my sister’s birthday and to our surprise, an electrician came up to our house and informed us that they are now reinstalling electricity. Wow! We weren’t expecting it to be that soon as reports said it will take about 4-6 months to put up electric posts and lines. We teased my sister that she got the best birthday gift ever from God – electricity. 😀

And on that same day, as my husband and I boarded the bus and we were slowly leaving the town, I saw yet another rainbow in its full spectrum. As close as before even though we were in a moving vehicle. I tugged my husband’s arm and pointed the rainbow to him, that’s when I realized what God meant by rainbows. The power lines and electricity being restored were just a few of the many promises that God will fulfill and the rainbow was His sign of that promise. 🙂

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The second was during the Prayer and Fasting. My hubby and I were having disagreements about future goals that it came to the point wherein emotions were escalating. I went ahead and grabbed a stick note that belonged to my sister to better illustrate my point and started flipping its pages to find a new one when out fell a very old piece of paper. I could tell by the corners of it turned yellow by old age. I was still explaining while picking up this paper until something caught my eyes. The paper was a very old calling card and the most interesting thing about it was the name printed on that calling card, the name of a clinic – God’s Way Diagnostic Center. It looked too old that I was not even sure if the clinic still exists. 🙂

I have long given up the notion that everything happens coincidentally. Nothing happens by chance, perhaps by choice and yet there is this idea of the Grand Plan – God’s will. So I stopped talking, my husband also followed suit. I looked closely at the calling card and scrutinized every detail in it. I laughed. I smiled. My mood changed and here I was just savoring everything that was there in the calling card. Take note of what I have discovered: “God’s Way,” “man,” “United Nations,” Noe Lordan,” and “Sure ka dito.”

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I interpreted God’s message as this, if my husband and I continue to insist what we both wanted which is different from one another, we will be disappointed, we will be furious, we will have a fight and there will be no peace. BUT if we choose God’s way, then man will be united through the Lord and we will be sure of it.

I shared this to my husband, and we both agreed – God will give us the wisdom and will guide us in making the right decision in His time and at the right place. We have decided then to just include what we were disagreeing about in our Prayer and Fasting, which are now among our faith goals and settled the matter in peace. 🙂

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Last but not the least is the color “orange.” Yes, I am supposed to write this article 2nd week of January but I haven’t felt the urge to do so. And now I realized why. My sharing of testimony/revelations won’t be complete as some of them will take place just the 2nd week of January. Yes, everything in God’s time indeed. 🙂

So what about orange? Well, during the holidays I have received gifts from my loved ones and not that I am materialistic but because I am a keen observer, I was able to piece everything together. Or maybe God intended I find it out. I used to own a pen from my brother’s wedding, a green one. Somebody borrowed it and forgot to return it. I loved the pen so I asked my brother if he has spare ones. He said yes and circumstances aligned in a way that the only free time he can give it to me was over the holidays. So I got hold of the pen during the holidays and he asked me to choose from 3 colors – orange, green and blue. Blue is my favorite color, but this time, the orange pen attracted me in such a way that I chose it over the blue one. There were only two left of that color.

Then, when I opened my brother and sister-in-law’s gift to me, it was my favorite Paulo Coelho planner. Now this planner also has a very meaningful part in my spiritual journey as a Christian. And maybe that is the reason why for 3 consecutive Christmases now, I have been receiving this planner from my brother. To which I am very grateful. Nothing is ever meaningful than to write over something that God has meant for you to write on. And guess what the dominant color is in the abstract design of the cover? It is orange. 🙂

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I still wasn’t amazed by the orange thing until I remembered our Prayer and Fasting manuals, the dominant color is orange amid the black and yellow. So now…..I am beginning to wonder. There is no coincidence with God, right? 🙂

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I thought, there is something that God wanted me to find out with this orange thing. I shared this to my husband and told him, I still can’t decipher what this orange means but I know God wanted to tell me something or He wanted me to know something. This was 1st week of January. We finished the Prayer and Fasting already and yet no clear answers.

Then 2nd week of January came. My sister from Norway arrived and she brought with her gifts from her travel to Prague in Czech Republic. She made my husband and I choose between gold and bronze key chains with the engraved names of Praha and Ceska Republika. My husband chose the gold one and I happily settled with the bronze key chain. And while I was taking a macro shot of it, I noticed that bronze has a similar color to orange like tangerine. Except that it is darker. SO the orange thing was there again even from far, far away like Prague. 😉

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Now I believe God has intended I come to the conclusion of my findings. Something within me spurred the thought that I forgot to read all my devotion in Our Daily Bread since December 20 until December 31 so I did my backlogs. And voila, here’s the finding. In the December 25 devotion, the title is “Christingle.” It’s just like my name Christine, without the “g” and the “l.” Well, the reason why my Mom named me Christine was because I was born on December 22, Christmas time. 😉

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AND here’s what I found out about Christingle. Do read along the devotion in the picture and be amazed. 🙂

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Here’s a definition of the color orange as well:

Orange is the colour between red and yellow on the spectrum of light, and in the traditional colour wheel used by painters. Its name is derived from the fruit orange.

In Europe and America orange is commonly associated with amusement, the unconventional, extroverts, warmth, fire, energy, activity, danger, taste and aroma, the autumn season, and Protestantism. In Asia it is an important symbolic colour of Buddhism andHinduism.[1] – Wikipedia

In other sources, orange also means joy and creativity. I was just fascinated to find out one of the meanings of “orange” in the Wikipedia definition which is Protestantism – the religion I grew up with as a child through my grandmother, the daughter of one of the pioneers of the Protestant church in our hometown.

My grandmother is for me the epitome of a woman of faith. No other woman have I encountered who has as much devotion in faith as she has through the 91 years of her life. We were able to visit her during the holidays and when I saw her, tears came running down my cheeks as I hugged her. She was bedridden from a bad fall and yet we can feel that her spirit is strong. There came a moment when she told us that she is already tired and she does not want us to live as long as she did. But my eldest sister assured her that God still has a purpose why she has to live that long. My only prayer to God for my grandmother is that she will have the peace in her heart that her family will always be guided by God and that her prayers were never unanswered. 🙂

So now I would like to end this article with the question from the theme of our Prayer and Fasting this year:

“Would you dare to believe?” 🙂

And also with this official soundtrack from the movie Prince of Egypt which I know has something to do with me planning to name our first baby boy with Zaphen, from Joseph’s Egyptian name Zaphenath Paneah. 😉

Though Whitney Houston died a tragic death, this song will always remind me of my memory of her and what this song aims to instill in our hearts – how to believe and have faith even with the impossible.

And it has now become my tradition to include a prayer in the very first article that I will write for the new year here in my blog. Please pray this prayer with me my dear brothers and sisters:

“Dear Father,

Though we do not see the future and though fear may start to creep in our hearts for the many trials and challenges, the “giants” that will come our way, we pray that You give us the courage and the strength to overcome them all. Please guide and protect us as we continue to tread along the journey that you have set out for us to accomplish. 

We are rest assured that You are and will be with us in all that we will go through. We claim that in the name of Your Son, Jesus, we will will not just be conquerors but we will be game-changers and leaders in spreading Your Word and Your Love.

Thank you for the many things and the many ways that You have assured us of the Grace, the Love and the Hope. We will continue to seek for Your Name and we will give You all the glory and honor that You deserve.

Please teach us how to be more appreciative of the things that we have through what You have given, to be joyful despite the storms and may You continue to be our source of Light despite the darkness around us. 

We send this prayer from our hearts with all our love and through the mighty name of Your Son, Jesus,

Amen.”

Let’s have a more appreciative 2016, everyone! 🙂 ❤

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