deus ex machina //

deus ex machina
Intervention.

God often intervenes when He knows it’s His perfect timing.
We’re all prone to planning, dreaming, imagining a future.
Maybe with the person you’re planning to spend the rest of your life with.
Or a dream job you’ve been preparing for for so long.
It can also be a concept––a world you’ve imagined countless times.

A world where there’s no hate, indifference, and discrimination.

A world where people will welcome each other to each of their own spaces without the need to pretend.

I remember a night I spent with Mel and Sab, two good friends who are notorious planners (aminado naman sila hahaha). Both with a background that’s good with numbers and working on systems (hello accountancy and engineering a.k.a. left-brained people), I challenged them one night after our Victory group.

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Sab, me, Mel~

And they obliged. I’m grateful they did.

We went to Legazpi Park to watch people, to catch what’s left of the cold breeze from the melting snow from the other side of the world.

Christmas lights from still hung on trees. Some people were jogging, catching a breath, and some are running with their furriends (get it, get it hahaha)

But what stood out to me that night was how kids––with different skin tones––were running around and playing games together.

A tall lanky dark-skinned girl was cheering for her fairer, albeit, still brown-skinned little girl. We walked past them just as she showed her friend how to do a cartwheel. After gracefully landing, she shouted back to her friends, “You can do it too!”

Wow. These kids.

They’re probably regulars at that playground. Judging how comfortable they were around each other’s company.

No one asked, “Is she from China?”

No “Should I be friends with her even if she came from this nation?”

None of all the generalized hatred towards a group of people who are only seeking refuge because of a broken system in leadership.

None of all the condemnation easily being spewed online because we’ve never been on ground zero.

But who am I to imagine a world without that? It’s the most impossible prayer someone with a little faith like me to pray. Who am I to type all these things, to think these things…when I’ve only been to China once. And that was 6 years ago, when things were safer, and there was no anxiety or virus in the atmosphere.

But having that perspective of walking in that nation, I can share a few observations.

They’re human.

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They have hearts.

They have souls.

They have eyes that shed tears.

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They have minds that are also easily filled by fear.

They’re not robots.

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They’re not skin and bones.

They, too, just want to be free from what’s plaguing them.

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And isn’t that what we all want?

Freedom from being locked down.

Freedom of speaking what’s on our minds.

Freedom to go where we want to go.

Deus ex machina.

de·us ex ma·chi·na

/ˌdāəs ˌeks ˈmäkənə,ˌdāəs ˌeks ˈmäakənə/

noun

an unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless situation, especially as a contrived plot device in a play or novel.

 

Deus ex machina.

π μηχανς θεός (apò mēkhanês theós)

“god from the machine”

What’s enslaving you doesn’t have power you anymore.

Only if you yield.

Only if you give the pen of your life, or in our digital era’s case: the control.

Don’t make gods out of what you see on monitors and screens.

It will never set you free.

Take time off.

You don’t have to be glued to your screen all the time.

You don’t have to submit to the numbers, the quota, nor the goals you’ve set for yourself because you want other people’s approval. I’ve been there and it will never satisfy.

Deus ex machina.

It is not hopeless.

Freedom is at hand.

Freedom is possible because Someone decided to write a line on the sand for a woman caught in a shameful act of adultery.

“Neither do I condemn you.”

And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.

John 8:7-11 ESV

Will you let Jesus intervene?

Will you let Him write a new story for you?

Because if you do.

He’s just waiting,

———

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank You for we have freedom in You.
Thank You for writing a line that saves us from condemnation.
We’re sorry for trying to live our lives apart from you.
We’re sorry for making gods out of goals, machines, and people who can never fill the throne of our hearts that’s really meant for you.
Thank You for You have been waiting for us to come back,
to turn around from pursuing our own plans,
from going after the wrong things,
because You have been, will always be, the Best Author of our stories.
Reign in our life, Jesus.

Thank You, Jesus, for what you have done on the cross makes us victorious from the virus!
Thank You, Holy Spirit, for being our Source of comfort during this difficult time.
We know that nothing is impossible with You!
Thank You for we will see Your healing miracles!

In Jesus’ name, amen!

P.S.
If you sincerely prayed that prayer, please send me an email via gielizza@yahoo.com~
You are welcome to join me and my friends in staying hopeful during this hopeless time.
💙

indifference is the real enemy

The #EnhancedCommunityQuarantine is bringing out different coping mechanisms in me.

Most days, it’s cleaning my room or organizing my files. Other days it’s lazing around the couch and finding new movies to watch.

Since it began, I’m grateful I have more time in my hands, but I also noticed that spending too much time on something that’s not good for my overall wellbeing…is well bad.

We have to be vigilant in catching what we feed ourselves. I remember how Cholo Laurel once shared that every moment, we are given the choice to feed 2 wolves within us. One that feeds on negativity and the other one feeds on what nourishes our soul. We all have the choice to choose which one starves and which one grows.

I’ve been on both ends so I want to share what I’ve been killing my time with–foreign films that help feed the kind wolf and pop my privilege bubble:

Legend:
< Encouragement.jpg >
😭😂🙃😡😣🥰 Emotions throughout the film
🎬 Synopsis

“Heart striking quote.”

🇰🇷 MY FIRST CLIENT

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😊😣😡😭🥰
🎬 Jung-Yub was a lawyer with only one ambition in life: to become successful and rich. That is, until Da-Bin and Min-Jun walked into his life.

“Self-preservation is a human instinct.”

🇨🇳 ENDLESS CRIME

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🧐😱🥺😳😕
🎬 MATURE CONTENT: A hospital surveillance video shows bodies being stolen from the morgue. Senior detective Liang follows the trail of evidence to a secret laboratory, where sick patients are being “treated” by a renegade scientist. The scientist’s intent is to find the secret of immortality.

“Just walking away doesn’t solve anything.”

🇯🇵 ISLAND OF CATS

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🥰🙁🤣🥺🥳
🎬 Daikichi is a 70-year-old man and lives on a small island. Since his wife died, he has lived with his cat Tama. After his close friend passes away, Daikichi worries about his physical condition. His daily life begins to change.

“The best is yet to come.”

🇰🇷 SCANDAL MAKERS

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🧐🤭🥳😢🥰
🎬 A young lady blackmails her alleged father, a radio host and former teen idol, into sheltering her and her son. Their close age causes problems when people think they are a couple.

“Just walking away doesn’t solve anything.”

🇦🇫🇺🇸 THE KITE RUNNER

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😁🧐🥺😡😢

🎬 Amir lives in California with his wife Soraya. He receives a call from his uncle Rahim Khan who urges him to travel to Afghanistan and rescue the son of Amir’s childhood servant and friend, Hassan.

“For you, a thousand times over.”

It’s easier to fight with each other during this time of lock down.

It’s easier to point fingers and put blame on who’s “on top.”

That’s the easy choice.

But my hope and my prayer for all of us is that we will choose to see beyond what’s going on behind the screens.

The guy you’re fighting in the comments section might be trying to make ends meet so he’s lashing it out online.

Maybe the girl you’re saving photos of because you think she’s sexy is looking for attention she never got growing up.

And maybe, the privilege bubble we’ve been rallying for others to pop is the one we’ve been living in.

Change has to start within if we want real change.

And we cannot change ourselves.

Only Jesus can do that.

He came not so we can tear each other to pieces.

He came to love us, sinners–not so we can keep sinning.

But so we’ll know that we–no matter how messed up, jaded, or unforgiving we’ve been–

we are still worthy of loving.

The gospel of John is a beautiful place to start on who Jesus is and how He began on His road to killing indifference.

우주가 존재하기 전에 말씀 되시는 그리스도가 계셨다. 그분은 하나님과 함께 계셨으며 바로 그분이 하나님이셨다.
그리스도는 맨 처음부터 하나님과 함께 계셨고
모든 것은 그분을 통해서 창조되었으며 그분 없이 만들어진 것은 아무것도 없다.
그리스도 안에 생명이 있었으니 이 생명은 인류의 빛이었다.
이 빛이 어두움 속에서 빛나고 있었으나 어두움이 이 빛을 깨닫지 못하였다.

1-2 まだこの世界に何もない時から、キリストは神と共におられました。キリストは、いつの時代にも生きておられます。キリストは神だからです。 このキリストが、すべてのものをお造りになりました。そうでないものは一つもありません。 キリストには永遠のいのちがあります。全人類に光を与えるいのちです。 そのいのちは暗闇の中でさんぜんと輝いていて、どんな暗闇もこの光を消すことはできません。

太初有道,道與 神同在,道就是 神。 這道太初與 神同在。 萬有是藉著他造的;凡被造的,沒有一樣不是藉著他造的。 在他裡面有生命,(有些抄本第34節或譯:萬有是藉著他造的,沒有一樣不是藉著他造的;凡被造的,都在他裡面有生命……”)這生命就是人的光。 光照在黑暗中,黑暗不能勝過光。

بود و تاریکی آنرا پوشانیده بود و روح خدا بر روی آبها حرکت میکرد. 3خدا فرمود: «روشنی بشود» و روشنی شد. 4خدا دید که روشنی نیکوست و روشنی را از تاریکی جدا کرد. 5خدا روشنی را روز و تاریکی را شب نام گذاشت. شب گذشت و صبح شد. این بود روز اول.

hope in s t i l l n e s s

During times of crisis or panic (within myself or the world around me), my immediate reaction is almost always panic. And don’t we all have that “emergency response” in our minds, in what we do, and what comes out of our mouths (or in recent case…our keyboards and social media feed).

It’s so easy to react these days. You see a friend defending his president then you see another bashing a whole race because of an unseen enemy. And what we see often easily gets into our minds and eventually our hearts.

I’ve been there.

I let what I see be what I believed. I let what goes through my eyes be the standard on how I think, how I interact with others to the point that the way I see myself got clouded.

I let my K-drama oppas and K-pop biases take the throne in my heart that they can never fill.

 

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I like solitude that is accompanied by peace / that can only be experienced through silence / A quiet time for reflection a chance for an honest / conversation with myself / I never consider it as loneliness because my heart is at ease // Words from @kweenalouise #Artbreaks2020 featuring Kim Woo-Bin oppa! If God can heal him so he can make a comeback after being diagnosed with nasopharynx cancer 3 years ago, will He withhold that from me, from you, from the entire human race? We're His children! Let's start believing and surrendering to the One in control! 💙💙💙 #GentleReminder Don't pray to God anxious. Pray with thanksgiving! 🌷 Philippians 4:4-7 // #IllustrationArtists #IllustratorsOfInstagram #IllustratorsOnInstagram #IllustratorLife #CreativeWomen #WomenInTheArts #WomenArtists #WomenWithPencils #Illustration_Daily #IllustrationHowl #ArtistsOnInstagram #Drawing #Artworks #Illustration #Illust #InstaArt #Artdaily #ArtCollective #SpreadTheArt #FineArt #Artstagram #ArtPH #WomenInTheArts #IllustrationHowl #IllustratorLife #Illustration_Daily #IllustratedDoris #TheCaduceo #KimWooBin #WooBin #OppaFanArt #KDrama

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I kept track of likes, follows, retweets, and shares.

I ran towards men to confirm if I really heard from God.

I looked for Him in songs, in social media posts, in podcasts.

And you know what happened?

In all my frantic searching, I never realized how restless I’ve become.

when He just wanted me to stay still.

He just wanted me to quiet all the distractions so I can hear from Him.

He just wanted me to slow down so I can receive what I’ve been trying so hard to chase.

He’s waiting for me to come to Him.

To go to Him with the posture of a child.

A child who’s ready to hear from her Good Good Father.

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He’s not far from us. He’s not as far as we think He is. He’s not mad.

In truth, He’s patient and gentle with us.

He’s waiting on us to go back to Him.

In His arms, where we belong.

In a family, tied not just by blood but by a crimson cord, where we can walk alongside His children.

The apostle Peter put it best,

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
2 Peter 3:9

Let’s pray:
Thank You Jesus for Your unrelenting love.
Thank You for You are waiting for us to turn back to You in repentance.
Thank You God for You see us as Your children, not because of anything we’ve done, but because You see us with the lens of the Cross.
May our eyes be constantly fixed on Your Unchanging nature during this time of uncertainty.

We love You! We praise You! We are expectant that You will make miracles happen right before our eyes.

In Jesus’ beautiful name, amen!

the beauty of idiosyncrasies

No beauty without strangeness.
(remixed Edgar Allan Poe quote)

I made a shirt design for one of our subjects in college, alongside a peacock I copied from another illustrator. (Don’t worry, I did it for the grade, not for money)

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Photo from 2011 😂

One of my main prayer and struggle as an artist is finding my own illustration style. Sometimes I’d get so immersed in the theoretical side of developing it, instead of just going with the flow and just make, and keep making.

My brain that (seemed) to be wired with extra neurons put all its energy in overthinking to the point of inactivity. Instead of surrounding myself with inspiration, I waited passively for lightning to strike and give me that “eureka” moment.

I waited for the “right” moment to start making again. I withheld myself from doing what I loved most, thinking I have to finish this deadline at work first. I forgot the importance of #Artbreaks for me to be productive.

I forgot to savor all the encouragements God has been showering me with.
I forgot to pause.

I forgot to take my time and just listen for that still small voice.

I forgot that the strength and courage I needed has always been available to me.

Self-sufficiency plagued me, thinking I can do these things on my own. Trusting the Great I AM got twisted into I am great.

Looking back at what He has done became a blackhole sucking me in instead of an opportunity for me to praise Him for getting me through all those the valleys.

I focused on all the memories of a past He has already protected me from.

I am forgetful. We are forgetful.
He has spoken countless promises over me and all the things I’ve been overthinking about. He has declared blessings upon blessings for me and everyone I’m crying for.

What made you forget?
Where is your focus?
Why won’t you believe Me?

One of my greatest fears is blurred vision.
The free-flowing nature of Our conversations became a routine that I have to check off of my list of to-dos.

I forgot how nothing else compares to knowing Him. No other thing, person, or promise is worth comparing the the beauty of having Him in my life.

No mountain top with a view of the sea. No beach with the finest sand.

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Mt. Tibig, Lobo, Batangas. Taken by @jiaariane

No woman with a beauty her own. No man (or K-pop bias) with a worldwide handsomeness (😂).

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I made an art & merch page! FB & IG: @gratefully.creating haha

No city skyline at night.

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Shot from my second out-of-country trip in Shanghai, China. Thanks to my @gobo.ph fam!

I’m so grateful for all the places I’ve been or the people I’ve met thus far. But every day, every moment is a reminder that all these are just extras.

No blessing or miracle I’ve been waiting on or praying for.
None of that compares to His Love.
His love made evident on the cross His only begotten Son bore for our sins. (❤️ Romans 5)
His faithfulness in His pursuit of His children prone to straying. (💙 Luke 24)
His comfort and encouragement from the Holy Spirit. (💛 Acts 2)

May we never lose sight of Whose we are, who we are in Him, and what He created us for.

Let’s pray:
Thank You, LORD, for always reminding us that we are in this world, but we are not of this world. Thank You for your faithfulness in everything we’re going through and thank You for when we look back we will see Your kindness written all over our past that will lead us to repentance, and when we look forward we can look forward to more of Your goodness in our lives.

Thank You LORD for even in our nows, You are present, You are with us, You are speaking. All by what Jesus has done on the cross and through the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us when we’re out of words.

In Jesus’ beautiful name, amen!

P.S.
I forgot why I used that title for this post.
In case you’re wondering what it means:

id·i·o·syn·cra·sy
/ˌidēəˈsiNGkrəsē/
noun
plural noun: idiosyncrasies
  • a mode of behavior or way of thought peculiar to an individual.
  • a distinctive or peculiar feature or characteristic of a place or thing.
P.P.S.
I’m still reeling from all the good God is doing even in this time of crisis (like meeting new friends from different nations (annyeong #InnerCircles!) To how He healed my hyperthyroidism, and my fave so far– taking the leap towards a dream God has planted in my heart 6 years ago! )
But for now, this is enough.
Selah.
Rest is the best weapon and protection we have.
Rest. God is in control. 

/OnThisDay

I have this habit of staying up until 12 midnight just so I can scroll through my Facebook memories. I like looking back and reading what I shared on my social media timeline— from the cringe-worthy and funny photos from high school and college to the random quotes and links I’d post. I like seeing who I spent my March 26 with 8 years ago, or what I was up to on the 22nd of February last 2017.

I’m a rememberer. I still remember my childhood friend’s birthday, even if it’s been years since we last talked. I remember the date of the first time I cried over a boy. I remember how Mommy reacted when I told her I’m graduating with honors. I remember how my first day at my first job went, even the color of the shirt I wore.

The very memories I attach to dates limits me from looking forward to the new that God can do, the new He is already doing.

Waves of nostalgia would come crashing on the shores of the present. Comparison starts to seep through my now, making me think that what happened before is way better than where I am today.

I’m letting the past block the potential of my present. I was the one setting the standard on the best that God can do, instead of fully trusting Him with my now, and with all my tomorrows.

I wonder if this is how Joshua felt when God was telling him to take the lead after the death of Moses. He has witnessed countless signs and wonders under the leadership of Moses. If I were Joshua, I’d ask God where my staff is, where’s my Aaron, where’s all these things that Moses had when he was being commissioned?

But Joshua never asked any of those questions. He had something better. He had a promise from God. The promise of His presence.

“I will be with you.”

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

What. A. Promise.

Looking back, I see how He kept that promise every single day.

He was there when I was curled up in bed, tired from crying.

He was there when I walked on Q. Pav’s stage to receive my diploma.

He was there when I was overwhelmed with all the deadlines I needed to meet.

He was with me in all those memories.

He never left.

He’s present through the people He’s put in my life.

He’s present in every circumstance.

And He is with me still. In this very moment. He is with us.

Memories fade. But His word will never change.

He will always be with us.

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Prayer point: Lord, I pray that every time I look back at everything happened in my life, I will remember your faithfulness in keeping Your promise of presence. Thank You for every day I can be sure that You are with me. Thank You for working all things together, from the past up to now, for my good and for your purpose. In Jesus’ name, amen.

2018 // relinquishing

The anniversary of this blog falls 2 days after (or before?) Christmas. I orignally started this as a plaform where I can encourage, and share stories of what God is doing in me and through me. 2 years in, and I’m so grateful I (re)started.
 
I already started writing this entry when I entered Ate Nica’s year-end blog giveaway. She asked us what’s our one word for 2018, and her question made way for introspection. What is my one word?

2018 has been a wild ride, and I say this in hindsight. If you’ll read my posts throughout the year, you’ll see how I struggled with what ifs, and interruptions, among others.

I prayed for a lot of things, and the manner with which I asked showed how unready my heart was to receive what I was praying for. My heart was like a clenched fist, challenging the One who supplies the very breath I breathe to give me my heart’s desires. Now, when I wanted it, and how I wanted it to look like. 
 
I wanted His promises to be fulfilled on my terms. I held my faith goals, and my dreams higher than His ways and His will. I forgot to pray the simplest prayer we can pray:
 
Your will be done.
 
 
I forgot that I’m not the One who calls the shots. I wanted to write my own story, so I stopped opening the pages of my heart before Him. I micromanaged every moment. Everything has to go as I imagined it.
 
I craved control.
I forgot that I’m not God.
 

I forgot to remember

What started as an initiative to encourage others, became God’s encouragement to me when I was doubting my place in His plans. Comfort came like a flood, rushing over my hardened heart. And He didn’t stop with my own words, He used everything, and everyone around me.
 
I’d get random texts, and messages from my friends from church, from the ladies in my Victory group, from my relatives. I’d walk past a guy with a statement shirt that read “Everything will be all light.” Even old songs I’d hear on the radio would trigger me to tears (*queue Indecent Obsession’s Fixing a Broken Heart*). I’d ugly-cry over the phone, and friends on the other end would quietly listen, then pray for me after.
 
Under His sovereign grace, I was never left alone. Wherever I tried to run (or fly via wake ramp) away, He surrounded me. He carried me. 
 
Every day, and every moment became a gentle reminder of His faithfulness.
 
Slowly and faithfully, all thanks to Him and His children I’m surrounded with, my tightly-closed fists started to open up in surrender. 
 

I only needed to  r e l i n q u i s h    

I first heard that word from Ptr. Dennis Isleta’s sermon during Ayu (my leadership group leader), and Ryan’s wedding last August 12. Ptr. Dennis’s first point is that marriage is about relinquishing control. 
 
I heard the word again when my SoFA sists (short for sisters) were watching The Haunting of Hill House (S1.EP10) during lunch. The lines were:
 
Love is the relinquishment of logic, the willing relinquishing of reasonable patterns. We yield to it or we fight it, but we cannot meet it halfway. Without it, we cannot continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.
 
When my heart started to let go, and let Him do His job; it’s only then that I started to see traces of His faithfulness all throughout my life (not just this past year).
 
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God is faithful
He let me stand on a stage to share my testimony when I felt unworthy.
 
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He let my immediate family witness stories of His faithfulness through the lives, and creativity of my Victory Makati family. (Ron took this photo!)
 
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He provided for an Asian cruise through my Ninang Cecil. And I danced, danced, and danced, and had Ron take my #ootd photos (I have videos, too! Please subscribe to my YT channel hahaha)
 
He gave me joy, and encouragement through my Victory group’s back-to-back birthday celebrations over karaoke and cake (may vlog din ‘to eh hahaha #throwvacklogs2019?)
 
He humbled me by letting me serve alongside excellent leaders in their respective fields. (shoutout to my Alab core team fam, and my SoFA mothers haha)
 
He gave me a new fam—Every Nation Campus youthz! (Anak ng toge?! Munggo, munggo, munggo)
 
I could go on and on, but I want you to start remembering too.
 
Your 2018 may not end the way you envisioned it, most of your goals may not be checked off, but I want to encourage you to zoom out, and see how far God has brought you. You—being alive, and having eyes to read this now. Isn’t that something to be grateful for already?

Onwards to 2019,

I’m ready to pray new prayers, to pray the way Jesus did:

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42, NIV)

Jesus, though He is God did not count Himself out of His Father’s will. He chose the cross. He chose me. He chose you. Wherever you are, whether you’re at your highest peak or the darkest of valleys, make room for His audacious love. Open the doors of your heart to receive Him.

He willingly relinquished His heavenly throne for a crown of thorns. 

He did that or you, for me, for us to have complete, unrestricted access to His grace. The cross didn’t end in suffering. His resurrection is just the beginning. 

His Spirit, our Wise Counsel is here. He is moving. Let’s move forward to this new year, eyes fixed on Him. Ready to obey, to go and carry His love wherever He leads us.

He is the same last year, today, tomorrow, forever

See Hebrews 13:8

R e d eemed t o g e ther

The word wonder is an understatement for what God did this past weekend. 📍2018 December 15-17, Every Nation Campus Makati’s Wonder Youth Camp, at Rizal Recreation Center, Laguna📍

I was brought to my knees; crying, humbled by His love for me. Questions would ring in my ears—lies that tell me I’m a failure, and hitting rock-bottom meant that’s where I ought to stay.

Why would a God–the Creator of the universe, the heavens, the planets, the galaxies, and all the species of flora, fauna, fruits, and fish–be mindful of me?

Why, God? Why? Why would You forgive this sinner? How could You still wake me up each morning with new mercies and grace? Why should I stay when all see is a world filled with pain? Why should my heart still beat when it’s overflowing with misery from all the wrong that’s happening in and around me?

All my questions sprang from a heart that’s prone to be self-centered.

But my God, in His unrelenting grace never stopped listening to my cries.

He never stopped pursuing me
He never stopped correcting me
He never stopped comforting me

He. Never. Stopped.

He answered my questions through His people—all imperfect sinners

He answered through His church—faithfully serving in the fields God placed them in

Even if they have their own share of battles

Even when it’s hard

God is faithful in answering all our prayers

Every tear is recorded in His book,

Every ache you feel He feels too,

Every sin you’ve done, and all the wrong done to you—all of it He sees too

And He is faithful to answer,

He is never late in responding,

All His answers point to the answer He already gave 2,000 years ago–Jesus

Remember this gift,

every day is wrapped with His new grace,

new mercies, new light, new hope

I pray that you will see that, as I did,

In the way the trees swayed with the wind,

In the cold spray of December rain,

In the light of constellations spread out in an expanse of black,

in the faces of the people He’s surrounding you with,

Unbox His Gift,

open your hands in surrender,

receive His gracious love,

and remember that His best is still ahead of you,

So we keep on,

keep worshipping,

keep thanking Him in everything,

keep reminding ourselves of His promises by reading His Word,

Let His love that never quits, be the source of the love we will share with our families—both natural, and spiritual.

Redemption is best experienced together

Read: Romans 11:33-36, Psalm 139

Pray:
Lord, thank You for reminding me that You are sovereign in my life. I will always fail, I will always make mistakes. I am never going to be perfect. I’m sorry for trying to be. I’m sorry for trying to lead my life on my own. Thank You for leading me back to You. Thank You for loving me during my darkest days. Thank You for my new heart. Thank You, Jesus, for being the way for this new life. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for the strength, encouragement, and comfort You speak through Your people.

In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Starting over;

What does a new start look like to you?

A clear desk?

An empty room?

A blank canvas?

A book that still smells of fresh ink from the press?

Starting over sounds so grim because of the word, “over”

Wanting a new beginning almost always means that you failed, you crashed, or you didn’t play the game right. You messed up, you got burnt out, you stopped doing the things you love, and you stopped looking forward

Every time you browse through your past memories (whether through your journals, Timehop, or Facebook’s “on this day” feature); all the memories seem to look a lot more beautiful, like-worthy, sweeter—

so you stop looking forward to the new

you can’t find the gift in the present

the way you see your now is tainted, because your focus is on how tomorrow surely won’t be any better than how 1 year ago you still had a complete family home with you, or how 4 years ago this guy you liked still kept asking you out,

you forgot

you forget

that the One writing your story isn’t done yet,

every flyleaf, every blank canvas, every breaking dawn, every single second in each day

is evidence of His faithfulness,

you are still here,

you are breathing in His grace, so don’t forget to let out a sigh of release

you are not stuck,

you will grow through this,

It’s okay to start over

It’s okay to not have it all together

It’s okay to mess up,

to fail,

to spill milk, or ink, or coffee on your new red dress, on your blank notebook, on your clean desk

It’s okay not to be okay with all the bad that’s happening around you

It’s okay

What’s not okay is staying that way

Don’t stay

Don’t linger

in that place

where all you believe is you’re a hopeless case

Don’t wallow in your misery

Don’t swallow the lies of the enemy

don’t let him steal your joy

don’t let him destroy your identity

don’t let him kill your dreams

When the devil whispers so closely in your ear

when these lies get louder

you’re a mistake

you are dirty

you are beyond redemption

you’re not

you’re not

you are not

Get behind Jesus

Run to the cross

where His blood flowed

where He died

where He spoke,

“Father forgive them for they know not what they do”

Run to the King who paid a f u l l price for you

Run to the Messiah who made sure

He would go through all that for you

betrayal, rejection, a crown of thornes

He went through all that

so that you’ll know,

you’ll believe

you’ll taste

and see

That the darkness where you are now

The brokenness, hopelessness

is nothing

compared to His future glory

that will be revealed in you

nothing

And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.

Romans 8:17-18 NLT

So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech. (2 Thessalonians 2:15‭-‬17, MSG)

Dear woman, you are precious not

you are precious

not because of the clothes you wear,

the adorning of your hair, the lashes you bat,

nor are you precious because of the clothes you don, or the makeup you put on

You are not precious

because men say you are,

nor are you precious because of the likes, taps, or swipes you get,

Dear woman,

you are precious because a King bore stripes that was meant for your scarlet sins

you are precious because blood,

precious blood was shed to clothe you in white,

Dear woman,

stop trying so hard to look precious,

to look happy,

to look well put together so that that person you have a crush on will like you;

stop

trying

so h a r d

to be a woman of beauty

to be a woman worthy of love

to be a women worth pursuing

Dear woman, you are precious because the One who made you,

the One who knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb

the One you think is far from you

He knew He would send His own Son for you

Dear woman,

You don’t need a date

You don’t need roses

You just need to see, to know, and to believe

that you are worth pursuing

In truth,

He always has,

He always will

He is

pursuing you

s t i l l

Come up for air, you’re not drowning

Exhaustion is unraveling me, and what I’m discovering is unhealthy.

I like my fully-checked off to-do lists. I like helping people. I like the feeling of accomplishing something. I like making people happy.

That doesn’t sound too bad, right? Not too bad until more to-do lists keep coming, people left and right start asking for this and that, and you still want to make them happy, only this time your heart is relying on its own strength now. The people around you are getting tired too, so asking for help isn’t an option.

So you keep on. Keep on keeping on. On and on and on and on, until burnout hits you, crashes over you, and you can’t see clearly anymore. What you started with isn’t here anymore.

Your week starts on Sunday. So much hope, so much light, so much grace, you say so many thanks.

Monday is fills you with so much to do, you’re left with so little time to eat, to rest—to breathe. You’ve started your week weak.

You go through the next day looking at story after story, you don’t notice your heart is starting to be envious of others.

The sun sets on your Wednesday, you endure work, relationships, and during the commute home, you exhale a sigh.

By Thursday, you’re too worn out, you don’t even utter a word of gratitude.

I don’t know how many times I’ve thought of this:

“God, can I just go away from everything”

But if He says yes, I’m not sure if I really can go.

All these things I’m carrying weren’t imposed by terrible, slave-driving bosses. No command to do more work came from my family. Neither are they from my church community trying to commission me, and hone my gifts.

No. It’s not the people around me. It was me. The burnout was the result of me trying to do all those things in a day, in a week.

Last year, God told me, “this is not for you.” Yes, I listened, but did I obey? Did I apply His Word in my life?

I took on more work, which only ended with other people doing more for me.

I kept giving more yeses to the point of having to say no to what really matters, to Who really matters.

I forgot how to take real rest, because I wasn’t dependent the Author of rest. I took my days off to work on more work. I became self-reliant, self-sufficient, self-absorbed. I locked myself in the prison of me, me, me.

I couldn’t stop working, because I thought that the world would stop turning if I did. I thought businesses would fail.

Control became my idol. I would hold my praise until I see the outcome of what I’m working on. I wouldn’t rest until I saw evidence of progress.

This is the tight space I’ve created. I clean my desk or my room every day before I begin working. No matter how spotless they are, there would still be so much clutter in my heart.

I was drowning. I was weary, tired, worried.

 

Come up for air.

 

I didn’t hear these words exactly, but I kept listening. I kept pressing in.

Slowly, he started revealing. That before we can come up from where we are, we need to let go of what we’re carrying. That we come up, when we kneel down before Him.

We grow higher in the deeper digging, and burying.

Come up for air, you’re not drowning.

His right hand reached in, holding my heart gently as I give it to Him, “This is what I wanted.”

He didn’t need my accomplishments, He didn’t want my list of done things.

He wanted my nothing. He wanted my heart.

He’s not after my consistent performance, financial success, or a well-curated social media feed.

He’s after my surrender.

Beloved, our sweet Jesus, God’s only begotten Son has already spoken, “it is done.”

It is done.

And you are still becoming.

Take one day. Take an afternoon. Take an hour each week.

Start stopping. Start stopping to enjoy the view. Start stopping to say thank you. Start stopping to smile at babies, to smell flowers. Start stopping to listen to the sound of winds, and rain. Start stopping to watch raindrops form veins on your windowpane. Start stopping your feelings from taking control of you. Start stopping your thoughts from blurring the beauty that’s within you.

Start stopping to look up to behold the One who loves you dearly. The One who died for you, the One who helps you, and comforts you.

Start stopping to read of redemption stories, in pages, and in faces.

One start, one stop at a time.

Start stopping.

Start with stillness.

You are still becoming.

What if interruptions are divine appointments?

You’re watching your favorite team play on TV when the power goes out.

It’s raining outside. You chill and read a book as you snack on your favorite cookie. Then your mom asks you to go buy cooking oil, or else you won’t have food for lunch.

You’re in the zone, doing your thing at work when one of your bosses comes to you with new tasks labelled urgent with a red pen.

You need to pee so badly, but it’s okay, you’re already next in line. An elderly lady walks in.

I’m typing this and I hear a notification sound, alt tab.

Interruptions are a fixed part of our every day. You can’t ignore it. You can’t pray it away. It’s disruptive, and a lot of times annoying. You adjust.

I’m still learning how to respond well whenever I get interrupted. I’ve already exploded a couple of times, because of interruptions in the form of revisions (hi Kinah, and Ellice!). Reactions like that are toxic—to you and your relationships.

Walang tapon kay God.

God doesn’t waste anything that happens to you. I came to this realization after a week of scheduling dates with my ladies, where none pushed through. Deadlines, prior commitment, change of plans and non-stop rain made us cancel and postpone. I beat myself up the first time, because I was the one who had to apologize and move our catch up. The next one got me questioning my worth. The third made me wonder if I’m too much of a coward, because I refuse to brave a storm.

All my plans of sharing stories over dinner with friends I miss were interrupted. We could’ve shared good food together. I could’ve prayed for whatever they’re going through. We could’ve been a blessing to each other through stories of what God is doing in each of our lives.

It took effort, and it took time for me to realize that He had a plan for those interruptions. He made things happen that wouldn’t have happened if my original plan ensued. Peace rushed in when I understood that His purpose prevails no matter what happens.

Interruptions are redirections.

Internal (sometimes external) tantrums are my initial reaction to interruptions; this only magnifies the fact that things didn’t go my way.

But when I take hold of my thoughts (and my tongue), and I try to console myself despite being frustrated—I see anew. God gently leads my heart out of that pit of disappointment, into something beyond—gratitude.

So I start to thank Him for His planned interruptions.

Revisions aren’t roadblocks to productivity. Revisions are stepping stones to improving your skill.

Cancelled dates make way for you to be there for the ones who need you there, now.

Some plans don’t push through, because He’s got a better idea.

With new eyes, and a grateful heart, I recognize His hand, still holding my time—the yesterday, the now, and all my tomorrows are in His hands, whether interrupted or not.

Whenever and whatever disruption comes our way, may it give us bolder confidence in His reign. And may we always hear Him when He says, “this is the way, walk in it.”

Proverbs 19:21

 

 

 

Things I’m carrying unto my 25th

I was supposed to write 25 things I’ve learned before I turned 25…only to realize that 25 is a lot. So I’ve decided to share what I’ve written down so far. I hope that we will both go through this “list” grateful for what was, present for the now and excited for what will be.

Process

God does not demand perfection. He values process. Genesis 1 illustrates that He didn’t do everything at once. There was a process in everything He did. For the first five days, He spoke and what He spoke came to be. On the sixth day, He used His hands. And on the seventh, He rested. Day 1 – 7 involved process.

Words have power.

God created heavens, seas, and all living creatures with mere words. What we speak have power, too. Let’s use it well. Speak to encourage, not to damage. To build up, not to tear down. To comfort, not to gossip.

Speak life. Speak love. Speak the name of Jesus. Speak His word over your life, and the lives of others. Speak with grace, with compassion. Speak knowing that every word can reverberate through the hardest of hearts. Your word is powerful.

When you speak, you don’t need to shout.

Speak gently. Speak with your actions. No need to scream. A megaphone isn’t necessary. Speak softly and the hearts that are ready will receive what you share. You will be heard.

You are not for everybody.

And that’s okay. Be faithful in the field God put you in. He has entrusted you with a sphere of influence that is very, truly, yours. Love the people God placed close to you. Proximity provides priority.

Pray anyway.

Not everybody will listen, but there’s Someone who is always listening. Never underestimate the power of prayer. God sends His angels in heaven at the faintest sound of our hearts’ cry.

When you pray, you surrender.

You give it to God. You believe that even before you prayed, God is already moving. You trust that He is working. When you pray, you lay it down at the feet of Jesus. It’s not yours to accomplish. It is yours to give to the One who will surely do it.

He is involved.

He is engaged in our lives. He knows every detail. The world says, “seeing is believing.” But God takes our faith deeper when asks us to believe what we don’t see. Especially His involvement.

We don’t just believe in His involvement in our lives. We believe it for and with His people. We look at others the way God sees them. We see them not as they are, but as what God is leading them to become.

There’s more to you than meets the eye.

You will never see the oak tree looking at an acorn. Train your eyes to see and believe that forests begin with a seed. Your life is brimming with miracles, filled with grace, and love. Some days it’s obvious. Other days you have to seek hard. On those days, look longer; seek harder.

Some days you won’t see your worth.

Some days, you will not be okay. Yes, you may be the girl that jokes all the time. Always the one cheering on your friends when they’re going through a hard time. They say you are sunshine on cloudy days, so you maybe you didn’t have the right to be gloomy. It’s okay to be the cloud. But please release what’s weighing you down. Cry, shout, or run if you have to. Clouds aren’t meant to carry that much water for so long. Release the rain. Let the tears fall.

You have a family.

You have your natural family: Mommy, Daddy and Ron. You have your spiritual family: Ates, and Kuyas, Victory group members, sisters, confidantes, listeners. God has surrounded you with people who will remind you of who you are in Him. People who will rebuke you, correct you, and forgive you. They will reflect God’s love even you can’t look at yourself because of shame. You have a family.

Make gratitude your lifestyle.

Gratitude looks at what you already have instead of what’s missing. A grateful heart is a full heart. Never forget to start your prayers with “Thank You, God…”

Thank you for making it to the end of my list! May you carry something from this that will help you today or some day.