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. 😉

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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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How Does One Become Beautiful

FullSizeRender 4FullSizeRender 3FullSizeRenderAbout a month ago in a judging stint I had for a pageant, I suddenly had a thought in my head I nonchalantly opened up to my pageant mentor. I told him: “It’s so easy to look physically beautiful, it can be done in two hours, but what takes so much effort is to be beautiful inside”. He agreed with me and said, “Yes, because attitude is something no one can conceal, it’ll show no matter how much you try to hide it.”

I find physical and visual beauty as something easily manipulated. I learned and studied it when I entered pageantry. I was educated how to put make up on, dress up, walk gracefully, smile all the time and be the center of attention. I can still recall how God has favored me back in 2013, when a lot of people were rooting for me in a national pageant. Almost every pageant enthusiast I would meet would tell me how powerful my look was during the pageant screening. But I too can recall how calculated, rehearsed and planned my every move was. I knew I was doing a superficial “job” while having deep thoughts on the purpose of all that I’m doing. There was one event in the pageant when I showed up with no make up on, and it was posted on social media, many reacted nicely, and there were also a lot of negative comments.

Perspective, that’s what I saw right there! People will always have their own viewpoint on how beauty should be. There are broad avenues and angles on how it is defined. And most of the time, each person would consider their opinion as the ultimate standard. Which leads me to a realization, if people have their own perspective on beauty, then I can have mine too!

Biblically, it says that beauty shall not be based on outward adornment, it’s not seen in jewelries and clothing. I agree with this. The people I find most attractive aren’t really the ones who put as much make up as I do when I do pageant stuff. Perfect example are my friends and spiritual mentors: Tita Iris Nanez and April Tolentino. I see them becoming more and more beautiful the longer I know them. They’re very simple, they do not wear false eye lashes on but I see such glow in their eyes that brings joy in me. It is surely their unconcealed gentleness and quietness of spirit I find very captivating.

But hey, I also learned that security in inner beauty is not an excuse for us not to physically take care of ourselves. Women may also exert an effort to be attractive and presentable. There’s nothing wrong with looking visually pretty and dressing up because we are tasked to take care of our bodies, for it’s where the Lord’s Spirit resides.

What I am improving most about myself now is the inside beauty. I want to be friendlier, nicer, gentle and pleasant. I want to be sincere at doing all these and I know that the formula begins within. I believe I’m able to do them: (1) Whenever I get to spend enough time praying and seeking the Lord first before I open my mails and social media sites; (2) Whenever I read my Bible, my week has been so peaceful, part of it is cause I was comforted as I meditate on His’ promises in Psalm; (3) Whenever I am able to reach out and pray for someone and (4) When all these are consistently occurring.

The formula to being pretty inside out isn’t as complicated as we think it is. It only becomes complicated when we do not ENDURE -aka- PERSEVERE in being it. Galatians 6:9 says: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Let us not give up on thriving to be beautiful on the inside, I say thriving because we are being perfected from glory to glory, we are already victorious having Jesus in our lives so we no longer strive, we thrive!!!

Stay pretty!!! ❤ 🙂