Distante De Dios


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One of the things I shared with the priest when I had my confession last Sunday was how I, at that time, felt distant from God. I know for a fact this isn’t true and that God is always there, but I also know that sin separates us from God. And I honestly feel this every time I have my bouts of meanness, or when I do something to hurt other people.

I used to think this was just something religious people said, but now that I’ve found myself in a deeper relationship with Christ, I learned that it isn’t just a concept people throw around. It’s real. Much as how one would eventually have a thirst for God once one knows more about Him. I thought this was an over-reaction until I found myself in a situation where I honestly felt spiritually dry. Every cell in my body longed for His nurturing. I needed to attend praise & worship! I longed for the teachings! I couldn’t explain why but I just needed to be surrounded by His love!

Going back, I noticed that whenever I do something I know is wrong, I also end up spending less time in prayer. I’m not sure if it’s me unconsciously acknowledging my unworthiness but it honestly happens! No matter how hard I try, I always end up getting distracted or else just doing the prayer version of small talk. I think my obsessive-compulsiveness also comes into play because I don’t feel like I’ve had adequate prayer time unless I start off with reading the word for the day and then reflecting on it. Is that weird? I’m pretty sure it is, given that God does not look into the length or complication of a prayer more than He does the actual act of conversing with Him.

The priest I talked to had a very amusing take on the matter [of my feeling distant]. We had quite a long conversation while I was trying my best to kneel down on one knee (since my left is still inoperable ATM). He first told me that there is no one position when praying; we can do it while seated, standing up, lying down, in transit, etc. Therefore, there is no reason to feel distant and lose time in prayer since God is pretty much accessible 24/7.

The next thing he asked was what I did for a living. I told him I was a flight attendant. Local or international? Both. Do you fly to Europe or America? Both. And he goes on about how there is a lot of down time on long haul flights. “You’re not always asleep when you’re done serving passengers, right?” (He seems to know a lot about our job.) “So after your passengers have finished asking for their share of drinks and you’ve fed them whatever good food you have onboard, and you find yourself seated in the dark cabin — pray. Talk to God. You can not claim that you are distant from God, up there, 40,000 feet above sea level! You wake up from your rest and you are literally in heaven!” We both chuckled lightly.

That was quite the unorthodox confession, but I liked it because it wasn’t simply dismissing someone by absolving their sins; the priest actually took the time to listen and give a fresh perspective on the things that bothered me. It was relatable and I felt God was, indeed, speaking to me through him. But also, I liked the bit about the distance. Like you had a sense that your prayer signal was stronger since you were closer to the recipient.

I’m slowly getting back on track on the prayer time thing, as I usually do after every confession. But I think now, my new takeaway is that I shouldn’t be too hard on myself, or rigid when it comes to my prayer time. I should talk to Him whenever I can and not just when I am at home, lying on my bed. I especially need to be fervent in my prayer time now that LSE is coming up. Sigh. The warfare is real.

So, how about you? What’s your prayer routine? Have you ever gone through the same thing?

Sunday Thoughts: Mary & Martha


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Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.

She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.

Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”

The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her. ~ Luke 10:38-42

I’ve heard this gospel so many times already but it was only today that it struck me most.

The priest explained how Martha symbolizes people who are anxious about so many things; prioritizing career, finances, stability, worldly things, etc. While Mary symbolizes people who choose to chill and serve and listen to the Lord.

We are always called to play host to Jesus in our lives, yet we are often too busy “slaving in the kitchen” to hear what He has to say to us. Our own worldly anxieties prevent us from hearing His voice and knowing what He really wants in our lives.

We often feel it’s more important to acquire wealth, climb up the corporate ladder, etc. than it is to be of service to God.

“Right now, I think I’m Martha,” I whispered to my mom.

“Me too,” she said.

Apparently we were thinking of the same thing: my illness.

“I’m anxious about how it’s going to go this time around and why it has to happen now, when there’s just so much ahead of you and you’re already planning your future.”

“Me naman, I feel like God gave this to me now ’cause I’ve been too focused on so many things, like my supposed Eurotrip and the wedding, that I sometimes forget to pause and ask, ‘Lord, is this what you want?’ I don’t know. Last time din you were already saving up for retirement and then that happened.”

What I said actually did not make sense at all, now that I think about it. Because I really do not understand why things are the way they are at present. Plus, I also make it seem like God is a punishing God, when He really isn’t. It’s just not the right time to understand.

Tita Cecile sent me a link to a Rick Warren preaching the other day. My greatest takeaway from that is that before God sends us out into the storm, He prays for us. You may say, “What? That’s weird,” because who does He pray to, right? But to that, Rick says, “DO YOU NOT TALK TO YOURSELF SOMETIMES?” Lolz. Basically, it means that God has thought it through and knows how things will turn out before He makes us experience the storms in our lives. And the reason why He sends us out into the storm is to test our faith and make us stronger, as with the case of the apostles + stormy seas.

All we truly ever need is faith.

Lord, I apologize for the times when I am anxious about so many things and prioritize worldly things over You. Please guide my ship’s sails that I may navigate toward the direction you have set out for me and come out stronger on the other side of this storm. Open my ears, as well as my mind and heart, that I may hear your call, listen, and accept.

Little Bumps


I don’t know if it’s proper to ask God for anything specific anymore with regards to my illness. I feel like bargaining with Him would equal non-acceptance and once again trying to take control of the situation.

Before this, I prayed, Lord, please let it be benign. That did not happen. But that was a long shot anyway.

This time around, I’m not sure if asking for the treatment to just be radiation would be pushing it again. Or maybe my prayer should be, Lord, please prescribe me the best possible yet least painful treatment. Maybe.

I can’t fully describe the state I’m in right now. I’m okay but I still find myself in random fits of tears. I am trying my very best to accept but at the back of my mind, a tiny voice is asking, Why this again? What is it you want me to learn, Lord?

Lesson #1, definitely: Honor your father and your mother and you will have a blessed life. My parents keep telling me to lessen my sugar intake, sleep at the right time, and exercise. I did lessen my sugar intake considerably. I found it hard to sleep at the right time especially with all my responsibilities; but I made sure to always get at least 7.5 (usually 9 hours) rest, regardless of the time. Exercise? I’m pretty sure running from cabin to galley at light speed while defying gravity counts for something. I should stop lying to myself.

I don’t know where I’m at right now but I’m taking it one step at a time. Like what the ortho-onco said today, “There will always be little bumps along the way to overcome with cancer patients. We just have to address them and move on. That’s it.”

My God and I have fought this before. My God and I will fight it again. After all, what’s the point of training a warrior princess and arming her with the Word, if it will not be tested in the battlefield.

This is when true faith begins. Increase where I decrease, Lord.

Surrender


I learned something about surrender today. I learned that even though I keep repeating to myself that I first have to accept before I understand and that I have to trust God with all my heart, I still find myself… actually not doing that at all.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I trust the Lord. I do. I really do. But I realized that my actions still show how I couldn’t shake off my being a control freak.

On Facebook, you could find me asking people to please pray for favorable results. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but I asked for the same thing yesterday when I found out that pathology results were ready for pick-up. My mom told me, “Your status is funny. The results are already out. Instead of praying for favorable results, why don’t you pray for strength to accept whatever the outcome may be?”

Oo nga ‘no. Why didn’t I think of that? ‘Cause it involves surrendering.

I realized that the mere act of asking people to pray to God with me that results would come out good, I was actually sort of trying to manipulate, in my own little way, how things should be instead of letting them just play out as God has long planned.

Our word sharing circle at corporate worship today had a central theme of surrender. Ate Gay reminded me that even though we are serving in community, it doesn’t mean that we are exempted from experiencing hardships. In fact, if anything, especially when it involves people’s deliverance (in the case of Encounters), we are bombarded with more hardships than we can ever imagine. The one thing the devil wants you to do in a time where faith is much needed is for you to ask God why. Why is this happening to me? Have I not been faithful enough to you? But no, that isn’t the case. God allows things to happen to prune us and mold us into the servant He wants for us to become.

So why do I find it so hard to surrender?

Fear that it may destroy my timeline; with my job, our wedding, or my community responsibilities? So what? Do I not trust enough on God’s perfect timing?

Fear that I might leave this world too soon? Did I not say that if God would take me right now, I would be okay with it ’cause it would mean finally being able to embrace Him?

Fear that I would suffer? Okay… I’ve already been through that. The good thing about this one now is that it’s currently isolated. And we found it at an early stage. Why am I worrying? Will God not see me through this as He has seen me through the whole kerfuffle before?

I am honestly so inspired by my SE friend who recently underwent a 16-hour surgery for his cancer. He is only in his early 20s and he has accepted that he may not be able to speak and eat normally anymore. That’s a major upheaval, guys. But you know what he said in his FB status?

I would like to share my sincerest gratitude to everyone who have prayed for my operation last July 9. Through many grueling hours that lasted from 8 am in the morning until 12:30 midnight, my 4 major operations was a success. They were able remove my tongue that was infected by cancer, replace it with a flap by getting a chest muscle and putting to shape it as my tongue. They have successfully removed my neck lymph nodes that took quite some time because the nodes was scattered all through my neck and the doctors have performed a gastronomy operation for my daily food.

I would to thank those who prayed, light a candle, and even did fasting just for the success of the operation. Thank you with all my heart.

As of now I’m in recovery stage. It’s going to take a let of getting used to it, but I have put all my faith in God that he will never give up on me, that there will be a future and hope through the suffering.

Friend, thank you. You are an inspiration. God is indeed the strength of your heart.

Now on to my biopsy results. Ikaw na bahala sakin, Lord.