This too shall pass

A phrase uttered over

And over again

Through rough roads

Stormy days

Sleepless nights

When all you wish

Is for the sun to peek

Hear the birds hum

Feel the soft breeze

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In moments

Where faith is challenged

Limits are tested

Heart is shaken

In times when

Running or screaming

Would open the lid

To a much wanted release

 

Such is your effect

Unexpectedly

To a frail me

You

Who knew nothing

Of the amount

I suffer

From the indifference

I freeze

In mid summer

Over and over

Under my breath

I mutter

‘YOU’ TOO SHALL PASS!

 

And as regrets

Cast their shadows

I yell

Run

Weep

Breathe

Then sigh

Clutching His robe

Tightly

I pledge

That

Cold road

I shall

NOT

again

PASS.

 

xxx

 

Written this wee hour when sleep won’t come, where the heartbeat is nowhere near calm until I pen what’s burning in my hands.

1:40am, Marikina City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Kiputan mo ako!”

Just mispronounce one sound or switch the syllables and this expression would sound very weird. One would mean “Poo on me” (Iputan mo ako) or “Steal from me” (Kupitan mo ako). But this line struck me big time and I guess it would stick to me forever.

For the Dumagats in the far islands of Loilo, General Nakar, Quezon, this expression is an invitation: “Come and hug me!”

It was my first time to meet Dumagat children during a recent local m trip, and my first instinct was to offer them whatever I can to let them know how much they are loved. Usually when I teach, I would greet or say goodbye to a child by asking “Can I hug you?”. However for these children who are so aloof, I felt helpless in showing them my affection. They listened intently to my stories and laughed at my weird facial expressions or sounds but whenever I attempted to come closer, they would automatically step farther away. Or when they accept a handshake, their eyes would turn away. Very shyly. Very awkwardly.

'Angie'IMG_9048Dumagat children

I understood why, but then my heart was filled with a longing to break that barrier between a City Teacher  and a child with no footwear and who is not used to interacting with the lowlanders. I had three teaching encounters with them, and every time I would pray that I could minister even to at least one child.

Then finally it dawned on me. I assumed that they understood what I was saying for the past days because I was told that they knew Tagalog. But I was mistaken. I was offering something that could not even go past their ears, for they didn’t understand “Payakap nga!”  Hours before we left the place, I asked an elderly how to say ‘Payakap nga’ in their words or in their tone. And she replied “Sabihin mo ‘Kiputan mo ako‘!”

The moment I said it, one child smiled at me. I opened my arms and she ran towards me and accepted my embrace. I invited more children, “Kiputan nyo ako!” and many of them came to me and I hugged them tightly as we said our goodbyes. It was probably one of the warmest gestures I have ever encountered in my life. Scared, very aloof children finally accepting my simple expression of love. And for each child that I was able to hug that day, I tried to communicate how valuable he/she is. How loved, how cared for. For each embrace, I whispered a prayer. I was not able to capture those “Kodak moments” but they will surely be engraved deep in my heart.

Kiputan, in Tagalog, actually means “to narrow the distance”. A term that for Dumagats meant to bring oneself closer to another. Such a term brought a deeper understanding of what sharing the gospel meant to me.

Narrow everything that makes the distance wide. Drop the pretension. The biases. The fears.

To me, “Kiputan” now replaces the phrase “one step closer”, not to myself, but to the One who offers the gift of salvation and forgiveness of sins to whoever repents and believes in Him.

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I am so looking forward to see them again. And hug them some more! 🙂

Like a habit

Note: Commuting can be less of a pain when it can give you extended quiet times and accommodate the urge to write your thoughts. Below was penned during a commute from Makati to Marikina (MRT ride from Ayala to Cubao station, LRT ride from Cubao to Katipunan station and jeepney ride from Katipunan to Barangka, Marikina) 15 August 2015, around 5PM.

———————————————————————————————

Like a habit
You come
Without me thinking
Too much
You cross my mind
Every so often
In the morning
You drop by
With that crescent smile
In the middle of the day
As I walk alone
Your hand
Would almost catch mine
And when the moon
Finally says “Hello!”
I would hear
Your voice
Concerned & tender
Patting my weary soul
Like a habit
You come
Even in my slumber
Yet every time
You appear
I have to pinch my arm
Slap my cheek
And wake myself up
For you have become
That habit I need to break
The longing
I have to lay down
As oceans keep us apart
So does this heart
Need to take
A hundred step back
And mark the distance.

IMG_3279

Keyword: A-L-L

Credits as marked

Credits as marked

His is an ALL or NOTHING world. It is very tempting to put one foot in His Kingdom and another foot in ours. We wake up to an array of thoughts, of desires and of means to get each of those needs and wants. As Christians, it is a routine for us to start the day with prayer and read a portion of His Word. Then we head out to tick the boxes of our things to do lists. Within the day we pause once in awhile and say, “Lord, be with me. Help me Rescue me.” And at the end of the day we thank Him for everything He has done for us.

Looking closer, I felt something wrong with this. Seems like each day we set out to make sure our priorities are covered and we reach the “end” goal. But then many times we miss the point: HE is our BEGINNING AND OUR END. How can there be another “end goal”???

Then this keyword came like a neon light: A-L-L. He wants ALL of ME. That very song of John Legend is what He wants from me. From us. He is not just someone who takes a portion of our day. He deserves to be the main subject of every hour, every minute of our day. I remember hearing this from someone: “We are not the ones inviting Jesus to take part in our lives. He has long been doing many things in the world, and the moment I was created, I have a role to play in what He is accomplishing here. Therefore it is I who must ask Him to tag me along and let me fulfill my part in the beauty of what He is doing in this planet, in this season, in this very hour. Or else I will miss the whole point.”

And so I go back to seeking Him with ALL my heart. A prerequisite to finding Him and enjoying His presence in my life as He brings me along while He does His work among us. Not just when I do my devotions. Not just when He crosses my mind. But in ALL seconds of my twenty four hours, including sleeping and dreaming time!

Cue song: You are My All in All

YOU ARE MY ALL IN ALL

written by Dennis Jernigan

performed by Nathalie Grant

You are my strength when I am weak

You are the treasure that I seek

You are my all in all

Seeking You as a precious jewel

Lord, to give up I’d be a fool

You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God Worthy is Your name

Jesus, Lamb of God Worthy is Your name

Oh, Your name is worthy

Taking my sin, my cross, my shame

Rising again I bless Your name (I bless Your name)

You are my all in all (Oh yes you are, yes you are)

When I fall down You pick me up

When I am dry You fill my cup (You fill my cup)

You are my all in all (My all, Lord, hallelujah)

Jesus, Lamb of God Worthy is Your name

(Oh, Your name, Your precious name is worthy, Lord)

Jesus, Lamb of God Worthy is Your name….

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Further reading on this topic (a long but very nice one):

“OUT FISHING THE FISHERMAN” by Phil Ware

http://www.heartlight.org/articles/201507/20150713_outfishing.html

Faith in THAT Love

While I was preparing my hot milk tea this morning, something crossed my mind: these days I’ve been trying to consciously remove in my mind thoughts about this person I’ve begun to like soooo much. And one thing that motivates me to “give him up” is the fear of getting hurt in the end because of my disobedience. I feel like I will not deserve a man like him if I keep on ignoring God and if I keep on neglecting opportunities to deepen my relationship with my Lord and Saviour FIRST. I saw myself obeying out of fear of punishment. I saw myself fearing my future, fearing rejection, fearing the solitude later in life. I imagine myself as an Israelite going the looooong winding way and not reaching the promise land. I asked myself, “what will become of me if that is my destiny?” I can’t help but feel depressed at the thought of that. And somewhere in my thoughts come this voice of condemnation “it is your fault.”

I then realize that this is not what God wants me to feel. That I’m forgetting the nature of God. His character is not the same as man’s. That my fear stems from my lack of faith. “Faith is being confident of what you expect and exercising that confidence.” (resounding louder from the Faith workshop we had last month). Expectations for me, by this time in my walk with God, should be more solid because my object of faith is the most solid of all: Powerful, Reliable, Consistent.  It’s one thing to keep this in my brain and another thing to walk this by heart.

So what should I be expecting? Expect that God knows best. That He is generous. That He is merciful. That He has prepared no less than the best gift for me. He has given me the best gift ever: eternal life through Jesus Christ, will he withhold the gift of having a lifetime partner?

This morning, devotions was on Ephesians chapter 2. Because of my EE training, I would automatically think of Eph 2:8-9, the verse explaining grace over good works as needed for salvation. Looking at the whole chapter now, I realize how much God withheld in order to show us mercy:

v3: “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

BUT

credits to heartlight.org

Yes, this is all about eternal salvation. But today, I’m seeing this in a different light. God saved us and is continually “saving” us from the traps that many times are made by ourselves unknowingly, leading us to frustrations and unnecessary depression.

Now it’s time to exercise that confidence. It will not be easy but I will hang on. The moment I step out of this house, the minute I open my social media accounts, I will be facing a lot of question marks challenging my solo-ness at this age. There are a hundred ways to keep myself off track, a hundred things that will prick my emotions and pierce my soul, BUT I shall go back to THAT LOVE, to that mercy, to that undying grace.

Kill those fears with faith, not with wishful thinking. Find comfort, joy and assurance in the truth that He who is merciful and faithful will NOT hurt us towards destruction.

It is very freeing to smile out of confidence in His plans for me, in His unfathomable LOVE, in His wisdom, and in His grace especially in the matters of my heart’s longing. This “assignment” from God has been going on for yearsssssss now and hopefully, I will be able to “pass” this one very soon with His stamp “Very Good!”

I know I’m not alone in this life stage. To you who may have similar thoughts once in awhile, let us believe in a God who did not just save us from the eternal damnation in hell, but in a Father who wants to lavish us with all good gifts, no matter how UNDESERVING we are,  ACCORDING TO HIS PERFECT TIMELINE while spending each single day on earth 🙂

What is it to you?

This question bugged me the whole night last night.

She and I went to Giselle’s place last night to give her a simple birthday surprise, our hearts wanting to bless her and help her cope up with her birthday blues. But after everything was said and done, I felt like I was the one who received more encouragement than what I hoped I would impart to her.

Giselle shared her personal revelation behind this question: “What is it to you…?”

What is it to us when God doesn’t answer our prayers? What is it to us if He doesn’t give us what we hope for, what our hearts are longing soooo much for?

What is it to us if He knows better? If His “No” is actually a way of sparing us from pain? If His reply is the way to guard the joy and faith in our hearts?

What is it to us if in the end we would stay single for the rest of our lives?

What is it to me then, whose knowledge of the future is uncertain, whose understanding is limited, whose desires are often self-centered, whose character is still a work in progress?

In the local language, “Eh ano ngayon sa’yo?” Saan ako pupulutin kung hindi ibigay ni God ang hinihingi ko?

Will the flame of my faith die? Will my joy be crushed? Will my heart stop beating?

No, by no means!

Psalm 16 reminds us:

…”You are my Lord; apart from You I have no good thing.”

…You alone are my portion and my cup…

…Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure because You will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

How true are these words in my life? How far have these words gone into my bones? It is different to say I know and understand these words. It’s another thing to live by them day by day.

At the end of it all, Daddy knows best. Will He let His princess suffer? No way. I will bask in His presence and live in His joy. REAL J-O-Y 🙂