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Of Asking What’s Wrong to Finding What’s Right

I’ve been wondering for so many years what’s wrong with me why I’m not in a serious romantic relationship when most girls and women my age are getting engaged, married, and having babies.

I asked myself countless of times, “Pangit ba ako? or Super taba ko na ba?” I’ve been trying to comfort myself with the words, “Matalino naman ako, mabait, at malambing. Masaya din naman ako kasama.” How come I’m not committed yet?

At times I get so used to the idea that being single is fun. I can actually date any guy who would ask me out. I have no commitments. I own my time. I do not have anyone to think of or care about aside from my strong, independent, and stubborn self. But, this train of thoughts do not soothe the longing to be in a relationship and the desire of having someone to have and to hold.

I became a hopeful romantic…

Everywhere I go, I welcome the idea of finding my one true love. I thought of meeting him in a bus or plane ride. Every mountain I hike becomes an easy climb with the thought that maybe he is already there at the peak. Every island is a paradise with the thought that maybe he is also there wandering and looking for me.

I waited, prayed, gave up, stumbled, prayed, and waited again. For years, I was thinking of what I have done wrong, or what’s wrong with me, or if I was looking at the wrong places. In this cycle, God made me see that there is nothing wrong with me, it’s just that it wasn’t the right time yet.

For 8 years, from 2009 to 2016, I have included “to be pursued by a man and be in a relationship” in my faith goals. Every prayer and fasting, I asked God for someone to love and to be loved in return.

Until 2017 came, I intentionally not include being in a relationship in my faith goals, not because I gave up on it or I lose my faith already, but because God impressed on me that getting married and having a family of my own is His plan and promise for my life. So, I don’t have to beg Him for it rather I should trust in His timing.

Lo and behold, when I least expect it, when I thought that the year is ending again and I’m still not in a relationship, and just when I gave up searching for love, love found me.

God moves mysteriously.

God has brought him to me at the right place and the best time possible. He is God’s gift to me, delivered just outside our home on my 28th birthday (literally).

Looking back on why our paths haven’t crossed before…

I started hiking way back 2012 with Mt. Pulag in Benguet as my first mountain while he was busy toiling their land on the other side of the mountain province. That was the closest chance I could get to meet him, if left to my own will and strength. I visited several islands and dive seas, while he was somewhere in the other part of the ocean, training as a diver. I ride commercial bus and planes, while he ride military/police service transportation. He has never been on an island for leisure but he was training in the forests. Most of my time were spent traveling here and there while he spent most of his inside their barracks. There is little to no chance of meeting each other if we will look at it in our own situations and differences.

But, God has His own ways of bringing us together.

Who would have thought that in this archipelagic nation of 7,641 islands, the two of us will share a seat under a beautiful night sky? I still can’t fathom how a man from the mountains of Ifugao (him) and a woman from a penal colony in Davao (me) found our ways to each other. I haven’t computed how many islands have separated us before or how many miles there is, but there’s one thing I know and that is – the world is too small in God’s great and gracious hands.

I’m grateful that as God took our hands, He leads him to me and I to him, so we can have and hold each other’s hands.

[10-27-17 Our first picture together taken after our first jogging around Sunken Garden. This is truly an answered prayer, for I have long been asking God to send someone who will run with me at night.]

God is indeed the One behind every best love story written. I can’t write our own story yet for we are only in the first chapters, but I am sure and is at peace that God has prepared the best plot for us two.

Both of us weren’t totally faithful in our individual seasons of waiting, but God is faithful to lead us to each other, just as He planned it.

I hope that as you read this, most especially if you are a single person, you will be more faithful to God and His perfect plans for your life. Remember that His promises come in His own ways and in His appointed time. He will make all things beautiful in His time.

Trust God in the waiting, in the weeping, in the wandering, and even in your past wrongdoings. Know that He alone can turn the wrongs to rights. He works wonders and writes the best love stories. Allow Him to author yours. 😍

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SAVED DATE

April 15, 2016

After a minor invasive procedure – Esophagogastroduodenoscopy

I never knew how strong I am, not until I walked in the operating room, got fully sedated, walked out of the recovery room, processed my hospital bills and left the hospital ALL BY MYSELF. I was left an independent girl at 13 and I still had to be 13 years later. I know for a fact that ever since Mamang (my grandmother and legal mother) died, I am to look after myself always ‘coz there’s no one to do that for me anymore. My siblings are all married and got families of their own including my ever-hardworking, biological mother. I was never comfortable to bother them to babysit me or simply care for me, for I know that they have more important things to look after compared to a 26-year-old, in-pain woman in me. They raised me to be independent after all.

After my very first operating table experience, I literally just walked out of the hospital in spite of the cautions given by the hospital staff. I simply assured them that I am nurse, and I know what to do with myself in case there is anything unpleasant that will happen to me after the procedure. They were not convinced though. 🙂

I do not want to go home yet. It was too hot, there’s no enough ventilation in my room. I am hungry ‘coz I had to fast the night before, and I don’t want to sleep ‘coz I just woke up from a general anaesthesia sedation. I decided to eat somewhere all by myself, since I am so used to it and very comfortable to do so. 🙂

I guess the enemy’s eyes were prying on me at that time, and seeing me in my independence, he took his chance at me with his very unwelcome sales talk. I never knew how strong my faith is, not until the enemy started telling me with lies saying, “Look at you, you just had a minor operation and you were in so much pain, yet there’s no one to be with you now. No one cares for you. You’ve got friends, family and ministry, but where are they now? You’ve got a family, but they don’t care for you. Did they even ask, ‘How are you feeling right now?’ They do not love you. NO ONE LOVES YOU.”

Tears started flowing from my eyes, and as soon as I come into my senses and with the Spirit, I immediately wiped it with my then swelling hands and replied to the cunning enemy, “Get behind me Satan or better yet leave me alone. I am not going to feel sorry for myself for choosing to be alone and for being in pain. I chose to do things by myself, and I am secured that I am not unloved. I AM AND WILL ALWAYS BE DROWNING IN THE DEPTHS OF GOD’S LOVE. No one can take me away from that, not even you.” Right then and there, I felt relieved and will not entertain another word of sorrow from the devil.

I called another independent friend to join me for dinner, and so we had an awesome time together, laughing our hearts out with our recent life stories. See, I was not alone at all? I’ve got friends to call just to be with me. And even if I am left with myself, I KNOW THAT GOD IS WITH ME ALWAYS AND FOR ETERNITY. THAT’S A FACT THAT IS HARD TO DOUBT.

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April 15, 2005

Youth Camp

Exactly 11 years ago, I made the biggest decision of my life in accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. See? It has been 11 years, and I’m still counting on the faithfulness of Christ in me. Ngayon pa ba ko bibitaw sa Kanya? Pambihira naman!

It was my eleventh birthday in Christ. (I did celebrate with pizza and ice cream party the following day).

I do not believe in coincidences. God is just so timely to remind me that He never leaves me nor forsakes me. I’m pretty sure God was smiling at me, as I fought the enemy on that day – my saved date.

I do not believe in coincidences. God is just so timely to remind me that He never leaves me nor forsakes me.

I may be vulnerable to the traps of evil at times, but I can always be secured that I am God’s child no matter what. The enemy can only try, but he will surely not win.

I am His

As the year 2014 comes to an end, I just want to share the most hurtful event and probably the biggest storm that I faced this year… To my friends who will be reading this for the first time, keep calm and know that I forgave already. To all my friends, thank you for keeping me secured with your love always!

 After my Licensure Exams for Teacher last August, I went straight to a Sunday service. Unexpectedly, there are limited volunteers in my ministry on that day, so even if I’m not scheduled, I volunteered to help out. I arrived home that night past 10pm and woke up at 6am the next day for work. Most of my friends asked me not to go to work anymore because they know that I am exhausted already, but because I love my students, I still teach that Monday from 7am to 5:30pm.  After class, someone asked me to look after some students for an extra-curricular activity (by the way, this someone knows how tired I am for what I’d been through over the weekend).  So, even if I am very tired, I walked with him to the practice venue.

However, while walking on a narrow and dark street, I was left behind alone by this someone, for some reasons which are totally unacceptable and immature. Right then and there, I called a missionary friend to pick me up, but I found out that he’s with the brothers and that scares me because they might all go and fetch me; they were all annoyed knowing what this someone did to me. This someone told me that he will bring me home, but to my surprise he didn’t (so much for integrity, right?). He could have walked me home, but he did not with another lame excuse.

I was shaken at this experience. I felt unloved and insecure. How could this someone just leave me there on that dark street with drunken men on my office clothes and heavy bag? I know and believe that God has secured me of my worth in His sight and love. Yet, this someone just tried to steal my security and feed me with words that make me feel unlovable and unworthy. Indeed, the enemy has nothing to do aside from stealing, killing and destroying.

 I’m grateful that my spiritual family backed me up on this. I am restored immediately. That someone is (hopefully) out of my life, but what he said and did are still in my memories. I was able to forgive (even if I never heard him say sorry), and I’m trying my best to forget.

If there is one thing I loved best in this experience is that of hearing God say, “Ram, you are mine. You are my precious princess. Remember what my Son did on the cross for you? You are worth dying for.” With these words, I am affirmed that no matter how many times I will be dumped and stepped on to, God will still say, “She’s mine.”  I may be left behind by someone, but God will never ever leave my side. I am scarred from that scary night. But, these scars made me stronger and more secured.

“Remember what my Son did on the cross for you? You are worth dying for.”

Princess

To all the women reading this, know that you are to be cared and loved for simply because you are worth it. However, we do not have to ask or demand from people to treat us right, thinking that we deserve it (that’s entitlement). We just have to be secured that we are God’s precious property no matter what others do to us.

Men, I encourage you to see women in the eyes of God. How will you treat a princess, a daughter of the King of kings? Try to leave her alone on a dark street, and surely, you’ll be accountable to God, her Father.

Love is not insecure

These past few days, I felt jealousy creeping inside my heart. I am afraid of this feeling. I know that jealousy is not a characteristic of real love. It is a sign of insecurity.

It bothers me for days and nights. And, I realized that what I’m feeling isn’t right anymore. Or should I say, this is not the feeling that the God of love wanted me to have.

I must act on this feeling before it consumes me…

So, I finally decided to take the hard but the High way. I cry unto God to remove this growing jealousy immediately because I know that what I’m feeling is not from Him.

It’s a bit scary to think that once God moves, He will surely work His ways to the point of us getting broken into pieces for Him to make whole and new again. I am honestly afraid on how God will correct me and my emotions. I am afraid that as He pluck the wrong feelings, He will also remove a certain person or thing my life.

But, I trust Him for what is best. Now, I’m in the process of being mold again and I’m glad that I am, though it (really) hurts.

If there is one thing I learned in this heart matter, that is to trust and lift up to God all insecurities. He may remove it painfully, but it is always for the best.

Someday, this heart of mine will be swamped with uncertain emotions again, but one thing will remain certain – the feelings that I will only entertain and allow to grow is that of what comes from the Lord.

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Love is not insecure, for everything that comes from God comes with peace and security. When God gives, He adds no trouble in it.

I’ll be forever grateful that God’s love is beyond my finite’s mind understanding, as it secures me from everlasting to everlasting. And, with His love, there is not even a hint of reason to be jealous and insecure.

Not needing more than that…

A note from a prayer of a thirteen-year old boy for a young girl’s troubled heart:

“Lord, I pray that she will say in her heart that, ‘Jesus died for me and I don’t need more than that’.” – Migo Austria

So Ladies (Girls and Women), don’t go head over heels when you simply hear the words, “I love you” because the best and perfect love is not found in the spoken romantic words but on the cross with a bleeding Man, who opened His arms wide in forgiving us, wanting us, and loving us despite all the hurts and brokenness He suffered as the cost of His love for us. Know that no man can do that or will do that for you, aside from that man named Jesus of Nazareth. His love for us is more than enough.

So, if someone you like or love doesn’t like or love you back, it doesn’t mean that you are not desirable or unlovable. Remember that you will never be unlovable, for you are the daughter of Love. Love, Himself, even died for you and conquered death to be with you for all eternity.

And, you will never be unloved because the heart of Jesus Christ never stopped beating for you, in desire, mercy and love that is greater than anyone or anything in this world.

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Photo grabbed from Google Images

Lost and Found: Love at First Sight

Book: The Bridges at Madison County

Author: Robert James Waller

Where to buy: I really don’t know, one of my College thesis mates just lend me this book, and the price tag says, “Book Sale”.

Do you believe in love at first sight? I don’t, maybe with the 2nd sight.

Do you believe that real love can happen in a span of 4 days? I don’t, maybe with 40 days.

But a while ago, in just one sitting, a cup of coffee, and 3 slices of bread, I suddenly believe that this kind of love is possible with tears flowing down my eyes, as I read a strange yet one-of-a-kind story of love that happened in 1965, that was 4 years before my mom was born and published just before my 3rd birthday in 1992. Indeed, I’m fortunate to be able to read it today, 48 years later after that awesome love-at-first-sight affair happened in Winterset, Iowa.

Yes, I wrote it right; it was just a 4-day affair, but reading the entire book, the writer’s researches, her journals, and his photos, I should know and believe that Robert James Wallers’ whirlwind kind of love in this novel is possible.

(I’m still in tears writing this…love stories like this one can really make me cry or maybe the hopeful romantic in me hopes that my love story will be as awesome as what I just read, worth reading through the years.)  

He was a traveling photographer for National Geographic, and she was a farmer’s wife. He was tasked to take photos of the bridges at Madison Country, and while looking for the last bridge, he got lost; he stopped and asked for directions. Fortunately, the wife was alone at home, she was sitting at the porch when this man came and asked her. She gave him the directions, and even offered herself to bring him there. (Take a note of this scene, for this is same as mine.)

As I read it, I know they complement each other in a thousand ways that I couldn’t write, that was their love and no writer can really bring justice if ever he/she attempted to do that. They were poetic, artistic, and full of passion and love. He made her live who she really is; he brought out her identity and characters from a shell and her childhood dreams that she once felt dead already. She made him feel that he was not lost and that he found what he has been searching for all his life.

Here’s an awesome description of what they had as he said it, “I think we’re both inside of another being we have created called ‘us’. We’re not really inside of that being. We are that being. We have both lose ourselves and created something else, something that exists only as an interlacing of the two of us. We’re in love, as deeply, as profoundly, as it’s possible to be in love.”

May be you’ll be asking me, 4 days? Is that they call love, for real?

Well, he said these lines that even I will never forget, “In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once, and never again, no matter how many lifetimes you live.”

 They were certain that they have love in just 4 days. But as I understand it, they just had each other physically for 4 days, but they love each other until their deaths.

He asked him to run away with him, but she already has a family, a husband and 2 kids that she had responsibilities with, so she stayed. They never kept in touch after that 4 days, yet they remain to love each other until their last breaths, which made me conclude that no amount of distance, communication barriers, and physical absence can put an end to a love that made two hearts beat as one.

Let me share the lines they had in their dying hand-written letters; him for her and hers for her children…

He wrote:

To the universe, four days is no different than four billion light years. I try to keep that in mind. But, I am, after all, a man. And all the philosophical rationalizations I can conjure up do not keep me from wanting you every day, every moment, the merciless wail of time, of time I can never spend with you, deep within my head. I love you, profoundly and completely. And I always will. (1978)

She wrote:

In four days, he gave me a lifetime, a universe, and made the separate parts of me into a whole… I gave my family my life; I gave him what was left of me.  Though we never spoke again to one another, we remained bound together as tightly as it’s possible for two people to be bound. (1987)

If you’ll ask me, How come that was love? Or maybe you’ll say that’s adultery, pure lust, or whatever. My answer to you will be – I believe them that it was love. Her love for her husband and children prevailed than her love for herself and the man whom she fell in love with, that was a selfless kind of love; and as for him not destroying her family, her reputation and the lives of her children for the sake of his personal happiness, another selfless love.

Lovers need not to be together physically, what matter is that they keep the love in their hearts wherever they are.

 This love story is presented as a novelization of a true story, but it is in fact entirely fictional. However, I wanna share with you a real love story kind of similar with this, my love story.

There is one man who died and lives again and went up to His Father in heaven, but I can still feel His love surrounding me now. I may not be able to love Him just the same, but I know that He is love and that is the greatest love that I have – a selfless kind of love that didn’t exactly transpire in a bridge, but happened in Calvary where my Lover bridged Himself between heaven and earth.

Like the story above, my love story also begins when I found myself lost before and then I met Jesus; He just not answered me with directions, He also offered me Himself to be with me where I’m heading.  And there, I found what I had been looking for – one true love.

What happened with the lovers with the story? They were both cremated, and there ashes were scattered at Roseman Bridge, 7 years apart. He passed away in 1982; she died in 1989, still loving each other despite never seeing or hearing from each other after their 4 days of being together. His name was Robert Kincaid, and she was Francesca Johnson.

There’s also an award-winning movie for this novel showed in 1995; I haven’t watched it yet, but I know that the story is pretty good. I hope, like me, you feel and believe in what real love can do with this classic love story.

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On Decisions and Dating Goodbye

Book: I Kissed Dating Goodbye

Author: Joshua Harris

Where to buy: Leading bookstores and Christian bookstores nationwide

Let me begin this with the book’s last chapter, “Someday, I’ll have a (Love) Story to tell.” Indeed, each one of us have our own love stories to share, and as the author says, it’s our chosen story. We can choose to make it a story of purity, faith, and selfless love, or it can be a story of impatience, selfishness, and compromise. It can be a story that we can be proud to share or a story that will only bring us shame. After all, it’s our choice and the decisions we made.

Making decisions is a vital part of life. We make decisions as early as the moment we wake up whether to snooze that alarm or not until what side of the bed we will sleep at night and the countless decisions we made in between for the entire day. We cannot deny that we really have to decide in everything. When I first saw this book, it’s the book’s title that gives me the interest to open it, and I know that I made a good decision in my life reading this book.

The author made a decision to finally kiss dating goodbye for some personal reasons and best intentions. It was his best and brave decision that he shared  to the world. Now, Joshua Harris has been so famous for this book.

But what does this book have to do with decisions?

Well, for me, when we finally get to the point that our lives seems nowhere to go or meaningless already, we have to reflect and assess ourselves.

Here’s some of my self-assessment questions way back 2010, “What is the kind of life and relationship that I really want?”, “Can I go and live like this forever?”, “Will I have a happily ever after?”, “Can someone really love me with my flaws and all?”, “Am I ready for this and the consequences of my acts?”

I had so many questions back then. Holding this book, I finally decided to follow what Mr. Harris did – kissed dating goodbye. However, I failed to uphold this commitment. I dated but not for long. Again, I had fallen and had to reassess myself. Since then, I felt that dating was a sin, a thing that was never right to do.

Dating is not a sin though, but I felt so guilty. Why? Because I did it out of wrong motives and it all ended up in wrong decisions and actions that lead me to sin. I really agree with the author when he said, “The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing.” Maybe, that’s what made me feel guilty. I made the wrong things.

Now this has become too personal already, so let me go back on how kissing dating goodbye became one of the best decisions I made.

Heartbreaking: The author’s lines that somehow hurts me because it’s true.

“There are relationships I can only look back on with regrets. I do my best to forget.”

Can we really forget? I do have a good memory, and those not-so-good memories will surely come to mind from time to time, sadly.

“I know that God has been faithful to forgive as I’ve asked Him to. But I’m still aware of the consequences of my selfishness. I gave my heart away too many times.”

This is the most hurting, knowing that I have hurt God and my future husband.

Baby Steps: The author’s lines that made me took a stand and take that first step in faith.

“I’ve come to understand that God’s lordship in my life doesn’t merely tinker with my approach to romance – it completely transforms it. God not only wants me to act differently; He wants me to think differently – to view love, purity, and singleness from His perspective, to have a new lifestyle and a new attitude. The basis of this new attitude is God’s love for us.”

Need I say more? God moved me to change and to really know what love is.

“Waiting until I’m ready for commitment before pursuing romance is just one example of letting Christ’s love control my relationship. Each person has to examine his or her own life and ask what it means to love others like Christ.”

That’s exactly what I did, and I’m grateful with my decision, for I know I made the right one.

A Promise: The author’s line that keeps me waiting in expectation with excitement.

“I kissed dating goodbye because I found out that God has something better in store.”

I agree with this because I know that God’s plans are always good, pleasing, and perfect. His ways are definitely higher and better than what I could ever dream and imagine.

The Reason: The author’s lines that keeps me going.

“The ultimate goal behind my choice isn’t to avoid pain. I know that even in a godly relationship I might face disappointment one day. The reason I want to love like Christ is so that one day I can stand in purity and blamelessness before God.”

“At the end of our lives, we won’t answer to everyone. We’ll answer to God. Our actions in relationships haven’t escaped God’s notice.”

In humility, when my time comes, I’ll stand in front of God and say, “I’m sorry for the sins I made in my past life and relationships, and thank you for Your grace that sustains me not to do the same things again.

Headlines: The author’s lines that give me hope.

“But here’s the good news: The God who sees all our sin is ready to forgive if we repent and turn from them.”

“Because of Jesus’ sacrifice for me, I know that God has forgiven me for the sins I’ve committed against Him. I don’t have to live overwhelmed with by regret or fear of the future. Because we serve a God who makes all things new, no matter how many mistakes we’ve made in the past.”

This is the best and surely the greatest news I ever received; Christ came to save.

An invite: The author’s lines that made me pursue this commitment.

“It’s this grace and this mercy that should motivate us to live differently for the rest of our lives.”

“I’m an unworthy sinner that God chose to rescue and forgive. This is love. And because I’ve experienced it – because Jesus died for me – I’m committed to a love life that’s controlled by Him. I invite you along.”

I finally accepted this invite last year in view of the love of Christ, and this is surely one of the best decisions I ever made. How about you? Will you come and join us in relationships bound in the love, grace, and mercy of God?

 This is Love.

There you go! I’m finally done sharing my insights on the book’s first chapter (So this is Love), and I won’t share the in between chapters anymore. It’s time for you to grab your own copy to read, understand and believe. Remember that someday it will be your own story to share. Mr. Joshua Harris’ love story is really amazing, and mine will surely be awesome as well that I am very excited to write about it soon.

It’s your choice and your decision to make. I started mine by kissing dating goodbye, loving God more, and waiting for the things that He has in store for me.

It’s your story to share, but I never said that it is only you who can author it. My next book review is about letting God be the author of your story, When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy.