Understanding a Young Professional

 

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Indeed, August is understanding – understanding the will of God, understanding yourself and others. 🙂

At my age of 31, I can say I have been through all seasons when it comes to job opportunities in search for the one that God says as “the right one.” These decisions aren’t easy to make because I also need to value what my spouse thinks on what is best for us both.

These seasons brought me to short term employments, some even lasted for just a week, some brought me to a standstill for a long while and some lasted for a couple of years. I always seek God’s counsel on these matters because let’s admit it, giving up a job and hopping on to the next is crucial.

We all need money to survive. Getting rich, however, is a different story and something I do not fully support. Money is the root of all evil if it becomes your god and your life revolves around it. This includes anything that makes you “great” as well. It will destroy this hierarchy of priorities mandated by God:

  1. GOD
  2. Spouse
  3. Children/Family
  4. Career
  5. Ministry

How? When we don’t find the right answers to these questions:

  • When was the last time you opened and read your bible consistently?
  • When was the last time you took a quiet time, prayed, and made it a habit?
  • Do you have enough time for your spouse on a regular basis?
  • How about for your children?
  • When did you last visit your parents or talked to them?
  • How about your siblings? When did you last check up on them?
  • When was the last time you attended church? 

We’ve always been reminded to never place any idols before God and that anyone who disobeys will face the consequences:

“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,…” – Exodus 20:3-5

Are our possessions our god? Are our finances our god? Are our careers our god? Are our achievements our god? Are our children our god? Is our ministry our god?

If we fail in even one of the things I have mentioned above, we know that we are guilty. We always have to be on our guard because the enemy is always in the corner prowling around looking for that next victim to deceive. Everything may seem to be smooth sailing but little did we know that we are already heading towards destruction. If everything is going smoothly in our lives, we should already wonder.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

There may not be any external atrocities happening on the outside but the enemy is already going for the most vulnerable spot inside you – your heart and your soul.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” – Proverbs 4:23

As the adage goes, “A river that is quiet usually has looming falls at the end of it.”

Your heart and your soul may have remained placid but they were not given the opportunity to build a shield which is the armor of God and strengthen your faith.

The Whole Armor of God

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” – Ephesians 6:10-18

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5

Don’t be tempted to get that next promotion or for that next “big thing” to add to your resume or attach at the end of your name right away. Don’t be tempted to sign that 6-digit salary or the millions that you’re being asked to take without confirming the responsibilities attached to it. Don’t be tempted to say “yes” to any promise of a better life other than the gift of salvation.

No, don’t be tempted with these things. That next promotion might be a temptation to spend less time with your spouse and family or a temptation to sacrifice your own health and wellness. That 6-digit salary might tempt you to drown yourself in the physical pleasures of this world which equate to even more worldly temptation. That promise of a better life might be masked in the form of easy money and the black market.

Review your priorities instead (single or married), ask for God’s leading, seek His counsel, and pray for discernment towards the right path.

If you will ask me why, then consider the following:

  1. Why is quality time with God important? The Scripture will guard your heart against any temptation. This will prepare you for any trial you’ll go through. Thus, it is the #1 priority.
  2. Why is quality time with the spouse important? Marriage is a holy matrimony, it is also a room for the enemy to attack you or your spouse with temptations. Communication is important between a married couple. If you are too tired to even ask what went on in your spouse’s day, it might be too late when you realize your spouse is drifting away from you and eventually leads to a divorce.
  3. Why is it important to spend time with your kids? Your kids will only be young once. They will appreciate the time you’ve spent with them more than the toys or gadgets you gifted them when they grow older. The percentage of depressed teens are getting higher every year. You don’t want them to end up growing up a teenage rebel or being with the wrong group of friends just because their parents are always “absent.” It is as important to your child that you become his/her first best friend other than just being a parent.
  4. Why should you not place money as the top priority? Money is the root of all evil. It sparks jealousy, greed, selfishness, death, among all other negative things.

I am not a licensed counselor but I have learned these nuggets of wisdom from mentors who went through the same thing and shared their experiences, combined with my own personal experience as well as knowledge lifted from my graduate study which is special education.

You might add that they are all a case-to-case basis but consider this verse:

“What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.” -Ecclesiastes 3:15

If you are to ask me why, this might suffice as an answer:

“And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear Him.” – Ecclesiastes 3:14

Going back to all those career shifts, I can say that I have met wonderful people who have touched my life. I’ve learned a great deal of wisdom from them and formed a special bond through the memories and experiences we’ve shared which I am forever grateful.

On the one hand, I have touched their lives as well one way or the other and continue to influence as they add me on social media, check out my profiles or read my blog articles (oh, it’s you). 😀

I never viewed it as a waste of time, this shifting of careers, though it brought me to a slight and temporary instability in my priorities, marriage, finances, etc. as seasons change.

But no, I remained steadfast because I am clinging to a Rock and I know I have a God who is forever faithful. I viewed these instead as a time of GREAT TESTING.

How? It is only in times of drought and famine that your faith in God is truly tested. It will answer the question “how far are you willing to trust God with your whole life?”

So much of this testing didn’t test my character alone but it also built the foundations of my marriage and refined the characters of the people around me too. They, too, have learned to rely on God along the way.

I have always relied in the TRUTH that God is the ONLY ONE who provides for all our needs from finances to material things; who gives us a career; who provides our salaries; who closes one door of opportunity and opens another; who keeps things steady though everything may be shaky; who keeps my marriage intact; who binds the relationships I have with others; and who reminds me of my priorities.

What matters is we stayed obedient to His instructions, obeyed His laws, and pursued His will and plans for our lives all throughout.

As I write this journal entry, all I can ever see are the lives of those great people recounted in the bible who withstood all trials because of their unwavering faith even to the point of death: Daniel; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; David; Joseph; Job; among many others.

They say it takes fire to yield a beautiful sword ready for battle. Without fire, the sword will be blunt – ineffective and of no use. Yet it also takes the time to forge a sword. It takes effort and a great force to yield it. On the other hand, too much heat will cause it to melt.

As a young professional, you’ll receive so much of this fire which could either destroy you or mold you. Choose, however, to consult God’s plans over your life more than being dissuaded by what this world expects and wants from you.

Do not break away from the vine, cling to it. Let God use the fire to mold you for a better purpose. But never let the enemy use it to consume you and head for destruction.

In the end, it is important to keep in mind that even when you have to close a hundred doors and open a thousand, it still is God who decides what is the best door to keep open. You’ll never really know in which seasons will God forge you to become one of His mightiest swords. But, learn to trust Him instead. 🙂

Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

As my spiritual mentor and Victory group leader said with her life verse and God’s promise:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

For this article, here’s a video from Hillsong that’s one of my all-time favorite Christian songs:

3 Days to Know God

…on a deeper level. 🙂

Day 1

Though I am on complete social media hibernation, I still felt the need to record these thoughts over my phone’s notepad. But if you saw my Twitter account active during these days with posts from YouTube, that’s because I was browsing and listening to worship songs for my prayer and quiet time.

It is Day 1 of the Mid-Year Prayer and Fasting and after submitting an exam for a job application and before bedtime, hubby and I watched the movie John Q.

I was bothered how injustice and inequality can really make things look distorted. Thus, I had these questions in mind which were included in my prayers:

*Why are health services not free?

*What happened to EFA (Education For All) all throughout these years?

*Is life really unfair?

*Why should most things be about or are connected to money when money is the root of all evil? – Answer: We need money to survive but we also need self-control and discipline to have the right attitude in handling money matters and not be overtaken by greed and all sins related to money.

I haven’t received the answers for my other questions yet so I’ll just get on with how day 1 went. I was opting for a once-a-day meal but unfortunately after having an upset stomach with loose bowels for the past days, I need to eat regularly. But this time, I have decided to limit my rice intake to 1 cup per meal only. And no, I eat at least 2 cups of rice in every meal. I just don’t get fat and I don’t know why. 😀 Eating 1 cup of rice every meal though will send me to a major weight loss program towards anorexia. lol

Day 2

“Father, I come before you with a grumbling stomach…” 😀

I was browsing for recipes to cook for my husband’s dinner and I can hear my stomach grumbling its complaints. Imagine how hard it is to resist eating more than your usual food intake, but you had to RESIST the TEMPTATION.

It is lunch time but I’m still praying and having my devotion thus I blurted with a grumbling stomach and yet I had to CONCENTRATE. I had to wear earphones while I was about to start praying because the noise around, though very minimal, still distracted me.

But while I was browsing for instrumental praise songs, a recommended video/news about my favorite Korean actress Song Hye Kyo and Descendants of the Sun co-star Song Joong Ki getting married just popped up! An on-screen couple that turned to a real-life couple is just an amazing love story. So just imagine me beating those two, TEMPTATION and CONCENTRATION – the temptation not to log in on IG and all my social media accounts to share the news as I am on social media hibernation being part of my fasting and concentrate on finishing my devo. But if guided by the Spirit, you’ll know what to do – a rebuke will always be there. 🙂

I started eating my meal and I actually made a discovery. When you take time to appreciate every single item in the food before you eat it, it will give you that moment to savor every bite instead of gobbling all the food up. Appreciating every morsel and every ingredient from how God sent the rains to water the crops to the farmers who nurtured the crops, then the ones who transported it will help you resist man’s innate instinct of just consuming what its body desires. Our initial reaction when we see food is to eat it and consume right away.

On a side note, I also got news that I was scheduled for a job interview (a major career shift) and so I end the 2nd day with this and these running thoughts:

“Let the TRUTH be told in whatever season I am in, in whomever I become, in whatever I have.”

“More of you God and less of me.”

Day 3

“If love is so enormous in our lives, there’d be no space for hatred.”

I woke up with this thought in my head and just to give you a trivia, these are the thoughts that usually spark up an article. All my articles came from a single thought. But sometimes my thoughts can be so scattered. 😀

In another news, this day I was scheduled for yet another job interview for the next day which is Friday (today as of writing). This was part of my faith goals for this year and one of the things which I have been consistently praying for.

A thought also came during the praise and worship for the last day of fasting which was about praying for the community and I would just like to share the following experiences and musings regarding this.

I have made a discovery while I was browsing through new places around the neighborhood where hubby and I just recently transferred. I was a bit shocked and just a little bit dismayed that the community has been tagged as the “sex tourism” capital of the city. But upon seeing new establishments (and good ones they are) being built around the area from pretty nice restaurants to condominiums, I know and I am happy to know that God is going to do something great with this community.

The same thing happened to a situation wherein I almost passed up an opportunity because I saw something that I know will offend God. And yet if God brought me in these places and opportunities, I need not be worried, afraid nor doubtful about what I see on the outside. I need to see behind the enemy’s lies that this is corrupted and evil because in the eyes of God every single human being is beautiful, every one is given a chance, every thing has a GOOD purpose no matter how opposite the outside appearance or the first impression may look or seem.

I asked myself though, will this (being in a community/organization known to be corrupted) taint my reputation as a Christian?

The answer came just instantly: I was already made right in the eyes of God when I was saved, God already knows the condition of my heart I need not please the world. I will please Him if I accomplish what He has tasked me to do in this particular season, place and opportunity.

Reputation is something that this society is so concerned about and yet no one has the right to judge anyone except our God. This should not be an excuse though to sin and conform but to remain firm in the faith and become the “salt and light.”

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2 

I can never judge the community I am in nor that opportunity which came along. In the same way that Jesus socialized with the drunkards and what society tagged as the “outcasts,” we must also do the same by helping and serving them while remaining true to the faith. Jesus never thought of them as different, He sees them as ‘sick’ people needing ‘treatment’ and yet He waited for the opportune time when God will change these people’s hearts. He was sent here not to condemn this world but to do only what He was tasked to do – share who God is and what eternal salvation is all about.

Jesus saw in these people what our naked eyes couldn’t see, a beauty that is skin deep –  the soul. Whether someone is a drunkard or a prostitute, to God he/she is flesh and blood with a soul. He sees Himself in us because He created us. He sees the GOOD in every one of us no matter what ‘tags’ society has placed on us.

I am always fascinated by this quote ever since I stumbled upon it:

“It is easy to love a rose but it takes a great heart to include the thorns.”

God loves us COMPLETELY. It is this kind of LOVE that John says as NO GREATER LOVE than this. It was this kind of love that became a SACRIFICE and set all of us FREE from the sins of this world. And it is this very same LOVE that is working its way out through you and me each and every single day.

I can love a fellow Christian but I even have more love for those who are not because I saw my old self in them and I know that they, too, will experience this love that I have, they will be given a new LIFE and a new NAME.

If I speak of hope then they shall too. If I speak of life then they shall too. If I speak of love then they shall too. They will rise as I have risen in the same way Jesus have been raised from the dead. I have a GREAT HOPE that we will all rise with Him one day. Thus, we patiently wait. 🙂

P.S.

Great opportunities came along today too (7/7/17) career wise. And just to share, it was 8/8/08 when I got my first big blessing as a working professional. There really must be something with the numbers. 😉

Ah yes, the moments of His silence, my steady prayers and patience – the Lord is indeed FAITHFUL with His PROMISES in His RIGHT TIME. 🙂

What an awesome day today to break my Mid-Year Prayer and Fasting and the start of the last 2 quarters of this year. My last prayer is that may God continue to speak through our lives and may we continue to bring Him all the GLORY and HONOR that He deserves always. ❤

Oh and one very, very last thing in this postscript. (Promise!) 😀

A praying mantis visited our bedroom walls tonight. It’s a very rare sight for me living in the city half of my life. I only see them when I am in the province in Bicol where the air is clean and less polluted.

Well, it seems to me that it says of only one thing – if this praying mantis made it alive in the polluted, dirty and chaotic environment and still remained as pretty and as unblemished of a creation as it is, then I guess it speaks the same of us. If God can take care of this praying mantis, what more of us, His greatest creation. 🙂

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Year 2017: Everything Made New

Vindicated is the world’s term for it, redeemed is how faith coins it.

This article was sitting as a draft since November. But I only had the urge to finish writing it today because a lot more happened after November. So for the month of December I didn’t publish any article – a moment of solitude and immersion in faith. 🙂

There’s social unrest in the decision of current president of the Philippines, President Duterte, and the supreme court to allow the remains of a dictator and former President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani or be given a hero’s burial. It was an unfair decision to most considering all the human rights violation committed, plunder and social injustice in all forms when the country was placed under martial law during the Marcos regime.

It doesn’t seem such a reasonable, sensitive and acceptable answer by comforting the victims of martial law and their families by the statement “forgive and move on.” If you are to ask my side, I chose to settle it with God instead – not my terms but His.

I went thru a similar situation myself about two months ago, so please bear with me if this part will be a bit sensitive and emotional. It was just one of those heated disagreements between me and hubby. Through this challenging situation, it was heartbreaking to hear your spouse renounce his faith and even curse God which made me speak against my faith too. Yes, it was a very sad moment between us which turned into something worse that our families needed to meddle to stop the damage from getting bigger. Hubby and I decided we live separately for the meantime for our own safety and for the sake of saving our marriage.

When I went to the province, I was given the wrong ticket for the first time in my entire 15 years of traveling back and forth going home. Can you guess what was the wrong ticket amount?  It’s 888. 😀 Yes, I interpreted it as an assurance that the Lord, our God, is indeed with us we need not worry.

20170131_214536.pngHow ironic it is though that my husband’s surname is Rome. Jesus’ number one persecutor is none other than the Romans. 🙂 They tried to gain control over Jesus but in the end they were the ones defeated when He overcame death. Jesus symbolizes the church, if not, He is the church. In a marriage, the wife is the church.

This clearly illustrates how man tried to separate from God/church/wife because of the sins and that only Jesus can bridge this gap so the relationship between man and God will be restored. This is just like when Israel rebelled against God and how God tried to make them turn to Him.

What happened was this, God made my relationship something to learn from and yet just like the martial law victims whose rights were violated, God will be the only one with the authority and the power to judge anyone.

They say that when you are deeply hurting, God is creating something wonderful in you and He is veering you away from possible destruction. Yet, it always starts with humility and forgiveness. Just like in this quote from my Our Daily Bread daily devotion, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. – C.S. Lewis”

For the two months that we have been apart, I persevered in assuring my husband that tho I have agreed we live separately for the time being, it doesn’t mean I am giving up on him and our marriage. It is indeed true that for all that we have been through, not once did I give up on our relationship and our marriage and I never will. The first thing that came to my mind during this season was the “love dare” from one of the greatest Christian films I have watched about marriages which is Fireproof.

Just like in the movie, I too am extremely grateful right now that God gave me a family whom I deeply appreciate being mentors in this ordeal who lead me to God and towards the right path. It was difficult to hear and choose from a lot of different prespectives but they did help a lot in widening my mindset about a lot of things through the Spirit’s guidance.

It wasn’t God’s goal that He’ll give you the perfect spouse because your husband/wife will fail you in the entire course of your marriage. This is not because God wants to see us suffer but He wanted to see how we will honor our commitment to Him and to our spouse, how will we continue fighting for our faith towards the beautiful promises that He has and last but not the least, to love unconditionally in the same way that He has loved us. We were born sinners, we are imperfect and we have been saved only by GRACE – something that we did not deserve but was given as a gift out of His great love for us.

I remembered a few years back when a male colleague actually confronted me with a startling confession, “Tin, no guy will ever be a match for you. You are talented, beautiful, almost everything.” I couldn’t give him a fair answer except that I wasn’t created by God to be someone’s or anybody’s rival. I was made as a man’s partner, as equal and as unique as everyone else.  I, as a woman, do not have high standards or maybe I do but it doesn’t matter because what matters is that we have a God who has REALLY high standards and these are the standards that we ought to meet – not mine, not yours, but His.

So for two months I can say a lot have happened. But for the general feel of those two months, I can describe it as very painful and yet it was life-changing. As expected, I got a new Paulo Coehlo planner during the start of the year. This is my brother and sister-in-law’s consistent Christmas gift for me which, I must say, I appreciate a lot as my spiritual journey won’t be complete without it. This planner and I shared a lot of memories and it records all of my prayers, requests, letters of gratitude, revelations and daily bible verses from YouVersion and Our Daily Bread apps.

We also have a prayer and fasting in church at the start of the year and I must say too it was during this time that I had the greatest revelation from yes, the book of Revelation itself. 🙂

At first I did find it funny. I mean, even before, God’s ways are always amazing. He is so full of surprises. Most often these surprises will make you cry in awe – I always do. But it also made me humble – humble enough to acknowledge how could I have questioned God’s plans. It’s as if I am hearing Jesus when He said to His disciples, “you who have such little faith.”   Well, when prayer time comes and I do get to talk with God, I feel all too guilty of this. However, His love and grace remain steadfast and true – it sets you free and it gives you a new chance in life always.

I shared this testimony exactly after the prayer and fasting ended. When I went home to my province last December, no one was left to tend my little garden. I just have faith that God will take good care of them for me in the same way He takes care of the wild forests. When I came back in January, true enough, my plants were flourishing except for one – the oldest plant I have since 2005 which is a calamansi plant. It doesn’t bear any fruit probably because there’s no other calamansi plant around that can pollinate it.

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All the leaves of my calamansi plant were curled and dried up. My sister was the one who noticed it first and asked me what happened. We both could not explain as the rest of my plants were thriving. So she said maybe a fungus attacked the roots and I thought that it could very well be the reason. She suggested I throw the plant away. I thought it best too as it’ll be absurd keeping a dead plant in your garden. 😀

But on second thoughts, I have decided to keep it. I did water it for a day or two after we got back but when I saw that the leaves are really all dried up and they were starting to fall off one by one, I stopped watering it for about 2 weeks except for the occasional rainshowers but still chose to keep it. I just don’t know why I still kept it. 🙂

Anyway, for the month of November the character trait in my planner was patience, December was determination and January 2017 is tolerance. Nope, it is not an irony these traits are exactly what I needed to learn in the season I was in but I believe they’re all part of His plans. I have remained hopeful and faithful for the time when my husband will be saved and for the time when we will be together again. Ah yes, those grueling two months of being apart and you felt that your life was in shambles and what you have with you is nothing else but faith.

I asked God for forgiveness, that He would change me and yet I asked Him for strength and courage too. I know God is changing my hubby too. It is always between God and the person and that the people around are used only as vessels for God to allow that change to take place. I was claiming that the year 2017 will be the start of a lot of positive changes for all even if we seem to have lost everything. I am believing too that more unbelieving spouses will rise in the calling that God has for them to be Godly husbands and wives and Godly parents to their children. I am praying that the generations to come will learn from the generational curses that have been set and passed on to them by their ancestors and they will break free from them through the Cross.

As much as I’d want to share every single detail of those two months that I can say God was purifying me thus made me choose a white dress for Christmas day (see photo below), I would like to share the following bible verses, quotations in my daily devotion, articles I came across and questions I have asked God wherein I have felt much of the Spirit’s presence in what I was and am going through until now. I hope you will be blessed by them too in whatever season you are in. These verses came one by one consistently everyday. 🙂

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P.S.

Don’t forget to read the last part – I have good news to tell. 😉

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding..” – Proverbs 3:5

“For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9

“Give your burdens to the LORD, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” – Psalm 55:2

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” – John 15:4

“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” – Hebrews 12:2

Lord, teach me how to carry my own cross and how to carry it well.

“This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands. For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.”- 1 Peter 3:3‭-‬6 

“God is at work to make us who He intends us to be.” – Our Daily Bread

“Hear the word of the Lord.” – Jeremiah 7: 2

“I am making everything new.” – Revelation 21:5

“The word of the Lord never fails.” – Luke 1:3

“But seek first the Kingdom of God and live righteously and He will give you everything you need.” – Matthew 6:33

“Only Jesus can give us new life.”  (John 14:19)

“Christ will never leave His wife. Ever. There may be times of painful distance and tragic backsliding on our part. But Christ keeps His covenant forever. Marriage is a display of that! That is the most ultimate thing we can say about it.”

– http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/staying-married-is-not-about-staying-in-love-part-1

A display of His greatness.

I often wonder if my life was patterned after every devotion I am using – every bible verse, every Godly wisdom shared, I felt applying them all for real for they were all timely in every event that I am going through.

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor.” – 1 Peter 5:6

Why choose me, Lord?

Who am I to question God and His ways?

“Let others see your testimony as well as hear it.” – Our Daily Bread (2 Corinthians 4:7)

For I prefer Lord for my faith to be tested like iron is being forged in fire. For I do not intend to be lukewarm in my faith.

“There is no risk in abandoning ourselves to God.” (Romans 12:1)

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. – C.S. Lewis”  (Romans 7:14)

“But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:3

“Christ holds all things together.” (Colossians 1:17)

Now we’re on to the last part of this article which I was referring to previously. So what’s the good news? Well, God’s grace made it possible for our marriage to be restored and we are on to an absolutely new chapter of our lives as a married couple. A new chapter indeed because we are finally deciding to relocate to a place near his work, I am going back to the work force and I just felt real change within me and my spouse. At first I was apprehensive about this change but if God brought us here, then He will help us go through it all as well.

As my husband put it (yes, my husband. 😀 ), God is good. 🙂

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Oh and yes, remember the plant that died which I still kept? After 2 weeks, this is how it looks now – new leaves. It’s alive!  “The old is gone and the new has come and I am making everything new” indeed as what the Lord says. All it took was FAITH. 😀

To end this article, I’ll share this bible verse which was from my laptop’s screensaver yesterday (it displays a different bible verse everyday). Yet another revelation from the book of Revelation:

“Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.” – Revelation 3:10

Oh how I love my God. ❤ *insert wide smile here* 

Continue fighting the good fight of faith my dear brothers and sisters. 🙂

Sweet Groanings of the Heart in The 4th Year Anniversary Special

Before anything else, I’d like to share this insightful article from Forbes especially for the young professionals:

“The Top 5 Regrets of Mid-Career Professionals”

So my Mom and I had a serious heart-to-heart talk about some things especially about my graduate study. It’s been taking far too long years are passing by fast and it seems I haven’t done anything productive at all nor made significant improvements not just in it but in my life in general.

So questions like what are your plans, what do you want to do now, where do you want to be when you get older, etc. came popping up.

Truth is, I wasn’t totally pleased with how my life has faired throughout these years. To most people it seems like I have wasted 6 years to nothing. But I think I am going to take back that word “displeased”  because doing a self-assessment, I am happier in those 6 years wherein I am in a limbo and in shambles or I thought I was.

First and most importantly, I found God along the way – I was born again. Second, I found love in this world and my better half unexpectedly – I got married. Lastly, a lot of changes happened internally – major heart reconstruction. These 3 are now my priorities which I was called to serve first.

So my Mom went on, “As parents we only wanted what is best for all of you and your siblings, a better and more successful life.”

I do appreciate this kind of love from my parents. I know when I become a parent I wanted what is best for my kids too.

She continued, “If you wanted to have a simple life though, nothing is wrong with that.”

Now this I loved from her even more. So I smiled and agreed:

“Yes Mommy, that is all I ever wanted in this life. I actually wanted to go back home in our province and raise my family there if God wills it. We wouldn’t have these ideals and values in life if it wasn’t for the humble beginnings of you and Dad in which you have raised us all. City life has far too much temptations and is way complicated.

I want my kids to have the same values and ideals in life too and I think I won’t be able to do that if they will grow up seeing that Brian and I pursue what this world offers as the meaning of success like wealth, possessions, achievements and titles.”

A “higher”  and more successful position/career requires more time at work and more work load. This is practically what graduate studies are for – promotion at work and/or career advancement. I may be earning much and I now have a title that society declares as prestigious but I have less time with my family because either I am too tired when I get home, I am bringing work at home or I have longer working hours in the office. My kids will only be young once and my husband is my top priority next to God.

Then memories of the day I had my altar call which was during the Singles’ Getaway in church back in year 2012 reminded me once again about what Pastor Dennis Sy discussed regarding priorities. He shared an experience between him and his wife who wanted to pursue her dream to become a medical doctor.

What he said made a mark in me as well (paraphrased already),

“Your degree/profession won’t be able to hug you in times that you are sad nor will it be beside you in times of trouble. But I can.”

She chose to let go. Priorities-wise, when we are called to be married and have families, they are to be on top. Indeed, these are the sacrifices that born-again spouses and parents have to make when it comes to priorities. I have read an article (I couldn’t exactly remember the title) by Mrs. Marie Bonifacio, wife of Pastor Joey, regarding the hierarchy of priorities: God, spouse, family, career and ministry.

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A great reminder. ❤

I love God, I love my spouse and I love my family – these are what matters in my case now. My career will have to come next and maybe my other ambitions will have to fade away. I am still seeking for God’s direction in this area though, a period of patiently waiting and enduring.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:34

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

There are those who were called to a life of leadership and excellence in the corporate world and professional industry among men and women alike. There are also those who were called to serve the ministry. There are those too who were called to serve their families. These are just some of the areas we were called to serve and we all fall in either of those categories one way or the other.

I believe this is the season that God is slowly clearing the view from obstacles so I could walk the path straight and yet asking me to get even closer and more in tune with Him. I trust God that He will guide me and my future family according to His plans. It may mean denying myself what this world offers at this point going against the norm and maybe going against the wishes of many which can be heartbreaking but I know in the end it will all glorify God.

I am, in fact, happier where God has put me now as long as it gives Him all the Glory and Honor He deserves. 🙂

“Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” – Proverbs 3:6

P.S.

This might be my last post for this year or for a couple more years even (only God knows) because I am planning to do a social media hibernation in most of my social media accounts for I don’t know how long as part of my personal prayer and fasting. There is so much I need to pray for in my life including my current health condition, my family, my country and this world and I need to seek for God’s will and instructions without distractions and temptations just like what Jesus did.

So I am temporarily ending my 4-year activity in blogosphere and passing on the baton to the new generation of faith-based bloggers. Today’s the 4th year anniversary of this blog too and I got this notification the other day about reaching 500 readers who stayed patient enough in reading this faith-based blog. Kind of a great way to end a season, eh? *wink*  I believe this particular season has come to a temporary halt and God is calling me to a new season, a new task. Who knows, I might be back in just a week. lol 😀

( To God be all the Glory!)

But I am definitely sure I will be reconnected with you all again in God’s perfect time. So ciao for now my dear readers. Keep praying, keep on blogging and keep the faith always! ❤ 🙂

What We and This World Need

#LumadRally #TyphoonHaima #LawinPH #DrugWar #WarInOtherCountries #Terrorism #HumanTrafficking #Poverty #Corruption #ComplicatedPolitics #Disaster #Violence

My husband and I seldom watch the news anymore. Not that we do not want to be involved in the affairs of our country and the world. It is the opposite actually – I love my country and the world too much. But happenings as of late are becoming much of a burden to the soul and aggression is starting to creep in. Being the empathetic person that I am, seeing the current issues my country and the world are facing now is enough to make you shed tears. No, I am not depressed nor hopeless or on the verge of breaking down. But words unspoken and yet too much to bear go to my tear ducts instead. lol 😀

Ah yes, I am trying to see the good of it all. Whatever hope that I get, I wanted to share it. We cannot disregard everything that goes around because this is the society we live in. As responsible citizens, we more or less have a role to fulfill may it be directly or indirectly. We were all created to be catalysts of social change. Jesus was sent in this world to be one. As His followers and as sons and daughters of God, we are to be Christlike in every manner, fulfilling the assigned tasks that we all needed to fulfill.

I have posted in one of my Facebook posts this statement,

“The world and my country need not my anger and criticism but my love and understanding.”

So much and so many hurting. I have certain words of wisdom that I have been holding on to pretty much for most moments in my life and they were shared on to me. I’d like to encourage you to share these too for I believe these are what we and this world need at this time – FAITH, HOPE and LOVE.

“Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13

So allow me to share the following words of wisdom to shed light in these moments of darkness:

There Is A Time For Everything

“There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

15 Whatever is has already been,
    and what will be has been before;
    and God will call the past to account.[b]

16 And I saw something else under the sun:

In the place of judgment—wickedness was there,
    in the place of justice—wickedness was there.

17 I said to myself,

“God will bring into judgment
    both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity,
    a time to judge every deed.” – Ecclesiastes 3: 1-17

“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

Max Ehrmann, DESIDERATA

“We love each other because He loved us first.” – 1 John 4:19

Life’s Like That

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Photo credit: groupon.sg

When I was young, I grew up to the sight of Reader’s Digest magazines laying around the house. My parents have a monthly subscription to it and when I was in grade school and high school, it became one of the favorite books I wanted to read.

This is probably where my inkling on feature stories especially those that are inspirational originated. However, there are other sections in the magazine that caught my attention too: Laughter Is The Best Medicine and Life’s Like That. For the latter, I enjoyed reading the “matter-of-fact”  wisdom shared by contributors. I was young back then I didn’t know the exact name for it but contextually, I do get the point.

It was only during my college days that I realized that the “nuggets of wisdom” shared at Life’s Like That can actually be classified as a figure of speech – irony. Just to review our Literature 101 about what “irony” is:

“Irony (from Ancient Greek εἰρωνεία (eirōneía), meaning “dissimulation, feigned ignorance”[1]), in its broadest sense, is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or event in which what appears, on the surface, to be the case, differs radically from what is actually the case. Irony may be divided into categories such as verbal, dramatic, and situational.” – Wikipedia

Then I reflected about everything. Life is actually a well-celebrated mockery game – it is so full of ironies. If you’d ask me how, I’d give just a few instances I know which were shared to me and I have observed through time as well.

I have come to know of a parent who is an overachiever but with an underachiever child. Or that very religious person whose son/daughter grew up committing all sins the bible has. A wealthy expat, dignified and well-respected with a child who breaks the law often. A prominent family but conflicted relationships. The list can go on and on.

I do not judge them for who they are for these are their own battles of faith, endurance and character building as well and we can all learn from their struggles too and yet I can only ask why the opposite of what was originally intended?

Before I got saved, I was a downright cynic – sarcasm was my favorite wordplay. When I go for the kill, my best weapon was the vilest and meanest words you could think of even without a curse. These words go straight to the heart and the worst kill is towards the ego. That is because I knew nothing back then about this:

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” – Proverbs 18:21

Yet through it all, I don’t see this as a reason to be regretful, to be stuck in the past and to feel all forlorn even if I have suffered greatly of its consequences. No, it is actually a thing to be celebrated given the guidance of the Spirit. Yes, because looking at it in a Godly perspective, these ironies are what bring us to a position of humility. It taught me how to reflect and carefully choose the proper word in addressing every issue and every single person. It taught me to pause and assess first. It taught me self-control and to wait for the right time. It taught me to be sensitive and gentle. It taught me to be humble enough to accept my mistake and the mistake of others.

This wordplay of sarcasm which I used to love have been turned by God into words that give encouragement, light and hope which made this blog alive. 🙂

There are still times now wherein if I am not conscious and I am not putting up my guard, some of the wrong choice of words or improper delivery of my sentences i.e. tone, etc. still come out even if I intentionally did not mean it. But then, when the Spirit is in you, the rebuke will always be there – through your guilt, your conscience and your heart. That is because my eyes have been opened to the Truth and to what is right.

My husband can attest to the number of times I have almost or even crushed his spirit completely because of the words I have uttered towards him. I only realize it when he would tell me that what I told him made him realize about his weaknesses, mistakes and that I was right. But hearing him say these, I can feel the pain and see it in his eyes.

The pain.

Now this struck me to the core. Oh dear Lord, I have hurt him with my words.  When I sense the pain in his tone, I immediately apologize and hug him tight and assure him that I don’t mean it. But as we all know, we can never take back the words we have spoken.

Never.

Moreover, whichever words we hear that elicited a strong emotion in us usually have the greatest impact and will be retained in the memory. If it is in the memory, it will be easily remembered – we are forever reminded. Not to mention that mean words also fuel anger and dissension which lead to conflicts, violence and eventually chaos.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

Thus, in my pursuit towards humble repentance, I prayed to God to shield any person from any hurt that can be derived from any vile word that I unknowingly or have intentionally blurted out. I prayed even more for maximum restraint and discernment. I prayed that forgiveness will rule in our hearts and heal all wounds inflicted – the humble acceptance of mistakes.

Humility is the very core of Christianity. I don’t think I can ever define faith without it. Grace teaches us that. The Cross symbolized nothing more but Grace through humility – submission and acceptance even if undeserving. For how can God subject Himself to a lowly form here on Earth in the image of a man, devoid of any distinct title or position in the society, free from material wealth or possessions and suffered a great deal which no one else have experienced and YET did not sin even once so we could all be free from the bondage of sin?

God is God – the Alpha and the Omega, Omnipotent and Supreme. He is in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ symbolizes nothing more but humility and acceptance out of obedience and love for His Father, His creator.

We all can never submit, accept and obey if there is no humility. It is actually humility that makes repentance possible which leads on to SALVATION. Again, it all goes back to the Cross.

So why should life be so ironic? Simply because Life’s Like That – full of ironies so we could all learn humility. Humility is God’s way of saving us from the perils of pride and other sins which bring much of this world’s chaos and complications in relationships.

Yes, Life’s Like That. 🙂

We Survived Dengue!

But first, praise be to God for the healing and restoration of good health for me and hubby! ❤

Of course, a huge note of gratitude goes out to our families (biological and spiritual) and friends too who were there to offer us with all kinds of support in this tough ordeal. Ah yes, when the love of God transcends, it is hard to not love people back. So this article is a “WE LOVE YOU ALL”  sort of post. *wink*

So I thought all along especially in the first few days of my fever that I have something really serious going on since prior to it, I was having a very severe headache that I once again cried myself out for relief. Paracetamol won’t even work! Oh dear, I have such a high tolerance for pain that I can live for days doing my tasks even with a migraine and even without any pain reliever. But this one is worst.

My fever went on for about 3 days and with a body temperature of 39.4. Hubby was alarmed so he told me we’d better see the doctor. I agreed and out we went to see a doctor. I was advised that it was some sort of infection since platelet count is okay and no alarming changes in my cbc (complete blood checkup). So on the 4th day, I was feeling okay. I did take medications until the 5th day. Hubby had commitments on the 6th day with his family and asked me if I would choose that he’d rather stay to monitor if ever my fever comes back. I told him 2 days have passed without the fever so it’s okay if he leaves me at home and have his 2-day get-together with his family for his sister’s birthday celebration. I had to stay at home as doctor advised a 2-3 days of bed rest.

Unfortunately, little did we know that my platelet count by this time started spiraling down already. The fever recurred. I had chills early in the morning and I felt a numbing and tingling sensation in the fingers of my right hand then followed by the fingers in my left hand. So I texted hubby that my fever’s back and I felt too weak and too nauseous to drag myself to the ER. He didn’t go to work the next day and headed straight home and off we went to the ER at my university’s infirmary. Upon having my cbc, platelet count dropped from 304 to 115. The doctor advised that if fever persists and my platelet count the next day showed to less than a hundred, I should get myself admitted to the hospital.

By this time hubby was feeling weak as well and experiencing body malaise. He assured me maybe it’s just from the weekend’s events and he incurred a flu strain on his way home. When we both got home I was hydrating myself big time although my fever subsided. Unfortunately for hubby he had a fever that went up to 40 degrees! I gave him the medications that was also prescribed to me and though it alleviated the muscle pain, his body temperature just won’t go down.

So it was now me who urged hubby to have a medical checkup the next day. He was feeling too weak when we got to the ER of the hospital nearby and the nurse said that he was already dehydrated and needed an IV therapy. He was given medications for his fever and we waited for a couple of hours. Now this was also the day I was scheduled to have a follow up check up for my updated cbc. My hubby’s doctor said that his platelet count’s still in the normal range however his cbc showed that he’s positive with dengue. She asked Brian if he’d want to be confined in the hospital for hydration via IV therapy or go home instead but hydrate big time. He opted for the latter as he’d still want to accompany me going back to the infirmary for my cbc result. I wasn’t feeling very well myself either although I have no more fever but my severe headache was still there.

@ World Citi Medical Center

But upon checking my husband’s body temperature, it was still up to 39 degrees – burning hot. I assured him to rest at home and drink lots of water and I can manage going to the infirmary to get my cbc result. When I got my result, I was dismayed – my platelet count dropped from 115 to now 85. I was very alarmed because it only meant one thing – confinement. A very low platelet count will result to severe hemorrhage/bleeding.

I went home and told hubby the sad news. He’s still got fever but his body temperature already subsided as well as the body malaise. We decided it best I’d be confined at the hospital as per doctor’s advise. This was around late in the afternoon so I started packing what we will be needing at the hospital. We also told the news to our families and they advised us everything that we will be needing at the hospital. This was my first time to be confined in a hospital for several days by the way so I was really nervous. I have no white coat syndrome though. 😀

By the time we got to the hospital, it was already late in the evening. There were so many patients at the ER that it took me and hubby almost 2 hours at the waiting area and almost 3 hours at the ER before we got our room accommodation. Then, they took another cbc to double check my platelet count. It went up to around 90 but it turned out positive for dengue. By this time mild rashes appeared in my legs already – very tiny red dots like freckles.

@ St. Luke’s Medical Center

Hubby dear, on the other hand, was still feeling weak. I urged him that he should get himself admitted too and we will just get a room for us both. But he insisted there’s no need as his platelet count was still okay although it was also dropping but not as drastic compared to mine. He also explained that I needed someone who will take care of me as it’d be difficult moving around with a dextrose.

Doctor asked: “So who’s the patient now?” lol 😀

I just totally felt so much love for my husband at this point. He sacrificed his own comfort over mine and every day he would go up and down in separate buildings to have his cbc done, brave the long queue, get the results, consult a doctor, buy his food, monitor his fluids intake, take his medications, buy my needs at the hospital and take good care of me. Now this is something that money can’t buy nor is equivalent to any prized possession – makes my heart melt every time. ❤

Or probably it is because I am more sentimental and practical than materialistic. 😉

My eldest sister visited us also and brought us lots of food and fruits just to make sure we were doing well but I couldn’t entertain her for long because of my severe headache and I was feeling really weak. I assured her that we’ll go along just fine and thanked her heartily for the visits despite her busy sched at work (she is running an entire school. *wink*).

Brother bear and sis-in-law visited us at home when I was discharged at the hospital too. I was sleeping most of the time that I was there and I do prefer being alone when I am not feeling well. The introvert in me, eh? 😉 I discouraged friends from visiting too because I don’t want them to go thru all the hassle of traveling after work just to visit me. They’d probably be dead tired and have families to take care as well AND I don’t want them to get bitten by a mosquito who bit us there at the hospital if there ever is one.

So this scenario between me and hubby went on for about 4 days and whew, by God’s grace, hubby had no more fever and I was already cleared. Although I got discharged from the hospital, hubby’s platelet count was still dropping until it came close to 109. So I teased him that maybe it’s now his turn to be admitted and I’ll be the one taking care of him this time. Rashes all over his body started appearing too and they’re more visible than mine. But the good thing about my husband was that he’s even a more consistent and determined fighter/warrior than I am. 😀

With these rashes all over him, his skin got darker and redder I teased him that he looked like a native American Indian. *wink*

He “drowned”  himself in liters of water every day, slept all day long, took medications consistently and after 2 more days, he was also cleared. I asked him how he did it and prevented himself from being confined at the hospital. He just nodded and smiled. He my not be verbal about it too often but I guess he really has more faith than I am. Possibly because he has a nonchalant attitude and I don’t – the key to having complete trust in God.

While I was in the hospital, I also requested to have my recurring headaches checked and after some series of tests, the fellows of my neurologist concluded that my brain’s still functioning normally but that the pain may be muscular. I am still due though for a check up with the neurologist for the final diagnosis if I will be needing a ct scan or x-ray.

Ah yes, in my moments of lethargy, weakness and numbness, I couldn’t find the strength to even finish reading my daily devotion. So my journal entries weren’t updated for more than a week. But God knows there never passed a day that I never said a prayer in my heart to all those who went through and are going through similar challenges like what my hubby and I went through. We are now back to our regular prayer routine and indeed, a day and night without a spoken and shared prayer between me and my husband make a day incomplete. I just find it amusing though that hubby stayed true to his commitment as a husband, “in sickness and in health, ’til death do us part”…..we both got sick. lol

The aftermath of 9x of blood extractions for the cbc. *ouch*

Seriously, when it comes to prayers, God already knows them even before we say them. We always have to keep in mind that God sees our hearts and our thoughts day in and day out in every millisecond. It is a must, therefore, that we stay connected with Him too 24/7. 🙂

“A cheerful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”- Proverbs 17:22

“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.” – Psalm 73:26

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” – Philippians 4:8

P.S.

This was the moment that I was scheduled for job interviews and I already turned them all down due to my illness. So I take it that God has other plans for me. And so I wait. 🙂

It was also my second time to have a dengue fever. The first one was back in year 2012. Doctors informed us there are about 4 recognized strains of it. Whew! 😀

Here are some websites for more information about dengue:

https://www.cdc.gov/dengue/

http://www.who.int/topics/dengue/en/

Sentimental: Who Am I?

I am down with my usual migraine attack (on its 5th day now) but this time accompanied by a high fever and eczema too. Whew! Kind of difficult to manage when every illness you have bolted in altogether. Though I have taken medicines yesterday, my husband nurse and the doctor at the university infirmary advised me to take a 3-5 days of bed rest for my follow up check up on Monday – limit physical activity. While in bed, I thought about writing something.

Speaking of my husband though, I appreciate him for his nonchalance. That is one thing I wanted to learn from him – how to maintain a worry-free attitude despite the disarray or when things have gone awry. I am, on the other hand, the exact opposite – I worry about everything! 😀  But through time, I have learned to control my worries and I’ll share how in the succeeding paragraphs.

I know there came in your life wherein you have never felt good enough – as a spouse, as a child, as a parent, as a student, as an employee, as a friend, as a relative, and ultimately as a person.

As a Christian teacher, I have learned that it is even more important to speak life than to criticize students. We might never know, we are already crushing the dreams of a young spirit because of the negativity. Though trials produce resiliency, positive reinforcement is still best. The world is already complicated enough, mainly because we, humans, made it to be that way.

Every person is different. Just like how every seed grows to be a different plant. Every plant has its own tender and loving care requirements. Yet all plants need sunshine, they all need light.

When I was a grade school student, I had my first taste of disappointment when I didn’t win as president of the student council and I was reprimanded during campaign along with the rest of my running mates for being late in Math class for just a few minutes and we weren’t allowed to enter the classroom. I took it as my responsibility to take the blame being the running President and seeing your peers crying out of shame was enough to make your heart broken to pieces.

When I was in high school, I had another major disappointment when I only graduated as “special mention”  in class after consistently being in the top 3 honors list from 1st year until 3rd year but failed to meet the criteria for the extra curricular activities which comprised a huge percentage of the final grade among other issues. One of my high school best friends suffered the same fate. We were advised by our parents to never receive the award during the graduation ceremony though our names were called because they said that we do not deserve it but we were there.

When I was in college, I wasn’t able to finish my thesis on time because I wasn’t assigned the right adviser from our concentration. After submitting my first draft, I got it back only to see red marks written everywhere and the one thing that was retained in me was this comment, “How did you reach this far if you don’t know how to make a research paper? This is not the work of a UP student!”  I thought, maybe I should also ask my former professors why they passed me in all my other subjects if I am undeserving to be in UP. Little did I know that is how that professor motivates her students – all of us, if not, most of us in that class received the same exact comments as I later found out from classmates.

Then I worked, a dream job it was. But disappointment once again arose. The mission and vision of the workplace weren’t met because one of the figures of authority behaved otherwise. I was the recipient of that unprofessional behavior and many have seen it. It happened a couple of times. I stayed and chose to keep quiet. But after praying about it, I had to let the job go.

So these were all hang ups of the past which I am sure most of us have experienced one way or the other. Others may have gone through even worse than all these and if given the chance, they are very much entitled to unleash their grievances as far as this world is concerned. But unfortunately, as much as we want to shake them off, they are already embedded in who we are.

All those years I have struggled with the need to impress, to meet expectations, to be perfect, to excel always and to prove myself to people. I suffered from anger and resentment boiling in me and the need to take revenge and retaliate is so strong. I blamed life for bringing me people who did nothing but criticize me for my weaknesses and only that and went beyond in criticizing who I am personally without even the slightest hint of who I really am and what I can do. This resentment and anger included some issues in other areas of my life too which I will not share due to their sensitivity. I really thought I was the unluckiest person alive back then.

For 27 years I have battled with insecurity, the by product of low self esteem and poor self image and self worth – the mentality that “I am never good enough.”  Failures, wrong decisions and disappointments became the stronghold that corrupted my entire being until it led me to a major depression – the breaking point as they say.

Depression robs you of the beauty of life. It makes life look bleak, bland and distorted. It affects your every decision and it just kills life itself.

No, I do not easily give up. I did arrive to that breaking point on the verge of quitting everything but I still fought hard against it.

I had two options: let the darkness corrupt me and become those people who plagued others or themselves with it OR choose to search for the light, the hope.

The opportunity came for the latter – I was given HOPE.

The greatest moment of my life was when I was born again through my faith. Why? It’s because when I found out who I was in Christ, that was the greatest and the best thing that I have heard about myself for 27 years.

It was on that day when I surrendered myself to Christ that ALL chains got loose – I was set FREE.

The moment already came for me to look at things in a very different perspective – a total paradigm shift. It wasn’t everything I hoped for BUT it is exactly what I NEEDED which no one else could give me except God.

This HOPE taught me even more than what I have learned in the academe or even from life itself. It taught me how to patiently wait for the right opportunities and how to patiently endure every set back. It taught me that there is a time for everything. It taught me to decline job offers and business opportunities that could’ve made me rich in wealth and possessions. It taught me to pass up on chances of earning titles that would have given me some sort of self-entitlement and self-fulfillment. It taught me to weigh options, sacrifice if I must. All of these if they will, in the end, forfeit my soul. 

It taught me to choose God’s will over mine. It taught me to rely on God’s plans than rely on my own understanding of the circumstances around me. It taught me to relinquish control and allow God to take over. It taught me that GRACE is a gift freely given even if undeserving. It taught me how to love others even when they do not deserve it too. It taught me to find joy, peace and contentment even when darkness, chaos and bitterness are all around. It taught me how to let go of the past and forgive. 

It taught me what true humility is all about. It taught me to be grateful always. It taught me that simplicity matters most in life. It taught me to look outwardly and consider what others are going through as well. It taught me that if there is a void that the atrocities of life have caused in me either by wrong choices or by fate, no one and nothing can fill it up except God.

I found this hope in Christ alone and I find strength in the Word every day which is my guide in this life – not any textbook, novel or company brochure.

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” – Hebrews 11:1

Faith did not make my life free from criticism, condemnation, trials and suffering. Yet it gave me a way to view life beyond that – salvation in eternity.

I still find myself in situations I have stated in the first part of this article. But this time, I hear and watch them with a smile – they don’t know (yet) but now I understand. I have learned to understand that they, too, are still in the darkness driven perhaps by the need to compete, to be the best and to meet expectations dealing with insecurities and personal struggles too or to instil exactly what they went through to the next in line because they are still belonging to this world and its standards. I have learned to understand first where they are coming from and why they are that way.

There are times the past comes all rushing back, it haunts. Another disappointment will ruffle your feathers. The need to lash out and punish calls. But I choose LIFE. I will speak LIFE.

Because Christ has given me LIFE. He, alone, gave me LIGHT. It is my duty as His follower to use that light so others can walk in and with Him too despite the darkness around them.

Ah, yes. Them.

One day, they will be brought out in the light too. They will break standards, cultural traditions and not conform to this world wherever they may be and whatever they may be doing. They will choose to fight for faith and spread light when hope seems dim. That was the reason I was smiling because I was praying for them silently and I am claiming it all in the Mighty Name of Jesus who made it possible for me too. 🙂

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

P.S.

It’s been 3 years now since I got saved and when things don’t go the way I’ve expected them to be, I have this bookmark to remind me of who I am. I thank the sister in Christ who gave this when she facilitated a talk during my baptism of the Holy Spirit. I have carried it with me since then. The last verse listed is my life verse. 🙂

What matters – who I am in Christ. 🙂

Oh and yes, one new thing I have learned too from our couples’ bible study vgroup 2 Sundays ago (thanks Tito Tony and Tita Len for the wisdom) – the boiling water concept. If you put eggs in boiling water, they become hard. But if you put the potato in it, it becomes soft. I choose to be a potato – a couch potato. Kidding. *wink* 

Seriously, it only means that when life and circumstances knock you down, don’t bear any grudge and don’t be hard on yourself and on others. Instead, let it soften you, let it refine you and let it make you better. Be a better potato, I mean, a better man/woman. 😉

Last but not the least, reach out to God then God will send His people (spiritual family) to help usher you out of the ordeal. I am praying over your struggles too, my dear reader and brother/sister in Christ. ❤

God’s Not Dead 2: Who’s Watching It and Who Watched It?

My husband and I were sort of contemplating what Christian-themed movie to watch and it suddenly crossed my mind that God’s Not Dead 2 was already released in some countries last April of this year. It hasn’t been shown here in the Philippines yet if I am not mistaken so I found myself watching the trailer. When I saw the stats, there were 15k who liked it and 14k who disliked it (as of viewing).

BUT this should not be a cause of alarm nor disappointment for believers who widely support Christian films. As a believer we should take it as a sign of hope. The 14k who disliked the movie meant that they watched the trailer until the end making them decide that they dislike it – the planting of the seed (please refer to 1 Corinthians 3:6). It is just the beginning and God will make it grow regardless on who planted or who watered it. 🙂

Many are still in disbelief. This is a fact.

I believe movies such as God’s Not Dead were made to serve only one purpose – glorify God, which is the sole purpose of man in this world. The truth will be made known whether we like it or not, whether we try to suppress it or not. It will remain as the truth and a fact – Jesus lives, Jesus is the Son of Man and Son of God and there is a God.

It is part of history and we can never ever erase history. I’ll cite for one where our calendars are patterned from – A.D. and B.C. If we do erase history then all foundations of civil society now will be futile and senseless – it will become an endless pursuit of the “hows”  and the “whys”  which can become chaos.

Chaos. Without civilization, everything will be in chaos. What keeps a society in order is the system and the system is the foundation. The foundation is what history is all about. Imagine a society wherein you will be starting from scratch – that’s a whole lot to work on. So should we also not use our calendars since Christ doesn’t exist thus, B.C.(Before Christ) will be considered null? Then, we should not be counting days or years or celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, etc. or even plan our schedules.

Let’s say Science. Is Science a fact? Is it part of history?  It is. So much of what Science covers are truths. BUT Science, like History, is not God. It doesn’t contain the wisdom that God has. God only wanted to be revealed in these branches of study and shed light on some of what He is capable of doing but never to undermine the work He has first created and established.

I shared in my previous article before this that I used to be overwhelmed by “why”  questions pertaining to the existence of things and this world. I was in pursuit of worldly knowledge so to speak.

Have you ever heard a 6-year old ask you questions that for adults seem to be very absurd and yet in actuality, they speak so much of reality – innocently true? Take these questions as an example:

“Why are our skulls created to be spherical and not triangular?”

“Why are our eyes positioned to be parallel with each other horizontally and not vertically or why not put one eye at the front and one at the back?”

Or better yet,

“Why do we only have two eyes and why not make four situated one in front, one at the back and one on each side (this will be awesome because you see everything around you literally – no “blind” sides. lol)?”

I have a 6-year old nephew and while attending to him one time, he started asking me similar questions and I saw myself in him when I was his age. I just smiled and can only utter a prayer, “Lord, you have given a mind that is inquisitive, who is hungry for knowledge, please guide him along the way.”

Going back to those questions, adults will dismiss them – man does not have an answer for them. Science can define their functionalities but Science can never answer why we have two eyes only and the likes.

This is not to dismiss the branch of Science though. I believe God created scientists for a purpose and why they’d be gifted with such skill and knowledge in exploring and discovering what this world is composed of and what’s it all about – it makes it easier for man to understand how one correlates with the other. In the same way that History was created for the very purpose of enlightening man.

In the same way that God sent Jesus in this world in the form of a human being so that He would be able to deliver the message in a manner that humanity will understand and relate to God. God allowed the field of Science to be created so man would understand how God created this world. That was His way of explaining to the human race in a way that we can all relate – a message through man.

Would we be able to understand what salvation is and what God wanted for us to do if He didn’t send His Son Jesus in this world or if God sent Jesus in the form of let’s say, a dove? Would we be able to understand that feet are for walking or hands are for holding and grasping things, that incisors are for cutting and molars are for chewing food, that menses are for reproducing, etc. if Science didn’t explain it?

I still have that thirst for knowledge. But this time, it is a different kind of hunger for learning – something that is not of this world but spiritual. I do not know everything because it is God’s role to know everything. I may be bombarded back then by questions that seem to have no answers and yet FAITH has taught me this:

“For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9

It simply means to respect God for who He is – our great, magnificent and supreme God. There are some things that we are to know and yet there are some things that we shouldn’t ought to know. We have to learn the boundaries and limitations between God and man – the supreme being and the ordinary being, the perfect and the imperfect. Most of us may have questions similar to what I’ve posted above or questions pertaining to faith, God and Jesus and yet we can be assured that in God’s perfect time, we’ll be given answers.

But do take note that they do not come via “Eureka moment”  out of the blue without any preemptive means but they can only be found in the very tangible proof of God’s Word that came from God, Himself, through Jesus – the bible.

The bible does not contain specific answers as to why we have two eyes only and yet it will teach us in a manner that God only knows how through the Spirit of Christ in you, in me and in all of us. We need not go looking for answers but by reading the bible, all of these things around and within us make sense – our source of contentment. 🙂

Defining Nothingness In A Nothing Box

“Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” – Proverbs 3:6

Doing my research for my graduate study led me to a whole lot of other things like in particular, Participatory Methods, which then led me to more possibilities that tapped my interests and a wide range of advocacy I support. Similar to a kid who discovered something interesting and had that hunger to look for more, I found myself having so much in my plate. The things I have discovered were all helpful in so many ways and I have so many uses for them. But they were far too many that the next thing I knew, I found myself overwhelmingly asking: “Father God, what do I do now?”  *wink*

Participatory

Now this is the complete example of what I stated in my previous article that “too much is detrimental.”  It really is. In this case, it was information overload as I wasn’t only processing what I was reading but I was also thinking how and where can I use it – multitasking. My head just felt like it is about to explode. In fact, I had a slight headache afterwards. I looked at my husband lying comfortably and peacefully in our couch after a tiring day at work playing a game in his phone. I kind of envied him actually.

I asked,

“Honey, men have a nothing box, right? Can you teach me how to have that nothing box?”

He stared at me blankly for a moment, smiled, then resumed to what he was doing.

Me? I stared at him blankly too. No words, no explanation, just nothing. Ah, so I got it. That is exactly what a nothing box is! lol

Unfortunately my mind is not wired that way – my female brain. After I saw his reaction, my brain cells went ziiiiit, zaaap, ziinnnng and in a split second I formulated the following questions in my head:

“Did he hear me right?”

“Was his answer really a silence?”

“What do silence and a smile mean?”

“Should I ask him again?”

Oh why, oh why can’t females have the nothingness of a nothing box too? *wink*

Looks like I might need to watch this video again by Mark Gungor from his marriage seminar entitled “Tale of Two Brains.” 🙂