Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘encouragement’

Words Of Might On the Walls

I was getting ready to bed after a long day when I was captivated by an old framed picture in our house with these words…

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This gave me encouragement and a reason to be thankful for having real friends. I’m not rich with a millionaire’s bank account, but I realize I’m richer in God’s love through friends who don’t mind my status quo but who just love me for being myself. This wall decor has been with us with years and I never thought it would speak again powerfully. Here it quietly lies along the others in a small corner beside my room, where our eyes pass by them everyday but their existence is nearly taken for granted.

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I used to muse at each one of them when I was a small girl scratching the walls with various colored pens. I thought some of them was too dull to look at, so maybe I could make up a little story on one of them:

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As I was growing up, I would meditate at each of them from time to time. I believe this one has been the motto of most Christian families:

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This one is also a favorite verse during Sunday school days because it’s easy to memorize.

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As for this one, I pray the same for you.

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One little framed picture above them was a prayer for marriage. I have not mused on that yet, maybe because it’s not yet the season. 🙂

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My favorite among them is this framed poem of “Footprints In the Sand”. I’ve always wondered if real sand was used in this mixed artwork and marvelled at how Jesus can be that loving after reading the poem over and over again.

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Topping them all was this short but popular quote among Bible-believing Christians in my generation. That used to scare me as a kid because I haven’t had the grasp of what salvation was all about. I once thought that heaven was boring because I thought that we’d do nothing in eternity but play harps among the clouds.

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Lastly, the sides are furnished with these decors made if shells with a nearly fading handpainted blessing.

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Dust has already settled on them but the words they contain still carry the same power that can change lives. From time to time, I can’t help but stop and stare at one, and let me consider God’s promises in my life. I guess this is the reason they remain hanging on our wall. We just can’t take away God’s Word off our lives because it makes us alive. The time will come that these decors may deteriorate just like us, but for a season they have served the purpose of bringing back to our hearts of God’s covenant with us.

Little Respite, Big Blessings

It’s been a month since I’ve resigned from my job. There has been lesser thrills and even lesser frills. I would admit that I am already impatient to get into a new job. For the moment, I am looking at the blessings of having my “vacation mode”.

One my say that my decision to leave my job was foolishness. Perhaps. But the peace I gained when I decided to leave that company was a sign that it was time. This temporary respite from the competitive world is a season to rest and to prepare for the next season. It became my time of reflection; thinking of the new possibilities of facing another world.

Here are the simple, good things I’m experiencing in this respite:

1. Healthy living – In this brief season, I have found out how intoxicated I’ve become when I was working. I am a typical

Bananas, mangoes, and black rice...my everyday diet (",)

Bananas, mangoes, and black rice…my everyday diet (“,)

workaholic in an eight hour shift, not eating lunch until my work is done. I eat too much when I take a break – too much preservatives and fast food junk. But when I stayed at home, my mom would feed me with the more organic food such as *gasp* black rice. Yes, folks, better than the usual white rice than Filipinos consume everyday. It is richer in fibre and antioxidants. I even get to enjoy my morning banana and mango shake. Then I’d have apple mangoes and Indian mangoes straight from our trees. This is life, as one may call it.

Compared to when I was working, I could now get my eight hour sleep (add it with a five hour siesta if I don’t have much to do in this scorching heat at home). Before, I have been stressed even while I sleep. I had even dreamed my job every night – that is a nightmare for me! But it’s a good thing I don’t experience that now. My mom would tell me my eye bags slowly vanish. I don’t even have to compete for a bus ride home. I don’t experience the stress of waiting at the MRT queue for two hours anymore.

People noticed how I became thinner even though I’ve been staying quite so long at home. Perhaps, my metabolism became faster due to my healthier choice of meals.

2. Oh, the love of writing – Indeed, I could write again! I’ve been writing daily news articles and public announcements for four years, but not novels. I’ve had a gazillion stacked in my head. I’ve begun a few of them ten years ago without ever finishing them. When I got down to work and my fingers railed across the keyboards, I was stunned. I never thought it was difficult to write novels…much more the ones left a decade ago. They nearly wracked my brain as I polished them with details and events, twists and plots. It’s hard to put in words what have been circulating in your imagination. Now, I’m done and there are more waiting to lie down on the blank white pages of the Microsoft Word. The next step would be publishing. That’s what I have to worry soon.

One of my successful baking attempts: oatmeal cookies with Nutella filling

One of my successful baking attempts: oatmeal cookies with Nutella filling

3. Baking – Even though they end up as fudge bars, I will do my best to bake. It takes time, passion, and a hungry stomach. It’s fun, especially when your mom appreciates your baking.

4. Plans for studying – So as to make sure that cookies will end up as cookies and fudge bars as fudge bars, I need to learn and retrain. One day, it could become my business; I’m not planning to be an office girl forever. Another course I needed (I think) is to study English again…add that up with critical thinking using this language. I need retraining; this would be necessary for my next job.

5. More time to pray – The most important but the one I’ve missed most when I was in that company. Whenever I’d come home after work, I’d flop down on my bed without praying. I’d struggle to pray at times, leaving me with a five-minute, quick-dash, heartless prayer. But these times are different. I’d stay in my room for an hour or so just to have quiet times with God. With this, I am more strengthened and encouraged. We can’t go on the whole day without His presence. I realized how it is important to spend quiet times with God day and night, so that we can learn from His Word and listen to His voice. It also brings us closer to His heart. I’ve missed the day and night practice when I resigned from my first job, causing me to worry all the time. I’ve even missed this when I was working, causing me to be always stressed. I just pray that this prayer lifestyle would not change but flourish when I go back to work. I am still learning though. But now, I began to have deep peace. And this would only come through our daily fellowship with God.

Do I need to worry? I guess not. In all these things, I believe the Lord is in control. So, while waiting, I need to spend a lot of quality time with myself, my family, and the Lord. 🙂

The Magic Of Dinner Over Movies (Fifth Bite): Faith and Courage For Food

It was a almost a month since I had my second meal with this wonderful woman who is an epitome of courage and strength. For me, this is one of the most unforgettable dinners I had. Her story is better than the burgers, fries, and sundae she blessed me. I guess I was more fed with encouragement with the testimony of this admirable woman of God.

I usually meet Dianne in Christian conferences like JRev (Jesus Revolution)

My good friend Dianne with tons of fries and burgers. Couldn't be any better than the dinners I've had.

My good friend Dianne with tons of fries and burgers. My past dinners couldn’t be any better than this! 🙂

Night. But I did not expect that on this last JRev night I’ve attended last February 17, she was there. I was comforted to see an old friend after thinking I would be going home alone. Like a feather in the breeze, her bright smile filled up my tired spirit. I find her like a lamplight energizing me in the night, even though the event was over.

If you think her positivity is overreacting, no. It’s something natural in her. Glad to see each other, we decided to have dinner together before going home.

I missed having large fries and burgers in the night. I know this would be a wreck in my diet, but I’d rather take this opportunity to bond with a friend. I took all the ketchup for my fries because she wanted her fries to be in her burger!

We called it a post-Valentine date which we really enjoyed. As a single lady, I’ve always enjoyed being with friends at dinner. But how much I’ve enjoyed this date as her testimony marked meaningfully in my life.

I am aware of the hardships she is facing in her life. She has been taking care of her mother, who has cancer. It’s not easy for her and her family. Not only financially, but physically and emotionally. I must admit I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing a loved-one in pain. But Dianne has to endure her mother’s screams of pain everyday. Add to that, she was juggling a lot of tasks like taking care of her little nephew.

As she shared to me her pain, she also shared to me the encouragements she has been receiving. Not only had she received kind words, but she and her family had been receiving financial and emotional support from different people. I was blessed when her church family had come together as a big group just to pray for her mother (and because of that, her pain lessened!).

But the battle she faces goes on. And she faces it everyday. She would be tired, I know, but she has this amazing strength that keeps her smiling. I was somehow ashamed, because I would be so tired at the pressure of my daily tasks. But Dianne has bigger and painful problems than mine. I could see how these refine her well: in spirit and in character.

In another rare moment, I was chewing my burger slowly. I almost gaped while listening to her story of faith and determination. I wondered how she kept on holding on to this thin wire hanging over the dark cliff. Deep in her heart, she knew that it’s not her mother’s time to go. Her faith kindled mine. I agreed with her — her mother will recover, indeed she will.

What amazed me more was how she keeps her eyes on the Lord. No blame-throwing at Him, she just clings to Him. Last hope you may say, but He’s more than that. He’s everything, a faithful Father and Friend from the first to the last. Dianne wouldn’t exchange Him for anything else. He’s the One strengthening her and sustaining her all along.

This post-Valentine date must be more remarkable than any romantic dates I never had. :)

This post-Valentine date must be more remarkable than any romantic dates I never had. 🙂

It’s an honor to have a friend a woman who stands strong in the midst of great testing. I believe that this season in her life is preparing her for something greater. At this point, I could say that she has blessed me more than I could have blessed her. Such people like her has received more than most of us have had, I guess. Despite of great pain, she receives great strength, courage, and faith. But the best of all is the great love of Jesus that had caused all the positive fruits in her life to bear. These fruits she shared to me as seeds waiting to sprout in the upcoming seasons in my life.

Truly, I was enlightened that night, sweeter than the sundae I’ve had as my finale in that dinner. Her testimony had nourished my tired body. Truly, it’s an amazing dinner with her, better than any romantic dates I’ve never had. 🙂

Still Standing

Two things fell from my hands today: my laptop and myself. If you would ask which is devastating, I guess both are, except in varied effects.

Isolating myself from the pool of reporters due to an allergy attack, I sat in the other room while listening to the press briefing’s live streaming. As I sat on the couch, I plugged my laptop opposite to me. People passing by were careful not to trip on the wire until one accidentally did. In effect, my laptop flew from my hands and crashed on the floor.

It horrified me and the people around me. My notes were gone. The screen turned black. My broadband stick was bent. But adjusting the battery and turning it on again, I was surprised.

It’s still working.

Later at a coverage, I was pressured. Going to the other side of the waiting area to plug my laptop, I left my other bag and other things. But when I returned to the place where I had been, I was deceived at the floor, which I thought was flat. Loosing my footing on the lower step, my feet gave way, hit my right knee, and my body fell to the floor as I gave a scream.

Again, it horrified me and the people around me. My poise was gone. All eyes were pitiful at me. I was shaking when the presidential guards were picking me up. My knee was badly hurt. I sat on another chair as the other people were helping me at my things. But later within the day, I am thankful.

I’m still standing.

These things are enough reasons for me to grumble. I can moan and blame anybody for my laptop’s injury. I can even blame myself for making an embarrassing scene at the coverage. But there’s no time for that. All I have to do is to overcome.

And that’s amazing.

We overcome when we don’t dwell in the tragedy. We overcome when we see dark things in the positive. We overcome when we are thankful in every circumstance.

I am surprised that I did not complain. Instead, I just smiled, said “It’s ok”, thanked the people who helped me (especially to the presidential guards who were quick to pick me up), and continued my work.

So, I realized this is just a small testing. I remember how I prayed that I will overcome when I come through trials and testing. God’s grace is amazing. He never fails to listen to your small request. And I saw how He answered it.

I’m anticipating a purple, bruised knee tomorrow. I wouldn’t mind. As long as I am still standing — especially on the Rock. 🙂

Where's the bruised knee? Still standing and walking around after a fall. :)

Where’s the bruised knee? Still standing and walking around after a fall. 🙂

One Soul At A Time

Sometimes, it’s so frustrating not to be a Billy Graham or a even just a plain superhero. For most times, I tend to be idealistic, dreaming that I can speak in front of millions and save them all (well, not really me, but the Lord through me). I imagine how it might be fulfilling when one reaches lots of souls at the same time.

But for most times, the Lord works in ways that we earthly people don’t expect. I’m no pastor, neither am I called to be one. And yet, there are a few souls that I always reach out in one time or another.

Every after Sunday service, I’d always look for my friends and familiar faces. There are not a lot of them, but I am always happy when I say hello to these few and see how they’re going through. And there’s this young boy whom I talk much…and pray for much…

And so my Mom tagged him as “Rhema’s Timothy”.

For most times, he’d share to me his problems, his frustrations and what the Lord does in his life. In turn, I encourage and pray for him. Most Sundays, the pattern is always the same…but every time we end in prayer, I felt fulfilled. For one more time, the Lord touched another soul through this frail little vessel.

Who knows what this little friend will be in the coming days.

I suddenly see myself that though I’m praying or talking to one soul, I am still part of God’s vast, eternal picture. I don’t know what this fellowship will make out of my friend, but I believe that this short fellowship and prayer will turn him into something that many will never expect. God has a great destiny for him and yet he needs fellow puzzle pieces to help him get into his rightful place in God’s picture.

With this, I am more encouraged to look for people and pray for them (yet, sensitive for such souls who need prayer and encouragement). It’s not only my friend who’s encouraged. Unconsciously, he helps me break out of this shell of doubt and frustration.

When I see him encouraged, I am also encouraged. I don’t feel proud. I’m happy to see him encouraged through God’s peace that works from within me. Who am I to be a vessel of the Spirit of a great and powerful God? Yet, I’m thankful, for we are both part of a greater picture that we will see in the coming days.

I don’t know how these small instances will change and mold both of us. But I believe it’s an overwhelming way on how God shows His extraordinary love to frail little souls like us. We are made for one another. These fellowships are made for such a season as this, I believe. And I can’t wait to touch another life in the coming seasons to whom the Lord will show His love and glory.

Small instances? The size does not matter. It may not be as big as any evangelistic crusade, but I will cherish these  fellowships and these friendships for the Lord cherishes and loves these people, too.

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