Stranded at Home

In the first place, even machines need periodic breaks to function well. So if you have a chance to rest, kahit gaano kaikli, grab the opportunity.

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Para sa mga kabatch ko na nangangapa sa adulting phase kagaya ko, hindi ba sobrang rare moment na mag-stay sa bahay nang tatlong araw straight? Maliban na lang siguro kung work at home ka or nasa season nang pagpapahinga, pero para sa majority, luxury na ang makapagpahinga nang matagal-tagal.

Maganda nga sana kung pure relaxation, kaso stressful ang staycation ko sa bahay. Umatake kasi yung gouty arthritis ko, and it literally had me limping for three days! As of writing, my left foot is still hurting at ang dami kong errands, meetings and things to do na hindi na nabigyan ng attention. Still, grateful pa rin ako kasi I am given a very reasonable excuse to stay at home and sleep for longer hours kahit paano.

I want to grab the opportunity to write a lot but writer’s block got in the way. Kaya ayun, I am just trying to squeeze out whatever I can write about. Namiss ko ang wordpress, masyado akong natuwa sa approval ng Adsense ko na after ilang buwan ay kumita na ng $0.02 hahaha! Pero ok lang, simpleng motivation lang naman. Sabi ko naman sa sarili ko I am writing not for money but as a personal ministry. Pero kung kikita on the side, baka naman. Hahaha!

Anyway, I am trying to learn from this pain. I recognize that because of lack of discipline kaya may gout attack na naman ako. Napuruhan yata sa Yakiniku. But still, I have gleaned noteworthy things from my painful season:

Kung ano pa ang gusto mo, yun pa ang magbibigay sakit sayo.

I am talking about food, pero sige na nga, pwede na rin sa relationship. Gustong-gusto natin yung nasasatisfy ang cravings natin, nakukuha natin ang gusto natin, but left unchecked, ito rin ang magbibigay sa atin ng sakit. Kaya hinay-hinay lang. Hindi lahat ng gusto mo ay puro ligaya ang balik sayo. Learn to control your appetite, learn to discipline yourself.

You can never be totally independent. Kailangan mo ng tulong ng iba.

One thing I appreciate sa ilang araw kong pagpapahinga ay ang total dependence ko sa mga kasama ko sa bahay. Hindi ako makagawa ng ilang gawaing bahay dahil hindi ko maituon ang paa ko sa sobrang sakit. Ni hindi ako makaikot sa bahay. As a result, kahit nakakahiya, they do all the chores na dapat ay natutulungan ko sila. I can’t imagine kung ako lang mag-isa. Perks of living with your parents. Hahaha!

Take care of your body, walang available na replacement.

Natatawa, nalulungkot at nasasaktan at the same time dahil ang mobility ay pagtalon-talon na parang naglalaro ng step-no. Hirap akong magbihis, hirap akong tumayo man lang na matagal, hirap din gawin ang ilang personal necessities. Isang paa lang ito, at di ko maimagine yung mga taong may permanent disabilities! Sobrang hirap pala talaga. Kaya matuto tayong alagaan ang katawan natin, huwag abusuhin.

Grab any pocket of rest available and your body will thank you for it.

To many, being an adult means being on the go non-stop, at nalilimutan natin na hindi nga pala tayo makina para magfunction nang tuloy-tuloy even with a fuel (salary, presence of friends, personal motivations). In the first place, even machines need periodic breaks to function well. So if you have a chance to rest, kahit gaano kaikli, grab the opportunity. Then you will be recharged physically and you will be able to conquer greater height after.

To be honest hindi ko alam ang magiging pakiramdam ko dahil sa unplanned staycation ko sa bahay. Napaka-unfortunate reason naman na dahil sa namamagang paa kaya ako napwersang magpahinga, pero still, salamat na rin kasi I don’t have a reason not to. Masaya rin ang magbakasyon sa bahay, kasama ng pamilya, at bumawi ng tulog. Para sa mga tulad kong nangangapa pa rin sa pagiging adult, I believe this is priceless.

Wanting Season | Waiting Season

The vessel must first be prepared before the water is poured out. Twenty five years may be a long season to wait but remember, God-sized promises require mountain-moving faith.

Have you ever tried waiting for something that seems to be too elusive? I tell you, you are not alone.

Abram was given overwhelming promises by God. He was promised to be a father of many nations, as numerous as the stars in the sky and sand on the sea. What a promise! Now, if only Abram is at the prime of his youth and his wife, Sarai was not barren. But we know the story. God fulfilled his promise to Abram and indeed, he became the father of many nations – the father and epitome of faith.

It took the couple 25 years of waiting for the fulfillment of the promise that they will bear a child. By the time God was ready to fulfill His oath, Sarai was already 90, and Abram 100. It was very humanly impossible for them to bear a child, and yet God delivered his end of the covenant.

Now let’s talk about the 25 years of waiting. T-W-E-N-T-Y-F-I-V-E years. Let that sink in for a moment.

I could think of a lot of things the couple would have thought about the promise while waiting. Perhaps they just ran out of options so they just “going with the flow” about the promise. Perhaps they have been tired of waiting so “come what may, we’ll lose nothing anyway”. Perhaps they just keep themselves preoccupied daily so they will not feel the pain of longing for a child during the day, and just shrug off the feeling during their solitary moments. Promises are supposed to energize us, and perhaps it also energized and kept the couple in high hopes! But 25 years, really?

We can only guess, and the Bible is silent.

Oh, but it gave us an account when after a few years since the first promise was given, Sarai, still barren, tried to help God to fulfill His promise of a child when she urged her husband to sleep with her maidservant Hagar. This act, though outrageous in today’s standards, was a common practice during Abram’s period of time.

Yet God was not happy with it.

Sarai did not inquire of the Lord, and Abram willingly obliged with his wife’s urging. The result: a patch up solution to a God-sized situation. Ishmael, the son born out of the maidservant, is not in the plan, and it resulted to a generational problems for his descendants. This reminds me of Eve urging Adam to take a bite of the forbidden fruit, leading to disaster. I see a pattern here – when the man of the house refuses to take the helm of authority in his household when he is clearly in the capacity to do so, problems arise. But this calls for another topic. When we try to fulfill the promise in a way that is not what God intended, it will not result in the blessings that God has promised.

As we wait upon the Lord, our longings are amplified and the temptation to “take over” is at its peak. Waiting makes us stronger, but it will sift us first. It will reveal us, scrutinize us, and bring us to our knees. Waiting is not easy. If it is, then patience will no longer be considered a virtue. Waiting makes us vulnerable – it separates the impatient from the virtuous.

Waiting is not easy. If it is, then patience will no longer be considered a virtue. Waiting makes us vulnerable – it separates the impatient from the virtuous.

The Israelites failed in waiting for Moses as he was in the mountain, communing with God. King Saul failed in waiting for Samuel and took the role that wasn’t meant for him. In Jesus’ parable, the lazy servant who was given one talent failed in his “waiting season”, so as the half of the ten virgins as they wait for the bridegroom. Sarai almost lost the promise with her impatience.

Though waiting is excruciating, help is always available, and so is hope.

For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. – Habakkuk 2:3  

I remember an old VBS song we used to sing when I was still a child:

I will wait upon the Lord
And delight myself in Him
Waiting in the Lord
Trusting in His Word
I will wait upon the Lord

I believe that there is a big reason why God made Abram and Sarai wait for 25 long years. It was not because He wants them to suffer, for them to lose hope along the way. He wants to make a statement – that the baby He’s going to give them will be born out of a miracle. He wants the world to know that when God delivers, it’s going to be BIG, and it’s really worth the wait.

But are they ready for the promise? Will they continue to believe God’s promises despite the delay? The vessel must first be prepared before the water is poured out. Twenty five years may be a long season to wait but remember, God-sized promises require mountain-moving faith.

The vessel must first be prepared before the water is poured out. Twenty five years may be a long season to wait but remember, God-sized promises require mountain-moving faith.

Abram and Sarai waited and made it through their season of waiting. In the end, they were rewarded with a promised son. But more than the child, growing closer with the Lord in those 25 years is the biggest reward they could ever have. And why not? Generations later, Abraham is still regarded as the father of faith and a faith hero the Israel looks up to.

Are you in a season of waiting? His promise still stands, and your faith will soon be rewarded.   

Gift Ideas for the Ones You Love

Best gifts we can give our loved ones this season:

Para sa asawa:

Tokens, simple or extravagant are always welcome. Nagpapakita yan ng pagpapahalaga at nagpapatibay ng relationship. Kung wala, ok lang yan. Ang pinakamainam na regalo sa iyong kabiyak ay ang pagiging loyal mo sa kanya. Yung kahit anong mangyari, maganda man o hindi ang sitwasyon, ay mananatili kang tapat sa kanya. In the first place, yan naman ang pangako niyo sa isa’t isa di ba, for better or for worse?

Para sa magulang:

Sa maraming beses na hindi nila kinain yung huling slice ng cake o yung ulam na gustong-gusto nila para may makain ka pag-uwi, naku this time tapatan mo naman yun. Mag-uwi ka ng something for them. Yung pasalubong na walang halong sumbat at panghihinayang. Pero alam mo, kulang pa nga ang mga bulaklak, cake o chocolate para sa mga sakit at tampo na dinulot mo sa kanila sa tuwing nagpapasaway ka. Kaya more than the pasalubong, a sincere sorry will do. At magpakabait ka na rin kung pasaway ka man.

Para sa kapatid:

Partners kayo, dapat. Though may sinusunod kayong bro code, sis code o ano pa mang code na yan, ang mahalaga nagkakatulungan kayo. Gifts are good lalo na kung bata pa ang kapatid mo, pero alam mo kung ano ang best gift? Ikaw naman ang taya sa family dinner o sa bill ng kuryente. Hahaha!

Para sa jowa:

Alam mo na yan, dyan ka magaling eh. Haha! Ilang buwan pa nga lang napaghahandaan mo na yan eh, kaya di mo na need ng tip pagdating sa material gift. Pero best gift para sa girlfriend o boyfriend mo ay yung i-honor mo siya before the Lord, before her/his parents, and before others. Wag ipilit ang wala pa sa panahon. Wag magpadalos-dalos ng desisyon. An honorable relationship is still the best gift to give.

Para sa sarili:

Take some rest. It helps! Lalo na kung you’ve been very busy lately. Kung single ka, give yourself the gift of peace by not feeding yourself with self-defeating thoughts na dapat may jowa ka na para maging kumpleto ka. Mali yun! Kahit walang lovelife, you are still valuable and loved. Kung in a relationship ka naman, give yourself the gift of accountability by learning and growing from your relationship. Maraming life lessons kang matututunan kapag nasa relasyon ka kaya i-treasure mo yan at matuto.

Iwas-Rupok Tips

Kung secure ka sa position mo kay Lord, no need to be insecure sa mga friends mong pumapag-ibig na.

Ilang araw na pero halata pa rin ang eyebags mo. Ilang gabi ka rin kasing napuyat kachat yung taong akala mo may something din sayo. Ramdam na ramdam mo yung kilig, yung excitement, yung spark na kumiliti sa mga senses mo. Bilib na bilib ka pa nga sa witty punchlines niya na alam mo namang galing din sa mga memes. Sa maikling panahon na nagkakachat kayo, naplano mo na agad yung motif ng kasal niyo at pangalan ng mga magiging anak niyo. Kung hindi ka nga lang nakapagpigil, baka tinawag mo na siya sa endearment na pangarap mo kahit wala pang ligawan na nangyayari eh. Ganyan ka karupok, bes.

Di ka naman masisisi, pa-fall siya e. Pero sa susunod na may darating ulit at magpaparamdam, paano mo ba tutulungan ang sarili mo na maging mas matatag?

1. Don’t compare your story. Yes, may times talaga na mapapatanong ka na lang kung bakit sila meron na tapos ikaw wala pa. Pero sa mga panahong naghahanap ka ng sagot, convince yourself na iba ang story nila at iba rin ang sayo. Don’t fall into the comparison trap, you will only end up defeated. Hindi ka loser kung wala ka pang lovelife hanggang sa ngayon. Magiging loser ka lang kapag nagpadala ka sa idea na mas blessed sila kaysa sayo. Hindi mass production ang love stories na binibigay ni Lord kaya no need for comparisons. Pang best-selling novel ang story mo, hindi pang tabloid. Kung secure ka sa position mo kay Lord, no need to be insecure sa mga friends mong pumapag-ibig na.

2. Don’t rush your timeline. Baka kaya ka madaling ma-fall kasi ang dali mo ring madala sa matatamis niyang salita. Huwag mong masyadong madaliin ang proseso. Nag-wave lang sayo sa messenger, post ka agad ng “could this be love, Lord?” Honor God’s timing. Nire-ready ka pa ni Lord para maging responsible at mature bago ka pumasok sa relationship. Ganun din ang future partner mo. Relational maturity takes time. Think of yourself as “mangga” and not “munggo”. Ang munggo, overnight lang magbu-bloom agad, pero walang tibay at hindi nagtatagal. Ang mangga ay nadedevelop underneath, hindi nagmamadali. In its appointed time, magbu-bloom, magiging fruitful at matibay, tatagal sa mahabang panahon. Sa panahon ng mga munggong relationship, seek and be mangga.

3. Don’t settle for less. Aba, you are meant for greater things! Wag ka naman umasa sa bahala na. Not because everyone around you are in a relationship na ay papatulan mo na agad without ever thinking kung sino ang unang magparamdam, para lang hindi ka mapag-iwanan. People flaunt their good side and their achievements and all the positive things about them to impress others. You have to look beyond that. Kung hindi ka discerning, baka magsisi ka lang sa huli. Hindi pwede ang pwede na. Ikaw nga pumipili ng best angle mo para sa profile picture mo, ganun din dapat sa relationship. Seek, wait and pray for God’s best. Don’t hesitate to challenge his or her intentions. Dun lalabas ang totoong kulay niya. Di mo alam, baka pang-3 weeks relationship lang pala capacity niya. At least hindi mo pa siya naipakilala agad sa parents mo. Less hassle pa.

Huwag kang masyadong maniwala sa mga nababasa mo sa social media na kapag may jowa ka na, magiging kumpleto ka. You are already complete in the first place. Remember, people often flaunt in social media so you might end up believing a false reality na relationship is pure bliss. Mali yun. Relationships that are true, lasting and satisfying are those that honors God’s will and timing.

Count your Blessings

We are “blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ”

I don’t know if you can identify with me, pero parang mas tight ang Christmas na ito compared last year. Tight in a way na parang mas maraming outflow kaysa inflow. Sa tingin ko lang naman, though aminado naman ako that in one way or another, malaking factor ang mga unplanned expenditures ko this year.  

I missed blogging, really. Sa sobrang dami kong ganap this last quarter, halos wala akong oras na harapin ang laptop ko to jot down my thoughts. Marami akong blog ideas to write about kaso nanatili na lang sila sa notes section ng cellphone ko, nalipasan na ng relevance ang majority. Salamat sa holiday, kahit paano napahinga.

I read the first chapter of Ephesians the day before Christmas. I loved how alive and timely the word of God could be! As of that moment, two of my friends lost a loved one. I can’t imagine how totally different this Christmas will be for them. But the word of God is full of assuring words – that we are “blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). How loving can the Lord be that even in the darkest moments of our lives, we can still see the “silver lining”, as Catriona Gray nails it. I just pray for the Holy Spirit’s comforting embrace be upon them in this trying times.

Going back to Ephesians 1, I recognized how easy it is for most of us to look for what’s lacking rather than appreciate the things that we enjoy. Mas madali kasi ma-appreciate ang mga materyal na bagay kaysa mga blessings na hindi mo naman nahahawakan. Yet the Apostle Paul’s thanksgiving is not much of the material things that he has, but the spiritual blessings every believer enjoys in Christ.

God has adopted us into His family. He graciously purchased with the blood of Jesus and forgave our sins. He has showered us with kindness, along with wisdom and understanding. He has included us in his eternal redemptive plan of bringing everything together under the authority of Christ. He has given us an inheritance through Jesus Christ. And if God’s believability does not convince you, He has given us a seal – the promised Holy Spirit – as a guarantee. Hindi ba sobrang blessed natin spiritually?


We may not have a lot of material things to count, but our fingers would not be enough to count the spiritual blessings we have in Christ Jesus.

If life is just about accumulation of material things, siguro nga napaka-kawawa natin as Christians. Especially those who gave up a lot for their faith. If life is about worldly wealth, malamang nasa dulo tayo ng pila. Kasi naman our standards for living are counter-cultural, beyond normal kung iisipin. We consider ourselves blessed when we give; instead of getting even, we forgive; when insulted, we turn the other cheek; when we want to be great, we serve; and when we want to live, we die to ourselves.

But life isn’t about wealth accumulation, and material things do not mean the world to us. If the world considers us poor based on its standards, it doesn’t matter. We know for ourselves that we are rich beyond the riches this world has to offer. We may not have a lot of material things to count, but our fingers would not be enough to count the spiritual blessings we have in Christ Jesus.

Dun pa lang sa joy of salvation, panalo na tayo e.

Let me join the Apostle Paul in this prayer: “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance” (Ephesians 1:18).

You are beyond blessed. Receive that.

Not my Season

This is not my season.

This is how I try to describe what I have been feeling recently. Amidst all the victories and joyful testimonies of people around me, I find myself sulking over the seemingly “barrenness” of my life. I am on a plateau of emotions, of activity and of spirituality.

Not my Season.png

I am tempted to say that I am waiting for that next “emotional wind” to carry me to a place of joy but I am certain that life is not like that. Trends or any tangibles must not define us. Our happiness must not be dependent on the latest craze or any momentary reason. It must come from within us.

Are you in the same rut too?

If we share the same sentiments, join me in unraveling the painful reality of our situation.

A short story

There was a time when I found myself wading in the mud of depressing emotions. I confided to a friend and I was advised to thoroughly assess my situation in writing, but I have to do it with full honesty. This is because there are times we are not being honest with ourselves because we don’t want to face the ugliness of our situation. We’d rather feel sad and depressed than face our darkest realities.

So I wrote down on a journal all the things that are bothering me that time. At first I felt uneasy. I really don’t know how to begin. Yet, clinging to the “rule” that I must be honest, things started to unfold. As I write down all my angst and my pain, my fear and doubts and all my questions, slowly my pain subsides.

It was not magical, but spiritual. God has been with me as I unload my emotions. It was more like a prayer sans the pretension and formalities. It was a heartbreaking moment with me and my Creator only that the heartbreaking part was also a healing session.

At first I was afraid to write down all my pain and questions, especially my angst, thinking that it is too unchristian to harbor such bitterness in the presence of the Almighty. But then I was reminded, God knows the depths of my heart whether or not I present my case before Him. He is not offended by our honesty. There is no amount of mess that can overwhelm Him.

The ugly reality

Now that I am on the same situation again, I tried to search within me. Why am I sad? Why am I too anxious over things I can’t even understand? Why am I constantly telling myself again that it is not my season? Here are the things that I have discovered. And perhaps, in one way or another, these are true to your situation too. Brace yourself!

  • I have been putting extra burden on myself with an unhealthy view of people around me. Instead of celebrating their victories, I tend to look on them with envy and bitterness. I hate to admit I often think of myself as ‘can-do-all’ person, and whenever I realize that I cannot and others step up for my incapacity, I sulk.
  • I try to catch up with other people’s pace. I want to prove myself. I still have episodes when I regret over my past mistakes and rehearse what should have happened if I pursued the path other than what I am taking right now. I think of my “what ifs” and wonder how it would be different from now.
  • I have also been harboring discouragement over what’s happening with my life and ministry lately. It seems that I no longer can deliver well compared before. My mind wanders; I am often worried about how time runs too fast and I can’t cope up. The weight of all the tasks I have carelessly accepted before are all dawning on me now.
  • I feel too incapacitated to help others, as I myself am drained of words to encourage them. Though before I felt like I was called to be an encourager to people who are in pain, now it seems like I am kicked off the encouragement department.
  • I know the importance of rest, but I often take rest days to catch up with things I cannot do when I am at work. This is no rest at all, but just a diversion from the usual routine, yet same amount of activity. No wonder I still feel tired even after weekends.
  • I lie to myself. I convince myself that I am still alright when in fact I am not just bruised but broken. And when people care less about me because they look at me as strong, I become upset. Sometimes, I feel pretentious, but I can’t help myself being such.
  • You may add your own self-assessment of your situation. Be brutally honest. It would be painful, but it would be great experience, promise!

A testimony

You may believe me or not, but honestly as I am writing this, I felt a bit relieved. My problems did not magically disappear but at least, the heaviness somewhat wore off. This is actually different from how I write blogs before, but it pays to do something different once in a while.

Perhaps the period where we are right now, if you are emotionally wounded like me, is a testament that in a Christian’s life, not all the time is bliss. This is life telling us that as Jesus faced difficult times while on earth, we should not expect less. However, the encouragement at the end of the day is to “take heart, I [Jesus] have overcome the world”. While we may face day to day realities of anxiety and unexplainable sadness, Jesus got us covered with love and grace. We are not forgotten, we are not forsaken. At least this truth is more than a consolation and a soothing balm for our wounded soul. This truth is our hope.

If you are reading this and we happen to be on the same boat, join me in praying that joy may overtake us very soon. Keep the faith aflame!

Behind the Scenes

God works even behind the scenes

From Acts 27-28

May mga pagkakataon na mahirap para sa atin na makita ang kamay at mga gawa ng Diyos kapag tayo ay nasa gitna ng pagsubok. People say that we should keep the faith, we have to remain strong, and other well-intentioned encouragements. Pero ang totoo, minsan mas ramdam natin ang pain na dala ng problema kaysa providence ni Lord. Faith indeed is an ever-developing virtue sa atin. We have to make it flourish in our life.

Pero what’s amazing sa work ni Lord, even in the sidelines and behind the scenes ng buhay natin, evident Siya. Hindi Niya kailangan ng approval natin, ng audience natin for Him to begin working wonders. Kumikilos Siya in ways na hindi natin namamalayan. Advanced Siya mag-isip!

When Paul was being transported to Rome, yung sinasakyan nilang barko ay nasira ng bagyo. Hindi lang basta shipwreck ang nangyari – totally devastated, naubos ang lahat ng kanilang mga gamit, nagkandagutom-gutom sila, at halos mawalan na ng buhay at pag-asa. It was a very challenging episode sa buhay ni Paul.

But they were all spared. May plano si Lord. Napadpad sila sa isla ng Malta where a lot of miracles happened. Nagkataon na nandun si Paul to minister to the sick people of the island. Ministry call for the faithful servant. Pero para sa mga kasama ni Paul – everything that had happened was a mishap. It was a close call of death.

Iba-iba sila nang naging pananaw sa nangyari. Pero si Lord, iisa lang ang gustong iparating – that He is in full and total control of everything.

As they we’re doing what they can to go on with their respective lives and duties sa isla ng Malta, God has made them so favorable sa mga tao. They were a composition of prisoners and prison guards, of Jews and non-Jews, of Christians and non-Christians. Yet they all became objects of favor from the people. At ang lahat ng nawala nila sa shipwreck ay muling naibalik through the generosity of the people.

This is an example of how God carries His work as we carry His work. He does what He’s good at – doing miracles and leaving us in awe, habang tayo ay nagtitiwala at nagpapatuloy sa kung saan Niya tayo tinawag.

Paul and his companions were able to reach their destination in spite of the shipwreck that has happened because God worked even behind the scenes.