Why Discipleship is Relationship: Steffi X Ria

Nope, it’s not her birthday. I just really want to honour this woman today for how much I’ve been blessed by God through her life. This may seem a bit emotional, but let me take advantage of my emotions at this moment and use it for the right purpose. 😉

•••

Steffi, I’ll never forget the night we first

met, year 2015, in Valle Verde. That was the very first time I attended The Fellowship and you were my very first breakout leader then. I was at the peak of my sin and lostness during that time, struggling to let go of a relationship that is absolutely detestable to the faith I’d profess. Since that Bible study night, you immediately became a friend, though I was a complete stranger to you, though I’d cry a lot to you (looking back, feel ko super nakakapagod & nakakapikon ako i-lead), you never left, you were there the entire time I was struggling and weak about so many life issues. You were the perfect person to be my discipleship leader, you’d listen carefully, you’d rebuke me with love, you’d take time in sharing your godly advices and be very patient until I get the Lord’s wisdom. You were always Biblical and right but you never made me feel condemned when I make wrong decisions.

October of 2015, about a few weeks from the day we met, I was hospitalised due to dengue fever. We weren’t really that close yet, but you and Tasha came to visit me in the hospital. You brought doughnuts and prayed for me. You were totally unaware of how much I’ve been in awe on how you model Christlikeness to me since day one. I’m not sure if I’ve told you, but you were the one who taught me to have a burden for the sick, to visit & pray for them. I think one of the reasons why handling my own discipleship group wasn’t such a hard task for me (sometimes lang mahirap, when I’m overpowered by selfishness) is because I was imitating such a gracious leader, more than a leader, a friend & an evident Christlike follower. Glad to be a fruit of your labor! You are always so humble, you always check on us individually, you share your weaknesses with us but never burdened us, you say sorry when you have to, you encourage very sincerely, again, very sincerely!

Haiii Stwepi! You show me the kind of love that I’m sure could only be sustained by the work of the Holy Spirit. Remember John’s statement in John 3? “I must decrease, He must increase.” That’s how I’d constantly look at your life. And you know what’s more amazing? Now, you’ve already changed your status, you’re already married, while I’m here in the desert, you still check on me. I’m not demanding that you keep on doing it, but you just do. There were so many adjustments that you’d have to do, but doing your works for the Lord is never compromised. It isn’t perfect, never will be, but graciously incorruptible & honest. I’m blessed each time you’d ask for prayers, you never pretend as if you got it all figured out, you always point me to the Source of every strength and true wisdom, you never take the credit. You were never entitled, you’re just joyfully serving God. I really really praise Him for showing me so much of Himself through you. And when I tell you that I want to be like you when it comes to leading a dgroup, I mean it. Proverbs 31!!! Huhu. That’s why I praise Him for you😢 — because you fear and love the Lord so much.

We’re transitioning, adjusting to different directions/mission fields God is leading us to. But what gives me peace and confidence is that I know wherever He takes us in this world, that even our once a month catch up becomes a little less that the usual, when we all get so busy doing ministry works, we do have One Goal. Christ. Jesus. Always.

Thank you for being my spiritual momma. Thank you for not giving up on me & for showing me that discipleship isn’t boring and stiff, for teaching me that though it requires so much dying-to-self & sacrifices, in the end, it is worth it — because it is done with, for & through Christ. With all that you are & you are yet to become, I praise & give glory to our Maker. I love you, Steffi G.!

“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” Proverbs 31:29-31

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When Your Past Sins Hunt You

I’ve been consistently dreaming of my past sins for more than a week. I tried to ignore it but it bothered me until I finally saw myself again leading to a situation/scenario very close to it.

Lust, what goes with this sin? Adultery, immorality, fornication, maliciousness. These are sins that I find very hard to admit, especially because I think it’s very embarrassing, you sin against your own body when you commit it, but these were my sins and I cannot and shall not conceal them.

I’ve learned, through the help of my sisters in Christ, to get to the root of why these sins would mentally affect me again. If I’m truly a new creation in Christ, why would I still be bothered by it? They’re just dreams, but just like what my mentor told me, dreams are things I cannot control; most of the time it reveals things I may be longing for. I was able to point out that those lustful dreams would resurface because of my desire for affection, to be with someone, to be married, to have a “God’s Best” as we call it in church. I recently watched a love story movie, and that triggered emotions in me too. Now, I’m more aware of the things I shall be careful of watching for I tend to over romanticise fictitious matters. I realised that purity isn’t merely keeping yourself sexually inactive, purity is a pursuit of the mind & the heart too. Purity in protecting my emotions from wandering at ideas and thoughts that may ruin my sanity. I also had to admit (to my long distance accountability partners, Carla/Cherish and Dia/Divine) that I’d long to be affirmed, to be loved, to be wanted. Sin begets sin. My lustful dreams caused by my dissatisfaction in Christ led me to days of rambled thoughts and anxiety. I felt as if there were so many issues in my life that I have yet to deal with, that I have to fix, & I felt paralysed at solving them all at the same time, that it eventually frustrated & confused me even more.

On the week of my struggle, a verse from Psalm 51 kept iterating in my head: “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation & grant me a willing spirit to sustain me”. I believe God would also speak to me through James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” What could be more direct than that?

After I read it, someone from the past all of a sudden sent me an invite to have coffee with him. I met that man at the peak of my lostness & I’d sin with him. I’m glad that the Holy Spirit in me is just too wise to recognize baits. I replied with: “sure ☺️” it was then that I also realised that I’m always just a tiny tilt closer to going back to my old self. But God won’t let that happen. I immediately became accountable to my friends in the faith, I told them to stop me from doing things I’m sure I would regret. I asked for prayers.

Before my flight to Paris, I was alone in my room, crying, confessing my sins to God, being sorry for all I’ve done in the past and during that week. I’d listen to sermons that gave me a fresh understanding of my identity in Jesus: that I am His coheir, that I am His bride, that I am His bondservant. I think part of my joy’s restoration is to get to this part all over again, Psalm 51 also says it is not in sacrifices that the Lord is delighted, but His sacrifices are a broken spirit, He will not despise a broken and contrite heart. Oh yes, I will never outgrow my need for the Gospel. I had nothing to offer, only my tears, my brokenness, my fear of losing my salvation (which by grace, will never happen), and my knees bent down and my hands up high, telling Him: “I’m sorry, forgive me, I’m tired, I surrender.”

My prayer before my flight to Paris was to spend time with Jesus as I get there. My initial plan after my afternoon tour was to go to a wine place at night and drink after a quick rest in the hotel. You see how contradicting my plans are with my prayer? But He cleverly didn’t wake me up, I set my alarm at 9pm and I didn’t hear it at all, I woke up at 12 midnight instead, where everything was closed, it was already dangerous to go out, my flying partner was asleep, I couldn’t even order for food — because what I needed that very moment was spiritual food. God has irresistible ways of getting my attention. He wins, always. I had a three hour quiet time with Him. He spoke to me through Exodus, which talks about the Israelites complaining to Moses and wanting to go back to Egypt. “Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness,” (Exodus 14:12 ESV). Many times in my life I’d be like that, unconsciously desiring to return to my Egypt out of impatience, because of the inconsistency of my trust and reverence to the Lord, & ultimately because of my lack of understanding on who He is that pollutes my confidence on His plans for my life. I wouldn’t look to Jesus, I was so focused at my sins that I’d forget the vastness of my God’s love for me.

You know what brought me to total peace after it all? Moses’ response to the Israelites: “And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”” Exodus 14:13-14

I will never ever forget that morning in Paris, God confirmed to me that it is finished. The sin of lust is done in my life, for Christ has delivered me from it. My longing for a husband, well, Christ is my future husband as I marry Him in heaven one day. My anxiety in serving people out of pride and insecurity, wiped away, for I am His bondservant. “For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ.” 1Corinthians 7:22 It can’t get any clearer than this. I am free in Jesus Christ. I am not going back to my Egypt.

I think, just like the Apostle Paul, I will always have my thorn in the flesh, sin/s that may hunt me, that may attempt to resurface. Thank God my salvation isn’t based on my emotions, neither the things I do for Him (cause I fail Him most of the time), nor any knowledge I’ve acquired, (for I am foolish & forgetful). I thank Him because even if I’m faithless, He remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. That’s what makes my God supreme, that while I am still a sinner, while I need to face the consequences because of what I did in the past, He died for me. While I’m still struggling, He already worked things out for me. He won’t ever give me any challenge I cannot carry, and even if there seems to be no way out, He will provide a way out.

Please continue to pray for me. I want to know & love Him more. I want to revere and worship Him better. May Jesus be glorified in my life. May I finish the race strong.

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Romans 5

Peace with God Through Faith

1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Confessions of a Cabin Crew

I’m a flight attendant and an OFW (overseas filipino worker), but on top of these two, I am a Christian too. Over any profession/career/status, my ultimate identity is that I am saved by the grace of God.

It has been over six months since I signed up for this job. I haven’t reached a year yet flying, but I am learning a lot. Like a lot. And I want to share some of it, especially my mistakes that I want to be corrected. I don’t want to be flying 10years from now (if God allows) and see certain ugly characteristic/attitude in me that may already be hard to change or heal. A true follower of Christ does not tolerate sin, but confronts it. I must not tolerate mine, be warned of others’ and make every effort to live a holy life.

1. I am guilty of complaining a lot verbally and in my head when passengers have so many requests. Seriously? My work is customer service in the cabin, hospitality, both on ground and up in the sky, I do not have the right to complain unless a request done risks my safety & the safety of the flight. Handing a glass of water, blanket or pillow wouldn’t make me unsafe, right? Passengers may have as much requests as they want, except when the seatbelt sign is on, or when flight is turbulent. That’s their privilege. That’s their right. By grace, I want to be the kind of flight attendant that doesn’t complain to passengers’ demands. So what’s the root, if it isn’t the passengers’ fault, what could be the problem? Colossians 3:7 says “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Being such a complainer is the opposite of thankfulness. I can’t be complaining just because I feel lazy to move. I am the problem, not my passengers. God, I’m sorry. Proverbs 12:24 “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor.” I pray wag na ako maging tamad. Again, I am tasked to serve, I pray I’d do it joyfully. No more argument. No more grumbling.

2. It’s also not the passengers’ fault if I lack sleep. I’m given minimum rest for every duty. I don’t have the right to ever be grumpy. My job is to smile, to greet, to be pleasant and polite. I can be it, but I can’t be consistently it when I lack sleep. Huhu. I do need a lot of improvement with managing my sleeping habits, knowing when to rest and when to move, learning to say no to events that may compromise my time for rest before duty — needs a lot of work and discipline! Grace!

3. With my colleagues: I have to be more understanding. That’s why it is myself that I’m assessing, though I see certain mistakes in others too, I can’t just correct them, especially when there’s a bunch of things that must be corrected in me. Matthew 7:3-5 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” I can’t correct others for something I still struggle with. I must be corrected myself first.

4. Note to self: Gossips — don’t indulge in it. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” I pray I’ll be able to constantly tame my tongue, be discerning and never badmouth anyone. This, I’m grateful that I am graciously able to resist (I’d estimate 80% of the time), I feel the Holy Spirit working in me every time I’d witness a colleague talk about another colleague, you know that still small voice that whispers: “wag kang gumatong, from what you are hearing, find the root sin and pray for it”. I pray for more discernment and wisdom on this matter. Bible says love your enemies & pray for them. In the first place, ayoko ng may kaaway, it wouldn’t put me to sleep. So better not talk about people if there isn’t any solution to follow it up. Kung mag gossip man ako, please rebuke me.

5. I’ve had an encounter with an unforgiving passenger just a week ago. I tried apologising to him many times for saying no to giving him 2 cups of water. He insisted, & so I gave him his request in a manner that wasn’t pleasant. He got intensely mad at me. He didn’t want to accept my apology — he said emotions and tears won’t work. ANG SAKIT! But in essence, that’s what I truly deserve. Actually, even in general life matters, I don’t deserve forgiveness, but God gave it to me through His’ Son.

Isn’t it always liberating to be reminded and live by this truth? Again, that I am saved grace. Grace, as in I didn’t contribute to it. Grace, as in it wasn’t my choice. Grace, freely given to me. Grace, as in favor. Grace, kasi mahal na mahal Nya ako.

I remember a colleague telling me to stop sharing my flaws/mistakes to people. I think madalas I repeat this whenever I write, that the Bible says: I shall boast about my weakness, para Christ’s power may be displayed through me. Kasi nga only in confession and repentance and legit acknowledgement of my wretchedness ako nafi-free. Nothing else matters more than the constant sanctification I have to go through in this lifetime until God accomplishes through & in me everything I ought to be.

In summary: I pray to be able to honor God sa trabaho ko. ♥️😌

Brokenness

Never in my entire life have I embraced brokenness until I sincerely understood that it is necessary for my growth as a Christian. I was one of the people deceived by the illusion that Christianity is all about favor and blessings.2 Corinthians 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. Many times in in my earlier years of getting to know Jesus, I’d treat Him like a genie, I’d require Him to grant me all my dreams and earthly ambitions for me to believe in Him. “Lord, give me a crown, make me famous, give me modeling gigs, make me marry at this age. Lord, I really want this, I want him, etc. etc.” This is how I’d pray back then. Full of pride and selfishness. I never wanted His presence, I never asked for more of Him. In most cases, I would end up broken, because He wouldn’t give me what I though I wanted, He always surprises me with what I truly needed. He blesses me with what is unseen, with what the world doesn’t understand, with matters that are beneficial for eternity, for the pruning and moulding of my character.

I’ve learned to love and embrace brokenness because it is necessary for my Christian walk. I am a sinner saved by Grace, if I understand this fully, I must humbly embrace brokenness. I forgot where I heard it exactly but I highly agree that Christians are constant & consistent repenters. Others find it so odd, but it’s exactly what we should be. Not conforming to the world, cause the world says it’s okay, a little sin won’t hurt, a little rebellion is cute. But if we truly are Christians, when we realize the gravity of those ‘tiny sins’, we would be disgusted, they aren’t cute at all. Tiny sins birth death, they are the passageway to our eternal separation from God. 2 Timothy 4:1-3 “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.” Repentance is a privilege that can never be taken away from us Christians, because there isn’t salvation without repentance; and repentance goes hand and hand with brokenness. I’ve never heard of anyone who repented and believed in Christ without being truly broken.

This month has been packed with sanctification and opening of my blind eyes to what I’d label and tolerate as my “tiny sins”. Every time I realize things like these, I’m always reminded of how holy and pure my God is, that He doesn’t allow even a tiny bit of sin to linger. 1 Peter 1:15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” It’s such a shame, but sadly, I’ve been insecure and malicious, I’ve cheated, I’ve lied, I’ve manipulated and used His name in vain, I’ve done things out of conceitedness, I’ve coveted many times in my head, I’d struggle at the same things I never thought I’d still struggle with, & the scars I’d scratch would still give a heavy impact. It breaks my heart & I have to admit to myself all over again that I do not know how to love my God, that my love for Him is conditional, that Grace is the only thing that keeps me alive in the faith, that enables me to desire righteousness. I owe it all to GRACE. Actually, I do not owe it to GRACE, because I can never repay what GRACE has done. I can only give Him praise & thanks, I can only worship Him, Christ, my one and only Grace.

Wanna know what breaks me more? I commit mistakes, I sin again and again, and every-single-time, He’s the One who still and always provides the way out. 2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. It hurts to hurt the Man I’d always shamelessly declare to the world that I do love the most when I couldn’t even love Him right — because I am a sinner.

I don’t know how many times I’ve said this before, but I am tired. I’m tired of hurting Him. I’m tired of sin. I’m sick of my sins that’s why I embrace brokenness. For I know, in time, He’ll take all brokenness aside and make it beautiful. But for now, I gotta go through it. I have to feel it. Remorse cannot be skipped, shame must be felt, sorrow is necessary for it makes us better grasp, how deep, how wide, how great His love is for His people, for those called according to His purpose.

I truly have no participation to my salvation other than my sin and wretchedness. We can never understand the Lord’s love in pride and arrogance, by thinking that we deserve so much more, when we deserve nothing good, and yet His grace came in. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

There’s no such thing as an innately good human being, in my lifetime, I’m the biggest proof of a wretched person I know with innately evil thoughts and deeds. Should that bother me? It is written in Romans 3:10-12 “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Christians, our story doesn’t have to end there. We remain grateful in the midst of troubles, trials and tests. We are still in the midst of brokenness, constantly being sanctified, we aren’t promised that it won’t hurt, but we are promised by our Lord that the narrow path is worth it, that He who endures till the end will be rewarded. God has given us the reason to always hold on to our faith, that He himself provided. It is finished. Your past, present and future sins… forgiven. Paid in full by Christ at the cross in Calvary. It is irrevocable for God doesn’t change His mind, He is a Promise Keeping God. He’ll soon come back for us, His people, His sheeps, His servants, His daughters and sons, His bride. We shall live with Him in righteousness forever.

4 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

BROKENNESS IS NOT A PLACE THAT HE TAKES US SO HE CAN LEAVE US, BUT HE BREAKS US SO HE CAN REMAKE US. CONFORM US TO THE VERY IMAGE OF CHRIST… -Voddie Baucham

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♥️ My prayer:

Psalm 51: 1-4

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

♥️ My worship:

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning, I shall see Thy lovely face; Clothed then in blood washed linen, How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace; Come, my Lord, no longer tarry, Take my ransomed soul away; Send thine angels now to carry, Me to realms of endless day.

(Come Thou Fount by Robert Robinson)

♥️ My declaration:

His love for me shall enable me to love Him genuinely. His love isn’t weak for He isn’t a weak God. His love is more powerful than my sin and shame. My eyes are kept on Christ for nothing can separate me from Him, not even my sin. I am His’, I belong to Christ now until eternity. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

My Heart & BibleMesh

Today, I finished my Bible in Missional Perspective 2month course in BibleMesh, BibleMesh is a a site for theological courses to help Christians grow in faith and make disciples in the local churches. To learn more about it, you may check the website: BibleMesh.com

A year ago, it was introduced to me by my discipleship group leader, Steffi. She encouraged me to take the courses and join the class with my other brothers & sisters at The Fellowship. (To learn more about The Fellowship: come to CCF Eastwood, UpperRoom every Monday at 7pm😉). I initially didn’t want to participate in it, during that time, I was still distracted and struggling with my former job, but I still said yes to Steffi without fully being committed to it. To cut the long story short, it took me over a year to finish the course. Just today. Praise God I did.

Bible in Missional Perspective helped me understand the Bible in summary better than I used to. I can conclude that men are truly evil, God is truly good, and Christ is truly Lord of all. If He isn’t Lord of all, He isn’t Lord at all. Understanding the creation, the fall of man, the solution to our problem is overwhelmingly good. It inspires me to better serve my King Jesus, not because I’m a nice girl, but because He’s a nice God, w/ a good-good-Father. Looking at it, through the lens of a Filipino lady who grew up with a Catholic background, the knowledge of what He’s done is very simple, but not everyone has understood it, because not all eyes were opened, NOT YET. And that’s the goal, to get Him known, to get people to see what we see. I know, it’s only Grace that does that, Grace initiated by His love through us, Christians. Mannn. I pray I’ll be able to do my heavenly job well. Sometimes we find the gospel so basic, sometimes (we think) we get too familiar with it that we forget its essence. And most of the time, well, in my case, most of the time I’m pridefully wrong. Repent! Gosh, it was humbling. Shame on me. I was too prideful to not want to study & learn. But thank God for finally making me finish the course. I didn’t even get a perfect grade with my test, but I’m just happy with the knowledge I’ve gained.

I’m emotional as I write these things, and it’s okay, the overflow of my emotions will subside, but I pray that the overflow of my love, adoration and longing for Him doesn’t. By Grace, through Faith, in Christ. Always!!! What a beautiful God I have! I want to learn more. I want to know Him more. I want to learn how to love like Him even more. Christians, let’s all die together, & be filled with Christ.

Let me end with these verses from my favourite follower of Jesus, Paul:

“I affirm by the pride in you that I have in Christ Jesus our Lord: I die every day! If I fought wild animals in Ephesus with only human hope, what good did that do me? If the dead are not raised, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.

Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:31-32, 58

Cold February?

It’s Been 7years, Valentine Season is coming (once again) & you’re still single?

April of 2017, maid of honor ka, you had 3 wedding invites last year. This 2018, tatlo ulit. Tapos kinasal pa si Ann Curtis and Erwan Heussaff recently, tapos yung spiritual leaders mo ang bongga ng prenup video, kinwento yung Biblical marriage. Ang dami mo ng ideas for your future relationship and pegs for your future wedding. Excited ka na mag ka-boyfriend at ikasal one day, feel mo ready ka na. Pero nasan yung groom mo?

It’s true. I’ve been single for 7years since January 4, 2011 (lol alam na alam yung date) when I had the most dramatic & traumatic break up of my life. (Last na yun! Haha.) Pero syempre after the break up, hindi maganda yung mga nangyari, hindi pa ako Christian when it all happened. In fact, sobrang makasalanan ako in terms of romantic relationship cause after my 2nd boyfriend broke up with me, naging magulo “love life” ko. Actually, all the relationships I had were magulo, kasi nga wala naman si Christ sa life ko then. Oh, and to quote my ex’s break up message to me: “I feel so sinful for the past 2years.” Hindi ko gets yun during that time. I was 21years old, my then boyfriend is 10years older than me. So you can imagine, when I lost him… wasaque!!! Sobrang sabog ko. God has all the right na pabayaan na lang ako sa impyerno. Pero love ako ni Lord e, kaya eto, binago Nya ako.

Nagkaron ako ng mga fling. I dated around. I also became a man hater at some point. I had immoral relationships. Ang dami kong compromises na ginawa sa buhay ko. Ang malala pa dun, Christian na ako when I did some of it. So Christian ba talaga ako nun? Looking back, sobrang gulo. Pero I’m grateful now cause tapos na yung sinful seasons na yun and of course I don’t want to go back there anymore. Sobrang inayos na din ako ni Lord sa aspetong ‘to, even now naman inaayos Nya pa din ako, kasi nga sanctification doesn’t end while we’re still here in this world, right?

Pero minsan in every single-Christian-woman’s life hindi maiiwasan na mapaisip at magtanong. When is it my turn to meet and be with my God’s Best? Gets mo naman lahat ng Christian blogs that you’ve read, that God’s timing is always perfect and you know too that patience is a must, pero tao ka, you’re in the flesh, you get sad, you feel lonely sometimes. And you know what? That’s okay. Dati whenever I feel these emotions, sobrang hard ko sa sarili ko, parang feeling ko back to zero ako sa faith ko, tapos yun na, ang daming relapse tendencies.

Pero now, God taught & made me understand that my faith isn’t perfect, but He is. That’s what I immensely appreciate about grace, na kahit ano pang kapalpakan ko in the past, God remains solid. Hindi talaga Sya nagbabago guys, ang baet Nya! Ako ang binago, binabago and babaguhin pa Nya. That’s why nahiya na din akong gumawa ng kasalanan lol. Pero seryoso, I believe it’s only Grace that enables me not to sin anymore. I mean of course sinner pa din ako, pero by Grace, I now sin less, I have improved on my relationship standards: to not settle for anything less than God’s Best. I remember what my former boss told me about sin: “you know it’s not you anymore, and that you’re over it if you are already disgusted with your past sin”. My gosh. Totoo yun. There were moments kasi before that I would still want it, pero kapag hindi na sya bondage sayo, kadiri na. Diba nakalagay sa Bible? Sinuka mo na then you ate your vomit again. 🤢 Can you imagine? Pero aminin natin, ganun tayo before or even now. By Grace, let’s pray we don’t go back to our past sin anymore.

So ano na? If you’re single like me, and medyo matagal ka na din single, I just wanted to assure you that you are in a good place, if you are indeed single and surrendered to Jesus. In case may mga negative self-talk ka: that you’re unworthy, you’re not attractive, or baka wala ka ng hinihintay. Girl, dismiss mo na yan. Or maybe acknowledge it, bring it up to God, women you trust, spiritual friends who could pray for you. You keep a non negotiable list? Continue to pray for that list. Pray unceasingly nga, diba? Wag kang mag compromise kung biglang may makilala kang gwapo, pero hindi Kristiyano. Wag mong sayangin yung years na hinintay mo to be with the right person only to end up compromising, may you find satisfaction in Christ, persevere ka lang. May reward si Lord. Sure yan.

Pero ang prayer ko talaga for myself, for us single women: is that we graciously get to a point ng Christian life natin na hindi na natin mamamalayan na naghihintay pala tayo for God’s Best kasi masyado na tayong na in-love kay Jesus at nag enjoy sa presence Nya. Ewan ko, pero feeling ko that state can be achieved. Diba wala naman impossible through Christ?

Naniniwala ako there’s still a big chance for me to marry the Lord’s best for me one day. Pero naiintindihan ko na din ngayon that it isn’t my season yet. Sabi nga sa Bible don’t awaken love until it so desires. So when is the right time to fall in love? For me, I keep a list of the man I want to be with, and I love that list, cause I’m believing in faith that I will immensely love that man in my list. And I think the best way to prove that love is to love my God, our God, with all my heart. Apparently, the man I will be with is a man of God. Nakakahiya naman kung I ask for God’s best then ako, I won’t work on being God’s best for him. Gets mo ba? Haha. But whether he comes or not, I sincerely pray I will always be full, complete and satisfied with my Lord and Savior. I pray that the idea of marriage or having a partner doesn’t become an idol to me.

So for now, si Jesus muna date natin sa Valentine’s Day, okay? At least hindi magastos, and at least with Him legit ang #MayForever. Kung pwede nga lang pumunta na sa heaven now to be with Him. But oh well, only God knows. And eto nanaman ako, feeling ko kasi girl version ako ni Apostle Paul, so it’s better that I stay on Earth for now, ang dami pa kasing need na ayusin dito sa mundo, hanggat madaming babaeng nag-cocompromise and hindi maintindihan ang real worth nila kay Christ, hindi pa tapos ang mission ko in Christ, with Christ, through Christ, for Christ Jesus, all for Christ’s glory. Nux! Sundalo ni Kristo. Hehe.

Ladies (and if there’s any gentleman reading this), kung single ka, give it to God! He will never fail you. He’ll never leave nor forsake you. Hold on to His promises. He will be with you forevermore. Advance Happy Valentine’s Day!

*hugs, lots of it!*

Dhaka, Bangladesh 🇧🇩

Whoever says Dhaka isn’t a good idea, baka naman kailangan mo lang bigyan ng chance? I think most (if not all) of the crew who’ve been here na nakausap ko regarding their feedback on the place told me that there’s nothing special about it. Pero in my head, it couldn’t be that way, there’s always something special about the diversity of the Lord’s creation. Sa eroplano pa lang on the way to the Dhaka, God made me realize by just looking at the passengers that we all are made differently yet beautifully, diba nga when He created Adam and Eve, He said it was very good.

I was told too that the place is a little scary and not that attractive for touring. Well again, in my head, shouldn’t every place we’ve never been to be enough reason for us to tour? Or fine, maybe lakwatchera lang talaga ako. To be honest, medyo sketchy yung area outside the hotel I stayed in (La Meridian Hotel), but I decided to give it a shot, (traveling mercies!), checked out some places nearby, buti nalang game din ang flying partner ko to go out.

So medyo nag-OOTD kami. Wore those colourful floral abaya-ish dress we got from Jeddah for 5SAR (Saudi Riyals) na 65 pesos lang each when you convert to Philippine peso. The dresses were perfect cause Bangladesh is a muslim country, but unlike Saudi Arabia, we weren’t required naman to wear abaya and tarha. We also braided our hair, but hey, remember what it says on 1 Peter 3:3? “Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes.” So dapat as Christians, we should care more about our inner selves, okay? We should desire to be gentle and quiet in Spirit more than anything else cause that’s what’s precious in God’s eyes. That’s why I’m trying to be careful also with shopping, I pray talaga this year that I don’t purchase things I do not need, cause it could be really tempting to just buy whatever, I think alam ng mga flight attendant yan everywhere in the world. That’s why Frey and I were so happy na super mura lang yung dresses namen hahaha. And in all honesty, we try to develop our relationship with God more through Bible reading and prayers. Yes, I’m proud to say that we continually pray together and study the Bible. Sabi ko nga, lahat ng relationships that I will invest my time & energy on, I want to be intentional in making Christ the center, cause pointless talaga kung hindi naman Sya yung reason and purpose ng lahat ng bagay.

Going back to our tour in Dhaka, it was awesome. I would say that people here are helpful, not only cause I stayed in a hotel and they were obliged to accommodate me, but ang blessed ko sa encounters ko, some guy in the airport helped me with my luggage, nice din yung guy na nagtitinda sa clothing store here called “Zara” — I noticed too na magaling makipag small talk mga tao dito. Hehe.

My highlight would be the rickshaw (bike) driver who toured us around the area, sobrang baet nya, he said he’d tour us anywhere and he doesn’t care how much we pay him, we told him we could only give 50 taka for the entire tour and he okayed to it. In fairness, now ko lang naconvert 30pesos lang yun. Shux! Ang kapal ng mukha namin. But hey, cause he was such a good and unassuming tour guide, and went extra mile talaga with his job, we gave him more than the amount we promised, I won’t tell anymore how much but God knows. Hehe. His name by the way is Mr. Abdul Islam, super nice sya and in fairness ang galing nya mag-english.

After the tour, I was able to tell him that Jesus loves him so much, and we had a short prayer with him. Mehhhn, if only I could tell that to every person I encountered here, grabeeee. Naiiyak ako. I’m praying for his salvation.

Anyway. I gotta go, will fly back to my home base in a few hours. Sorry medyo rush ‘tong blog na ‘to. I will definitely go back here and explore some more. Thank You Jesus for such a gracious Dhaka experience!

Dear False Lover (Part 2)

Dear False Lover (2),

Hi. Nope, you didn’t expect me to write you for the 2nd time. But I did. Surprise. Hindi ko sinasabayan ang mga stats and year end posts ng mga tao just cause it’s New Year, hindi din hyped yung emotions ko. In fact, pakiramdam ko mas matino na ako mag-isip ngayon. More reasonable than emotional. Emotional: on that note, I’m still a work in progress. Kaya thank God pa din, dahil may progress.

Medyo matagal na din since I last wrote you Dear False Lover (1), May of 2016. It’s been a year and a half. Madami ng nangyari sakin, and I’m sure sayo din. I’m sure? Well yes, cause I’d still check your Instagram once in a while. Not to weigh kung may nararamdaman pa ako para sayo, matagal na natin tinapos kung ano man yung meron tayo. Normal lang naman siguro maging curious paminsan-minsan.

So what’s the point? Why would I write you another letter? Well, eto na. I noticed that my first letter to you was too heavy. Parang galit na galit dahil sa sobrang sakit and sobrang bigat as if I was the only victim sa pag cameo natin sa buhay ng isa’t isa. Eh parehas lang naman tayong biktima ng sin, ni Satan. I noticed too that I blamed it all to you. I don’t even remember kung humingi na ba ako ng tawad sayo. So that’s the purpose of me writing you again, para mag-sorry.

I’m deeply sorry that my heart was full of pain and pride at the same time. I’m sorry I had to go through the process of healing, along with that involved me hating you. I didn’t acknowledge my sin. I was insecure. I was motivated by selfishness. I was desperate. I was a false lover myself. I was lost. Kaya sobrang sorry cause I blamed you for the sin I chose to make. Gusto ko din sabihin that I’ve already forgiven you. Kapal naman ng mukha ko if I wouldn’t forgive, kung si God nga napatawad ako sa dami ng kasalanan ko.

Hindi ako naniwala na time heals, I believe only Jesus can absolutely do that. Or maybe He heals in His’ time? Pero yun nga, Jesus heals. It took me a while to digest all these. But I’m grateful I reached this point. I’m grateful I’m able to finally say sorry, forgive you, and myself. Sana napatawad mo na din ako.

Ang saya ko to start the year with this blog. Kasi diba makakapagsimula lang naman tayo ng maayos at tama kung mapayapa yung heart natin. The Father’s forgiveness through the Son set me free. Forgiveness is always freeing, it’s always the key to true healing. Easier said than done. Pero legit. I can attest now, totoo. I’m free. Plus, I can’t really consider myself a Christian kung wala sa sistema ko ang pagpapatawad at paghingi ng tawad.

Alam mo yung song na Grace Changes Everything ng Victory Worship?

“There’s no sin too great

There’s no pain too deep

The cross declares it is done

There’s no shame too real

That His love won’t heal

Forever the victory is won”

It is finished. Christ took it all, the pain, the shame, the anger, the pride in my heart, the bitterness, my sin. The old is gone, the new has come. Kaya again, I’m sorry, my brother in Christ.

O sya. Yun lang. Praying for grace upon grace upon grace sa buhay mo. God bless you!

Sincerely,

(Insert Name)

Mali, mali. Isa pa.

Sincerely,

Ria

10 Things I Appreciate About My Job

I’ve been forgetting to be grateful recently since my desire to come home to Manila on my 1st monthly days off didn’t push through. So now I decided to have a quick review on some of the things I’m grateful for, cause there’s really nothing to complain about. I am blessed, regardless.

These are 10 tiny things I appreciate about my job.

1. Short and neat nails – I’m not really a fan of nail polish. Is that weird? I don’t like painting my nails and I’m sooo happy that my work doesn’t require me to have nail polish on. I have the option to paint it red, or keep it short and clean.

2. I like that I do not serve alcohol on board. PRAISE GOD.

3. I have at least 5 consecutive days off every month. Not all Airlines give this opportunity. I have no excuse, there’s time to pause and ponder on life on a monthly basis. Praying that I’ll always be able to use these days off wisely & purposefully.

4. There’s washing machine and dryer in the villa where I stay, w/c is my home for about half a year. There’s grace in doing the laundry. My hands won’t hurt anymore! Hehe.

5. My job forces me to be domesticated. It allows me to learn how to cook, wash dishes, do the laundry, clean my room, budget my groceries. In short, it prepares me for future marriage. Lol.

6. Free gym membership 24/7.

7. Friendly neighbourhood. I’m neighbours with my batch mates -aka- my family. See? There’s home away from home!

8. It’s been more than a week since I started flying and I don’t feel any “seniority” right here. I guess it’s also all in the mind, but so far, I’m very grateful that my colleagues are so nice and helpful. Diversity of nationality brings out enthusiasm in me. There’s a lot to learn from Egyptians, Tunisians, Bosnians, Malaysians, etc.

9. I’m seeing lives change. I won’t go into details anymore on this one, but I see GOOD FRUIT. (Christians, you feel me?)

10. My job as a whole makes me Spiritually driven, it makes me hold on to Christ even more. It makes me suffer beautifully w/ homesickness as it allows me to grow even more in love & intimately with my Almighty Father.

Sometimes, it’s the little things that the Lord allow that enable us to truly appreciate life. My prayer is for me to continually delight in the Lord & get even more intimate with Him. For everywhere in the world could be a home when I am founded & deeply rooted in my Saviour. Yes. Christ is my Home.

When Enemies Become Roomies

At the beginning of our Training, Frey and I didn’t have a good first impression of each other. I tried assessing the situation, getting my heart checked and asking God why, we’re both Christians and yet we don’t seem to get along well. I immediately judged her and thought that her level of belief in Christ was shallow. How dare I assume that, kapal ko diba? Our first month gave me such a hard time, seeing her in class everyday felt heavy. Sobrang awkward kami sa isa’t isa. Our conversations were empty, and filled with insecurities and pride. Our faces both look unapproachable to some, “mataray-looking” as they say, and maybe that was the reason why we didn’t click right away; we saw a bit of ourselves in each other. I actually felt with Frey what many people would usually tell me on their first encounter with me— ang taray ng aura, hindi ko keri. So there, nag backfire sakin yung feeling na yun.

I’d always believe that first impressions do not last, because I grew up always being mistaken as a bad girl for how I look. But you know what I realized lately? They’re actually right, I am bad, and even worse than what they thought of. I really am bad apart from Christ. I wouldn’t have the effort to smile at people, to remember names & to intentionally build friendship. I’d be picky with my friends, build walls & limitations within my own circle. I would be prideful, though deep down inside I wanted to get to know people, I wouldn’t talk to them because I wanted them to be the first to approach me. Ang OA diba?Sobrang prideful. Ang dami kong possible friendship in the past na pinalagpas dahil sa pride ko. So again, I am absolutely bad when Christ doesn’t rule & reign in me. But HEY HEY HEY it doesn’t have to be that way anymore, right? Having been a new creation in Christ, I must mirror His holiness. “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16 — Wouldn’t this be a solid rebuke to us Christians? I don’t know about you, but this one heavily slapped me. I got so used to putting the blame on others and judging them without being aware of my own attitude. I wouldn’t consider having a character check because I’d innately & selfishly think I that know better. Remember what Christ says in Matthew 7:5? “Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Ouch! Repent! But of course, GRACE ABOUNDS. Praise God for searching my heart and knowing my anxious thoughts, for seeing offensive ways in me and always leading me in the everlasting way.

The tension between Frey and I subsided when I prayed for God to change my heart, (while I didn’t know she was actually praying for herself too), when I confessed the situation to my dgroup in the Philippines & asked them to pray for me. One of my devotions also compelled me to take action, it says that the way for people to know that we are Christ’s disciples is when we love each other; *gasps* basic knowledge in Christianity that I always forget; I cannot say that I’m the Lord’s if I do not love, for God is love Himself. Eventually, God opened an opportunity for us to get to know each other better. It began during our service training, when we didn’t have a choice but to share a meal because we both love seafood, and the stock was limited. Haha! I know, medyo-PG. Who would have thought na food lang pala ang mag-rreconcile samin. But what really brought us two closer is that towards the end of our training, we didn’t have a choice but to be each other’s room mate. Irresistible grace nanaman. I had two room mates before her (Ajla and Dawn, I love and miss them!) and when my 2nd room mate Dawn graduated and moved to Riyadh, I had no choice but to move in the same room with Frey. God moves in funny and mysterious ways talaga! That time, I told Him, “I don’t know what exactly You are up to, but I’m excited & I trust You, so bring it on.”

It’s been 2 weeks being in the same room with my former enemy. I won’t go into details on how it has been, but I feel sooo blessed having Frey as my room mate now. We cry and laugh together, we pray together every night before we sleep. We both acknowledge that we are saved by Grace. We both apologised and asked for each other’s forgiveness. We now call each other sisters in Christ and we believe we’ve got eternity to make chikahan about His goodness. Grabe, madalas kaming napupuyat cause we’re both talkative and we love to share lots and lots of testimonies. Indeed, all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. God is so intentional in making us live in harmony with one another so that we may glorify Him in Christ with a united spirit. (Romans 8:28; 15:5-6) How amazing!

Two more days before we move to Riyadh. We’re both aware that it won’t be easy, there’s more to discover in our newly blooming friendship, not just between us but also among our batch mates, and the thousands of colleagues we are yet to encounter. We’ve got a lot of adjustments to do, we may disappoint each other in the future but we know that the battle isn’t in the flesh but in the spirit, and as long as we have Christ in our center, we’re cool. Christ is our Peacemaker! Yay! ☺️

I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35