LET GO Day 2: Reconcile

Day 2 of 3 of The Feast Alabang’s Lenten Recollection focused on FORGIVENESS.

Now, this isn’t exactly a new concept. It is, however, a very difficult one to do.

Today, Bro. Arun shared a story that I could totally relate to. It was about him being appointed leader in his ministry during his young adult years. Back then, he shared, he was so strict and on-point with all his ministry members. He was deemed as brilliant and effective. He felt like he was on top of the world. And then one day, something happened that stripped him of his title.

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It was then that he posed this question to God: “Lord, who am I if I am not a leader anymore?”

The story goes on with him having a chance encounter with Bo Sanchez and being told that that wasn’t going to be his last stint as a leader. But anyway, long story short, God’s answer to his question was, “You’re not a leader anymore. Now, let Me love you as a son.” Beautiful.

The reason why I could relate to this was because my most recent encounter with forgiveness had something to do with leadership. General leadership, conflict within a group, having a title stripped off. They named it, I related to it. It’s like Bro. Arun was doing a Bo Sanchez on me by telling that story. Guh. #PayItForward much?

Anyway, that encounter was a true test of my character and resolve as a supposedly renewed daughter of God. Forgiveness and humility were things I knew I should have done, but had so much difficulty doing due to the trifecta of offenses committed against me. I found it so hard to strip myself down to sheer nothingness to ask forgiveness for something I knew wasn’t completely my fault. I found it hard to swallow being condemned for something I did not do or say. I found it difficult to accept the absence of an apology for getting my pride hurt over something I was right about in the first place.

But, alas, this all goes back to the focused gospel reading for today — the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. I have no right to hold on to this hurt or not let go of the offense when my Father in heaven has let go of all the hurt I had caused Him and the many offenses I have done against Him. I have no right to not forgive when my Father has forgiven me on the infinite number of occasions I have wronged him. I have no right to condemn when my Father has chosen not to condemn me for all my wrongdoings.

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Just so you know, I have already forgiven. It is, however, very difficult to forget (sometimes, I feel like there are still traces of it on the faces of my offenders). But I have learned from it. And today, I have resolved to completely let it go. Nailing this at the foot of Jesus’ cross and allowing Him to take it with Him to heaven.

“As fast as they offend you, let it go.” Difficult, difficult. But someday, I will learn how to do this in a snap of a finger.

“Forgiveness is as essential as breathing.”

“When you have unforgiveness in your heart, it breaks you down.”

“There has to be an expiration date to your anger.” Bro. Mike Viñas said it should be at 5:59 PM. Why? Because it says in Ephesians 4:26 — “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”

“Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself.”

“In every relationship, you will always be called to forgive and ask for forgiveness.” There can be no truer words.

“To whom much is given, much is required.” I have been given by my Father the wisdom to know and act better. I have not been renewed for nothing, and each day is an opportunity to start anew. With this, I must learn how to forgive people who know not what they’re doing.

“That is the way of the Lord — you don’t get to select your memories.” Father John Paul Del Rosario was the one who gave a talk on COMMEMORATION. He said:

“Commemoration is an ought. Not a choice.”

“To remember is to see the creative power of God.” Remember the tragedies in your past? Have they not shaped you to be the person you are now? “We need to remember the tragedies to see the creative power of God.”

As Christians, we are “pressed to see the good in Good Friday.” Meaning, if I’m not mistaken, that the focus of Good Friday shouldn’t be the tragedy of Jesus’ dying, but the fact that He did all that to save us because He loved us.

“It’s not your wounds, it’s how I heal your wounds that can truly set you free.” Something God wants us to always remember. 🙂

Today was therapeutic. I teared up while exalting Jesus’ name through song awhile ago, as the crosses passed us in procession. At that moment, it hit me just how much He truly loved us; to give up His life for unworthy ones like us.

Lord, salamat. Please help me become more like You.

“It is finished.”

Last month, I was tasked to reflect on the sixth word of the Seven Last Words of Jesus for one of our Singles Nights. Sharing with you now what I shared with them. Have a blessed Friday!

 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. – John 19:30

 I would first like to share this beautiful reflection I read in relation to this passage.

When Jesus said “It is finished,” surely he was expressing relief that his suffering was over. “It is finished” meant, in part, “This is finally done!” … Peterson captures the full sense of the verb in The Message: “It’s done . . . complete.” Jesus had accomplished his mission. He had announced and inaugurated the kingdom of God. He had revealed the love and grace of God. And he had embodied that love and grace by dying for the sin of the world, thus opening up the way for all to live under the reign of God. 

Because Jesus finished his work of salvation, you and I don’t need to add to it. In fact, we can’t. He accomplished what we never could, taking our sin upon himself and giving us his life in return. Jesus finished that for which he had been sent, and we are the beneficiaries of his unique effort. Because of what he finished, you and I are never “finished.” We have hope for this life and for the next. We know that nothing can separate us from God’s love. One day, what God has begun in us will also be finished, by his grace. Until that day, we live in the confidence of Jesus’ cry of victory: “It is finished!”

“Because of what he finished, you and I are never ‘finished’. We have hope for this life and for the next.”

Sometimes, whenever we are burdened with trials, we tend to question God. Why did this have to happen to me, Lord? What have I done wrong? Have I not been faithful to you?

At one point in my life, I had found myself asking these very same questions. I had just graduated from college and was ready to take on the world, when I was diagnosed with cancer.

I took things in stride at the beginning. I knew I was going to come out of this alive because God had always been good to me and my family. My belief in Him and myself was enough to make me optimistic about the future. So I went with the motions; went on with the treatment.

Halfway through, when I thought I was going to be done with treatment already, my doctor said I needed four more chemotherapy sessions. I was already ready to give up then, on my fifth cycle, the supposedly second to the last one. I had somewhat fallen into depression that time ‘cause I felt like everyone else was moving on with their lives, while I and my family were still doing our best to fight for mine. And I couldn’t understand why I had to go through it in the first place. I lived a relatively healthier lifestyle compared to my college friends. I went to mass every Sunday and served in church with my parents. I always tried to do what I was told. So what exactly did I do to deserve that?

God wasn’t slow in answering my question. It was also Lent that time and I was instantly reminded of all the hardships Jesus had to go through in proclaiming the kingdom of God. It was then I thought, “Wow, Jesus had to go through all THAT and he was already the Son of God. Parang ang kapal yata ng mukha ko mag-complain, wala naman sa kalingkingan ng suffering Niya yung suffering ko.”

Source: hartlandumc.org
Source: hartlandumc.org

Suffice it to say, I felt better. That time also, my friend had sent me the quote from Jeremiah 11:29: 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.

Surely, the fact that I was going through all that and was still kept alive, meant that God still needed me on earth; that he still had plans to prosper me, give me hope and a future. I didn’t really understand anything then, so I just laid everything down and believed.

It was only when I found my purpose and Serviam that I finally began to understand. He needed me to go through that hardship to strengthen me. He needed to allow that event to happen so I would find the motivation to look for the tools I would need to equip me to become the servant leader and faithful proclaimer he wants me to be. Admittedly, my faith back then wasn’t as strong. Despite my coming from a Catholic school, my knowledge of him was superficial. Back then, I regarded God as one who punished people for their wrongdoings. Thus, my questions. Now, I know that he only allows these oppressions to happen to help us learn from our mistakes and come out even better than before.

I’m blessed to be here and declare that I’ve been in remission for 4 years now and, with God’s grace, am starting to build the future he allowed me to hope for. It has not been one without trials; but since God allowed me to go through the greatest hurdle so far, everything now, I just take in stride. I, and my prayer army composed of my family and friends, just lift it all up to him (while I, of course, still do my best). There have already been countless incidences where I have said, “It is finished.”

Like Jesus, we also have to go through many trials and beatings as we go on proclaiming God’s mighty name. Although these trials may seem unsurpassable at first, we should all remember that God will never lead us where his grace could not keep us. Ultimately, every roadblock we face brings us a step closer to Him and his perfect plan. As the old saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” To that, I add, if it does kill you, never fear, for that means your mission here on earth is complete, and a better, happier life with God is waiting in store for you. By then, we too, would be able to say, “It is finished. I am finished. I am done… complete.”

LET GO Day 1: Renounce

Last night, my dad asked me if I was doing anything today. I said no and he went on to show me the flyer of an event he and my mom were planning to attend this Holy Week. It was one by The Feast Alabang — a 3-day Lenten Recollection entitled, “Let Go”. It was my first time to attend a Feast event, though I’ve been wanting to try it for a while now. Finally, the opportunity had arrived and it was nothing short of fantastic. 🙂 A quick rundown (with pictures!) of the things that happened today:

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Their “builders” (I’m thinking this is what they call their formation leaders) were very much charismatic. 🙂

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They had an Awesome Kids Ministry composed of, well, awesome kids singing and dancing to Jesus Take The Wheel and (surprise, surprise!) Let It Go.

'T'was the cutest! :3
‘T’was the cutest! :3

A familiar face in the form of Fr. Mario Sobrejuanite gave the keynote speech on Renunciation. 

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Some of the awesome lines I picked up from Day 1. I hope they inspire you as much as they have inspired me. 🙂

“Grace builds on nature.” – Bro. Arun Gogna shared how he and his wife had been trying to have a baby for the longest time. After all the prayers and scientific intervention, they decided to just go natural and just continue praying. In his prayers, he said he reminded the Lord that He was a God of miracles; that if He wanted something to happen, despite it defying nature, it would happen. And so it did. Bro. Arun left us with the question: “Would you also defy your nature for your God?

“Most of the time, God doesn’t make sense.” And He doesn’t have to. You just have to trust that He has a magnificent plan for you.

“We can only see a part of the big picture. He sees the whole picture.”

“God is not in the business of giving details.” If He were, we wouldn’t have the need for faith.

“God will not only use the destination, He will also use the journey, so you would learn how to listen and hear.” Hay nako, alam na alam ko na ‘to. LOL.

“One of the dreams I gave up, the Lord is giving to me now.” Somehow similar to a quote P printed out for our 2013 Gansa sleepover: “Sometimes, on the way to your dream, you get lost and find a better one.” One of the statements I can definitely attest to. Sometimes, our plans don’t play out the way we want them to. This doesn’t necessarily mean He doesn’t want it for us or that we are not worthy of it. He knows the desires of our hearts and will never deprive us of what we ask for… just that it might take a while, or it could come in a different form unbeknownst to us until much, much later.

Accurate.
Accurate. (Source: Facebook)

“The usefulness of a cup is in its emptiness.” To prove that point, the speaker had to empty a cup of Starbucks coffee into the trash bin, ergerds. LOL. But it was a great analogy. “Pag wala ka nang laman, dun ka ifi-fill in Lord.” Indeed, if everything just keeps going right in our lives, how will we yearn for something better? How can we appreciate our successes without the trials? How can we feel how the Lord is working within us if we don’t find ourselves in a state of nothingness?

“Emptying is difficult” because it is not in our nature to empty ourselves. “In this world, there is God. Anything else is just STUFF.” Man’s ultimate fear is “to be nothing and have nothing”, so much so that “when we feel we are nothing, we add stuff” (e.g. food, retail therapy, etc.).

Great sinners have greater right and greater claim to God’s mercy.

We must learn to let go and take on a heart like Jesus, which is a heart of compassion.

The focused reading today was the one about Abraham and his son, Isaac. How Abraham had been waiting for a son for so long and when Isaac was finally given to him, after a while, the Lord decided he wanted to take him away. It was, indeed, a good example of renunciation; one that made me tear up as it was being read awhile ago. It reminded me of the time I was sick and how my mother had questioned why God had allowed for it to happen. In one of her prayers, He told her, “Abby was never yours to begin with, I just lent her to you.” I teared up the time my mom told me about His answer. How blessed I was to have been called by name! How blessed I still am to be here to carry out His will!

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” ~ Genesis 22:9-12

Beautiful. 🙂 I am so impassioned right now. Aside from the teachings, I am now also inspired to come up with plans to make something else better. What that something else is shall be revealed in time. But I am definitely excited! 🙂 Day 2 tomorrow!

Sunday Thoughts: Gratitude

Yesterday’s gospel & homily focused on GRATITUDE. I wanted to write a reflection about it but didn’t really know how to start without sounding redundant or all over the place. I haven’t been feeling exceptionally grateful the past few weeks, either, despite the many, many things I am continually blessed with. I don’t know. I guess there have just been so many isolated cases of oppression being thrown at me lately. And just as I was about to lose all hope, here comes God to the rescue. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So I woke up this morning with a dark cloud over my head (and not just because it was raining outside). Keywords: email, hypocrisy, engagement. I hadn’t even gotten out of bed yet when these keywords said GOOD MORNING to me. Seriously. Lesson learned: do not check your email and/or social networking sites so early in the morning.

Things just kept getting better as the day progressed. /sarcasm To the point, in fact, that I had found myself crying out of frustration while listening to Julianne’s song. All my attempts at cheering myself up only lasted a while and my morale was running dangerously low .

I kid you not, this really happened. I got THE CALL I was waiting for while I was playing Ikaw Lang for the nth time. The call I have been waiting for TWO. FREAKIN. WEEKS.

Sad tears turned to happy tears.

And then. AND. THEN. My best friend tweeted this:

Youch. That was a huge slap on the face. Like God was telling me, “Hey! Did I not tell you to trust in me? I haven’t  forgotten. Have you?”

Oh, man, I’m crying again.

Thank You, Lord, for the reminder. I’m sorry if I haven’t exactly been a great example of your never failing love. I know you let me live for a reason. Thank You for reminding me of my purpose and for pulling me right back up, just as I was about to give up. I asked for You to get me back on track and You did. I am not worthy, Lord, but You always show me that I am. Thank You! THANK YOU! My words aren’t enough but THANK YOU! Thank You, as well, for sending the people You have sent to keep me positive and alive to this very day. I pray that You would help me continuously grow in Your love. ♥

Lesson on gratitude? Check.

Thanks for reading this! As a sign of my gratitude, here’s an embarrassing video of me singing Julianne’s Grateful back in 2007 — when I was still awkward and inexperienced performing-wise. LOL. But it’s my favorite song; one that always reminds me to be, well, grateful. 🙂

Desiderata

Many, many centuries later, this poem is still very much relatable. Why do you think that is? Listen and digest.

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

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

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

Perspective

Before anything else, let me just say that I’m still trying to get my blogging mojo back. So if this entry ends up all soupy, please forgive me.

———

On our way home from worship last Tuesday, dad updated me on the current status of our fellow community member and his battle against cancer. He had just found out that night that tito was actually diagnosed with colon cancer and that he had undergone the normal chemo regimen. He’s been fine for months now. “He didn’t need radiation anymore,” dad said, and we went on to discuss my treatment and how it had played out longer than expected.

Quick summary: Originally, my treatment was just supposed to be 6 chemo cycles. When I went for a CT scan on the 6th, things had already changed considerably, but not enough to be cleared; so we went on for 4 more. After the 10th, I had another scan done and nothing had changed. My onco told me he could either a) change my regimen or b) refer me for radiation. We went with B and 3 years and 40 radiation therapy sessions after, here I am, alive and well. 🙂

Anyway, that conversation of ours made me realize a couple things. (Introverted Psych major — can there be a more lethal combo?)

First off, that I had the best doctors ever. Second, that for a survivor, I’m doing a pretty crap job at taking care of myself and living life to the fullest. Third, and most important of all, that I have been acting like a total ditz lately.

So yeah, I realized I’ve been bitching about so many things lately. So many TRIVIAL things, now that I think about it. I’ve asked God so many times already why He has kept me on hold for this long. But then when I stop and reflect on it, hasn’t He already tested my patience and perseverance once? And hadn’t I succeeded? What’s so different this time around? That I’m not sick? That I know I can now take matters into my own hands, since I’m not anymore hanging on for dear life? Hashtag self-burn.

I guess my greatest takeaway here is PERSPECTIVE. Right now, everything’s going fine and dandy, except for maybe two aspects of my life. I don’t really know why I’m complaining — well, actually, yeah I do: I want to become a well-functioning member of society and be the independent woman I claim to be. On the other hand, I have all this time on my hands to work on creative projects and improve myself and chizz. All that, while still getting to eat three full meals a day (and not worrying about having my hard-earned money turn into Koko Krunch).

As human beings, we tend to focus on things that get in the way of us having “the perfect life”. Thus, making us glaze over the million other things that are going right. I’m complaining right now about having to wait for what I want, but if God hadn’t taught me to wait 3 years ago, would I still even be here worrying about this? And hasn’t He already proven so many times in the past that the trials that come my way are all for my benefit?

Perspective. GRATITUDE and perspective. Be thankful for what you have now, appreciate the life you lead, and take things in stride. Be patient and always look on the bright side. Instead of focusing on the trivial problems, focus on the bigger picture. #NotesToSelf

This song played on my iPod immediately after I had experienced something unfortunate the other day. Sharing it with you. Indeed, the answers to life’s questions take time. Things may not be clear now, but they will be soon. 🙂

P.S. Sorry for being so soupy. Hope you’re all doing well!

Photo credit: http://holdeeeeat.wordpress.com

“I will praise You in this storm.”

The Luzon part of the Philippines is currently under the mercy of Typhoon Maring. We’ve been experiencing torrential rains since the weekend and it’s only really today that we’ve felt this sort of calm. Some places are still partially submerged, but otherwise, rain has already pretty much abated.

My church friends and I checked up on each other this morning and discussed how since Ondoy, citizens of the Philippines (Manila, in particular) have been practicing CONSTANT! VIGILANCE! and are now more prepared, less stubborn, and much quicker at enforcing rescue operations. We’re in a (moderately) better place now, figuratively speaking, and everything else after that incident has been taken in stride (at least that’s what I’d like to think).

Anyway, I was going through my Twitter feed when I read this retweet:

Sa sobrang sama kasi ng ugali natin. Ayan, pinaparusahan tayo ni God. :”(

Loosely translated: “God is punishing us now because we’re such terrible people!”

And now I’m typing this blog because this statement just got me so riled up. Now, I’m not claiming to be an expert on Christianity or religion or whatevs, so please know that whatever I type from here on in is based purely on my personal experiences and what I’ve learned while trying to grow in my faith.

I’ve long since let go of the notion that if I do something bad, God will punish me. Or that if I keep doing good, God will NOT punish me. For example: pre-cancer, I’ve always tried to live responsibly and in harmony with other people (sans the momentary bitch fits). I went to mass every Sunday and didn’t receive communion until I’ve confessed all my sins. And yet I got sick with something so deadly. My first question for God then was, “WHY? WHY ME? WHAT HAVE I DONE WRONG TO DESERVE THIS?” And the answer? NOTHING. I’ve done nothing wrong except stress myself out, eat junk food, and totally stave off sleep. But He allowed for it to happen so I would be where I am now (i.e. much more responsible, less tactless, and not so spiritually-empty).

In the time that has passed since then, I’ve learned that God will never give us something that we can not handle. Whatever doesn’t kill us will make us stronger; and if it does kill us, it’s just because we’ve already fulfilled our purpose in the world. You can claim that my faith is blinding me, but I don’t find anything illogical in choosing to stay positive despite all the trials that get thrown my way.

But staying positive, having faith and hope, isn’t the only thing we should be doing. We should also make sure that we ACT accordingly as well. In the case of this storm, we can’t just claim that God is punishing us for our arrogance. This isn’t even God’s fault, but ours! Our country’s infrastructures are already mediocre at best, without the garbage of a million people irresponsibly strewn everywhere, clogging drainage systems. Then there’s the current issue of stolen funds and how it could have been used for the development of said infrastructures… but, you know, one issue at a time.

Point is, all these are but repercussions of our carelessness toward the environment; the world which God created for us to live in. He is not punishing us for being terrible, for He is a wonderful and merciful God; slow to anger, and rich in kindness and compassion!

I asked my dad this before typing this entry: “But doesn’t it say in the bible that God struck down all His enemies and stuff?” And he answered saying, “But that was in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the covenant with God was renewed. When He sent Jesus, everything changed.” I researched about this as well, and I found this on the interwebs:

When Jesus died, he brought into affect the New Covenant.

For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance — now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. – Hebrews 9:15

Since we all live today after the cross, from God’s time-line perspective, we are living in the age of the New Covenant. The new covenant is one where God remembers our sins no more.

“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time,” says the Lord. “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. – Hebrews 10:16-18

Moral of the story? Don’t ever let me read tweets like this ’cause you’re just going to bring out the spiritual activist in me. KIDDING. (Not really.) But no, seriously. Do your part in saving the environment. Clean up! Reduce, reuse, and recycle! Don’t litter! Lessen your carbon footprint! Keep calm and carry on. When able, help those who are in need. Don’t blame God for your inequities. Thank Him for everything else that is going RIGHT in your life.

I admire one of my friends who posted about their house already being flooded and how they had to evacuate to the second floor. Yet she claimed that she was “still blessed”.

We have been made strong enough over the course of a few years to withstand the storms, literal or figurative, in our lives. You’re still tweeting. You’re still reading this blog entry. You’re still alive and able to help others in need. SO DO IT and be thankful for the chance to be able to do it.

On this note, please do check out these links:
Important hashtags for government and media to monitor situations around the metro
Relief response needed from people living in the south

Thank you!

And this concludes my being preachy. I leave you with this very inspiring song. Stay strong, safe, and faithful, my friends.

Sunday Thoughts: Persistence

 And he said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread;for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.”And he answers from within, “Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.” I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.

‘So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’ – Luke 11:1-13 (NRSV)

God has been sending me so many signs the past week. A fortnight prior, I had found myself hopeless in prayer; crying, asking God what exactly He wanted from me and if I should just give up on my dream, seeing as He still hasn’t given it to me.

In church, we had been taught that when we pray, we shouldn’t ask in such a way that we’re giving Him a timeline. Instead, we should pray for what He wants for us and adhere to His timeline. So that’s what I’m doing. Let me just be honest and say that WAITING ON THE LORD IS NOT EASY. It’s so hard, in fact, that I often find myself breaking down out of frustration.

Grabbed from Pinterest
Grabbed from Pinterest

But I don’t think He likes seeing me in a state of utter disarray so, as usual, He went on and sent me messages — through last Thursday’s community teaching on Christian Faith (“How can you claim to have faith and have a hint of fear and doubt at the same time?”) and the past Sunday’s readings (Abraham’s persistence in the First Reading + the passage above). I can practically hear him whispering:

“Trust in me, Abby. I have plans for you and I will give you what you want at exactly the right time.”

“Have faith and persist, my child. Do not tire in asking me for what you need, as I have never tired in seeking you and providing all your needs.”

Konting lambing pa.” (Oh, Lord, You are the only one who can make me do this. LOL.)

When I stop and think about it, though, He never really told me to drop the dream. If He wanted me to, He could have just denied my application then and there. But He gave me a 50% chance, which is even more than what I expected, given the circumstances. Whenever my mom points out that it’s probably not for me, I always tell her that. And every time I pray, I always ask God what He wants for/from me, and nothing new ever comes up.

Imagine this: I’ve sent in applications to five different companies. I had an interview with one of them, didn’t get the position I wanted but was offered another; the four others, never heard from at all. I mean, if He wanted me to be somewhere else, I’m pretty sure I’d be there by now. But I’m not! And it seems like everything I’ve been doing lately has just been in preparation for THIS DREAM.

So I guess that’s it. I have to PERSIST. I have to BELIEVE. I have to TRUST and have FAITH without a hint of doubt. I must always remember that what He does is for my good.

“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

Yes, Lord.

The Blessed Weekend That Was

Last June 14 and 15, our community, the Serviam Catholic Charismatic Community, held its first ever conference at the SMX Convention Center entitled: Servant Leadership in the Year of Faith.

This is a big deal for us because it’s our first big event as a community, which we did on our 10th year anniversary, and on the Year of Faith, no less!

Ribbon cutting!
Ribbon cutting!

I originally did not plan on attending, to be quite honest. The first time this was announced in one of our gatherings, I was already set to go on a trip to Cebu with my girlfriends. As the date drew nearer, though, plans fell through, leaving me with a wide-open schedule. I guess that was God’s way of saying, “Was that exhortation zealous enough for you?” #insidejoke

Anyway, I was part of the registration team along with my other Singles Ministry friends; I was assigned to handle one of the Walk-In Registration booths. The first hour was crazy! Once the booths had been set up, people just came in throngs! (Praise God!) It took a few minutes for and I to get the hang of our responsibilities, but once we did, everything else just ran smoothly from there. A lot of unexpected things happened as well, which made things extra fulfilling, knowing we got to accomplish them with such precision and grace (and a bit of obsessive-compulsiveness, LOL). I guess that was the Spirit working within us. 😀

Hi Barbs!
Hi B!
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Le booth of life!
Le awesome Registration Committee
Le awesome Registration Committee. T and I were too blergh to look up. :))

For the first day of conference, our speakers were Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Msgr. Gerardo Santos, and Selene Yu. They talked about Jesus as our Model Servant Leader, Servant Leadership According to Scripture and in Church Traditions, and Servant Leadership in the Workplace, respectively.

On the second day, we had Cardinal Tagle, Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, Tita Bai delos Reyes, Frank Padilla, and Sr. Consolata Manding, FSP, who talked about Servant Leadership in the Year of Faith and Postmodern Times; and The Servant Leader as Worshipper, in the New Evangelization, and as a Social Communicator.

I didn’t get to listen to the talks on the first day ’cause I had to be at the registration booth, but I was told that the speakers then were all so charismatic (but then again, so were all the speakers on the 2nd day! o_o). We were told about Selene Yu’s talk, though, and how it was relevant to the youth especially, seeing as we are still in the early stages of renewal. I feel kind of bad for not getting to hear it but they’re coming out with a CD copy of the whole conference so *fingers crossed*. 🙂

What I did get to hear was Cardinal Tagle’s talk. He wasn’t actually at the conference, though his spirit was. LOL that sounds so freaky, but only because his talk was in video form ’cause he had to be in Rome at the time of the conference.

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