Just G!

It’s been a year since the first time I join a Singles Victory Group in VCF Alabang, and I can still remember freshly the woman whom I first partnered with when we break out in prayer. It was Jeanette or G, who is now my B.F.F. (Best Friend Forever or Best and Faithful Financer.. haha).

It was March when we first met, and it was her birth month! So, I really take this time to greet and honor my babe” for her 23rd Birthday and our 1st Anniversary as friends in my own unique and humble way (because I cannot really give a tangible gift for now).

jee and i

Here’s our second picture together during her birthday party last year. (I don’t know where is the 1st one, but I’m sure it’s with Ate Bianca, our VG mate.)

As far as I can remember, she was also water baptized in March last year. So, here’s another reason to honor her, 1st Birthday in Christ, a year of honoring God and making disciples! 

It’s just a year since we’re together but it feels like a lifetime already. She was there in all my ups and bumps, and I can’t thank God enough for giving me her as a friend, mentor and classmate. By the way, we will graduate again under the same course (our 3rd) next week!

Without further ado, here’s my little way of honoring her…

JEANETTE

Once upon a vintage time, a woman worthy to be praised was born…

A beloved daughter of the King of all kings…

A princess in words and actions…

Clothed with modesty and majesty…

As precious as the pearls in the ocean is her heart down deep…

A hidden treasure chest is her kind and gentle spirit…

Sparkling as the diamonds are her  smiles…

More precious than silver and gold to her family…

More loyal and loving than a dog to her friends…

Survivor of the storms of life, love and lies..

A Proverbs 31 woman…

A Fighter of the unseen enemies…

A Faithful soldier of the Most High.

Babe,

I want to honor you not for the things that you have done and shared to me but simply for who you are. Knowing a faithful friend and a sister like you for a year, which feels like ages already, is indeed a blessing to me.

So, I’ll stick with you even if your teeth looks like this…

or your eyes become like these…

or your hair becomes the color of corns…

and even if you look more terrible than an alien..

I’ll stay with you, and together we’ll finish whatever race…

Spread more colors in this world…

And, share more fun and beautiful memories in our next years of victorious friendship and sister love.

I Love You Babe! Happy Happy Birthday! May God bless you more!

Love,

Ram

P.S.

Because I cannot afford a tangible ukelele and I only sing by faith, which means I can’t serenade you or else I’ll ruin your day.. Here’s the ukelele chord for your favorite song, A Thousand Years.

And, here’s a song for you…

I Did. (But I Wouldn’t Now)

Going home from my cousin’s condo early morning wearing shorts, which is not actually too short, when older women stares at me kinda like judging. On my mind was, what’s with wearing a not-so-short shorts?  Then I remembered what my grandmothers usually told me when it’s Holy Week – not to wear shorts, not to go out of the house, not to play, not to get any wound because it won’t heal, etc. etc.  Maybe that’s whats going on inside their heads.

However, as obedient as I was when I was a little girl, I realized that I do not live my life with religion anymore, there are no more do’s and don’ts over my life, for I know and believe as Jesus said, “It is done.” I can wear shorts as long as my conscience is clear that I am modest enough not to show any hint of immorality or be a stumbling block to others. There are lot of things that I did as a child during this so-called Holy Week that I won’t do again.

Here are the things that I did (but I wouldn’t now)  during Holy Week:

1.  Going to cathedrals or buildings that house the church of God or the so-called Visita Iglesia. Why? Because it is said that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and God is everywhere; I can call and pray to Him anytime. I don’t need to travel much or go in and out of buildings to pray. I can visit His churches by fellowship with people who have Jesus Christ in their lives, for they are the real churches.

2. Hearing the 7 last words. I remember  my younger days when I have to sit for long hours, just to listen to those words, and I always cry remembering the death of Jesus. His last words are indeed worth reminiscing, but I realized that Jesus’ last words were actually these… “go and make disciples of all nations…” before He ascended to heaven. I know that those 7 words were referring to His words before He died, but He rose again.

3.  Watching the washing of the feet. I loved this! Why? Because Kuya  Jong was always one of the apostles, and it always give him the pressure to clean and scrub his feet because the whole town will see his feet being washed. I’m not going to watch this anymore because I’d rather focus more on how to serve God’s people  than simply watching it, but it’s a good picture to remember though; it’s one of the greatest example of servant leadership and humility.

4. Following the station of the Cross. Under the heat of the sun, I loved to follow all those people who persevered to walk through the different stations. However, no matter how good it is to feel and walk with Jesus with His sufferings as He carry His cross to calvary, I realized that I walk with Him daily and that feels much better. Furthermore, I follow Him and carry His cross daily whether under the heat or under cold weather.

5. Believing that Jesus Christ is dead for a day.  I asked myself, does it mean I’m dead as well for a day? For I call myself a Christian, meaning without Christ  I am nothing. Without Him, I’m dead. We remember Christ’s birth during Christmas and we REMEMBER His death for all of us but to think and believe that He is dead for a particular day is far different because JESUS IS NOT DEAD. HE IS SURELY ALIVE.

6. Singing and dressing like an angel. I won’t do it again because I’m not a little girl anymore, and there was really no angels during the time that Jesus and Mary meet after His resurrection. But, I loved doing these before even if it means I have to wake up at 4am for the Salubong.

7. Looking for eggs on Easter. This was my most awaited event of the year when I was a child aside from Christmas because aside from the Easter egg hunts that we have in the park for all the children in the village, we also have our own hunt at home with chocolates hidden by our grandparents for me and my cousins only.  But, there is no Easter bunny in the Bible! When Jesus resurrected, no one hides eggs and asked the children to search for it.

Now, here are the things I observed some people do during Holy Week that I’m sure I will never ever do:

1. Hitting my back with cat-o-nine tails. Aside from the fact that it hurts so much, the reason behind why they do it hurts my ears as well. Why? Because some of them said that it is how they repent. Once a year? With that? The purpose why Jesus Christ came is to spare us from that kind of suffering! He don’t want us to suffer that way because He love us. He offered His body as a sacrifice. God is pleased not just with our sacrifices but with our obedience. Like the Catholic Church, I’m not really against this practice. But, I believe it is always better to repent everyday than to repent one time big time with that.

2. Nailing myself on the Cross.  I praise the Lord for my Catholic Theology in my younger days because I get to know the apostle Peter and all the other martyrs well. The principle behind the inverted cross of Peter was he don’t feel he’s worthy of the same way of death with Jesus. See? An apostle of Jesus felt that he’s not worthy to die such way, and here we are trying to imitate the death of Christ nailing ourselves to that cross. Jesus Christ died once and for all! This is not the kind of repentance or sacrifice that God wants, He longs for us. He wants our whole hearts not our pierced hands.

Now, I reach the end of my piece with what I won’t do this Holy Week. Maybe some of you will say, “You’re not a Catholic so you really won’t do those things, you won’t understand us.” My response to that will be, I praise God that I  was raised a Roman Catholic. Am I excommunicated? I don’t think so. I’d been singing Laudare, Benedicere, Praedicare for more than two decades now and I still live the way it means. Attending a different congregation with different set of beliefs and practices doesn’t make me forget who I was – a girl raised by the RVM and Dominican sisters.

So, what will I do this week? God said, “Be holy for I am holy”. God did not said any particular day for holiness. Therefore, we ought to be holy every single day and every single week. I live every day as Christmas, being grateful for the coming of Jesus. I live every day remembering that Jesus died the death I should have died. I live every day celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, knowing that He conquered death for me.

How about you? How do you spend this week? Whether its for vacation or nailing yourself at the cross, remember that in whatever you do, God sees your heart. Please Him and not men neither yourself.

Beyond looks and condition

This poem was first published in my Facebook account dated February 20, 2013. Forgot to post this here as well.

I don’t know what’s with me yesterday, but I woke up thinking of my future husband, maybe it’s because I’m reading compiled stories of different missionaries and how they survived in foreign countries with their families, so I started praying for my future family, yet I ended up praying for the things that I want from a husband, so I asked God to change my heart and let His will be done over my desires then I write a poem for my husband-to-be. I believe, years from now, he’ll be reading this with a big smile on his face.

Beyond looks and condition 

Today, I am longing for you deeply

Thinking of who you are personally,

You may not be that handsome

But I hope with you there is no boredom,

I pray that we’ll share a lot of things

That will make our togetherness interesting,

I hope your stare can make me smile

And take my heartbeat for awhile,

I hope that you have a not-so-dark complexion

But still look like a chocolate temptation,

And that your body is built like a hunk

Whom I can rest like a smooth rock,

I hope you’ll be like a magnet to me

Attracting my attention and thoughts daily,

I hope that just by seeing you will make my day

Making me feel swept away,

Not being my ideal won’t make me fret

And I’ll submit to you without regret,

Whether you’re not that attractive

Or a little bit insensitive,

I may not like your looks

Or not being a lover of books,

Whatever you’re like, I really won’t care

Be it tall, dark, or whatever,

We may not look good together

But I promise not to choose another,

For I know that we are God’s perfect creation

Made to love beyond looks and condition.

The L.I.F.E. I ought to LIVE!

As I had my quiet time yesterday sipping my coffee in a restaurant near the sea side in Roxas Boulevard, I reflected on my life and if I’m really living it the way God designed it to be. After some deep thoughts and painful convictions, I come up with 4 characters that I ought to live my life with as a woman created in the image and likeness of God.

 

LOVE – For God so love the world that He gave His only Son, Jesus, who took away my sins and nailed it down at His feet on the cross at calvary. I ought to live a life with love, not because of what God has done for me but for who He is in me.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. -1 John 4:8

INTEGRITY – For God is my shield who washed and covered me with His blood and clothes me with purity and righteousness. I ought to live holy, upright and with integrity, not just because of His blood that purchased me from the power of darkness but for who He is in me.

You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own. – Leviticus 20:26

FAITH – For God has been so faithful even if I am not. He never turned His face far from me but keeps me on stronghold to the rock, whom all foundations have been laid. I ought to live faithfully being sure of what I hope for and being certain of what I do not see, not just because He never failed to remain in me, but because of who He is in me.

For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. – Psalm 33:4

EXCELLENCE – For God created everything good, pleasing and perfect. He created me, telling me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made no matter how I feel fat and ugly at times. I ought to live an excellent life, giving nothing but my best, not just because He created me excellently but for who He is in me.

O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! Who has set thy glory above the heavens. – Psalm 8:1

If Jesus Christ died the death that I should have died, then I ought to live a life that He has lived. I call myself a Christian, not just because of what Christ did for me but for who He is in me – a loving, blameless, faithful, excellent and indescribable God.

I hope after reading this, you’ll be able to list down some characters that describe the life that you are living. I pray that it will be the same characters of Him, who created us in His own image and likeness.

My Incredible Bosses and Why I Quit My 1st Job

Because it is graduation season again, I opted to post this article that I wrote for Starfish E-Magazine last year about my life after college. Here’s the original copy of it.

 

Incredible Bosses for faye

A graduates’ unknown path

After finishing college and holding on to that diploma, we moved on to pursuing a career. For some College degrees, like mine (BS Nursing), a licensure exam is needed to be passed for us to fully practice the chosen profession; the main challenge after being called a registered professional and having that license is seeking a job and sticking to it.

I finished College last April 2011 and took the Nursing Licensure Exams July in that same year. After two weeks at home doing nothing but waiting for the exam results, I got bored and decided to send my resume to a known recruitment site, Jobstreet. I also sent my resume to a known person in an HR Mall, then I received a phone call – a job offer. That’s how easy it was for me despite the fact that most College graduates are greeted with “Welcome to the population of unemployed” instead of “Congratulations”. In my case, I didn’t find a job, it found me.

When God leads the way

Art was my weakness since birth. I’m not good in drawing, colors and anything related to art. But despite this weakness, I never felt low about myself; I simply kept in mind that God didn’t want me to create art but to appreciate it.

During my job interview I was confident that I would get hired; anxiety only arose when I found out that I would be assigned to the Innovation + Design Group. That was the time that I asked God, “Why lead me to the area of my weakness?” I’m so used to being the best in the areas that I’d been in, but God simply reminded me that “The place where I call you, there your heart will be.” So I put my trust in God and everything went well.

Not just lucky but blessed

Many College graduates and even licensed professionals are still unemployed after a year of their graduation, while others are working in their second or third jobs. I attended a retreat last November 2011 together with new graduates like me; from them, I heard stories of how hard it was to find a job, how they survived the troubles in their unfriendly working environment, how mean and terrible their bosses are, how they quit their first jobs, and how they found a new one and how they wanted to quit again.

While listening to their whining stories about employment and workplace, I found myself in the position of being blessed. I am working in a company that is simply the best in its field; I’m working in a fantastic department where scratch becomes a masterpiece, thus the name Innovation + Design, and above all I’m working with people who are the best among their kind.

I may not use my license as a nurse working in this company; I may not practice what I learned in College, the board of nursing may considered me part of the underemployed for not practicing my profession, but I never regret all the days of my stay in this company, working with the people who are the best in my weakness.

God is indeed the one who sends me in this work. How did I know? It’s simple, I am blessed in here.

It’s worth it

In our department, there are only 4 of us who are not Architects among the 60 to 80 of them; but I never felt different neither a stranger to their world. There are times that I feel low or tired. To recharge, I simply remind myself that I may not be the great nurse behind a good doctor, but behind the Architects of the premium malls, residences and even cities is a supportive and cute nurse (cute is what they used to describe me).

February 2012 during the AYLC Alumni gathering for AYLC 2012, Mr. Simon Mossesgeld gives us his very famous talk about Servant Leadership; he asked us the question from a TV ad, “Bakit ka ba gumigising sa umaga? Is it worth waking up for?” From that moment, I knew my answer. I wake up every day to arrange the schedule of the Chief Architect and assist all the 80 architects in their work needs.

There are tough times, that it was hard to wake up at 4:30am to go to work, but every time I feel tardy, I simply say to myself: “Faye, bumangon ka, aayusin mo schedule ni JNL (my boss, the Chief Architect), papapirmahan mo mga plano, pag nadelay sila sa mga gagawin nila, matatagalan pa matayo yung mga bahay, paano na yung mga pamilya na titira doon?”  (Faye, get up, you need to fix the schedule of JNL, the plans are needed to be signed, when they get delayed, the construction of houses will be delayed as well, how about the families that will live in there?”) With these reasons and many others, I know that what I do in the office is worth waking up for.

When God used the Architects to reveal his masterplan for me

My bosses are indeed incredible at work. They are simply hardworking and they taught me one great thing – when at work, work; when at parties, party, when on travel, travel. This is my very first job, and they taught me to live a balanced life. I spent some unofficial trips with them. First is when we decided to hiked at Mt. Pulag, I was afraid of the cold weather up in the mountains, I was also afraid that I may faint along the way, but they never failed to tell me to go further until we reached the campsite. I survived that hike because I overcame those fears; they let me see the strength in me. We also had a weekend trip in Bicol, where we swim with the whalesharks; I was afraid of drowning, but they taught me to seize the moment.

Seeing these Architects draw, design and plan because that’s the way God designed them, is something I admired that makes me re-evaluate the master plan of God in me. I looked back to what my dreams are. I realized my strengths were covered by fear, fear that I’ve created. After months of contemplating and prayers, I decided to follow my passion, fulfill my long lost dream and overcome those fears.

There are lots of lessons I’ve learned from this job. It includes humility to serve others, working with pressure, and letting go even if it’s hard to leave a company of people like that. Quitting a job is never easy but I’m not afraid for my 2nd or my succeeding jobs because I’ve learned on my very first job that whatever company I work with its not always doing what I love but also loving what I do.

From my eight months journey as an employed individual, I’ve learned one great thing: Wherever you are, whatever you do, whoever you work with, God has placed you there for a purpose. Obey His will and know thy purpose. My life had no direction after I took the Licensure Exams, but God placed me in a company of Architects whom He used to reveal His plans for me.

It’s been a year now after I finished College, but my life is not the same anymore. Yes, it took one year for me to fully find the track that I will take, but I enjoyed the travel and I’m looking forward to my now known destination. ■

Tell Me!

The world challenged me saying, “Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are.”

I responded, “Jesus Christ is my friend. He is a man yet a God. He is a servant yet a King. Now tell me who I am.”

No depth of words and severity of challenges can depreciate my worth and value. I am more than secured of who I am in Christ Jesus. I am a servant in this world, but I am and will always be a daughter of the King of kings.

Image

Our CROWN. His Glory.

Ptr. Joey Bonifacio on his Lego Principle book showed a meaningful definition of discipleship. He wrote that “Discipleship is a Relationship”. It is a God-centered and serving-others relationship. Our Life Groups in Victory Alabang Youth Service  practice this kind of relationship. We are not just friends inside the corners of our meeting place every weekend, but we are also sisters whether together or apart. We make time for each other, fellowship with one another, worship together, pray with one another, and grow and mature together in the love  that binds us all – the love of Christ and our love for Him.

 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another… – Hebrews 10: 24-25

60 young girls, 8 different Life Groups, 12 Life Group Leaders,  1 Campus Missionary, 1 God and 1 purpose – Unite all things in Christ Jesus.

“to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment–to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”- Ephesians 1:10

It was a rainy Sunday, March 3, 2013, when me and my Victory Group sisters headed by our leader Ms. Rina Amoranto, a LIFEBox Campus Missionary, went to Sunken Garden, Muntinlupa City to meet the young generation of Christian women for our Life Groups teambuilding. The weather may not be so good, but the determination, passion and desires of these young ladies cannot be contained, so rain or shine, we made our purpose fulfilled.

 After months of preparation and prayers, our teambuilding transpired and was successful. We all meet in VCF Center, Festival Mall, Alabang where the girls were divided into 4 groups containing 12  members each. They were given clues on what to do and where to go for their Amazing Race. Upon finishing the race, leaders were assigned to them and the challenges begin with Cheerdance Competition showcasing God-given talents and abilities to these young girls followed by numerous holistic fun games and activities.

With all the fun that we had for this day, we never forget to be still and hear the word of God. We were privileged to have a guest speaker for our teambuilding Ms. Wenicar Orbedoza, who graciously reminded us that we are princesses of God, that we wear a crown given to us by our Father, the King of all Kings.

You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God. – Isaiah 62:3

CROWN

Confidence – We are confident to come before God as His princesses and co-heirs in Christ.

Respect – We are worthy of utmost respect and love, for we are purchased by the blood of Christ.

Obedience – We are to obey the Father as Christ obeyed Him.

Winsome – We win people in Christ with what we do and what we say. We are not stumbling block to other fellow girls, but building blocks to Christ.

Name above all names: Jesus – We live according to our relationship with Jesus. We bear the name that is above all names. We thrive to be holy for our God is holy. We represent the Kingdom of God as princesses and ambassadress of Christ here on earth.

Our crown is a symbol of being united with the Father, that we are co-heirs in Christ Jesus. We never let our crown down, we check it all times to see if its in place, and when it falls, by the grace of God, we put it back to where it belongs. And no matter how much the world will try to steal this crown from us, we are assured that as long as we are in Christ and we have each other to support and encourage, this crown will never be stolen or destroyed.

The love that we feel from God and the love that we have for each other compels us to do this, to build the next generation of young women in faith, integrity, love and service to God and one another by fellowship and discipleship, a lifelong relationship.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live.. Then they can train the younger women… to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, … so that no one will malign the word of God. – Titus 2:3-5

We end the teambuilding by honoring one another, recognizing those girls who showed excellence by giving awards and prizes and reminding each other to always wear our crowns, to keep our faith within and to never fail to bring back all the glory and praise to God.

Our Life Groups exist to Honor God and Make Disciples.

Onward mighty women of faith with the crown of His glory.