Tag Archives: Family

18 things I learned this 2018

I skipped my 2017 year-end blog last year because it was too difficult a year to write. Needless to say, I wasn’t well at that time.

I started 2017 up to the early months of 2018 with negative emotions – anger and hatred toward other people. I lived every day nursing an evil thought of feeling superior to anyone else. And it was by God’s will that this translated into frustrations in the household and felt deeply by my loved ones.

LRM_EXPORT_104773380293752_20181103_203732835

My husband – the gracious gift God has bestowed upon me is also His key instrument in changing my life for good. God allowed things to happen so He could help me look within my heart to catch the virus determined to destroy relationships. And sorry for the faint heart, but the light shone on it and found the virus to be the devil.

This 2018 I have:

  1. Struggled with knowing that what people think about me is a reflection of how I see the world.
  2. Learned that it’s better to be kind than to be right.
  3. Learned that faith cannot be imposed on anyone.
  4. Learned that I am not perfect.
  5. Chosen silent cries over angry confrontation.
  6. Learned my role in life.
  7. Changed a few things about myself that resulted in believing that others can change too, in God’s time.
  8. Realized that some things beyond our control are always within God’s control.
  9. Worked on the idea that there’s a possibility that God is absent in our lives because we don’t call on Him.
  10. Realized that I need to work on surrendering everything to Jesus. It’s easy to be rocked when troubles come. I am a work in progress.
  11. Decided that there’s only ONE I aim to impress.
  12. Learned the greatest sermon ever given is found in Matthew Chapter 5-7; this needs to be MEMORIZED to serve as CONSTANT meditation through prayer.
  13. Realized that it’s more important to have a PERSONAL relationship with God than to just know him.
  14. Realized that we need to be warier in practicing our faith in front of others for malicious intent to please people.
  15. That knowledge and faith is NOTHING without ACTION. – still struggling. But praying.
  16. Strengthened the belief “Everything happens for a reason.”
  17. Learned that a true Christian is JOYFUL, gentle and kind.
  18. Acknowledged that when we delight ourselves in the Lord,  He will give us our heart’s desires.

As the year come to a close, I wish for us to ponder on our relationships.

Do we have friends we no longer talk to? Are we carrying any bitterness toward a person who hurt us? Are we consciously avoiding some people whenever we see them in the workplace? Are we deliberately keeping our kids away from our in-laws or parents because they “can’t meddle with our affairs”? Do we spend time with our officemates more than we spend time with our husband or wife? Do we listen to our husband with respect and not belittle their thoughts or ideas? Are we loving our wives enough to the point of considering her feelings above ourselves or anyone else’s? Do we have idols in our heart?

LRM_EXPORT_132530385345090_20181213_185018916.jpeg

Are we divided?

LRM_EXPORT_124210268332041_20181213_152028799.jpeg

LRM_EXPORT_475749959364639_20181203_235740478.jpeg

I have a friend. We’ve been friends since kids. But some 9 years ago, a virus infected my heart, let’s call it pride, which prompted me to believe that I did not need her in my life. And true enough, I’ve had a career, a family, and a son – enjoyed my life as it is – without her friendship.

Some weeks ago, a common event reconnected us. “What were we even thinking! Not talking for 9 years?!” We’re still the same crazy individuals who click together in the idea of fun and humor – like nothing’s changed. Turns out, all that grudge and hurt feelings, and hatred we felt years ago seems so tiny and immature now as we see it. But it still didn’t change the fact that that small seed of hate, caused a decade of missed chances to be a ninang, a friend, a travel companion, or simply a “person to lean on.”

So much laughter, fun, and wisdom from someone who could have been a source of all that, were wasted.

But you know, if you are living a truly Christian life, no amount of sin or imperfection could separate us from the path that Jesus intended for us to walk in. Every broken piece of our life could be restored. Renewed. Made whole again.

LRM_EXPORT_5630957255972_20181216_224628327.jpeg

Christians see everything as “possible.”

First, we need to realise that we have a real enemy. And the enemy is NOT our parents, spouses, bosses or friends.

LRM_EXPORT_358137238370493_20181227_113949378.jpeg

LRM_EXPORT_275401515775401_20181225_185503418.jpeg

LRM_EXPORT_5344138429755_20181121_204255304.jpeg

As humans, we see the world as imperfect, poisoned, decaying and destined to fail. But when we see the world through God’s eyes, we realize our roles and purpose – and that is, to be instruments of light in the world.

LRM_EXPORT_49748040612494_20181218_005502220.jpeg

And when we see the world like this, forgiveness becomes easy. Compassion and humility become our default mode when dealing with people we do not understand. We have a fresh perspective that allows us to search our lives inwardly and find that we are no better than anyone else. But God uses our gifts to serve His purpose.

 

Have a Blessed New 2019!


Word Vs. Work

How many times have we wished for something to happen? “I wish I could lose a few pounds”, “I wish I could have a house of my own”, “I wish for a husband/wife”, “I wish I could change myself but I can’t. I was born this way.”

The truth is, humans by nature wish for the good, if not the best, for their lives. Nobody would wish misfortune upon himself. But the question is,

have we done something about it as much as we’ve prayed for it?

Have we intentionally done something to achieve all our prayers?

That’s when the word “intentional” comes in. But lo, recently, I’ve come to love this not just as a word but as its meaning – “work” that is “done on purpose; deliberate.”

OUR DESIGN

A few months ago, I watched a “top show” by Pastor Joe Mauk, who cleverly used his hobby as a well.. top-spinner, to talk about Jesus Christ.

Capture

And apart from the many messages embedded in his show, one struck me the most. He says, the top symbolizes us, as humans – fearfully and wonderfully made, while the string symbolizes our connection with God – who in turn, pulls the string and moves our lives. The main verb here is move. Because although we were created fearlessly and beautifully, it won’t make sense if we stand there, watching, moreso believing but doing nothing.

WE MOVE FOR ONE PURPOSE

If anything, I have realized that our purpose on earth is not to be served. But to serve. Suddenly, it dawned on me – we are not the entitled millennial we thought we were. We’re not the sheltered people who always have other people look after us. We are not meant to stay in our air-conditioned room watching Netflix or wasting away our days. Instead, we are commanded to serve for the glory of our Creator. 

I’ve realized, that it won’t devalue us if we wash the dishes or sacrifice our “me time” for the people that God entrusted to us to serve. And open your eyes – there are a lot of people who need our love and service. It could start from our homes.

FAITH STIRS ACTION

But hear this, faith comes first before action. For how can we define the things that need to be done without our guide? Without the string that connects us to God, how can we move? Who will pull us?

Faith without action is a lost cause. Some people judge Christians for being hypocrites, and we can’t blame them. Some Christians are only about “real talk” but lack “real walk.” You know what I’m saying?

BEAUTY IN BROKENNESS

Let me be honest, a few weeks ago, I didn’t feel empathy toward others. I had this high sense of self that I feel disconnected from the people around me. Though I am aware of their sufferings – I’d be passive and think there’s nothing I could do. I only cared about myself and the people close to me.

Until God broke me and revealed to me that we need other people as much as they need us. We don’t exist for ourselves alone because we are human. We are meant to ask help in times of our weakness and to offer help in times of our strength.

In the past months, I have donated blood for the first time, held my tongue amid anger and frustration, forgave people while still in pain, held my ground on a God-driven decision that offended a loved one, overlooked minor problems, and was the first to reach out to someone who caused me confusion.

I know that all these are nothing to what others may have experienced in their lifetime but to think that I would never have done these things before speaks a lot about how much I am willing to change myself. To sacrifice my own selfish happiness for the commandment that God has tasked for me.

Some Christians fail to act according to what they hear in Church, despite knowing that they are poor in spirit and despite accepting Christ in their lives. Let’s strive to be unlike that. Let’s turn our words into God’s works, shall we?

INTENTIONAL SERVICE MAY CAUSE UNINTENTIONAL TRANSFORMATION

And hopefully, through our intentional actions, our hearts transform. And instead of wishing only the good things for ourselves, we wish for the best upon others.

Let our prayers then be “I wish my family would be healthy”, “I wish we could have a house filled with love and peace”, “I wish to become the ideal husband/wife”, “I wish I could change the bad things in myself so that I can be a blessing and not a burden to others.”

Talk to me a few months back, and I won’t be able to define what love is. I was confused. Now I learn that love is thinking less about ourselves and more about others – even if it means at our inconvenience. Loving is serving – and it isn’t easy. After all, it requires us to break a sweat and move.

But trust in God’s promise – that if we delight ourselves in Him, He will bless us with all our heart’s desires.

I am thankful that God slowly reveals things to me every day. I know dear reader that this entry may be a bit vague. But I tell you, God will continuously reveal His work in Your life.

Trust His timing. Everything will be perfect.

————

Ask yourself, how can I be intentional for all my goals?

How can I intentionally finish my “to-do” list at work?

How can I intentionally achieve my goals for my family?

How can I intentionally help someone who is hurting?

♥ Jazz

I don’t pray because I don’t want to be a hypocrite

A few weeks ago, my husband had a severe headache that needed medical assistance. I asked for a day off at work so that I can accompany him to the hospital. While we were waiting for our turn, we talked about random things, until our conversation turned into a more in-depth, life-level one. It’s about prayer.

I think that was the time when news about road accidents broke out on television – so naturally, I would often ask my husband to pray each time he drives off to work, or anywhere else.

It was natural for me to offer this advice because growing up as a Christian, I was taught about the power of prayer – the works of God and how it can help us have strength, wisdom, and protection in our daily lives.

And true enough for me, though some of my prayers have not been answered, I can say that it worked in my life. Prayer saved me (or keeps saving me) from going totally insane lol, it has protected relationships, and it’s what keeps me going during dark and emotionally-overwhelming situations. It’s like each time I face a wall or what seems like a cul-de-sac, prayer helps me get over it.

PRAYER IS NOT FOR THE SINLESS

But during our talk, one of my husband’s replies struck me:

“I don’t pray because I don’t want to be a hypocrite.”

My first reaction was ‘surprise.’ I thought, if prayer is not present in the lives of people, then how do they deal with seemingly impossible situations?

But then, later on, I thought, I can’t blame him. I get why he said that. Some people seem prayerful yet lead shitty lives. You know what I’m saying? It’s like seeing someone go out of the church feeling blessed and holy – yet, under the same halo, do not even take time to share blessings to the poor. Or could be someone praying and praising God, yet maltreat other people.

PRAYER IS NOT HYPOCRISY

I get it. But here’s something missing in that kind of thought. Prayer is NOT just for the righteous, sinless, and perfect. Prayer is for everyone – sinners and regular people like you and me.

Prayer is one’s inner voice – call it conscience, soul, etc., that knows the good and the truth, considers the bad you’ve done, and humbles one’s self to ask for forgiveness and guidance.

I know for a fact that I am not good person. I have a short temper and have bouts of rudeness. However, I also know that I am not a bad person. That at the end of the day, I recognize everyone’s struggles and aim for everyone’s blessing and happiness.

I recognize the terrible things I’ve done, the things I need to improve on, my lack of strength, my confusion, and other things that are not ideal in a human life and lift them all up to God in prayer.

Because as a human, I cannot handle things. But relying on a Supreme God, as if by magic, I can.

THE SPIRIT OF ANGER

When I was a child – there was a time when I found myself waking up angry – for no reason at all. I took every little thing as a big thing. I was jealous of my siblings. I hated my parents, as every child would, and I didn’t want to talk to people. I sleep and wake up with a heavy heart. I realized too that I stopped praying.

My lola, a devout Christian, would tell me. “Demonyo yang nasa puso mo. Resist it. Don’t let it stay”

Rebuke-770x475

Funny how in the church we go to in the past, people would often consider every feeling and emotion as a “spirit.” For instance, when you feel angry, they say “Espiritu yan. In Jesus’ name be gone!”

PRAYER MAY SOUND RIDICULOUS

It sounds ridiculous. I mean emotions are perfectly normal human features. But now as a grown woman, it makes sense to treat every emotion as a spirit. Because feelings are fleeting.

At one point, you may get obsessed with being angry at one thing. But tomorrow, you feel less angry and more forgiving. It means that the spirit of anger has left you, and is overcome by the spirit of wellness. Ok, I’d buy that idea.

On another part of the plane, some of us choose to nurse our anger for a long, long time. This is perhaps why some family feuds last for years. Some of us go “bitter” over an event in the past. We choose to let the spirit of anger stay, instead of asking God to rebuke it.

jealous-sister-lollipop

A prayer is a form of resistance.

I remember that during that time in my story when I was a kid, I didn’t want to pray because life felt unfair. Why would I humble myself for the benefit of life? Why?!

But I overcame the spirit of anger. I resisted it. Anger wanted me to lose in life.

So what I did, though I was still angry, was to say a one-sentence prayer before I closed my eyes to sleep. “Lord, tanggalin Niyo po ang galit sa puso ko”. I said it angrily and even cringed at the thought of praying, then went to sleep.

PRAYER EFFECTS MAY BE SUDDEN

But the miracle of God happened when I woke up the next day. SUDDENLY, my heart was not heavy anymore. I began to appreciate the sun peeking through my window. I greeted my parents with a smile – and all of a sudden I felt that they were kinder to me, more attentive to my needs. I felt loved. I destroyed the spirit of anger and felt lighter, happier.

God moves suddenly. He moves swiftly, unexpectedly and without warning. When you least expect, He’ll come shining through! – Karen Peavy

I emphasized the word suddenly – because that is perhaps one of the traits of God’s work in your life. Sometimes, we feel like we’re heading off to hopeless land. We’ve reached rock bottom, and we don’t know what to do.

But when we ask God’s help in prayer, SUDDENLY, miracles happen. Either we find a miracle in a co-worker or a friend willing to help, or we find the inner strength to get through our obstacles. Our fears become less scary, and we see the future with more hope.

This is the kind of effect of prayer that I want my husband and my son to realize and believe in. 

PRAYER DISPELLS FEARS

Sometimes, it’s easy to be rattled by life’s uncertainties and negativities. Debt (who doesn’t have debts?), a stressful situation at the office, bills, family problems, school requirements, societal expectations, and even self-doubt – all these things are rattling and may, at one point in our lives, make us go cray!

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

But I want my loved ones to think, that any problem – big or small – can be lifted up with prayer. Regardless of what you feel at the moment – say a one-liner prayer on anything you need help in – and expect a SUDDEN change – in life, and in your perspective on the situation. Let God help you.

You know what I fear the most, in the absence of prayer? That people resort to hopelessness, suicide, anger, blame, desperation, drugs, and panic. In the absence of God and prayer, we don’t think that there’s any hope at all.

Imagine, people, feeling hopeless about their lives – saying that they cannot pray because they are bad people and that there may be no forgiveness bound their way.

Is that how we want out children to live?

Is this how we want the world to believe?

My husband is a kind man. His heart is gentler, more understanding and empathetic than mine. But I know where he’s coming from. He also knows my goal to raise our children fearing the Lord and knowing how to pray. Together, we aim to be a family that is kind to others, and prayerful.

PRAYER IS CONSTANT

As for myself, I know that my life is constant. Constantly messy, and with me constantly wanting to fix it (lol). I still feel anger and frustrations. So prayer will also be my constant weapon of choice to drive these spirits away.

Let me pray for you. 

May You be blessed with wisdom and discernment. Whatever it is that you are carrying at the moment – be it a problem, anger that has been nursed for a long time, doubt, disbelief, I pray that may you find that humility, that strength to surrender everything to the Lord Jesus Christ. He will take your load and trust that he will solve your problems for you. 

I pray that may we not lose hope in this life. That we realize how our lives matter and that good things are bound our way. I pray that may we all choose right in the face of adversity, and be open to God’s miracles in our lives.

JazzyHappy

** Some photos are not mine.

 

**