Dear Everdearest

10930148_10153030736993630_3156261312143510140_n

These past few days, you are always in my Timehop. It’s like time is telling me to get in touch with you again. Time is reminding me of the good times we once shared and that I shouldn’t let them go into waste. But, I can’t even write a word to you every time I try to. It’s like I am writing to a stranger. I know nothing about you anymore; until one day, I saw an old video clip. I heard your voice after such a very long time. Oh, I never realized how much I miss it until I heard it again. I would like to dial your number so I could hear it more. But then I realized that I don’t have your number saved on my phone anymore. Thinking about it saddens me. The number that was once in my list of favorite contacts is not recorded on my phone book anymore. A sign of total disconnection. But, I wanted to feel you, I wanted to feel what I once felt before, I wanted to feel it again. So, I wore the silver bangle that you gave me long time ago. It still looks beautiful on me. It still wraps my arm perfectly. I look at it with my sunken eyes and I almost teared up as I tell myself “this is what I have left.” not noticing that, just like us, there’s a crack. The next thing I know, it is nearly broken. There’s just a tiny bit of silver that connects it together. I took the courage of removing it from my hand. I pulled each end apart until it broke. I slid it inside my bag. Acceptance.

Somewhere down the road, in between traffic lights, I remembered you. I imagined you standing somewhere in the corner of the street waiting for the traffic light to turn green. Smiling back at me as if you’re saying “Get ready. It’ll turn green in no time.”. I remembered when we first had our moment together, just you and I. You talked, I listened. I talked, you listened. You did most of the talking actually but I didn’t mind because your stories open the door to your world, to who you are. You are this person who gives so much value to experiences, to people and I am amazed by that. But, as the road comes to an end, it gets sadder and sadder each time I take a step because each step brings me towards the night when I first realized that things are not as perfect as they seem. I still went home with you, same road, same night but I am not the same anymore and I have never been the same since then.

I saw the place where we sipped our first cup of coffee. The place where you first held my hand. The place where you first looked into my soul. The place where we talked about our fears. The place where it all started and the place where it all ended. The place where I cried for you for the nth time. The place that I dreaded for so long because I see you in every corner of it. The place that I refused to go back to because it brings good memories and good memories always make me cry. But, that night was different. I passed by it, I stared at it until it disappeared from my sight. I let out a deep sigh then I looked away; away from that place, away from your memories and that moment I knew that I am heading in the right direction.

Missing you,

My Spiritual Dryness Story

I have been too occupied with life the past weeks. I have been busy dealing with stress at work, planning an event, moving to a new house, dealing with life and all its occassional punches, attending activities in the community, dealing with distractions and harrassments, and the list goes on. I do not know if it is necessary, but it took most of my time and energy. These things became my first thoughts in the morning, my last thoughts at night and everything in between. And despite my best and constant effort, I would have to be honest, my prayer life deteriorated a bit. I felt so lost, unmotivated and weary. Yes, I still pray. I always try my best to have a few minutes of quiet time with God. It is a concious effort on my part because I don’t want to go faraway from Him, my source of strength, my Redeemer. But, the quality of my prayer is obviously at its lowest. It makes me sad. But, God is really good. During those weeks that I was busy dealing with the unnecessary things in life, God never failed to remind me to come to Him whenever I feel like I’m losing my track.

Test me, Oh Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I desire to walk continually in Your truth. – Psalm 26:3

The past weeks, though I lost my focus, have been a constant reminder of how important our prayer life is. Everywhere I go, whatever I do, God’s reminder is there. Like a silver lining finding its way for it to be seen to give me a glimpse of hope. I just really have to change my focus in order to see it.

It was our upper household. We had an activty about prayer. Each of us were asked to write our prayers for each day of the week then it will be distributed among us so we could all pray for each other. We are a community of intercessors after all. It is just good to know what others are praying for and it is always a previledge to pray for them. And knowing that they are praying for me too, makes me feel good. That is my most favorite thing about our community. You can be very certain that someone is always praying for you.

Days after, though unprepared and uncertain with the overall posture of my heart, I sent a household invitation to the sisters who are under my household headship. We watched “The War Room”. I have watched that movie a lot of times and I know it is a powerful tool to strengthen a drying spirit. It strengthened mine the first time I watched it and I prayed that it will do the same to my sisters. Very timely; I guess that is exactly what they needed at that time and though I have already seen it several times, that experience is still different. I stayed behind them as they watch the movie. I was silently praying for the movie to serve its purpose and for it to touch their hearts and to remind them of God’s grace, power and goodness. I guess, it did. Praise God.

Lord, teach us how to fight a good fight and help us to recognize the real enemy. – The War Room

But, I can still feel that my spirit is dry.

“Pray hardest when it is the hardest to pray.”, they said.

I have to admitt that it became a struggle. I had to conciously put myself into prayer mode. It makes me sad realizing that I have to put so much effort into praying. But, the important thing is I did not stop. God did not stop. I love our team work.

Then, we were called to attend a general teaching for our formation. It was jumpstarted with a powerful worship; Makahugas-Kaluluwa (Soul Cleansing) as what they described it. I was literally in tears the whole time. I didn’t even know why I was crying. It must be the Holy Spirit who is moving me into tears. To my surprise, the teaching is about Prayer and Intercession. That is not a coincidence. That is God speaking to me. That is God reminding me of what I am forgetting.

I praise God for using people as a bearer of His good news. That night I was reminded that I have to fully surrender myself to the Lord and admitt that I am completely dependent on Him. This battle of spiritual dryness is not for me but for Him. I am relying on God’s grace for me to step out of the deserted island that I am in. That He is my oasis. I am reminded that it is the perfect time for me to humble myself to the Lord.

“Gustung-gusto tayong i-bless ng Panginoon” (The Lord really wants to bless us.), the speaker said.

Who are we to stop God’s blessings?

We just have to ask and we will be heard.

Surrender to His will and we will be blessed.

“The prayer that God wants to answer is the prayer that asks for His will to happen.”

Though empowered, I still feel unworthy to come to Him. But, I know only God can help me.

You need to plead with God to do what only He can do, and you need to get out of the way and let Him do it. – Miss Clara, The War Room

So, I have decided to let God be in charge. Whenever I feel like He is asking me to do something, I would submitt to it even if sometimes I don’t understand why. I would say Yes to every invitation to be in fellowship with Him even if sometimes I find it hard to get dress and step out of the house. I don’t want to miss God’s blessing; it might be what I exactly need. You’ll never know until you open your heart to it. Even if I am struggling inside (and nobody knows), I kept my heart open. I just cooperated with God because I know that He will win this battle for me if I will only let Him.

I thank God for allowing me to go through a season of dryness.

I thank God for giving me the courage to admitt to myself that I am running dry. After all, being able to feel and acknowledge our dryness is a gift from God.

Let’s see it as God’s way of calling us to be closer to Him. To seek Him more than we ever did before. To desire Him with our whole heart. To pursue Him and to be available to be filled by His spirit. It is much worse if we do not recognize that we are becoming dry. I once read somewhere, I have come to realize that the real tragedy in the church is not spiritual famine: it is famine without hunger, dryness without thirst.” I couldn’t agree more.

I thank God for giving me the chance to actually feel my spiritual dryness without dwelling on it. I thank God  for the wisdom He has given me to fight it. I thank God for sending me angels on earth to enlightern and encourage me. I thank God for every pep talk that I had with people who saved me before I fall into self destruction and I thank myself for truly listening. I thank God for the time He has blessed me with to just feel it without getting exhausted by it. I thank God for reminding me that it is okay to rest but I shouldn’t stop. I thank God for the gift of prayer. But most of all, I thank God for guiding my every step to the Oasis that He is. After all, He is the only one who can refill me. Without Him, I am nothing. He is the only one who can cover our leakage that causes us to feel dry.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

I thank God for disturbing me. It is the only way to lead me back to Him, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1

My prayer life has never been better. Even if I feel so burnt out at times, I still find myself being cradled by God in my solemn moments of prayer. He continuously teaches me to fully surrender to Him even if my stubborn heart tells me that this is not the way it should be. Humble obedience. My heart is still at peace that no matter how many times I feel dry, I will never run out of God’s love, grace and mercy.

“Lord, empty me so that I may be filled again. Less of me and more of you.” <3

Trusting You,

Lord, I am Tired

Lord, I am tired and confused.

I need You.

Lord, my soul is weary.

I need You.

Lord, I feel burdened.

I need You.

Lord, I’m at the tip of exhaustion.

I need You.

Lord, there is too much going on in my life right now.

I need You.

I need You at all times.

Sometimes, I want to ask “why does it have to be so hard?”

“How long will it be like this?”

But before I even give up, You assured me.

Things may be hard…

S0Rrq

Today, I admit my complete dependence on You and You alone for strength.

The strength to carry on.

The strength to pull off a smile.

Today, I declare that I can’t do this on my own.

Fight this battle for me.

At the same time, I pray for courage.

The courage to do the things I have been putting off for so long.

Also, I pray for wisdom.

The wisdom to affirm whether I’m doing things right.

Lord, I pray that my decisions are aligned to Your will.

I thank You for the love that sustained me on my worse years.

I am counting on You now.

I know You got my back.

I may be weak; but, You are strong.

This is me, humbling myself and coming to You for refuge.

Let me sleep on Your lap tonight.

Because no matter how many trials I may have survived,

The warrior is still a child.

May tomorrow be a brighter day.

You are all I need.

All is well.

Just like what You have promised.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

Trusting You,

High Standards In Love

A video of Filipina actress Jodi Sta. Maria, went viral on social media. She said,

“We should never apologize for having high standards in love, because the right man, or the man who really wants to be in your life will rise up to meet those standards.” – Jodi Sta. Maria

How did Jodi know what I was thinking? She picked the right words to explain it well and I hope people understood it very well. It could not have been said better.

Most of us experienced playing with Barbie and Ken and at a very young age, we were exposed to the idea of love. I grew up playing with “The Sims” as well and have watched my Sims build their own home and family. Since then, I have dreamt of having my own family someday. I have pictured it out in my head the kind of wedding I would have and the kind of home I would build. I carried those wedding fantasies in my head as I grow older.

Now that I am at a marrying age and when all my friends and cousins are getting engaged or married, people would  ask me all the freakin’ time how come I am not married or why I am not in a relationship. It is actually tiring to explain everytime someone would ask. Truth is, I think I don’t really have to explain myself to anyone. But for their own peace of mind, I always try to. But still, some people have made their own conclusions. Some would say maybe I have high standards or that I am choosy. Some would make speculations such as maybe I am a man hater or worse, I am a lesbian. They talk about it as if being one is a crime and as if they know you so well. I would tell them that none of those is the reason to why I am still single. They wouldn’t believe me, and would start telling me things like “You are not getting any younger.”, “It will be hard for you to give birth after 30.”, “You have to find someone you can spend the rest of your life with.” and the list goes on as if they are trying to scare me so that I would settle down right away. As if it is that easy.

Who doesn’t want to find someone who they can spend the rest of their life with? To have that constant person that you can annoy and love for the rest of your days or atleast someone to cuddle with on rainy days. Who doesn’t want cute mini versions of themselves? Who doesn’t want to have that wonderful wedding and an even wonderful Christ-centered marriage? I never know anyone who never prayed for these. It is everyone’s heart’s desire.

But, God delays the love story of some sometimes. Good thing or bad thing; Only God knows. Sometimes He delays it because we are yet to accomplish a different mission in life first before He gives us away to the man He prepared for us. Sometimes He delays it to save us from the wrong one. Sometimes He delays it until we realize who we really are and what we want to do. He delays it for a reason. Someday, everything will make sense. All I know is He delays it for our own good. We may not understand it or there will be days that we might find it hard to wait for God’s time that sometimes, we would do things our way. We will refuse to take the narrow gate and we will start making our own decisions and moves. We will start taking advantage of the free will that has been given to us. Chances are we will have our hearts broken. And when we end up heartbroken, we will turn to God like a child and would pray for the heartaches to go away. Do not be deceived by the earthly gifts people offer you or the flowery words that they feed your ear or by different ways that they try to impress you. Sure, having those romantic dates and having someone to have and to hold sound like a good idea; But, a wrong person will always be a wrong person. Be careful who you give your heart to.

In Proverbs 19:21, it says: “Many are the plans in man’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”. God promised us a future that is full of hope.God never breaks a promise and only God has the power to fulfill this promise. You can fall in love to the next guy who will tell you he likes you or the first guy who will give you butterflies in your stomach; You can fall in love with your dream guy but if your dream guy is not God’s guy, he will be just like any other guy. Never rush. Trust God’s timing. Do not listen to what the world tells you. Just keep praying for it. “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4).

Do not be bothered if they criticize you for having high standards or if they question your stand in love. None of them matters. At the end of the day, it will be God who will tell you to open your heart because He has sent the one. He knows you are ready. You’ll know it, not by having butterflies in your stomach or a huge smile plastered on your face. God will unfold His plan for you in the most amazing way. (Thinking about it makes me look forward to the future.)

May we find the joy in waiting for that magical moment and not be affected by the opinions of the world. While waiting, may we learn to pray more, hope more and to love more. May we focus on understanding ourselves and in preparing ourselves to be the best person to the person that God will give us as His precious gift. May we look forward to our love story that is not forced; a love story that is written by the author of all. In Nikki Gil’s words “gradual but consistent”.

I once asked an officemate, “Kuya, paano mo ba malalaman if nakita mo na si The One?” (Brother, how would you know if you have found The One?). His answer left me astonished. “Basta dapat yung mamahalin mo, yung mas mahal si Lord kesa sayo.” (If ever you will love someone, you should love someone who loves God more than you.) Because a guy who loves God more than you will always put God first and a guy who puts God first will be scared to hurt you.

Now ladies, this I tell you. Your standards are high not because you want a guy with a good job, a fat bank account, a luxurious car, good looks and a good body. Your standards are high because you pray for a guy who loves God more than anyone, a guy who prays with/for you, a guy who serves God with you, a guy who believes that you are a precious gift from God. A guy who treats you like a precious jewel because he believes that nothing can be compared to you. A guy who waited joyfully on the Lord just like you. A guy who can maintain a good conversation with you. A guy who can make you smile without you knowing it. A guy who doesn’t have to try hard just to impress you. A guy who have learned to love their mother before he decides to love any girl. Whoever thinks that these are high standards are probably those whose standards are low. So, never apologize for having high standards. Because  one day, you will be thankful that you have set your standards according to God’s promises to you.

b4d6861dbca3bda7a87c764edbb9e7a4

If I will be asked again why I am still single, it is not because I am choosy or because noone has the courage to tell me they like me; It is because God is still preparing both of us to be the “perfect” person for each other.

I strongly believe that someday, I would wake up and watch the sunrise next to the guy who don’t just gives me butterflies in my stomach, but with the guy who who will stand by me and pray with me until the sunset of our lives. I know he is just somewhere out there waiting for God’s go signal too. Once the light turns green, we’ll find our way to each other. For now, I will focus on my journey of knowing God more, of having God in my heart so whoever loves me has to find God first in order to win my heart. <3

I am God’s princess after all.

Much love,

The Unneccessary

I had undergone appendectomy when I was 12. I was shaking my head when I found out that we don’t really need an appendix to survive in this world. I mean, hello, it has been more than a decade since I lost mine and here I am, still breathing. It almost killed me and to find out that it is actually unneccessary makes me want to cry. But, seriously, why do we keep unneccessary things in life that can harm us?

I have been doing a reevaluation of myself and been asking myself lately how much of what weighs me down is not mine to carry. By doing this, I came to a realization that there are a lot of unneccessary things in my life. The unneccessary number of unused notebooks in my drawers and on my shelves, unneccessary pile of clothes that I can’t give away even if they don’t fit me anymore just because of its sentimental value (I still have that OshKosh B’gosh shirt my grandma bought for me when I was 10), the stuffed animals that I promised to let go of because I told myself I will try to mature a little bit, the stock of dried fish inside the fridge that I don’t even cook, and the unneccessary heartaches I deal with every day for different various causes and reasons. So many unneccessary things, God knows what else.

I have a tendency to be really hard on myself. I like torturing my poor mind and heart by overthinking things that I am not even supposed to think about. Even the simple dilemma of choosing what to eat for lunch stresses me out. Believe me; it sucks to be me sometimes. But, that is just how it is; that is just how I am.

I do not know if that is good or bad but I believe that these unneccessary things are essential for growth and survival. I strongly believe that life is a constant battle. We can’t always stay on the safe side of everything. In Meredith Grey’s words:

Pain. You just have to ride it out, hope it goes away on its on. Hope the wound that caused it heals. There are no solutions, no easy answers. You just breathe deep and wait for it to subside. Most of the time pain can be managed, but sometimes the pain gets you when you least expect it, hits way below the belt and doesn’t let up. Pain. You just have to fight through it, because the truth is you can’t outrun it… And life always makes more.

But, as essential as it is, it could be tiring at times. It can take away the best of you. It can drown you in all the negative emotions and even if you are a great swimmer, it will be hard for you to save yourself. It can steal your attention from the things in life that truly matter. It will consume you up to the last happy cell in your body. Thus, you will succumb into it and will lose all your ability to cheer yourself up. Eventually, you’re going to make yourself believe that the world is ganging up on you so you will shut everyone out. In the end, you will realize that these unneccessary things are putting so much weight on your shoulder that even on a bright day like today, you can still feel a little down and not even your comfort food can cheer you up.

Now, tell me how is it really possible for us not to mind the unnecessary things in our lives such as pain? or heartaches? As what they say, pain demands to be felt. So if it hurts you, deal with it. If it consumes you, save yourself because noone is gonna do it for you. If it steals your joy, get back up and take it back. You have to fight against it. You have to fight for it. These things may be unnecessary but they are powerful. But, you gotta show the world who’s the best. The boss is you. You are the master of your emotions.

The unnecesarry notebooks on my shelves, I can use them someday. The pile of unnecessary clothes, I can give them all away. The unnecessary stress, I can deal with them. The unnecessary heartaches, I’ll say goodbye to them one day. Because, to be honest, these unnecessary things make you who your are. Embrace the unnecessary.

Be strong and have courage, my dear heart. <3 This might be a harsh world but you’ll get by.

deba6386fdec6508d90dffc1a66fe05d

Happiness

That Friday was one of the most exhausting Fridays I’ve had so far since 2016 started. I went straight to an activity right after a sleepover; which isn’t really a sleepover because I didn’t sleep. I was half awake the whole night trying to put myself to sleep while trapped inside a blanket between my sisters and the next thing I know, the alarm was coming off. It was 5:15 AM and whether I like it or not and whether I was asleep or not, I have to wake up. So, I did.

My day started from there. Spent almost a day in a community activity then went straight to attend another activity which lasted until 9:00 PM. In short, my energy level is close to zero. I just sat down on the floor the entire time while waiting for my friends to finish so we could all attend our friends’ exhibition. I remember falling asleep while waiting. Slept inside the cab and woke up realizing that we couldn’t make it to the exhibition because we don’t have enough time. We decided to just go to a friend’s house and to just stay there until we regain a little amount of energy to go home. We were all tired and quite sad because things didn’t go as planned. Our restless selves ended up inside our friend’s living room. Each of us seated on almost every chair in the room not even saying a word.Until a bright idea popped in our heads, the next thing we know, we were ordering pizza. Once the pizza came, we were on beast mode. That was stress eating at its finest. I don’t know what we’re up to that time. All I know is that we are happy. We are exhausted but we are happy. And in that moment, that is all that matters. The room slowly started to be filled with laughter. We’re actually laughing over silly things. We laughed until our stomachs hurt. We laugh at ourselves. We laughed until we couldn’t laugh anymore. Nothing is better than that.

happiness-is-priceless-motivational-quote

Then we realized, we haven’t done that in a while. It feels so good to be able to do it again. We all managed to go to our friends’ exhibition the following day. A lot of expensive jewelries and watches were showcased in the exhibition. Some cost way too much. Do people actually buy stuff as expensive as that? Yes. Because some people just have too much. Then, we realized how expensive their happiness could be. And, are they even happy? They seem like they have everything but do they, really?  They can buy all these fancy stuff. They can buy literally everything they want. They can buy ten times, or even more, of the things that we want. It would take us a few months or even years to buy something that they can buy in a snap. What a wonderful life, we thought. But, are they really happy? Do they go home happy to their million dollar home and to their fancy things in the house, lay in their comfortable bed, but do they really sleep smiling? I don’t judge wealthy people but it makes me think, are they really happy? Will I be happy if I was able to get everything I want? Then, I remember that night with friends. The laughter echoes in my head as we boomerang-ed ourselves. I remember the joy on our faces when the doorbell rang and the pizza delivery man appeared right before our very eyes. The twinkle in our eyes the moment we opened the pizza box and smelled the pizza that is waiting for us; and the sound of satisfaction and relief the moment we finished everything. That very moment I thought to myself, all of us in that room doesn’t have everything in life, some are even struggling, but we are happy. Happiness is indeed priceless. I pray that everybody can get a taste of happiness; the most genuine kind. The kind of happiness that brings joy in our hearts. <3

Prayer:

Lord, teach us to find happiness in simple things; Laughing with friends, accomplishing a simple task at work, laughing at our silly selves, smiles from our family, eating our favorite food, having a restful sleep. May we be able to radiate joy to others because of the joy that you planted in our hearts. May we be contented with what we have instead of feeling sorry for what we don’t have. May we have more priceless moments with the people we love.  May we find the real joy and happiness in You; the only source of joy, the only one who can fill the emptiness in us. Amen.

 

LOVE

Most days go by like any other day. But there are days – like Valentine’s Day- when people focus so much on looking happy. They focus so much on hearts, flowers, teddy bears, chocolates, cards and other surprises and sweet nothings just because it is heart’s day. The day when people expect the whole town to be painted in red. When everybody is pressured to look happiest showing off the bouquet of flowers which they received from their significant others on every social media account they have. When most single people feel a little pinch in their hearts whenever they look at their flowerless selves in the mirror and whenever they see happy couples anywhere.When supermarkets run out of chocolates and flowers to sell just because people think that is what that day is all about.

My friends and I went out to eat right after the mass; Restaurants are packed with people. It is good to see representations of love everywhere. Romantic love, love for family and in our case, love for friends. I remember a friend praying before we eat telling that God’s love is enough for us even if we are *chokes a little* single. Then I had a flashback of previous Valentine’s Days. I never really experienced anything romantic on any Valentine’s Day of my life. I never woke up with a bouquet of roses on my table; I never had a surprise Valentine date; I never received a box full of my favorite chocolates or got serenaded with heartwarming songs. I never got excited for Valentine’s Day but I never got sad either. Why would I be sad? Why would I feel sorry for myself? Every Valentine’s Day of my life, I am always surrounded with love from people who love me more than a lover can. Yes, I won’t be a hypocrite and deny the fact that sometimes I wonder how it feels like to experience stuff that other people experience on that day. Sometimes I daydream about waking up with little surprises from someone who loves me; I daydream about cuddling in bed watching RomComs or just keeping the TV open but not really caring about it because cuddling is enough. But, just because this isn’t happening doesn’t mean that my days are meaningless. I mean, I am okay with how I spend my Valentine’s Day. I still feel loved anyway. In fact, this year’s Valentines has been awesome because I have awesome people in my life that even if a hand drawn flower on a post it note and sweet candies are all I got, they are enough to paint a smile in my heart.

In our community, we call our significant others “GG” which stands for God’s Gift and I strongly believe that it is called God’s Gift for a reason. From its literal meaning; a gift from God. Back in 2006, I remember writing a blog post about solitude and how not having a boyfriend doesn’t affect me. Ten years later, here I am now, writing this and staying true to my words. As much as I would love to have one at this point in time, I can still enjoy my solitude. I still have no problem doing things for myself, on my own. I have no problem not receiving goodmorning/goodnight messages with all the romantic emoji’s. I have no problem not having someone to tell me i love you in the most random time of the day because I know that no matter what’s going on, I am loved. I still don’t think that it’s sad to celebrate Valentine’s Day with friends. It doesn’t make me less of a person just because of my relationship status. There are lonely days but it is not a lonely life. Love is not something we can wish from our fairy godmother and will be ours once she waves her magic wand. People nowadays focus so much on this. It bothers me how some people made romantic love as something that could make their existence complete. Don’t get me wrong, I also believe that love is a wonderful thing and everybody has the right to experience it; the butterflies in the stomach, the sleepless kilig nights and the natural glow of being in love. The joy of finding The One. The joy of receiving God’s gift. The gift that we prayed for.

But, what if despite our best effort and relentless prayer, we might not receive that precious gift? let alone end up with the man/woman of our dreams? Would that be okay? For this I pray; I pray that we can all let go of the part of us that forces romance to happen. I wish we can have fun like we used to in our favorite places without overthinking that maybe The One is just around the corner.I pray that we can silence the part of us that tells us that (romantic) love is all we need. I pray that we can learn to love ourselves instead of being too hard on ourselves because we don’t have that special someone until now. I pray that we can overcome pressure from people that tell us that we’re too old so we have to settle. I wish we can prove to everyone that being single is way better than being in a miserable relationship and I wish that by doing that, we fall in love slowly, deeply, passionately and gently with ourselves. I pray that we can ignore the little voices in our head that tell us that we are not enough or that something is wrong with us. I pray that we will be okay while waiting for God to deliver His gift. I pray that we will find joy, hope and patience in waiting because, I assure you, it will be worth it.

Love has become so underrated these days. Love slowly becomes a status symbol. I still believe that love is not measured by the butterflies in our stomach or the number  of roses we get on special days. Our relationship status on Facebook does not define us. Love is already planted in our hearts. We just have to let it bloom on its most perfect time; in God’s time. Love is not generic. Love comes in all forms. Let’s undo the times that we thought that love is everything. Let’s be the best version of ourselves while waiting for God’s best. Let God prune you and prepare you to be the right person someone deserves. And in the process of waiting, please know that you are also worth the wait.

perfectlove

BELATED HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! <3

Birthday Love Tank

I guess as we grow older, birthdays become ordinary. You don’t get that special feeling as the day approaches because you know that birthdays are not different than any other day. Unlike when we were kids, we don’t excitedly wake up and expect to get the present that we have been begging our parents for or to blow and have our favorite chocolate cake for breakfast. We don’t expect people to be extra nice to us because it is our birthday. We don’t look forward in wearing our birthday dress at school. We just don’t get too excited about it anymore. It lost all its magic. Period.

On the morning of my birthday, I woke up not realizing that it’s my birthday. I dragged myself out of bed and unwillingly walked towards the bathroom to take a bath. I still don’t remember that it was my birthday; until my housemate told me that there is something on our doorsteps and he thinks it is for me. To my surprise, friends dropped by our house and left some surprises on our doorsteps.

12096455_10153657055308630_6830185182603593736_n

That is when it sinks in: It’s my birthday! 🙂 What I thought would be an ordinary day became more and more special every minute. Greetings from friends all over the world flooded my social media accounts. I see my face every time I open Facebook. Everyone sending out their love for me in any possible way. I couldn’t help but feel loved. Because I am an adult now, I don’t get to have a birthday off so I just spent most of my day in the office replying to every birthday greeting that comes my way.

I went straight to the church the moment I got off from work. Our company driver offered me a ride. I solemnly celebrated the Holy Mass alone. I thanked God for all the love and blessings that I have received that day. My heart is at peace. There is no better way to celebrate my day than to have a date with the one who gave me life.

11954594_10153576994078630_2486783417104775708_n

After my birthday date with God, I accompanied a friend to hunt for the perfect shoes for her mission trip to Africa. We went to Souq (Market) and my friend kept on telling everyone we talk to that it is my birthday. I received tons of greeting from strangers. It was still a little bit hot that night. I grabbed the nearest carton and use it as a fan to ease the uncomfortable feeling that I have due to sweating. Before we left the store, one of the guys who works there handed me a cute little pink fan as a birthday present. For some reasons, i was extra appreciative on that day. I guess it’s a conscious effort to be happy. After finding the perfect pair of shoes, we went straight to the birthday dinner that my friends arranged for me. We already passed the stage of birthday surprises but friends still managed to surprise me in their smallest ways. We picked two of our friends from their house, when they got in the taxi they immediately handed me a bouquet of flowers and greeted me a happy birthday. When we got into the restaurant and handed the taxi driver the money for our taxi fare, he refused to get it. “You don’t need to pay because it’s your birthday. Happy Birthday. Have a nice life. God bless you!” he said. My heart melted. Faith to humanity restored! How can someone who earns a little give a portion of what he has to a stranger just because it is her birthday? My heart is smiling. I didn’t accept his gift but I made sure to let him know that I appreciate it a lot. “God bless you!”; I told him before we shut the taxi door close. I mean it. May God bless the selfless people.

2

The birthday dinner was awesome as always. It wasn’t an extravagant celebration but sharing that moment with your family away from home made it extra special. We just talked about life, laughed at life over pinakbet, lechong kawali and sisig. I don’t know what did I do to deserve all the amazing people in my life. I must have done something right to deserve all the love. But, one thing is for sure, God loves me so He blessed me with everyone/everything I have in my life right now. I felt so loved; not just because it’s my birthday but because I truly am. I am God’s beloved. I am God’s masterpiece.

IMG_6071

Birthday 2015.

Thank You, Lord, for the gift of life. May everything I do bring glory to you. Thank You, family and friends, for the love. <3

“I AM”

“Lord, in times of doubt, please assure me.” I uttered while Iying in bed last night. Just like the other days, I felt a little bit down and quite doubtful last night. I don’t know if I am just plain tired and unmotivated but little voices in my head are whispering some words of doubts; Telling me that the things on my plate right now are too much for me to handle. As much as I don’t want to, they won. In the middle of my battle with the little voices and while I was staring blankly at the ceiling, my alarm went off. “Prayer Time”, it says. I planned to click on the snooze button because I felt like I am not in the mood for prayer. My concentration wasn’t at its best at that moment. But then, I reminded myself about the commitment I made with the Lord and my prayer buddy. I managed to sit; reached for the cross on my bed side table that I usually hold whenever I pray and took a hold of Our Daily Bread. I remember someone telling us that when we pray, we should give God the time to talk to us, to answer our prayer/questions. “Talk to me God. Tell me what you want me to know.”, I said and I had a moment of silence before I proceeded with my prayer, I opened Our Daily Bread. I was literally in tears as I read the reading for that day.

Even when we question our ability to do what God asked us to do, He can be trusted. Our shortcomings are less important than God’s sufficiency. When we ask, “Who am I?” we can remember that God said “I AM”. – Jennifer Benson Schuldt

During the time that I was questioning my effectiveness and adequacy, God came in to the rescue. God reminded me of my faith that will help me to do everything that He asks me to do. Because He will go with me wherever He sends me. It is just very comforting to know that God is fighting my battles with me. Life says “You can’t!”; I say “Bring it on!”. His grace is sufficient. His embrace is all I need. God is truly enough for me.

I ended my prayer. I smiled to God and I knew He smiled back at me. 😀

Solace

Picture1August has been a month of testing my limits; checking how far I can go. I came to a point that I am physically, emotionally and even spiritually weak. I made myself believe that all is well. But, it wasn’t. There have been days that I have to drag myself out of bed. Opening my eyes in the morning became such a chore. Surviving a hard day’s work requires extra effort. I also became extra emotional; everything affects me. I became a little monster for a time at work; shouting at every irate callers  and throwing an impatient look at every colleague who will joke with me the wrong way. (Sorry, guys.)

“The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Matthew 26:41. Rest and sleep deprivation got the best of me. Unintentionally missing prayer time because of sleep; Intentionally missing prayer time because I can’t focus. I feel ashamed of turning to God with my unfocused self so I usually end up hugging my little cross; trusting that God knows and hears my prayer even before I voice them out. This results to waking up guilty the next morning after realizing that I fell asleep while trying to pray. Days passed. I craved for solace. I craved for a worthy prayer. I craved for a genuine moment with God with no distractions. I knew right there and then that I am about to experience spiritual dryness and I know that I have to do something about it. I asked help from friends and I am so blessed to have people who will never deprive me of spiritual recharge (You know who you are.). We prayed in group. A friend prayed for me. I cried to the Lord. He heard me. My heart grew lighter and lighter and lighter. It feels like I finally found the oasis in my deserted heart. I feel like a dying plant that has been watered by my own tears. That day, I was reminded that God isn’t finished yet. He will renew us when our body and spirit weaken. I went home smiling.

But, yeah, God isn’t finished yet. He still has some work to do. I was, once again, became too occupied and busy with a lot of stuff for the past weeks that I never really had the time to contemplate and to do an examination of conscience until last Wednesday, our schedule for confession. I’ve been reminding my sisters to prepare for the confession and to free their schedule so we could confess altogether in preparation for the pray over session on Friday (Will post something about this on my future posts). With very little time to rest, I am usually knocked out the moment I dive into my bed for a short moment of slumber. I knew the confession will require a conscious effort on my part because I wasn’t ready yet. But, God guided me the moment I reached the church. Before lining up for the confession, I took a short moment with God. I knelt and prayed for guidance as I humble myself to ask for His forgiveness. I asked Him to give me the courage to be honest to myself and to admit that I have done so many wrong things in life. I asked Him to lead me as I confess my wrongdoings. I took a deep breath before standing up and before lining up together with other people who longs for God’s mercy and forgiveness.

When my turn comes, I knelt down and started my confession with the usual “Forgive me Father for I have sinned…”. No words came out. I choked with my own words. I opened my eyes and nothing was clear. All I see is a blur. I feel like everything around me is turning. I took a deep breath, calmed myself down and uttered a simple prayer in my head “Help me, Lord.”. I can feel myself holding back from confessing everything. I examined my past and present sins the best that I could and expressed sincere regret. I ran out of words which forced me to say “That’s all Father.”. I am forgiven; The Priest said. I claimed forgiveness. I went out of the booth and knelt in front of the crucifix at the church; face to face with Jesus again. Jesus Christ, the man who endured all the sufferings and torture because of our sins, is there on the cross bruised and battered. I was sobbing hard. I asked God to guide me as I repent. I asked Him to cleanse and purify my heart because I know for a fact that only Him can do this for me. I confessed my sins all over again to Him. Completely honest this time. No holding back. No filter. This time, it felt more real. It felt more relieving. I cried my heart out to Him. The forgiveness that the Priest had given me echoes in my head. I am forgiven. Yes, I am forgiven even before I asked for it. His mercy and love endure forever. I proceeded to doing my penance and sealed it with “In Jesus’ mighty Name, Amen.”

God knows everything. We cannot really hide anything from Him and He is always willing to grant us the forgiveness that we are sincerely asking for. But, the confession is such a wonderful gift. It gives us something real, something tangible to better feel the weight of our sins and to better feel the glory of His love and mercy.

That night, I was refreshed and renewed. The weight on my shoulders and in my heart had been lifted up. I found clarity in my confusion. I found solace. I found peace.

“Confession. Jesus is there and He receives you with so much love. Do not be afraid of confession. One who is in line to confess himself feels all these things – even shame – but then, when he finishes confessing, he leaves free, great, beautiful, forgiven, happy. And this is the beauty of Confession.” – Pope Francis

Dear my child,

Nothing you confess can make me love you less.

Love,

Jesus.

Thank You, Lord, for sustaining me physically, emotionally and spiritually. You already know this but I just wanna say it again, out loud, I LOVE YOU. <3