Yesterday was the kind of day I haven’t experienced in a quite a while: one where I was too elated and overwhelmed to keep track of the things that were happening all around me, as they were happening too fast and seemed to be overlapping one another.
It started out pretty basic: went to PAL Medical to have my grounding extended, watched Sakaling Hindi Makarating (such a work of art!), went to SDSA early to get stuff done for the wedding, and eventually ended up hanging out at Starbucks to catch up on my episodes while waiting for time to pass until corporate worship.
There was a feeling of unease at the back of my mind the whole day over many things: one of them being my in-laws-to-be’s flight out of Manila to the US. They were flying with my airline and I wanted everything to go smoothly for them. At the same time, (slightly disconcerting) messages started pouring into my best girls’ Viber group and somehow (hint: it was the Holy Spirit’s prompting), I had managed to convince them to attend corporate worship that night.
So 6:30 came and my parents and I led the rosary before worship. I had gotten 3 missed calls from my mom-in-law-to-be and when I called her back, I found out that they had already gotten their boarding passes and were just waiting to board. Praise God! Anxiety # 1 over!
The mass had started and I was still waiting for the girls to arrive. Father Anton was already getting into his beautiful homily about being the salt and light of the earth when they finally did (Praise God, anxiety # 2 over!) and got to hear the message that God had for them that day. Afterward, they were prayed over by the Intercessory Ministry.
I left the church that night with my heart so full, as if I was the one who had been prayed over.
Which finally brings us to the point of this entry. (Oh wow, finally, Abby.)
The number one struggle I have as a servant leader is ministering to the people I love.
Entering renewal a few years ago has changed my life drastically. In the years that have passed, I have learned about the true character of God and how He wants us to live lives of abundance (Jeremiah 29:11) and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). I have also learned how to change my thoughts and my way of approaching problems. Father Anton reiterated the importance of renewal yesterday by saying: “Your thoughts control your life. Therefore, you must renew your thoughts in order to renew your life.”
You know, once you go into a deeper relationship with the Lord, all you ever want to do — all that ever goes on in your mind — is to share the love and peace of God to other people. To be honest, it pains me sometimes to listen to the problems of my friends or family members. Apart from empathizing with them, sometimes, all I want to say is: “Your problem would be so much easier to handle if you had the Lord in your life.” Because it’s true. Problems become so silly and minute when we realize just how big our God really is and how nothing is impossible with Him.
But I couldn’t say that. Apart from it being too direct, I’m also afraid to do so because:
1. I fear being rejected or condemned. As it is, I’m already seen as the goody-two-shoes who shouldn’t be privy to certain information, in fear that I would judge them. But the truth is, I am not here to judge. I’m here to listen and to pray for them.
2. I fear pushing them away. Christians, especially Catholics, have, and still currently are, being attacked for being hypocrites; for saying one thing, and doing another. The thing is, Christians aren’t supposed to be perfect. The reason we go to church is not to be able to say that we are good, but to be able to live each day trying to be good and Christ-like (operative word: trying), and to work for our place in heaven.
But I digress.
I try not to shove my views down the throats of my family and friends who need the Lord because I believe that if it is their time to know God, God Himself would lead them to it. All I can do on my end is give a testimonial of how God has worked in my life and allow them to come to it on their own. I try not to come out too preachy in fear that this would further push them away instead of bring them closer.
But I know that this is not how God wants us to tell people about Him. I know that what He wants is for us to BOLDLY PROCLAIM the Good News to each and everyone we meet. That is still something I am trying to work on, with God’s grace. I want to be able to lead my loved ones back to God before they come to the point where they turn to Him just because they’re already so empty and destroyed. I came to that point exactly 7 years ago and I don’t want that to happen to my friends. I want them to be fully-equipped as early as now. But how? Lord, give me the courage.
I don’t think the world that we are living in is too much different from the world that Jesus and His disciples had lived in. History repeats itself, after all, and condemning Christians is still a thing. But right now, the world needs God more than ever. There is just so much noise in this world that one can see and hear a recurring theme in this generation: I feel purposeless. I feel inadequate. I feel unworthy. I feel like I’m not doing enough.
But these thoughts are not of God. Because to our feeling purposeless, God says:
“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. ” ~ Ecclesiastes 12:13
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:13-16
To our feeling inadequate or unworthy, God says:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” ~ Jeremiah 1:5
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.” ~ Isaiah 43:1,4
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:27-29
I went home with a full heart yesterday for after 3 years, one of my prayers had finally been answered: I had gotten my friends to be open to experiencing God in community… and one to come back, even for just 20 minutes. I was too happy, in fact, that I had failed to notice that my fiancé had already bid me goodbye and left. But he understood. He saw me in tears while we were praying for them. He knew how much it mattered to me.
I know this wasn’t a mistake and that God really planned for all these to happen. I pray that He would give us many more breakthroughs and lesser heartbreaks. I pray for a future full of hope and abundance for my friends whom I love so much. I hope they were blessed to have come as much as we were blessed with their presence.
Thank You, Lord, for You are an answering God.
P.S. This always plays in my head whenever I hear the gospel about salt & light. Hihi.