The Christian Professional: How Do You Respond?

Photo courtesy: StockSnap

I originally thought about putting the word “react” in the title. But based on what I’ve learned in our bible study group, there’s a difference between “respond” and “react.” In a situation, when you choose to react, emotions come into play first. Whereas with responding, you think and analyze first what is the situation on hand then that’s when you act. The former is usually regarded as negative and the latter as positive.

Too often we neglect responding when driven towards tight and tense situations. I must admit there are times wherein I reacted with anger and we all know what happened next – more consequences came along with it. Yes, reacting ends with regretting.

When I became a Christian, I have learned so much about self-control and discipline. It applies on all – the way I speak, the way I think, the way I act, and even with the way I decide. I cannot say I’ve done it perfectly now but it was a long grueling process of transformation. I am not sure if you’ll believe me when I say that before I got saved I am a cynic. Sarcasm’s my favorite language.

A person from my past once told me, “Tin, you don’t need a knife or any weapon to kill someone. Your words are enough.” At that time, I glorified in it. Yes, it gives me that sense of power when you crush someone’s ego and pride.

But my sarcasm ended there when part of my spiritual transformation involved I, myself, experience how it feels to be on the other end – the recipient of that sarcasm. That’s how I learned that God indeed punishes as part of His disciplinary actions as a Father to make His children better. So I’ve learned how painful it is. Only then did I realize I needed to change it completely.

Changing is hard if you’re doing it alone. You cannot change if you don’t know why you need to change and what is it that needs changing. When I was starting to immerse myself in the Bible back in 2013, I have found everything I needed to help me with the transformation – letting go of the old self and ushering in the new one.

You will find in the bible everything about forgiveness, about unconditional love, patience, understanding, gentleness, about not retaliating and so much more. So I got to say to myself that indeed, these are what it takes to learn them.

I am at this age (31) where I have been in different work settings since I started as a working professional back in 2008. I have seen the different work cultures and the diverse people I have worked with. I have also heard stories upon stories about their ordeal in the workplace and the struggle of having to live with those challenges day by day.

I have observed how crab mentality, favoritism, abuse of authority, wrong accusations, taking the blame for someone else’s mistake, bullying, and persecution are all present in every workplace. The workplace showcases the complexities of the human behavior which we have no control over and why there is a need for Christians to be the “salt and light” and set Christlike examples.

If we are to react in all the situations I have given, these are what will come out – irritability, anger, bitterness, hatred, and retaliation. I am sure you will agree with me there. That’s perfectly understandable – part of our fallen nature as a man is being corrupted with sinfulness such as greed, envy, jealousy, hunger for power, discontentment, rage, and all other sins. These are the same reasons why Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden.

And yet, those sins are part of what the Cross is for which is also part of our own crosses that we have to carry each day. But because Jesus already paid a price for those sins, we should claim free and uncorrupted lives.

“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

So what does God require of us now? Instead of retaliating, leave it all to God. I have long learned that we do not have the power to change people. In the same way that it was only God who helped me change, the same goes for others. Instead, what He instructed us to do is to lord it over to Him all these things and pray for others.

Instead of letting bitterness and anger take the best out of you and make your life miserable, choose to forgive. This way you’ll also learn to empathize with people. You’ll learn to understand why they have so much anger on you, why they are behaving that way or why they’ve done this to you.

Maybe they went through the same thing and their anger made them into the person that they hated. Maybe they are having relational problems at home. Maybe they are depressed. We really don’t know the reason why but only God sees the hearts of each and every one of us. He knows and sees everything so take heart in that too. Do not fear these people even. As God says,

“Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.” – Proverbs 29:25

Don’t take it personally either. Why? If they haven’t been saved, we all know they are still under the stronghold of the enemy. They don’t know anything yet about the loving grace of God and how great His love is. So maybe that is the reason why God put us there so we could show them that.

Forgive and do not retaliate….answer with gentleness…submit to authority…follow without grumbling…and so on and so forth.

“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the Word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” – Philippians 2: 14-16

I have seen numerous cases wherein when you leave everything to God, God always acts and would do something about it. He is the ultimate judge so to speak and has the ultimate power to do everything. In the same way that I have been disciplined for my wrongdoings, the same goes for those who have wronged others. I do not glorify in it because I also felt how painful it was when God disciplined me. However, I am grateful because I know this will be the start of a new chance for a new life for them too.

For the record, I am grateful to God I am working with a great team. Yes, it is not a perfect team but I appreciate all my supervisors’ work and the effort of the rest of the team members to work cooperatively despite our different backgrounds. I have no assurance it will stay this way forever but as always, it is in my prayers.

But for those who are going through the opposite right now, always believe in your heart God did not put you there for no reason. He has a very good reason why you have to be exactly where you are now. It might be painful but the best way to respond to it is to pray and ask God this:

“Father, what do you want me to learn from this adversity/season/trial?”

Then ask Him to lead you and your ways so you won’t go astray, you won’t be tempted, and you won’t fall to committing any sin and face the consequences.

I will end this article with a bible passage and I hope it will encourage you to fight the good fight of faith may it be in the workplace or anywhere else that He has called you to be.

Lastly, always pray not just for yourself but for the people around you too. ❤

Have the Attitude of Christ

“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

 Though he was God,[a]
    he did not think of equality with God
    as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges[b];
    he took the humble position of a slave[c]
    and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,[d]
    he humbled himself in obedience to God
    and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor

    and gave him the name above all other names,
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Shine Brightly for Christ

Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.”

– Philippians 2:1-18

P.S.

If after seeking for God’s help God has told you to leave a toxic company and all the negativity around it, it is best to take heed. Remember, it is not your boss who gave you your job, he was just used by God as an instrument for you to get that job. Bottomline is that, if God takes away that job from you, most likely He’ll give you another one according to His plans in His right time. 🙂

“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

 

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Hope for the Young Generation

This is an excerpt from my previous article but I added this part a bit later after the article was published. I thought it would be best if I share it separately in another blog post. 🙂

“I cannot do all those if I lack in finances. Volunteering, for me, can only do so much. I want to help in a way that I can see these people slowly reach their dreams and see them aim towards better opportunities in life.

The recent killings of juvenile delinquents here in the Philippines are very alarming. Not only that. These juveniles are rising by the number and are becoming more aggressive. If only the spiritual family can reach out to them before another young life becomes a collateral damage again, the better opportunities for these kids to have another chance in life. Poverty is not reason enough why these kids should resort to crime, robbery, and drugs and vice versa.

Poverty has an end. Education can be a tool for that – financial education, family planning education, livelihood education, and regular schooling. Faith makes it all happen.

If money is the problem, there are foundations willing to provide scholarships to students as long as students meet a certain criteria and fulfill a set of obligations. Just to mention a few, we have in church the Real Life Foundation. World Vision and Operation Blessing also provide that. These kids don’t actually need a one-time outreach event. What they need is serious mentoring making sure they’ve been given the right opportunities toward a better life through empowerment.

I am never a fan of spoon-feeding when it comes to succeeding in life in general. Just the way my parents have taught me, it is all about personal effort which contains persistence, patience, and resilience. And yet faith has taught me too that it is only God who provides EVERYTHING we need and that we should trust in Him alone.”

These kids need faith. They don’t need money per se but who they really need is God in their lives. I know more opportunities will arise in the following years – game changers, radicals, advocates, catalysts of social change, the academe, and businesses will unite toward one common goal with God at the center.

I am believing there is nothing impossible with God. That’s why I am claiming it as early as now and doing the best I can in my own little way to fulfill God’s will not just for my life but for the rest of the world.

Because this is what it really means to be the salt and light in the world and that is our mission here in this world as sons and daughters of God – preach the Gospel and share the love of God.

“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” – James 2:17

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” – Matthew 6:33

It’s Our 2nd! :-)

Ha! I’m the first one to do the goofy pose this time (for a change). lol 😀

I am squeezing in this article despite my pending tasks for today as part of our 2nd year wedding anniversary celebration. Yes, 2 years down the marriage lane and by God’s grace, I can thankfully say we are getting better, stronger, and deeper with our relationship with God and with one another. (Awww Tin, sniff, sniff.) 😀

Seriously though, I am also sharing two awesome articles which I found over Fb news feed shared by a friend and the other was advertised. One is about grace and the other one is about how to keep your marriage intact. These articles are a huge help to all those who are married and even to those who are single but are planning to enter the married couples department.

Here they are:

In contrast to the article I have written for our first year wedding anniversary, I won’t delve into nitty gritty details about our year as a married couple for 2017. The start of this year has been more like the ‘calm after the storm.’ If you’ve been reading my blog posts since the start of this year, you’ll know why. 🙂

I told hubby dear that I don’t want to celebrate this year’s wedding anniversary with lavish dates and extravagant gifts because first, receiving gifts is not my love language and second, we are saving financially (I can be very kuripot too fyi. lol). The fact that we’re still together after all that we’ve been through is enough gift for me. In fact, it is the best gift that I always thank God for every single day. ❤

Ah yes, to the single sisters and brothers in Christ reading this, you’ll understand when you get married and go through yourself the chapters of the married life. But for the married couples, I know they all agree (including me) to what our pastors in church would always reiterate – “marriage is hard work.”

I told hubby that our first year wedding anniversary deserves that much of an emphasis because it’s the most crucial year for any newlyweds. It’s that year when you’re starting to get to know each other in an extremely deeper level like what ticks him off when he’s at home, what are my routines, etc., and adjusting to living together under one roof.

For the first few months after our first year wedding anniversary, we’re still experiencing ripples of that adjustment period and honestly, even now, we are still adjusting to one another. My Mom actually advised me that it indeed takes a lifetime to know your spouse. She added that she and my Dad (both in their 70s now) are still making those adjustments even after 44 years of being married.

But don’t interpret this in a way that the married life is far too burdensome. Although I might have to add that at some point in your married life you would feel that way, I assure you that for the greater part, it is an awesome journey holistically. It will nourish every aspect of your life and every aspect of who you are.

Personally, being married made us grow deeper in our walk with God. I must admit that our faith was extremely challenged to the point wherein we felt like we’re too exhausted to fight it out, and yet, by the grace of God, you will “indeed soar with wings like an eagle” and fly like never before.

To put it in another way, this article has no meaning if I won’t say that it was all God who made our marriage the way it is now. Our own efforts are useless – if and only if they are the only things that we hold on to every time challenges of all sort come our way. It was all about God, all about our prayers every single night, all about finding ways to attend and listen to the Sunday preaching, all about hearing out from spiritual mentors, and all about our trust in Him every single day, in every decision, in every thought, in every action, just literally everything.

Everything is about God and that is the bottom line of it all. Remove God in the husband and wife equation and it sure will fail. No amount of human effort can save a failing marriage except by the loving grace of God. 

Believe me, I have been through very tough circumstances but I never gave up on my husband because I know God will never give up on us for as long as we keep the commitment – our marriage vows. I know that my husband is not perfect and neither am I that’s why it is a given that we will both fail each other through the entire course of our marriage. But it is not in ourselves that we rely on for hope, instead, we put it in God.

Well honestly, I can’t help but cry a tear or two (yes, I counted them. lol) while typing this and I looked back at every single moment that my husband and I went through. Through the good and the bad times, God was always there. I felt Him, I heard Him but it took me my COMPLETE trust in Him as well.

There were moments wherein imagining now, I know my husband and I wouldn’t be able to make it through, and you may indeed call it as the worst of the worst. But I held on to my faith. I trusted blindly to the point that I just surrendered everything to God.

Yes, our human frailties will require we REALLY let go of some things. Instead, let God take over, let God fix what needs to be fixed, ask God to give you wisdom, clarity, and instructions – HE WILL NEVER FAIL YOU.

If I cry now while I type this, that’s because I am overwhelmed by the fact that all three of us made it all through – God, Brian, and me. If you are reading this and you’re going through the toughest times in your marriage, I encourage you to NEVER GIVE UP. Never give up on your spouse and most definitely, never give up on God. HOLD ON TO HIS BEAUTIFUL PROMISES.

Pray that God will soften hearts; pray that God will heal gaping wounds; pray for restoration; pray for reconciliation; pray for forgiveness; pray for a change in you and a change in your spouse; and most of all, LISTEN TO WHAT GOD HAS TO SAY.

Never let your emotions drown the voice of God. Calm yourself and calm your spirit by immersing in the BIBLE day and night. Your bible will be your guide, it will be your weapon when the enemy starts to fill in your thoughts and your heart with lies.

What are these lies? Let me just share a couple of them and they are the usual thoughts:

  • your husband/wife doesn’t love you anymore
  • you are not worthy of love
  • you will not change
  • your spouse will not change
  • there is no hope for both of us
  • the damage has already been done
  • the damage is far too great
  • he/she will be happy with someone else
  • he/she is not the right one for me
  • I am a failure

Counterattack these lies with these TRUTHS instead:

  • my husband/wife will always love me no matter what
  • I am worthy of the greatest love Jesus died for me on the Cross
  • I will change by God’s grace in God’s time according to His plans
  • my spouse will change by God’s grace in God’s time according to His plans
  • there is ALWAYS HOPE IN CHRIST JESUS OUR SAVIOR
  • we all make mistakes BUT we are also given CHANCES
  • NOTHING is too damaged or too broken for God to heal and restore
  • I can make my spouse happy
  • my spouse is God’s best for me (claim it in Jesus’ Name)
  • I am a work in progress and God will see to it that “whatever work He’s started in me will be brought to completion in His perfect time”

Lastly, claim God’s beautiful promises for you and your spouse and fight for your marriage. Look at the bigger picture and don’t be too absorbed by the small things or the stumbling blocks in front of you.

Instead, THANK GOD EVERY DAY IN EVERY WAY.

And always look at your end goal as a married couple by keeping these vows you made in front of God latched in your heart safe and secure:

“Through thick and thin, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part…” 

P.S.

I’d like to thank my spouse for keeping the faith, for not giving up, for redirecting me to God during the times that I felt so weak, for praying with me always, for the many chances to change, and last but not the least, for loving me beyond my imperfections. ❤

Oh and also, for being so patient with me like in the photo above during one of our photo stints last Sunday for a project. 😀

I love God and I love my husband. Nope, it’s an understatement – I LOVE BOTH OF THEM SO MUCH – God first, my husband next. 🙂

To cap off this cheesiness, do watch this awesome cover of “Say You Won’t Let Go” by Moira dela Torre. 😉

If You Do Not Have Love

heartlove

This is a morning thought that’s been itching to get out and I just need to write it fast before I get on with today’s tasks and busy schedule. Yes, my priority is God first. So this first before anything else. 🙂

However, I do not have the extra time (maybe later) to look up the exact biblical references (bible verses) for some of my quoted statements. You know I am never good in memorizing numbers but I can memorize a thought. But you can go the extra mile by typing them over Google search, it might show you other verses too that the Holy Spirit may be speaking to you in whatever season you’re in.

So what’s this morning thought I was saying? It’s this – as believers, may we not fall into the sin of having the superiority complex and the exclusivity of Christians mingling with fellow Christians or on-the-road-to-being-a-Christian alone. Remember that “we ALL have fallen short of the glory of God” and salvation is not reserved for the privileged few but it’s FREE FOR ALL.

That’s regardless if someone used to be/or currently a drug addict, a rapist, a robber, a criminal, an adulterer, an abortionist, etc., CHRISTIAN OR NOT. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ because we have ONE FATHER, ONE CREATOR.

Even pastors and ministers sin by saying the wrong word, by making the wrong decision, by being tempted with anger, etc. for they are as human as we all are and to sin is part of our fallen nature. Yet when we were given a new life when we got saved, we commit to a life of righteousness.

That is why the greatest way to show our love back to the Father who gave us this opportunity to a new life is to extend the GRACE that He has given us even if we all DO NOT DESERVE IT. We are all a work in progress in our spiritual journey, it is best to develop a character that ENCOURAGES, that gives HOPE, rather than a character that condemns and criticizes.

The core of Christianity was never just about faith nor discipleship but most importantly, about LOVE. The greatest commandment is this, “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Jesus came here not to condemn this world but to give HOPE out of His Father’s LOVE FOR US. That is why even “if we speak in tongues,…but DO NOT HAVE LOVE, we are only a resounding gong. And for anyone who doesn’t know how to love doesn’t have the love of the Father in them.”

And lastly, “faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE.”

What do you know about love? Read 1 Corinthians 13. I got to know all about it and apply what I learned from the bible when I got married.

Yes, my seasons changed and it was a total paradigm shift from knowing the theories alone (when I was single) to applying them for real (when I got married). And yet I am more than glad to God for giving me this opportunity. 🙂

My challenge is this:

If you can overlook an offense no matter how grave it is even to the point of life and death, then you know how it is to love. You know without a doubt the Father’s love for you and me. It was when Jesus died for our sins – the greatest sacrifice and form of love ever done.

For one, try to reach out and LOVE that person under the stronghold of drugs and massacred an innocent family. Pray for a new life to begin with God at the center of his life, then maybe that love you have given will radiate in him and him to others until it becomes a domino effect.

How do you change the world? Be that change by starting with one person at a time. That is our responsibility, leave the government to carry on with its own and other affairs.

Again, do you have the love of the Father in you? If yes, then we should love others as to how He loved us. Start it with someone you know whom you thought is impossible to love. You might be startled by the fact that it did not only change that person but it also changed you.

Indeed, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” 🙂

P.S.

This is the intro for my next article – the 2nd year wedding anniversary special. Pretty long, eh? 😀

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:

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Be Protected as a Freelancer

(Photo credit: StockSnap)

Since I have given you opportunities about doing remote work, teleworking, telecommuting including freelancing, I believe it is also my responsibility to provide a list of websites from my research on how to protect yourself should you decide to be a freelancer aside from having your full-time job.

I found these articles very helpful. But just in case I encounter similar problems in one of my (future) freelancing stints, I believe I would need to sit-in in one of the Torts and Damages classes of my brother-in-law who is an Assistant Professor at the University of the Philippines (Diliman) College of Law. 😀 He used to work as a company lawyer for Baker and Mckenzie, a multi-national law firm, and it would indeed be a privilege to learn from him given the opportunity. 🙂

The following are the articles which you could read if you are a freelancer or just planning to become one:

However, if you’ve already experienced any drawback from your freelancing stint though you did the right thing, took the necessary steps, and followed the agreement, don’t be discouraged but take this verse by heart:

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.” – Hebrews 4:13

Just pray, let go, and let God take the lead from there. The battle is not yours anymore but His to take. Be fearful of God and not of men – let God be the judge and be the one to give justice. 🙂

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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A Family’s Love

Before anything else, I’d like to take this moment in sharing my sympathies and offer my prayers to all the bereaved families who have lost loved ones in the recent events that took place in Marawi City here in the Philippines and in Manchester, England. To give hope and assurance, I’d like to share this random bible verse from my quiet time a few days back before I learned about said events:

“The Lord will mediate between peoples and will settle disputes between strong nations far away. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.” – Micah 4:3

——————-

A family’s love, next to God’s, sustains an individual through all the trials, pain and suffering. I could never imagine growing up without mentors in the likeness of my parents and siblings. They are not just my regular life coaches but they are my spiritual mentors too. Thus, I am forever grateful to God for the gift of family.

How does a family start?

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Yes, a family begins from a marriage. I can only thank God for giving both me and my husband families that are whole and complete. But this is also equated to greater responsibilities for both me and my husband in raising our own future family in the same way.

“Bring (your children) up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4 

Nope, our families were never perfect. They are as flawed as you and me. But if there’s one thing in which my appreciation goes beyond having a complete family, it is the fact that despite these flaws, they have struggled, fought and sacrificed in keeping all of us together and the family whole not only because it is mandated by God but out of their love for Him and their love for us.

“You and your families will feast in the presence of the Lord your God, and you will rejoice in all you have accomplished because the Lord your God has blessed you.” – Deuteronomy 12:7

As this quotation goes,

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Keeping a marriage is challenging and it’s even more challenging building a family, a strong one. I really have such admiration for married couples who have aged gracefully though battle-tested through time and whose children’s lives are a success not in terms of achievements but whose lives reflect that of faith, hope and LOVE.

These are the things that are hard to achieve in this world on our own, but easier when you have a God who makes the impossible possible. Thus, I won’t be keeping this post long, for a change. 😉

I am honoring our families by sharing this and these photos, a pack of imperfect individuals but chose to honor God through the trials and suffering and the joys and happiness.

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Me and my in-laws. 🙂

Family

Me and my family a.k.a. “The Homebodies.” 😉

From our families to yours, I pray that God will be honored always along the way in every way  – every family needs Him.

“But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live?

But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua 24:15

Resting in His Saving and Amazing Grace

“Do one thing: Live the life you always wanted to live. Avoid criticizing others and concentrate on fulfilling your dreams. This may not seem very important to you, but God, who sees all, knows that the example you give is helping Him to improve the world. And each day, He will bestow more blessings upon it.”

– Manuscript of Accra, Paulo Coehlo

I can see the cursor blinking in and out like an ellipsis….

So many words and yet so many ways to tell, undecided…

….how do I begin? 🙂

Yes, how do I begin testifying to a series of events that piled up already and yet I couldn’t find the “tugging” to post them until just now? *wink* Honestly, I still don’t have the slightest idea how to arrange the thoughts which have been sitting as a draft since February here in WordPress and share them. Yet I can only trust the Spirit’s leading on how the wordplay will come about in this post.

The posts in this blog for the past 2-3 years have been about nothing else but faith. This was how God intended it to be. Though for the first year of this blog I was grappling on what to write about, now, it is the other way around – I am battling with time for the numerous pending posts that I needed to write and post.

For March, it’ll summarize what went on from February until March. My January post summarized what transpired in the months of December and January. The month of March was about marching forward and yes, the character trait for March is CLARITY. As for February, it was AFFECTION  (do read January post for this one.) 🙂

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February: AFFECTION

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March: CLARITY

This might explain why I was missing in the blogosphere for the month of February and why this post is super long (sorry about that, friends). February was the month of settling things – again, not a coincidence, but I have learned to rely on God’s plans all along even though some are hard to accept, some are hard to understand, and some are impossible to achieve. But then, that is one tough responsibility of a Christian and that is everyone’s calling too – live by faith and not by sight.

Last December, everything was unraveled. It was a moment of choosing among a multitude of choices and tough decisions. Every flaw, every need and every concern were brought out in the open. I have thought for that moment it might seem such an endless feat of emotional roller coaster and yet God had been faithful enough.

Fast forward to January, the start of 2017 was also the start of the turnaround of events. When seasons change and the comfort zone is no longer part of the next plans, it could be daunting. But as it was written, For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

February was a month jam-packed of events. When you are caught in a whirlwind of events, oftentimes a “soul check” may come as the least of your priorities. But in faith, it is the other way around – a “soul check” is necessary and should be the top priority before everything else. That was what happened in the last few months, a question of am I doing it God’s way or not. I’ll just mention a few and most of them actually were answered prayers – prayers that I never thought I have prayed and yet silently in my heart, I did. Only God sees our hearts, anyway.

Maybe that is the reason why fulfillment in those answered prayers never really came from receiving the actual answer to the prayer per se but more about how God listens and how great He is to provide even the most impossible. It was all about God in the end, never about our desires but a satisfied desire on both our end and God’s that thru this fulfillment, we have established a kindred spirit and a deeper and personal relationship with our Creator. It is all a matter of communicating between Him and you alone – the ONLY thing that He asks from us.

So let’s begin the long journey of disclosing in this online journal what traversed in my moment of hibernation in the blogosphere starting February.

The incident:

A convo between my husband and I took place wherein I asked him what is it that he wants best in this life. His answer made me smile and speechless at the same time making me wonder where he could possibly be generating all these answers. My best guess – the heart. Who really am I to judge, indeed? I don’t see the heart, God does. 😉

“I don’t want material things but eternal rest.” 

We came to that point wherein we had that (serious) husband and wife contemplation about priorities, the future and life in general. I can say that throughout the moments since I got saved, I did not regret any decision I have made which included my decision to marry. It is only through the entire duration of our years together as a married couple did I get to see why God gave me my husband in particular – I had so many answered prayers through my husband. It is either an answered prayer to that change I have been rooting to do internally but don’t have the guts to discipline myself or the big and small things that I have been wanting in my heart but never expressed them openly.

But God, once again, proved Himself faithful all throughout.

I have always wondered what if I married another man. Will he be patient, understanding and forgiving enough as my husband is right now to me and my circumstances? I oftentimes ask my husband how he feels regarding our situation and ask him to be patient with me as well and what I am going through. His answer was always a gentle, “I understand.” Though he would always say that, I know that he is sacrificing so much for both of us and as his partner, I have felt this inadequacy when it comes to fulfilling my role and my duties as a wife.

Starting the month of January until now, this was personally, for me, a season of instability. Firstly, every married couple gets to deal with financial difficulties and this season, my husband and I are going through with our own fair share. We have decided to finally move out from the apartment that my sisters and I have been living in for the past 20 years though it was only me who lived in the place for the last 7 years. We have decided to relocate near his workplace as it is more convenient for him and he gets to rest right away after work.

But this posed as a problem since I have no work when we both decided to move out and we are relying on my husband’s income alone for our daily expenses. If you’ll do the numbers from bills to necessities plus all the home stuff that we have to buy, the total suggested more funds. I did get a job. It was a convenient one but, unfortunately, it was not from my field of expertise and ironically, my water loo too – finance. Yes, it has something to do with numbers and money.

If you are wondering how I ended up in that job, I don’t know too. 😀 But I know God has a reason why because I got that job just 3 days after we moved in our new apartment. We were able to buy some of the basic stuff that we need at home. But as you all know it, I had to let the job go. I will not be able to give my best if it is something that I am not familiar with or is not my cup of tea. Numbers make me cringe and the fear of committing a mistake when it comes to computing plus the fact that it deals with money just proved that I might regret it later if I stayed longer.  Another thing too, the worry of it all just took the better part of me and stress replaced what used to be a hopeful and positive attitude – I first thought I should give it a try. Employment equates to stress but when I started having stomach problems, difficulty sleeping at night and puking for no reason at all, I know I have to make a decision.

I wanted to go back to teaching. It was actually the very reason I stated when I resigned. The calling of being a teacher is greater. But then again, we all know that a teaching job is even more challenging when it comes to classroom management, multitasking, time management, etc. Again, no employment is ever easy and stress-free. But then again, I did want to try it out. Here came the opportunity – I had everything carefully and perfectly planned out so I’d get the job. But here came unprecedented circumstances which for the first few, I was able to gain control over but it required my husband and me to stay up until past midnight. I was able to pull it off. The next day I woke up with my estimated schedule. Everything should be smooth sailing until news came that the MRT 3 broke down and became operational only at 8am. I didn’t give up. If commuting was not an option then I’d go for the GRAB car – I was wrong. Since majority of the stranded commuters chose other alternatives of commuting, traffic was inevitable and it was worse than the usual. I decided by then that I had to let the opportunity go because it only means that it wasn’t intended for me. If I still pursued it then most likely I’ll be going against the grain of fate and will meet more unfortunate events along the way.

I am well aware of the idea to keep on swimming ahead even if the vision before you is hazy or the waters seem to be too deep and troubled or the shore is nowhere to be seen, figuratively speaking. But I am also well aware that from what I have experienced so far, if everything seems to be failing even if you have tried all possible attempts in getting things right, it only means it is beyond your control and God has intended a different plan for you. It could be God’s way of preventing you from any future loss/failure, future pain, even more hassle and inconvenience than intended.

So I asked God why I can’t have a regular office job. That moment of quietude with Him and me asking all these sort of questions trying to make sense of what has happened and what is happening came to a final halt – a matter of life and death.

I have already mentioned this a couple of times in my previous blog posts and health wise, I know I have nothing to fear. In the recent medical checkup I came clear but if I am not cautious enough i.e. check my lifestyle, sleeping patterns, food intake, physical activity, etc., and all these accumulated through the years could mean my ending up in a hospital bed earlier than expected.

I have to be cautious with everything.

I am not claiming it but I know it as a fact that I am a carrier of cancer genes. It was a generational curse – it didn’t skip a generation starting from my great grandmother (we don’t know if it started even way before her generation) to my grandmother then to my Mom. They were all breast cancer survivors. Most likely you’ll tell me I will survive too. 🙂

Yes, by faith and by God’s saving grace I know I will. But then it should not be reason enough for me to be complacent. My great grandmother, grandmother and Mom spent most of their lives in the province – a laid back lifestyle, pure simplicity, a fresh and clean environment and less complicated than city life. I spent half of my life in the metro starting college which was the opposite.

Again. I have to be more cautious.

If you will notice, I referred to breast cancer in the past tense because I am declaring that starting from my generation, not one among my 3 sisters and I will have breast cancer how many years from now and that the future generations of our family will be free of this generational curse.

There’s another generational curse too that I am declaring for my family and relatives and the future generations in our blood line to be free from starting with our generation but due to its sensitivity, I chose to keep it confidential.

These generational curses have no cure – ONLY God can deliver us from these curses. Not even the fields of medicine and science have the capacity to provide a lasting treatment/solution.

But,

“We can face the reality of our own mortality because we trust in God.” – Our Daily Bread

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

Another thing too, my husband and I have been trying to have a child but time declared we can’t have one as of yet. We did talk about it and he told me that whatever God’s will is, he is happy and content either way.

That, I absolutely and unquestioningly agree upon. I did tell him though that as much as I’d want to have a child, I wouldn’t want to raise a child and let him suffer in this world or be punished for the mistakes that his parents did or bear the generational curse passed on to him. If part of the sacrifice that we have to make in order to break the generational curse is to be childless, then we have to honor it.

But then again, it entirely depends on what God’s will is and what His plans are. Indeed,

“As you do not know the way the Spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.” – Ecclesiastes 11:5

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

The generational curses and the current situation my husband and I are going through both have one thing in common – stress as the triggering factor.

Looking back to what I had to give up, they were standards that this world dictated as what should be accomplished and yet it all equated to stress. When I gave up my graduate study, I asked myself if it is worth it especially when my eczema attacks started showing up again, I had to deal with black spots in my legs which lasted for how many months and I experienced tension headaches/migraines which lasted for 3 days twice a month. I also had to give up the liberty and privilege of working in the corporate world or in my field of expertise.

Do I have regrets? Certainly not. My decision to not conform to the terms of this world won’t rob me of my dignity and make me less of a woman, will it? My identity no longer is attached to those titles that this world offer but to the title that God has given me – His princess and His loving daughter.

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

My situation now? God showed me other alternatives. I know God did not give me skills just to see them all go to waste until I die and not be able to contribute to this world and help humanity in any way – it’ll make Him unhappy. 😀 I told my husband he need not worry because there are a lot of home-based jobs available for me in the fields of teaching and writing, my two best fortes, if I really need to get a professional job as a means to get an income. There are so many of them actually in different fields of expertise and if I will be “takaw tingin,” I’d prefer having at least 2 since their schedules are usually flexible. BUT, God will definitely say “No.” 😀

In addition, I have witnessed a lot of female friends who shifted from being corporate employees to staying at home, being a full-time Mom and housewife with a home-based job, stressed also but FULFILLED receiving the same salary that she gets if she works in the office spending energy and time commuting, coming home extremely exhausted and has no time for her family.

Yes, fulfillment makes all the difference, right? Even if you are paid triple of what a regular wage earner gets if the fulfillment isn’t there, work will just be equated to work per se in all technical aspect of the term. Aside from that, “whatever it is that our hearts value, there our treasure will be also.” The bad thing about this is if we’re putting our hope on treasures that are temporary and will eventually fade away. Building relationships with people I love are important to me – quality time is my love language. I want to invest more in it – being with my family.

What else?

As of the late, my husband asked me if I could do commissioned work for my sketching hobby after I posted the sketch (next blog article) I did of him during his birthday last May 4. He told me that one of his Mom’s friends asked if I could do their family portrait and his Mom and brother also requested the same along with a few of my relatives and friends ever since I posted some of my previous sketches. My answer was an unsure “let’s see.” 😀

If God gives us a talent as a gift, He has a very good purpose behind it all and honestly, I am not yet confident enough to take my sketching hobby to a higher level. 😀 It’s been 15 years since I started this hobby out of my need to have an outlet when things and times get rough. I am not confident as well to tag a price in each of my art work. I intended to give them for free actually and make the recipient of the art work happy – my ultimate goal as an artist. But if God instructs I have them paid, then I believe I should. Now this, I need to really pray hard as I don’t want to disappoint those who have requested to have their sketches done and there are a lot of them pending requests already. I just need more time to pray to God about it and wait for His answers. *insert wide smile here*

Another opportunity also came about my putting up a restaurant/café after hubby and I made this special burger recipe and his brother insisted we make it as a business as he knows someone who can be our supplier.  I told him we talked about this option but we have chosen my hometown in Bicol as our business location – yup, you guessed that right, too far. My 3rd sister and I have actually planned about this already and came up with the concept for the café and went through the basics of business analytics and management and the only thing she said was that it won’t materialize if I am not there with her to get things started and to keep them running. One of my hobbies is cooking and experimenting with different recipes but eating the food I cooked is not part of them. lol I believe I am to blame if hubby gained a lot of weight after we got married. Ooops, not my real intention there though. 😀 I just want to cook for other people and it makes me happy when they are happy with the dishes I serve them. Again, this is another prayer for my prayer line when it comes to wisdom, guidance and instruction.

Honestly, I was never after the money nor the recognition – getting compensated for the things I love to do and the things that God has gifted me with in terms of talents and skills. I’d like to contribute and share them to society and be able to make every individual happy and fulfilled or if what I contributed could help them in any other way regardless if I’d get anything in return or not (awards, recognition, money, etc.). I only needed money for survival and for now, that is what my hubby and I needed – for our daily needs but never to satisfy our wants and live in excess.

Moreover, I told my husband that if time comes God blessed us with more than we needed, I will retain the kind of lifestyle I have now and would still prefer the same living conditions – not a lavish nor grand lifestyle but a simple, minimalist one. Again, by having only the things that I need and never the things that I want.

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” – Mark 10:21

But as we all know it, I can plan so many things, have so many choices and wonderful opportunities to choose from and small and big decisions to make and yet, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” – Proverbs 19:21

Thus, I rest my case. 😀

For all the generational curses, the lifestyle check, the shift in opportunities, the continued pursuit of God’s will in my life – they were not because I live in fear but because I have fear in the Lord and if obedience is what He requires of me in this season so He can usher me towards what He desires for my life, then I should, by all means comply, stop figuring out this life on my own and rest in His saving grace.

Solution? Pray harder and trust God and His plans even harder.

[In prayer we call on God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”] – Ephesians 3:20

Oh and I think I forgot to mention that in my Paulo Coehlo planner-turned-spiritual journal, April’s character trait is COOPERATION and May is FAITH.

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April: COOPERATION

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May: FAITH

Did God say, “Tin, you must cooperate with me and have faith?” I think He just did that’s why I wrote this. *insert wide smile here again* 😀

“Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” – 2 Corinthians 7:1

P.S.

For the first quarter of year 2017, my life/planner went from having TOLERANCE (January), giving AFFECTION (February), to achieving CLARITY (March), giving COOPERATION (April) and last but not the least, having FAITH (May). 🙂

“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

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm for God can be trusted to keep His promises.” – Hebrews 10:23

“God can be trusted to guide us.” – Our Daily Bread

“…the challenge is to trust (in) God’s ability to lead rather than in our ability to follow.” – Genesis 12:1

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

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. 🙂