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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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

DEAR TAZIC 🖤

Hindi ako makatulog, hindi ako matutulog unless malabas ko ang nararamdaman ko at malaman ng buong mundo kung gaano ka ka-dakila. Hindi pa ako pinapanganak, yaya ka na ng pamilya ko. Chubby ka pa dati, kasi ikaw palagi ang kumakaen ng tira naming magkakapatid, taga-ubos ng gulay, kasi hindi kami mahilig sa gulay nila kambal. Pinanganak si Paul, ikaw pa din ang naging yaya nya. Every time na magbibiro ka na lalayas ka na, iiyak kaming lahat, hahabulin ka namin hanggang sa gate ng Eastside. Memorized mo ang birthdays naming magkakapatid, pati relatives namin randomly ireremind mo kami na kaarawan nila at tatanongin mo kung na-greet na namin sila. Wala kang palya, Ate Tas!

Pumunta sa USA sila Mama and Papa more than 10years ago, ikaw na ang tumayong magulang ko dito sa Pinas. Kung may isang taong pinaka-nakakakilala sa akin, ikaw yun. Ikaw ang nagtitiyaga sa katamaran at kadamutan ko, ikaw ang sumasalo sa sama ng loob at init ng ulo ko sa mga bagay-bagay na walang katuturan. Ikaw ang nag-comfort sakin noong iniwan ako ng ex-boyfriend ko 6years ago, sinamahan mo ako sa mga impulsive/biglaang decisions ko. Yung nagka-dengue ako 2years ago, ikaw nagdala sa akin sa ospital at nag-alaga. Palagi mo akong binibilhan ng Jollibee every month kapag sumisweldo ka. Palagi mo akong pinapautang sa tindahan mo noong mga panahong unemployed ako. Palagi kang nandyan, palagi. Pero sorry Ate Tas cause I take your presence for granted, dahil hindi ko napapahalagahan ang pagmamahal mo sa akin. Ang dami mong ginawang kabutihan, hindi ka na nga nag-asawa, kami na ang naging pamilya mo. 

Ang prayer ko ay sana gumaling at lumakas ka na. Mawala ng ang sakit ng ulo mo, kumaen ka ng healthy and ng tama para hindi na ma-trigger ang diabetes mo. Jesus is your healer, Ate Tas! Go and be healed na dahil mag-movie date tayo soon, manonood tayo ng KathNiel, and I’ll bring you to Salad Stop, masarap ang gulay nila doon. 

I love you, Ate Tas! Jesus loves you so much! You are healed, in Christ’s Mighty Name. 💞

An Open Letter to my Baby Sister

Dear V,

Hi. You know I would always claim it, that you actually are my sister from another mother. Even if it was literally a “job” for me to take care of you then, it didn’t feel like it. I owned the title of being your personal assistant & manager — extended to being your mentor, leader, ate, and I didn’t have to get paid for that. 

Remember when we were struggling to book you modeling gigs/shows then? And now you get unlimitted offers, left and right. But that wasn’t really the highlight of our time together. Let me refresh your mind for a bit! It was us being each other’s church buddy. Friday youth service, Sunday services, One-2-One sessions, waiting on the line to get a cab and we didn’t really care even if it was taking forever cause we had so much to talk about and so much to thank Him for. Those were just few the many, and I’ll always cherish them. 

I liked the depth of your desires to find answers to your theological questions, that some I had a hard time answering already lol. I’m sorry for the times you probably needed someone to talk to and I wasn’t there. I was having my own struggles. But please keep in mind that I’ll forever be a big sister to you no matter where He allows you to go. That’s a promise. Let me know when I can call, okay? Let me know when I can go pick you up.

I love you, Vanessa. Jesus loves you above all. Don’t ever forget that. 

Sincerely,

Ria Xx

PS May you always take this verse with you wherever you may be, that whenever life gets confusing, you have a solid foundation to hold on to, and you’ll never be lost. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2💞


Choosing Christ is worth it. Wait on Him. 

Career Tweak 

Woah. It’s been a while! Ended my 8th week training a little early today for this new job I’m applying for. Finally got to allot time for this little vitamin of mine: writing! Yes, I’m still applying for “the job” as a flight attendant because I’m still uncertain on my status here (anything could happen, depending on the Lord’s will), I can’t really say I’m already employed and an official future jetsetter (lol) unless I graduate and get my “wings” aka my nameplate. Brand new to me cause I have zero knowledge on the Aviation industry. I only see the surface of the ‘works’ each time I’d ride an aircraft, and amuse myself seeing the flight attendants blow the mouth tubes of the life vest as they smile the entire time they’re doing their safety demo. And now that I’m already training to work like them, I’d say that being an FA is a real deal, a dead serious job. I’m serious. 😭🙂

In a span of 8 weeks I’ve done and learned things I never though I could do. I learned how to swim and float in an 8feet pool (my gosh!!!), learned four swimming strokes (freestyle, elementary backstroke, breaststroke and sidestroke; intense ‘to never in my life did I imagine myself learning how to swim), became the class secretary and graciously listen to instructions that I may relay to my classmates (gosh I’m bad at listening, but once again: GRACE changes everything). I also learned how to study hard — oh yes, this is something I never did back in college down to my kindergarten years. My first 4-5weeks at training were such a struggle. There were so many adjustments when it comes to my study habits because I never had one. I wasn’t a fan of school, but now, at 26, I learned to love it! Who wouldn’t love learning how to do CPR, assisting a pregnant woman give birth and do first aid rescue procedures? My favorite were our aircraft tours and emergency drills. I feel like I’m in an acting class when I do the drills. But Lord, please no emergency in real life! Please-eyy!!! 

There were also a bunch of practical matters that I learned. 1) To not compare my classmates competence with mine. 2) To be diligent in studying and have the integrity, faith without action is dead! If I’d pray to pass my exams, I shall do my part and study.3) We are a team, my classmates and I, we are a family and I can ask them for help when I need it, and vice verse. I’m no longer in a pageant where competition is crazy. I’m in a team. So yeah, teamwork works!😉

Again, I’m not going to assume that this is already the career the Lord has for me. If you’d ask me now, I’d say that I am beginning to like it. But I haven’t even started doing the actual “service” yet, only Christ’s grace that will fully confirm that this really is it. I’ll find out in a month. Will probably confirm on my next blog.😘

Many are the plans in a man’s heart but it’s the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 — And I pray for a heart fully surrendered to His’ purpose. I only want a career where I can glorify and honor Him in every way. One that won’t make me forget Him. If this one isn’t it then I don’t mind losing it. But if it is the one, then praise God! We’ll see. 
His will be done, my will be gone! Be back in a month! Xoxo  

Season Of Rest: Almost Over

It’s been 4 months of rest since my Bb. Pilipinas 2016 journey. I’ve had a few modeling gigs as I wait for my ‘regular job’ but I believe the ultimate career I did the past months is being the Lord’s servant (I’m not taking even a pinch of glory on that, this is only and all by His grace). I can’t believe this season is about to end. But before He transitions my life to a new chapter, let me lay down my gratitude piece. 

Yes, this season’s almost done. Four months of unlimited ministry works, prayers, witnessing lives coming to Jesus and getting baptized, fellowshipping, worshipping. Oh nooo… I don’t want to cry. ='( But I’m getting really emotional now cause I’m gonna miss all these. Not that I won’t have/do it anymore, but I’m kind of preparing myself now on the changes that may occur. I don’t really know what the future brings as I begin my brand new week “at work” next week. And to be honest, I’m scared, I’d get anxious. But the Lord commands not to be anxious about anything, and pray about everything instead. Please pray for me too. =( 

On a brighter note, let me count my blessings! There’s literally massive things I wanna thank the Lord for, let me summarize it a bit. 1) I thank Him for the grandest gift He gave me this year: THE FELLOWSHIP – each and every being in it, they know who they are. Their faith and love for Jesus encourages me to fall in love with Him even more. 

2) I thank Him for the many events He allowed me to go to and be part of to experience Him in different avenues: Hillsong Youth Revival concert, Marlann & Christine’s Victory Weekend, True Life Retreat, Nick Vujicic talk, Upperroom Worship Manila Retreat, Nueva Ecija trip with my DGroup, #YesHeIs Gospel Video shoot, Fellowlympics and mooore! 
My seasons of rest has never never been this action-packed and fruitful! It’s overwhelming to be given this glorious opportunity to see lives transform, friendships flourish and people from different walks of life coming to know the goodness of Jesus. I never imagined Him answering my prayers this way. Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom. (Psalm 145:3) 


To my coming season: I may be weak, but my Lord is strong. I may be foolish, but my Lord is wise. I cannot, He can. So bring it on! My Lord will fight for me anyway. Got my eyes on You, Jesus. “Remain in Me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5) 💜✝

Dear Ate Girl: It’s not him, it’s you


Dear Ate Girl,

Giiirl, so ano na? Sisisihin mo nanaman that guy for leaving you. You’ll try to cut yourself again? Or replace him with someone new to be able to forget? You’ll tell your friends how painful it is. Or go on the prideful end, book a flight somewhere in the world pretending you’re okay on your Instagram posts and you got everything handled pero yung totoo durog na durog ka na. You’ve been warned, but you did not listen. Ayan tuloy, you’re back in that loop again!

Sa start pa lang wala ka ng peace, you knew it was wrong, you felt it but you reasoned with it. You wrestled with God about it. Lord, baka pwede na ‘to. Lord, I can probably change him. Lord, ako na bahala dito, tagal na ng waiting game I’m settling for this one at the moment. Lord, friends lang naman. Talaga lang ah, friends? Pero deep inside you knew you were falsely in love and you were already hearing that still small voice telling you clearly: NO, HINDI YAN, HE’S NOT GOD’S BEST FOR YOU. Ehh ang tigas ng ulo mo. You come up with reasons to keep the relationship everyday, hanep you would even quote the Bible to back up your baluktot decisions. Girl, didn’t you forget that Satan also quoted the scripture to Jesus? Ano baaa. 

Okay, don’t get me wrong hindi kita cinocondemn, I’m just reminding you of your heart and how fragile and easily tempted it is. Nakalimutan mo na ba almost similar din yung pain mo with the guy prior to that one? That’s why you really have to guard your heart beh! Pagod na ako to see how lugmok and emo you are, I’m sure pagod na pagod ka na din. You know you’re not ready for a relationship, for a man, for that is not really what you need. Ang keylangan mo is to rekindle your relationship with Christ, He’s the Man you need. Bumalik ka na please. Maawa ka sa sarili mo and sa mga taong tunay na nagmamahal sayo. 

Dati super on fire ka kay Jesus, ngayon hindi ka na nagrereply when you get invited to go to church or Bible study. Again, alam mo that you are not yet ready. Try mo lang magpapursue kay Jesus ulit! Mahilig ka magmahal diba, try mo sa kanya ipour-out lahat ng pagmamahal mo. Carireen mo na si Lord. Diba nga His’ plans for you are good, pleasing and perfect? Don’t you like that package deal? Matalino ka naman so gets mo na ‘to, balik ka na sa Kanya. 

And wag mo na sisihin anyone, repent for your sins, humble yourself, God will forgive you naman e. Pero please don’t get stuck to the point na sa repenting period ka nalang forever and you condemn yourself na. Sis, love ka ni Lord. Intense! Alam Nya when you are ready and when you are not so wag ka ng feelingera na kaya mo ihandle your life. Cause hindi talaga. Listen to Him. Fall in love with Jesus again. Sya nalang Boyfriend mo. One day ibibigay Nya sayo yung pak na pak na God’s Best mo, ganern! Pero for now, kay Lord ka nalang muna. Keri? 

Sincerely,

Your Ate Girl in Christ 😉

Dear Woman


Dear Woman, 

I’m staring at your eyes now and I can glance at your story. I know exactly how you feel. It was the same expression I saw in the mirror not too long ago. I’m not trying to freak you out. I just know. I’ve been there myself. 

I’m pretty sure you don’t want to be in that vicious cycle anymore, but you find it so hard to let go. One morning, you’d wake up and tell yourself you’ll make things right. Two days later, your emotions will eat you up and you’re there again, back in the same toxic situation. You wake up and sleep with a heavy heart. In fact, you lack sleep cause the Spirit hunts you. You ignore it, and then you go and find ways to cover the sorrow. Oh gosh, the world doesn’t run out of bullshit—and because you are blinded, you buy it. You go out, go to work, meet friends, do sports, distract and amuse yourself with empty pleasures and make it seem like nothing is wrong. You think of creative ways on how your life will appear to be pretty and bright on your social media sites. You deceive nothing but the ones clueless of your real situation. You practically deceive everyone because you are the only one who knows you’re actually wretched. You don’t want to share it with anyone, not even to the people closest to you. You ignore the misery. You’re allergic with accountability, afraid people may judge you, not wanting to frustrate anyone, so you stick with your pride, put on the happy mask and role play! 

But your eyes, blame your eyes that I see your secret. Blame it that it cannot hide the intensity of troubles you brought yourself in to. Blame your eyes for not lying, for showing that deep down your core, you know you’re empty, you know that no matter how much you try to make things seem okay it’ll never be okay unless you decide to get out of that toxic life, unless you let go of that sin.

Woman, it’s time to surrender. It’s time to stop doing it your way. I can’t promise you an easy way out, because there’s no shortcut to that. But as you endure, as you obey the path of truth everyday, it’ll get better, the wounds will dry slowly, make sure not to scratch it again, and it’ll eventually heal. Give it to Him, your First Love, remember? Go back to Him and don’t forsake Him anymore. Remember everything He’s done for you and all He’s yet to do if you obey. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge that you are hurting, that you need help, that you need people to pray for you. Don’t be deceived by the enemy’s lie that tells you that you’ll never change. Do not get stuck. That’s not your destiny! You’re meant for greatness! You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are victorious in Christ. Do what you can do to return to Him, do it everyday, it takes deliberate action & daily decision; as you go on you’ll see how He’ll take care of the things unseen. Let His’ grace and mercy take over. Let Him comfort you once again, find rest in Him. He’s waiting. You are redeemed.

Sincerely,

Your Sister in Christ 

To All The Men I Thought I Loved Before

Hi,

This is spontaneous writing. Just in case you thought of checking out how I am now. I’m doing alright. This goes to you, to all of you that I said “I love you too” back in the days, I think I didn’t really mean any of it. I just liked the idea of having someone to say the big words to. I’d just throw it away without really meaning ’em. Forgive me, I was hopeless romantic. I was selfish and conceited. I’m sorry in every and any way I hurt you, in case I did. And to the ones I purposefully hurt and cheated on, I’m sorry for stepping on your ego. I’m sorry if I distorted the idea of love in your pov. I’ve also forgiven you for hurting me. I don’t want any bitterness and hurt living in my mind and my chest, I don’t want to live confused about the real essence of love. I sincerely want you all to live in joy and peace, with whoever you are with or wherever path the Lord leads you to. I’m sorry for telling you promises I didn’t mean. Or maybe I meant them, but I broke them. I’m posting this because I want to be free from any pain of the past, cause I want to be ready for the right one. I believe there’s true love right there for all of us. And we’ll only be found by it in humility, gentleness and kindness. I don’t know when mine’s coming but I sincerely believe I gotta do this today. I want to be ready for my God’s Best and it includes freeing myself from all pain. Again, I am truly sorry. May Jesus reign in your hearts.

Best,
Sissel Ria

Sweet Nothing

  
Can’t sleep. It’s been a while. I’ve missed this. A lot of things happened since my last blog entry, roller coaster of emotions, stretching of faith and legit humbling of the heart. (In particular, my heart.) 

Notice the photo above. It speaks to me a lot. If you are in a pageant, it’s temptation, it’s sweet, but no good. Just like in life, we are rich with sweet things in this world, yet unworthy ones. My point is not everything romantic and sweet are good. Not everything we desire may be beneficial for us. Not everything that seems good are good. Not all forms of love that we believe in are true love. Not everything we see are substantial, a lot of things are deceiving and tempting, and we gotta be careful. 

Two weeks ago, I was not chosen as a candidate for my big dream. It was painful, until He brought me back and made me an official candidate a week later. He’s crazy, in a nice way. He realigned my heart and my desires. He proved me that He’s in control of my dreams and everything solely depends on Him. That no matter how much I try to be my life’s director, He will always be the Boss. He rules and reigns, as usual. (Hindi na ako na sanay.) In a span of a week, I was humbled, I’ve learned to surrender the dream to Him. Mehhn, and I realized it was just right for me to do it because dreaming of becoming Miss Universe is totally not under my control, so might as well give it to Him. Apart from Him, everything I want to achieve is rubbish–waley and chaka.

(Prior to the ones written below were written 6 days ago)

Let’s go back to the title, Sweet Nothing. Hmm. To me, it’s waste of time, it delays us from seeing the real blessing and brings us to idleness instead knowing and living out our purpose. Sweet Nothing is a work of the enemy. It may be procrastination, checking out nonsense stuff on Instagram & Facebook for hours (guilty) and prioritizing it more than the important things I have to do. It could mean settling in a relationship na wala lang & bahala na, unlabeled. It could mean doing a lot of good works yet not being able to understand why you do them. It could be getting rich to sustain for yourself, and yours alone. It could mean you being the happiest person in the world, while the people around you are dying in pain. Anything that points to self, to selfishness in particular, is worthless. What else did I miss? So that’s my view of sweet nothing. 

Alright, I’m posting this now. I’m glad to be back in the pageant (Binibining Pilipinas 2016) and I sincerely hope to enjoy it like never before. Good night, Universe! 💜🙂