To Our Brothers in Christ


All the compliments are appreciated. We feel protected when you take the danger side every time we cross the street. Your efforts in helping us out with our heavy bags, opening the doors and pulling chairs to help us in are highly valued. We trust your opinions on dressing modestly. Most of all, we are grateful when you correct us with grace.

I’ve nothing against words of affirmation and these acts of service you give out as long as they’re not exclusively directed to a girl you are not committed toWhy?

1. These gestures lead her on.

Exclusivity without clarity leads women on. We are emotional beings who trail after your actions more than your words. Please don’t put all the blame on us; both of us have a responsibility. Yours is to guard our hearts by making sure you are treating us equally, with absolute purity. (1 Timothy 5:2)

2. You might be disobeying God.

9 And when they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzzah put out his hand to take hold of the ark, for the oxen stumbled. 10 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark, and he died there before God. – 1 Chronicles 13:9-12

It might have been Uzzah’s intention to guard the ark when he touched it, for the oxen stumbled. But God’s command was clear: no one must touch the Ark.

One lesson we can get from the story is it is not enough to have pure intentions only. Actions must be as pure as intentions. If you intend to lead us closer to Christ, as our brothers, then all your actions should back that up.

Let us help each other. Is not an open rebuke better than hidden love?

Sincerely,

Your sisters in Christ

The Storm Has Passed, His Glory Shown


May 2013 when Dad had his first operation, cholecystectomy—removal of gallbladder. Four months after, he has undergone his second surgery—removal of colon mass. We all thought everything was getting better until the devastating news hit the family January this year. He was diagnosed with colon cancer, stage 4.

Maybe it was denial that made me live each day as if everything’s fine, and I’m not standing on the thin line between his life and his death. My heart was callous; it was really hard to release forgiveness when someone hasn’t asked for it. I rarely go to the hospital during his chemo sessions. I didn’t make an effort to text him every day. I can’t stand seeing him like that. For the past three months though, because of God’s grace and work in my heart, I have moved from apathy, to anger, to pity, to loneliness, to compassion and finally, to love and forgiveness. I had to tell myself everyday that I love him and I forgive him. Then, I was able to say it to him—that I love him and I forgive him.

Each day, I dread having to take his place as the provider. With weak arms, I knew, there would come a time that I have to take up all that he’s going to leave behind. With feeble knees, I’d have to rise up for my mom and my sister. With fragile heart, I’d have to make it through this storm.

Even the wind and the waves obey You, oh Lord. With just a word from Your lips, I know this storm would come to an end. But my question is, will we make it to the other side complete? You never let one of your disciples fall off the boat. Like us, they were terrified. Yet you never have forsaken a single one of them. Can you do the same for us? Will you let us see Dad alive, after this raging storm?

I never asked Him why. All I did was ask Him how, and who. How can I show him my love? How can I make sure he’s going to heaven? How can I make him happy, and proud, and comfortable? Who will be my Dad when he’s gone? Who will walk me down the aisle on my wedding day? Who will teach me driving and firing? We haven’t even tried eating ramen at a fancy Korean restaurant just the two of us; never learned shooting techniques from the three point line; haven’t even experienced trekking up that small property somewhere along Sierra Madre, he and his siblings inherited—the one he boasted to have a nice waterfall.

But then, I looked back to what I’ll miss—the ones I, at least, got to experience with him and because of him. I do believe it’s from him my out-of-this-world sense of humor came from. These are the lines that will always pinch my heart and make me smile.

“Kahit ano man ang gusto mo maging, okay lang sa’kin. Kahit pa gasoline girl.”

“I-ispoil ko mga anak mo tapos sasabihin ko sa kanila na may toyo ang mommy nila.”

“If you smoke, you’ll die. If you don’t smoke, you’ll die also. Better smoke.”

“Ang ganda ganda talaga ng ate ko, sexy sexy tapos tali-talino. Love mo ba si Daddy?”

“Kumain nga kayo ng tutong. T for tutong means T for talino.”

“Kelan ka pwede magboyfriend? Gusto mo pagbabang-pagbaba mo ng stage after ng graduation mo e.”

“Sige, kahit 500 piercings pa basta yung kasya lahat sa tenga mo.”

“Anak, maikli yata yang shorts mo?”

I’ll miss how he bragged about me—my high school awards; the university I graduated from; that at the age of 20 I’m already working; and my voice and how he would ask me to sing at parties, and at church.

I’ll always wonder why he never got angry that one time he fetched me from a friend’s party stinky as vodka. I’ll remember all my high school days having him as my grooming specialist—the one who loved cutting my toenails and fingernails, cleaning my ears and even scrubbing my elbows and knees.

I’ll regret those times I let him wait at my dorm’s visitor’s lounge just because I had a date. Those moments I argue with him and tried to make a point that my generation is different from his. The words of wisdom I let pass my ears, those times I never said ‘I love you’ when I should have. And all the days I’ll never ever get just because he’s gone now, for good.

He said once that one day, I’ll be able to say to myself, “Dad I’m proud of you.” I guess, that time is now. He has fought a good fight. Until the very last minute he was thinking about his family, especially my sister. He was able to make right was has been wrong for the longest time. Seeing him cling to Mom like that broke and at the same time mended my heart. All he ever wanted to stay beside him was her. All he needed should only be attended to by her. And the care that ever satisfied him was from her. And I have never seen her like that before. I can’t remember that exact last time I saw them like that—Mom resting her head, sleeping, on his lap, hands clasped onto his; and wakes up every time he groans. I’ve never seen both of them this strong. My photographic memory isn’t that good. I wish it is, I wish I could freeze that moment. I wish I had taken a picture of it. The feeling, however, would always be remembered.

God is sovereign. He is good. He is really good. He has provided us with everything we needed, and with people whom we never knew we needed. His favor was upon us—from finances, to the doctors, to the hospital, to his medications, everything. I thank Him for allowing this to happen at a time when I’ve already finished school, with my faith established and security anchored on Him. I thank God for letting me see the side of my parents’ marriage I have never seen before. He calmed the storm and so Dad’s suffering. It’s selfish to want him here just trying to bear his hardship. But on His side, there’s now no pain, tears and discomfort. The different kind of relationship that has been built in my family; the love and care that we shared; the boost of faith and dependency in Christ; the great testimony—all of it, because of what this season has brought forth, is worth it. And I thank God for making us stronger people. I don’t have the right to complain. Unlike Job, I never lost properties, friends and my whole family, all in one day. I just lost my Dad. And I’ll cling on to God more than before that Satan would be so disappointed we (my family and God) made it.

 

Image

And my heart sings:

If my heart has grown cold 
There Your love will unfold 
As You open my eyes to the work of Your hand 
When I’m blind to my way 
There Your Spirit will pray 
As You open my eyes to the work of Your hand 
As You open my eyes to the work of Your hand 


Oceans will part nations come 
At the whisper of Your call 
Hope will rise glory shown 
In my life Your will be done 


Present suffering may pass 
Lord Your mercy will last 
As You open my eyes to the work of Your hand 
And my heart will find praise 
I’ll delight in Your way 
As You open my eyes to the work of Your hand 
As You open my eyes to the work of Your hand

Pieces of Advice to Teenage Girls


  1. Honor your parents. It’s a commandment with a promise (Ephesians 6:1,2). Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive or Uninvolve type, love them, honor them, obey them. Most of the time, they really know what’s best for us. Let’s not rebel against them or blame them for what we’ve become. Remember, forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling. We never had the chance to choose our parents, nor the way they would treat us, but we can always control our response.
  2. Take your studies seriously. Elementary, High School, or College—each is equally important as the others. The number one reason you’re in school is to learn. Yes school can also be a playground where you get to find a best friend, but school is never a shop where you get to choose the hottest or most popular kid and have him as your boyfriend. Never waste your parents’ money by cutting classes or not giving your best. The school trains you for the real thing in the real world. Make sure you’re getting equipped.
  3. Choose your friends. I’m not saying that if you’re rich you must hang out only with the rich kids, or choose the weirdos just because everyone thinks you’re geek or something. Sorting out won’t hurt. Pick the ones that would make you a better person. Friends who’ll contribute something good to you. It’s not about being in the popular group; it’s about being in the right group. It’s not about the social or economic status, or class ranking; it’s about accountability, credibility and sincerity.
  4. Master a craft. Practice shooting, or perfect strokes. Learn to play an instrument. Ask your mom to teach you cooking and baking techniques. Grab your camera and go for a photowalk. Blog, sing, compose. Come on, life is meant to be enjoyed. Have an inspiration, a motivation, something you can call “your thing”—a thing you could use to magnify God in your life. I consider myself a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. Hm, a bit contradictory to my advice, but I guess I’m able to use two of my good seeds (singing and blogging) to glorify God and be so much joyful about it.
  5. Inspire people. You don’t have to be a celebrity, an ambassador, or a politician to do this. Be honest, live a life of integrity and with clean conscience. Help your friends in need. Greet the guards good morning. Commend the school janitor for being faithful to his task. Have a positive outlook in life. Radiate good vibes. There’s nothing more fulfilling than being able to make people smile. Share what you know, share your experiences, share your dreams.
  6. Never stop dreaming. Have at least one dream per season. Let it be your motivation. Seek God’s will, pray and give your best. Let faith and grace fuel you to make it. And when you finally do, thank God and have another dream and let the cycle go on.
  7. Appreciate the little things. The rain poured the moment you stepped inside the house. You’re not late in school today. Your professor commended you for a good recitation in class. You were just craving for pizza when a friend asked you out for lunch at yellow cab (her treat)! You caught a glimpse of the sunset while traveling back to Manila. These little things are also miracles. But because they’ve become too common, we rarely notice them. Believe me, those things are never accidents. They’re God’s small presents. He wants to protect you, He knows what you like and He delights in surprising you.
  8. Live healthy. Your blood slowly turns into coffee and your WBCs and RBCs are drunk with caffeine. Come on, use some of those minutes you spend on Facebook and go out for a jog, have a good music on your ipod and see the sunset. Drink plenty of water, eat on time, eat the right food. Have enough sleep. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and you must not abuse it. Manage your time so you won’t have to cram for deadlines. Not going on line for a couple of days until you’re done with your projects won’t hurt.
  9. You are beautiful. Yes darling you are. You might have been bullied before, or maybe until now; you might not have the perfect vital stats (a standard made by man); your complexion is dark, your hair is curl; you have pimples or freckles—it doesn’t matter. In God’s eyes you are beautiful. And that is not a consolation or pampalubag-loob. Remember you are made after His own likeness. God’s beauty is bestowed to us women. And that beauty goes beyond what the eyes can see. Be secured for what you are and how you look. God knows you look best with those features. I know it’s hard to believe for I have been there. Okay, if you appreciate the beauty of the sunrise, or the intricate details of a butterfly, or the fluffyness of the clouds, the flowers in bloom—well, I tell you, you are more beautiful than those. You are most beautiful because He made you last. You are Eve—the crown of creation, the masterpiece, the finishing touch. Without you, the beauty of all He has made is incomplete. So stop your pity party and focus more on beautifying your soul.
  10. Future husband is someone you’ll meet at 25. Not literally, though. But the point is, he’s far far away. He’s in the future. Never ever have someone mistaken as him. Been there, done that. Believe me, hear what your ate has to say. Teenage relationships will only leave you frustrated, badly beaten, and struggling to have your own identity. But as long as you anchor your security and significance on someone as if you can’t live without them, dear that’s impossible. I know how we women long to be fought for, to be loved, be cherished, but the question is, can we really keep the relationship for real? You might be happy when everything seems to be perfect and he gives you feelings you’ve never felt with anyone before. But how sure are you that he’s gonna stay for good? You might be happy but you’re still unsure, you’re still afraid. In God, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Perfect love drives out fear, right? Don’t make memories you don’t intend to remember in the future. Have you ever looked at one of your ex and say to yourself, “What on earth have made me crazy in love with him before?” That’s the funny thing. More often than not, you’ll regret it. You’ll laugh about it and then you’ll realize, you should have spent those wasted times on something better than dating. You don’t have to experience all of it to learn. Listen to my counsel. I ran after lovers who never satisfied me. I have disobeyed my parents, never took my studies seriously, turned my back on my friends, quit an application for theater, stopped learning to play guitar and sing at church, and all the other stupid things, all because of love. Love that only left me broken and frustrated. Don’t make the same mistake I made. Ask God to be your lover. I promise, He won’t fail you. For now, focus on becoming the right one before asking God to give you the right one. Don’t dwell on the thought. Just live for the moment. Don’t miss all the first nine things just because of this 10th one.
  11. Persevere to preserve and protect your purity. I have danced on the thin line of temptation only to find myself struggling to keep my balance. God is gracious, He delivered me from that trap and changed my heart. I believe you are already at the right age to know this: Sex is a package and it starts with a kiss. God wants us not to have even a hint of sexual immorality. Save your first kiss for someone who deserves it, for that day you exchange vows and wear your rings. If you’ve already given it away, it’s never too late to have a change of heart. Ask God to heal you. Repent and turn away from ungodliness. You are a precious gem, even worth far more than rubies! Never ever throw your pearls to pigs. I like this illustration from the book What to do until love finds you: No one goes inside a diamond store “just looking” or just “window shopping”. Everyone who goes inside of it has an intention to buy. They respect the value of what’s inside that store and they are willing to pay the price. That’s what you are. A diamond, precious and expensive. Any man must be willing to pay the price to take you and that price includes preserving your purity, respecting you and protecting you. An ungodly man can promise you the whole world just to get into your pants. But the Godly man, the one the Lord has reserved for you, will endure all the mockings of the world just to please God and show you how worthy of respect and worthy of wait you are.
  12. Keep God at the center of it all. You can never go wrong with this, love. Nasa Kanya na ang lahat. Your family, your friends might hurt you one way or another. You’ll get sick, you’ll have failing grades. Someone will break your heart. These are the things God will never ever do to you. Trust Him. Just trust Him, even when it’s hard, even when it hurts, even when it doesn’t make sense. All the trials you’ve been through, you’re going through and you’re gonna go through are all part of His great purpose in your life. Hold on to Him. Always pray for stronger faith and for more of grace in your life. Left on our own we can’t do it. Even I won’t be able to say these things to you if not for Him who taught me how to cling onto Him. God bless you darling! You are His princess. Never settle for anything less. Should you have any prayer concerns, or you just want someone to talk to, feel free to contact me! God loves you, deeply and passionately. 

PS: Happy birthday to my one and only dearest little sister Maia Genina. I was inspired to write this because of you!

Love,

Ate.

Ano nga ba ang Pag-ibig?


Nung nakaraang linggo, kinonpronta ako ng mga tanong patungkol sa paksang ito. “Ano ang Pag-ibig?” “Paano mo malalaman kung in love ka na?” “Handa ka na ba ma-in love?” Tatlong mahihirap na tanong. At ang mas mahirap, hindi mo masasagot yung dalawang huli kung hindi mo alam ang sagot sa una.

Lahat naman tayo’y may iba’t ibang pananaw tungkol sa pag-ibig. Kaya ang sabi ng karamihan, hindi mo talaga ito mailalarawan. Yung nararamdaman o sintomas nito–pati yung kaakibat na pagkilos kapag ito’y naramdaman–ay iba sa bawat isa. Kaya naman ang pag-ibig, sa emosyonal na aspeto, ay subjective. Gayunpaman, pagdating sa rason ng ating pagkilos patungkol sa pag-ibig o sa taong ating minamahal, naniniwala ako na iisa lang ang ating dahilan–iyon marahil ay ang sumaya at pasayahin ang taong mahal natin. 

Ano ang Pag-ibig?

Para sa akin, Love is more than just a feeling. Hindi lang ito basta butterflies in the stomach o yung tumutugstugs na heartbeat, o sparks. Kaya nga maraming naghihiwalay na magkasintahan kasi “nawala na yung spark” o kaya naman nagising sila isang araw na “hindi na masaya sa relationship” at “kasi nag-iba na siya, hindi na siya yung ‘siya’ na minahal ko” o kaya naman “nakakasawa”. Lahat ng ito, ay dahil sa pagkakamaling pag-aankla o pagbabatay ng pag-ibig sa emosyon lamang. Ang pag-ibig ay may kaakibat na commitment, yung rational or reason part. Kung naka-take ka na ng Philosophy class, alam mo na ang ating pagkilos ay diniderekta dapat ng reason at hindi emotion. Siguro bigla kang natawa kasi sa isip-isip mo, ang korni nung “commitment” part. Bibigyan pa kita ng mas korni na baka lalong hindi mo na gustuhing basahin pa ang post na ito hanggang sa katapusan: If you will enter a relationship, you should always have forever in mind. And all your actions must back up that mindset.

Ang problema, maraming tao ang “ayaw munang isipin yan” kasi “bata pa at marami pang mangyayari” o kaya “marami pang makikilala”. Yun nga ang punto e. Kung hindi ka naman sigurado, why go for it? Para ano, para tingnan kung magowowork out kayo? Tapos kung oo, edi kayo; at kung hindi, edi hindi? Tsss! O kaya naman, ayaw mo na siya pakawalan kasi baka wala ka nang makitang iba? 

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” -Jeremiah 1:5

Kilala ka na ni God bago ka pa ipanganak. At alam na din Niya ang perfect plan para sa buhay mo. And for the record, kasama na din diyan kung sino si Pag-ibig mo, si Kuya o Ate na mamahalin at makakasama mo habang buhay. Kaya kung highschool ka pa lang o nag-aaral pa, utang na loob, wag ka muna mawindang sa pag-iisip kung siya na ba. Kasi naman ‘teh, ang dami mo pang pagdadaanan. Isipin mo na lang kung seventy years ka mabubuhay sa mundong ‘to, kalahati nun, o marahil higit pa, ang iuukol mo kasama siya, sa pagbuo ng pamilya at pagpapalaki ng mga anak ninyo. Huwag mong nakawan ang kinabukasan mo dahil lang wala kang ka-holdinghands ngayong Valentine. Kasi, kapag nandun ka na sa puntong may asawa at pamilya ka na, itong kasalukuyan mo, yung parte na bata ka pa at maraming nagagawa na hindi na magagawa sa iba pang panahon ng buhay mo, ay siguradong gugustuhin mong balikan. At sa araw na iyon, magsisisi ka na sana pala ginamit mo ang oras na ito para mahalin ang pamilya (family of origin) mo, maki-bonding sa mga kaibigan mo, tumulong sa ibang tao, magserve ng todo todo kay God. Ang pinakamabuti sa ngayon ay pag-igihan ang paghahasa sa kakayahan at sa character para pag nakilala mo siya, ready ka na. The best yung inilaan ni God sa’yo. Nakakahiya naman kung hindi pa ikaw yung best na deserve nung tao.

Diba nga sa Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development ni Erik H. Erikson, Fidelity is the prerequisite of Intimacy. Fidelity meaning…

“…the ability to sustain loyalties freely pledged in spite of the inevitable contradictions and confusions of value systems.”

Dinagdag ko lang yan para magtunog matalino. (Hehe) The key word pala is sustain. Idagdag mo pa diyan, hindi rin totoo ang You complete me  na sagot sa pick-up line na: “Puzzle ka ba?” Kasi, bago ka makabuo ng isang maayos na relasyon, yung panghabang-buhay na, dapat pareho kayong buo. (1 x 1 = 1) Isang buong ikaw, at isang buong siya ay isang buong relasyon. (.75 x .75 = .5625) You get the point. 

Paano mo malalaman kung in love ka?

Sabi sa kanta ‘Hindi makatulog. Hindi makakain.’ Pwedeng pisiolohikal ito o kaya nama’y emosyonal. Magkakaiba tayo ng nararamdaman. Yung iba natatanga. Yung iba inspired. Yung iba distracted. In love ka kung alam mong may nag-iba sa’yo. Yung hindi ikaw yung normal na ikaw. Ganyan naman ang pagmamahal, hindi ba? Binabago niyan ang tao para sa kabutihan. At kapag naramdaman mong mahal ka rin ng mahal mo, hindi ba masaya? At hindi ba labis na nakakapukaw ng puso ang malamang sa kabila ng mga kapalpakan mo sa buhay, mayroong handang tumanggap sa’yo kung sino ka? Ganyan si God sa akin. At sa iyo rin. Alam kong in love ako sa Kanya dahil maraming nag-iba sa akin. 

Handa ka na ba ma-in love?

In love ako sa ngayon, kay God. Okay, payn. Korni para sa’yo. Pero kasi Siya ang nag-iisang alam kong hindi sasayangin ang pag-ibig ko kundi ibabalik ito ng mas higit pa sa inaaakala ko. Love is more than just a feeling, remember? Hindi pa ako ready sa commitment.  Hindi pa ako buo. Alam ko lang na marami pa ako kailangang matutunan. Kapag pumasok ako sa relasyon ulit, gusto ko kasi yun na talaga. At syempre may forever in mind. Dun naman talaga ang hantungan nun, ang goal ng isang relationship–marriage. At ayokong pumasok sa relasyon na hindi pa ako handa lalo na’t habangbuhay ang tinitingnan ko dito. Hindi totoo yung magbabago ang isang tao kapag nag-asawa na siya. Marami nang nakapagsabi sa akin na kung ano yung character mo nung single ka, yun din ang character na lalabas kapag may asawa ka na. Who you’d become when you get married will only reflect what you’ve valued while you’re still single. Kaya nga kapag tatamad tamad ako sa bahay, laging sinasabi ni Mommy, “Nakakahiya ka sa magiging biyenan mo. Baka sabihin nila hindi ka namin naturuan ng maayos.” Marami pang dapat ma-improve sa akin–pagiging masinop sa pera, pagiging mahusay sa gawaing bahay, pagkakaroon ng mahabang pasensiya, pag-una sa pangangailangan ng iba bago ang sa akin, at marami pang iba.

Kaya ka nga single para magpractice. Hindi ibig sabihin may partikular lang na taong gagawan mo nun. Mali. Dapat sa lahat, pantay. Maaari mo ito i-practice sa pamamagitan ng paglilingkod sa pamilya mo. Pagluto mo sila, o kaya tulungan mo ang kapatid mo sa assignment niya, samahan mo yung kaibigan mong may problema. Kung lalaki ka, tulungan mo yung MGA kaibigan mong babae sa mga dala nila. Dun ka sa danger side kapag tatawid kayo ng highway, o pag  naglalakad sa side walk. Higit sa lahat, mapababae o mapalalaki man, guard their hearts. Do not mess with someone else’s future husband or future wife. I’m sure you do not want someone else messing with yours. 

Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. -1 Timothy 5:1b-2

At ang pinakabongga, practice loyalty today. Maraming naghihiwalay dahil sa third party at party party na yan. You can practice loyalty now through committing yourself and your season (ang pagiging single) to Christ and to your future spouse na rin. Serve, learn and grow as much as you can. Para pag na-meet mo na siya, ready ka na! Sa ganung paraan mananatili kang in love sa kanya kasi alam mong hindi lang basta emosyon, may kaakibat na responsibilidad, commitment, at si God ang nasa gitna niyo. Nun mo masasabing okay pala ang love triangle. Ikaw, ano ang pag-ibig para sa ‘yo? Share mo sakin! :)

Maligayang araw ng mga puso! :)

Best Photo for 2012


Best Photo for 2012

The last time we had a family picture was five years ago. It was my Third Year High School Recognition Day, a beautiful portrait that is until now displayed at our living room in Nueva Ecija. Sad, right? This one speaks much about my family. Taken last semestral break, after we visited the tombs of our deceased grandparents (which we usually do days before November 1), wearing just PJs and simple shirts, it speaks about imperfections and simplicity. Good thing, my parents do not look obliged to smile here. To me, it’s beyond words. This picture is so far, the best I’ve ever had in my years of existence. Maybe the only one that would overtake this is a picture with them on my Graduation Day. :)

Why Does God Seem to Give You the Opposite?


“God. I can’t do this anymore. I’m helpless. Maybe, I’m crazy. How will I be able to handle this? It’s just barely impossible.”

Life Issues. I’ve got my share. Who doesn’t have? I mean, all of us experience struggle[s] every once in a while. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that God..(1) gives me annoying people when I promised Him to practice love (2) achievements and compliments from people when I wanted to have humility (3) loads of school work when I’m praying for peace and joy (4) rude people at irritating situations when I’m trying to have a kind heart and finally….. (5) a handsome, God fearing guy who gives me butterflies when I made a covenant to preserve my heart for my future husband and focus on God only.

It’s like a gang bang. These five things are my very desire to have and maintain yet God seems to put me into situations I wouldn’t want to be in if given a choice. Have you ever wondered why? I did. But the realization (what I was hoping as a solution) didn’t come as fast as I wished. Almost every night I cry out, “God please take this away. I really want to focus on You. Why is it so hard?”

Well…Image

It’s pretty simple.

1. It’s only in our weakness that we learn how to fully trust God. Stop questioning Him about the trials He gives us, just trust Him that in that situation, He will help us He will show us His power and He will walk us through it. Trust that through that situation, something in us will be changed. And we will never be the same again.

2. We lose our pride in the process. Trusting God means denying ourselves. If we have faith in Him who will give us strength to overcome, we will not say “I can do this [alone]”. We need His help to sustain us. Then, when we succeed, we don’t give credit to ourselves but we will be amazed and humbled knowing we will never make it without Him.

3. It just has to be the opposite.

Luke 6: 32-36 gives a hint why it has to be that way:

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

What kind of love is it when we love only those who are lovable and not those who are annoying?

How will we know if we won’t boast if people will not praise us and we won’t have achievements we’re supposed to be proud of?

Will we ever know the true meaning of peace and joy if we aren’t placed in a very disturbing situation?

How then, can we measure kindness if the people around us are nice, if all the experiences we encounter are pleasurable?

And, why do we have to guard our hearts if no one seems to be attractive? How will we be able to stand up and fight for our convictions if they are never tested?

It seems simple yet we often miss the point. God gives us the opposite [situation] for the character we want to build, for an attitude we want to have because it is only through them that we are able to know what they truly mean. Only through trials are we able to see His goodness and grace that will bear in us fruits that will last. So don’t worry if you’re in a place where you don’t want to be at. That’s a perfect avenue for molding and pruning. A perfect “battleground” to stand up to your convictions and practice what you want to develop. Every trial is a character-building experience. Don’t miss it.

Remember:

 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” -Philippians 4:13

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5, 6

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

It’s okay to feel weak and helpless. Delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties for when we are weak, we are strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” -James 1:2-4

3 “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” -Romans 5:3-5

“By standing firm you will gain life.” -Luke 21:19

On Reconciliation


My anger burst. I thought to myself, “This is the end of our friendship. And this won’t be fixed unless she’ll beg for my forgiveness. She’s the offender, anyway.”

That was me, three months ago. I was hurt; I was bitter; I was unforgiving. Oh and if I forget, I was so selfish too! I really made up my mind that our friendship will never be restored. Eeeeehe. Na-a. NO NO. Not anymore. But the amazing was yet to come.

It was early August when God started to show me the condition of my heart, that I have never really moved on. Rather, I’m fleeing, I’m bitter, and I’m unforgiving. And yes, she’s the one I’m talking to on my blog about Forgiveness. I was humbled as I realize, indeed it was my heart’s status for the past months. And I was convinced that it was the reason I feel burdened, I feel restless and I have no peace.

For days God and I constantly debated over the matter. I wanted to forgive, my heart was opened to. The problem left was, how to resolve the conflict and how can we restore the friendship. God told me to make the first move. I found it on one of the lessons the book The Purpose Driven Life has.

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“God, how can I do that? She seems to avoid me every time she sees me. There was even one time she snatched Lian away from Dawn when she saw I was beside Dawn.”

Then I departed from the book and started to write on my journal. The next thing I knew was I was thinking about what “gift” could I give to God for our 4th monthsary (I have a relationship with my Dad and King and every 28th of the month, we celebrate it). Guess what. It popped out of, I’m not sure where.

“I want your reconciliation with Joyce be your gift for me on our fourth monthsary.”

I was silenced. I felt like my whole body, nerves and capillaries included, froze.

“But God, arrrrgh! Okay fine. If You really want that, then give me so much grace that I will succeed on this. I will text her now. And please, soften her heart.”

I felt God’s fist bump as He whispers, “Okay my Princess, that’s a deal”. (Yes, I imagine these kinds of things while having my quiet time, like I’m literally talking to God.)

I texted her, saying I want to talk to her. I waited for minutes, hours, until the moment I was about to sleep. About 14 hours later, still no reply. Before I slept I prayed, “God, why is there no reply? Are You making this hard for me? Isn’t there an easy way? Okay then, just give me a chance to approach her tomorrow (Sunday). Then, I’ll do it.”

The next day, I was having lunch with my brothers and sisters in Christ after the 11am service when my phone beeped. It’s her, asking until what time would I be staying at church. I screamed in amusement, literally screamed. I replied back with all the details, I believe my reply looks so thrilled and excited. I told my leaders, who were with me eating, the good news. They were all so happy for me. I hurried my lunch and went back to church right away.

I saw her and we hugged like nothing happened, like three months was just a day ago. We sat. I started everything with a simple prayer, aiming that more than resolving the conflict, there will be restoration of friendship. I spoke first. I apologized. I explained. And confessed that I miss having a best friend. She did too. Everything was in detail, transparent, honest, with grace, compassion, God’s guidance and with tears, tubs of tears.

My prayer was answered. We resolved the conflict and we were restored, the relationship, our relationship was restored by God. I felt so grateful. I thought, “Yaaaay! Super thank you God. I was so of little faith but You are faithful that when You say it, You’ll do it and when You want something, You would still provide grace so that I will be able to do it. It’s like You’re not asking me to do it, but You’re helping me do it. Like this is not my gift for You on our fourth monthsary, it’s Your gift for me.”

Amazing. God didn’t want the restoration for Himself. He wanted it for me. Isn’t that sweet?

Forgiveness, freeing yourself from burden and bitterness and embracing freedom, is for you. Yes, it’s also for God but moreover, it is for you.

Reconciliation, restoring a broken relationship, forgetting the past and starting anew, is for you. Yes, it’s also for God but moreover, it is for you.

The God we serve is always for us. And we think we do things for Him, yes that’s true, but He wants us to do these things, because in the end, it would still be us who will benefit. ♥ SWEEEET :”>

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1. Ask God for the grace and desire to forgive and be reconciled.

2. Admit your flaws and recognize your mistake.

3. Forgive the person even he/she never asks for it.

4. Get rid of all bitterness.

5. Be the one to make the first move. It’s not a matter of whether, you or the other party has sinned more. Being the one to make the first move is an act of humility before God. A sign that you value the relationship more than yourself.

6. Continue to seek God in the process. Ask for guidance.

7. Always aim to have the relationship restored, more than having the problem resolved.

8. Once everything is settled, start anew and forget the past. Make sure in your heart you have forgiven sincerely and is willing to start over.

Approach that person now! GOD IS ABLE! Go for it :)) And..tell me how it went :)

“…for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God.”


This is what the Lord says in Exodus 20:5 when He gave the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me.”

I have cute and funny encounters concerning this verse and this characteristic of My Father God. [You can also skip the story and proceed to the latter part)

Mid-March this year I went to University of Sto. Tomas to meet three of my high school BFFs. I haven’t seen them for so long and to catch up, we spent one afternoon eating and just chatting about how our lives have been. I told them I was single and happy; they were surprised.

“Oh? What happened? Bakit kayo nag-break?”

These girls know my past more than anyone else does. Way back high school, they thought I was the “best girlfriend” my ex could ever have. It was because I really took—and up to now, take—relationships seriously. If I say I’m in love with someone, I mean it. And I’ll do every single thing in the world to prove it. I would always hold on into anything and would always be willing to work things out. I would only give up if it’s already beyond repair. And when I give up, there’s no turning back. To answer the question plainly, I said, “Well, some things are not meant to last.”

“Ayaw mo na?”

I guess it’s not a question of whether I still want to be in the relationship or the other way around. It was more of what God wants. After my real encounter of Him and after the realization of His love for me, I was changed. That time, I was progressively taking Lordship seriously. I just shared how my life has been, how I thought I wouldn’t be able to make it (being single), but through His grace, I did. That day was really awesome but that’s not the real story. The real story took place on my way home.

Riding a jeepney going home, I was pondering on how that day has been—morning classes, lunch with UP friends, then one long afternoon with high school girl friends. I remembered how I shared my story when all of a sudden, memories of my past—specifically him, my ex-boyfriend, flashed. I was reminded about how I met him, how things started, all the sweet moments, romantic lines, fights, monthsaries—everything. I almost drowned but God awaken me through a sudden stop of the jeepney. It almost bumped the car in front of us. I looked ahead, at the driver’s seat. And there, on a white circle pin, written in red bold letters: “GUARD YOUR HEART”. (see Proverbs 4:23)

I smiled.

“Sorry, God”, I whispered to myself.

It was kinda funny because I’ve never encountered a jeepney with that sign/ reminder right at the driver’s area. The ones we usually see are: “God knows Judas not pay”; “Bayad muna bago baba”; “Barya lang po sa umaga”.

“Saan galing yung guard your heart? But, thanks for that reminder, God.” I just knew, on that moment, God intended me to ride that jeepney ‘cause He knew I would reminisce but at the same time would be reminded of my covenant with Him.

My realization was: God wants me, 100%. Not just my status [of being single] but the status of my heart and my mind as well. That moment I don’t deny the fact that I missed him, and all the things we used to do. But God reminded me: If it’s just your status, and not your heart, then it’s useless.

It’s not just being single. It’s about being in a relationship with God. Just like how we dedicate all our love to someone in the past, God wants us to dedicate our love to Him. Not just love, but our time, loyalty, thoughts and actions.

Another instance when God reminded me to have an undivided heart for Him was when I had the chance to talk to my crush via Facebook chat. That was my first time to have a progressing conversation with him. Everything was going well and I admit, I was enjoying it, I even let out cute screams indicating I was kinikilig.Then all of a sudden, our internet connection got busted. I can’t connect to the internet. Again, I got back to my senses and realized, “Oops, I did it again.”

Could God really get jealous? I believe, YES. He wants our attention. He wants our time. He wants those cute screams, those expressions to be exclusively for Him. Have you ever screamed for someone? God wants that too. He wants certain expression of yours to be exclusively for Him. Just like how we kissed only one person, hugged only one person or held only one person’s hand/s.

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They’re cute. I mean, how God communicated those realizations to me. It’s like He’s saying, “Don’t think about him; think about Me. Don’t talk to him; talk to Me. What about me?” God is not just Lord over our lives; He is also our Lover. I’ve been in this attitude of celebrating “our” monthsary. God and I have been in this serious relationship for three months now. Even before the day of our monthsary, I would think of ways on how I can show Him my love. I would also ask Him to make me feel loved. God never failed, I always feel His love for three months now and for three special days in our relationship. On the other side of the pendulum, I always fail. I feel like my way of showing my love for Him isn’t enough. Yung tipong walang binatbat yung gift ko sa Kanya sa mga surprise na binibigay Niya.

I want more of Him. And every day, I want to show Him more of my love. I know, I still make Him jealous, but it’s in His grace that I am able to make and reserve things exclusively for Him. I believe God is calling us women, even men, to have a devoted relationship with Him; to have an undivided heart before Him and we can show Him our love through:

  1. Having our daily quiet time with Him (Reading the Scripture and Praying).
  2. To be reminded every single minute of the day that we are committed to Him and every single thing we do is for Him.
  3. To give Him the credits for someone’s beauty, that we will not dwell on our emotions as we admire someone but we will give our feelings to God.
  4. To see Him bigger than anything, bigger than our problems, than our worries, bigger than that one person we admire.
  5. To do things that will please Him—helping our brothers and sisters, praying for the nation, honoring our parents and managing our time, energy and money wisely.

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Don’t be shy to ask something from Him. Okay lang maglambing kay God.I believe God wants that. Ano ba naman ang hindi Niya kaya? And God will prove Himself faithful and able. Today, God wants you to know that He is deeply in love with you. And even you forget to pray, even you don’t read the Word when you’re busy, He still loves you. He also wants to remind you that you are beautiful/ you are handsome. He loves every single part of you. He adores every detail of your being—from the tip of your hair to your soles. In His eyes, you are perfect. Who cares what other people say about you? God’s opinion is the only one that matters. He loves you. He loves you. He loves you so much. And He is willing, He is able, He can do anything for you, just tell Him. God is a jealous God, I hope you won’t do things to hurt Him. He shows His love for you every single day, you just have to realize it. And He wants to feel your love as well. He is not asking for something big, He just wants you—for you to know Him more and be open for the things He’s going to do in your life. In every action, thought, word or emotion, I hope we will not make Him jealous. God smiles when we intentionally do things for Him, even the slightest, easiest, simplest thing—when you dedicate it for Him, He smiles and He is well-pleased.

Because Earth Isn’t Everything


Church is my college.

Heaven is my university.

Jesus is my principal.

Angels are my classmates.

The bible is my study book.

Trial and temptation are my exams.

Winning souls are my assignments.

Prayer is my attendance.

Crown of life is my degree.

Praise and worship is my motto.

I am a student of God.

 

6 MONTHS ♥


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PRODUCTIVE. YOUNG. FREE. HAPPY.

I’m not sure if my Facebook friends have ever wondered, “Six months of what?”

My answer, six months of SINGLENESS.

What do I mean by Singleness?

Some dictionaries define it as “being unmarried”.

Joshua Harris, in his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye, defined singleness as a season of [an individual’s] life unmatched by its boundless opportunities for growth, learning and service. 

Taking on the romantic side, most people define “being single/ unmarried” as an opportunity to enjoy life. For some, and for me before I was convicted and enlightened, being single is a stage where you collect and then select. I’ve had single seasons before, but during those times, I wasn’t really maximizing and living it to the core. What do I mean? Well, being single was just an understatement for me back then. I was single but I enjoyed dating. I was single but I entertained phone calls, text messages, long conversations, flowers, teddy bears and letters. I liked the feeling of being pursued. I liked the thought of having someone laboring for your attention and love. In short, I was never and had never been single–fully dedicated to the season God had for me–a season for growth, learning and service.

February 1, 2012 was a turning point of my life. After months of struggling and trying to be really 100% for God, that day, the longest relationship in the history of my love life had finally ended. Moving on had been easier than I thought. I give all the credits to Him who still chose to love me after I left Him hanging on the Cross. Joshua Harris’ book helped me a lot. It has broken all the wrong perspectives I had about romantic relationships, choosing the right partner, knowing the right time and obeying God’s will. If you were to ask me how I’ve gone this far, I won’t be able to answer you. The truth is, I really don’t know how. On my own, I know I could have had another man to pacify me and fill my longing. Little did I know, the best thing was bound to happen–God caught me and His love tied me to Him that no matter how hard I tried to break free, He never let me.

It’s only this season that I understood how it feels like to have Him as the Lover of My Soul. Seriously, I was transformed, from the inside out. From wanting to have a boyfriend, to wanting Him above anything; from having suitors to deciding to tell them about my convictions; from side-hugging my guy friends to just simply high five-ing or fist bump-ing them; from wearing shorts and skirts to wearing clothes that promote purity; from simply having purity in mind to acting upon it; from having mediocre standards to having higher ones–I know God is at work in me. Indeed, singleness is for my growth. Not just that I am being a better person but that I’m getting closer and closer to God. My standards were really raised and now I can confidently say I’m single–no boyfriend, no suitor, no fling, no someone special, no textmate, no ka-telebabd, no ka-kiligan…si God lang ☺ ♥

My singleness marked the development and building up of new relationships. I never thought I could ever have more friends than I did before. By friendships, I don’t mean superficial ones. I was also able to strengthen my bond with my family–one thing I’ve missed for such a long time because all my life, I’ve given away so much love and effort to relationships that had just wasted my time and energy. Since I was single, I have enough time for myself, for my studies, for my extra-curricular activities, for my friends and for a whole lot more. I discovered my passion for writing, for blogging, for dreaming of directing a film one day.

To those who currently have a relationship, I’m not telling you to get rid of it, nor imposing that being single is better. I just want to impart my learnings as a single person. To those who are single at the moment, you can easily weigh which one’s better. If you’re tired and wondering when will you have one, my question for you is: “Have you lived your singleness to the full?” God might have things He wants you to experience, He might even have better plans for your life. Don’t succumb to the idea that you’re missing out all the fun because you’re single. I’m telling you, there are things you will experience, if and only if, you are single. As the cliche saying goes, “True love waits”. I tell you, it really is and it really will. But your growth?–that can only take place in this season. Besides, in your future relationship, you will only reflect what you have become during your singleness; you will only give what you have taken from it and you will only multiply what you already have. If you’ve never gotten anything out of your singleness, out of this season, how would your next relationship look like? How sure are you that it would last?

Every season is beautiful. Where you are right now is exactly where God wants you to be. Don’t force a bud if it’s not yet its season to bloom. You will only ruin it. Nothing can match this season, at least for me. And I’m happy that God lets me see things I’ve never seen before and would have never seen if not because of this season.

Be glad and rejoice. whatever season you are in right now, that’s where God wants you to be, that’s where you will maximize your time to grow, learn and serve and surely, that’s beautiful for He has made everything beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3: 11)

See that picture above? I’ve never seen that smile before and I believe, it’s my sweetest ever ♥

A Letter From Your Future Wife


You’ve been telling everyone you’re waiting for me but why do you look at that girl and think maybe I am her? Why do you spend time thinking about her? Sometimes you even make an effort so she can notice you. Is that waiting? You’ve been telling yourself you’re preserving your purity for me but that closest girl friend, why do you speak sweet words to her? Why do you hug her that tight? Why do you spend long hours talking to her, walk her home, call her and even chat with her whenever she’s on line? Fine, she really is just a friend for you but can’t that have a limit? Why are you not drawing boundaries even all your other friends start to notice your closeness? Is that how you preserve your purity?

I’m not possessive, neither a nagger. I’m just hurt of what you’re doing. You keep on saying these things claiming these are your convictions. Didn’t you know that the path you take with your feet must not contradict the conviction of your heart?

You know, I was really serious when I decided to wait patiently for you, to preserve my purity so I could bring you good, not harm, all the days of my life. And that the phrase “all the days” includes today, this very day, even when we don’t know each other yet. I have stopped thinking this or that guy might be you because I thought you might get hurt. I have been focusing on my present and maximizing my singleness to grow, to learn and to serve. I have been preserving my purity to the extent that even my closest guy friends, I no longer spend time with; that I no longer hug them, that I’m striving so hard not to talk to or invest time to any man when conversations become more than what is essential and how I try to be very careful in terms of relating with men so they won’t misinterpret my actions. All these I do because I want my waiting to be waiting, and my preserving to be preserving. I do these primarily to honor God; next to bring you good all the days of my life. It’s how I long to be far more than rubies, to be a wife of noble character.

Make a decision now. Set your standards higher. Your mediocrity is whacking my heart open.