Kastress. 😧

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Memorable May

MONTH-ENDER.  Its literally few hours before May 2017  ends as I write this nth draft for my May entry on my personal blog (hopefully I can finish writing this time), see until this very last moment I’m still trying to come up with a finished product. I don’t know what’s with me, why was I not able to finish a composition during the entire month when I still have all the time and fresh idea to put into this. Anyway, thinking of whys won’t help at all, I’ll give myself a chance now and try to hopefully get through this.

So to start, let me share a question which stunned me earlier this month, it says: “HOW DOES YOUR WORRIES REFLECT YOUR ACT OF SELFISH NATURE RATHER THAN TRUST IN GOD?” I came up with this question one Friday night as I had a sisterly discussion  (about faith, love, and life; more specifically about worries) over carbohydrates-rich dinner  with some of my sisters from the Christian community (Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon-Cebu ) of single professionals that I am part of. It was one of the best discussions I had with them so far, I must say. Going back to the question above, I was stunned by it for the reason that I never, even once, looked at worrying as an act of a selfish nature. I didn’t agree to it at first that I fell silent upon reading that question from the material provided for our discussion. Ouch! My poor heart cries as my mind defends myself saying, “I only worry for the welfare of other people, I’m concerned about my family, friends, brothers and sisters in the community, officemates, and even strangers that I can’t help but be worried for them, especially if there’s nothing I can do to help them. Its unfair. Why would it be selfish if what I am doing is to care for other people?”

As we went on our conversation, and after ample time trying to find the sense out of the question, it dawned to me that indeed, worrying is an act of selfish nature. How is that so? In my case, the reason for my worrying is that I tend to own things I could not control. Say for example, the outcome of MY plans and/or MY dreams, HOW CAN I financially support MY family, and HOW CAN I extend help for the people around ME. I am certain that my reason is for what I THINK is good and right, but are they? Really? As much as I’d like to defend myself by saying I have all the right reasons, I won’t because my reasons can not excuse myself from worrying as a result of a selfish act. You see, in the first place, all I was thinking about was myself and the things I care about where in fact I should only be concerned of God and what He wants. Its supposed to be His plans, His dreams for me, and His extended help for the people around me that I should think and care about. I should have let Him take charge of EVERYTHING. Poor me, all this time I believed I’m past this phase already, that  I already learned and allowed Him to take charge of everything in my life. Guess, I was wrong, though I learned to stop worrying some basic stuff like clothing, accessories, bags, shoes, physical appearance, and even my job (those are quite a lot to give up worrying about 😜), I forgot to release my control on the bigger aspects of my life such the examples of worries I mentioned above, I am afraid to entrust Him the control of the great unknown, of the future, MY FUTURE. Unknowingly, I was still holding on to the button controlling a bigger part of me, and I am so blessed to have that conversation as an eye opener that I should LET GO OF ALL THE WORRIES I have in me.

I went home that Friday night with a happy heart and a lesson which I believe will be imprinted in my being for a long time. The bottom line of our hours-long conversation was that, LIFE IS ALL ABOUT GOD, AND GOD ALONE.  So I should worry not, and let Him take control. What a great lesson learnt to start my month of May 2017.

Update: its already few hours past midnight, which means I wasn’t able to post this May entry on time. Let me share this to you anyway, this just a part of my memorable May. Hope I could share some more next time, and on time. 😛

Like Mother, Like Daughter

BeautyBeyondBones

Have you ever been just drawn to something?

And I’m not talking the bakery case at the grocery store. Or the shoe department at Nordstrom.

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I’m talking, a soul pull. A spirit attraction.

Ever since I’ve been home during my mom’s stroke recovery, I’ve discovered a little place in our house that I keep finding myself sitting in. Just ending up there.

It’s a little sitting area in front of the fire place, and focal point of this nook is a beautiful painting of Jesus. It’s called the image of the Divine Mercy. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.


But I’ll often find myself sitting, just looking into the eyes of Jesus in this painting.

Now, to be honest, I’ve never really considered myself a “religious art person.” I mean, I think it’s beautiful and great for, say, a church, but I don’t know. I’ve just never really given it much contemplation.

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“Behold, the Lamb of God”

Jesus was referred to as the Lamb of God in John 1:19. I just learned from a retreat the characteristics of a sheep. And, wow! It was my initial reaction when I realized what the verse really meant. What is it with being a Lamb?

Jesus presented as the Lamb of God in the crucifix.
An overwhelming verse. I found myself a new meaning of this verse during the retreat I attended.

There is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.‘ (John 1:29)

In John 1:29, Jesus was referred to as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus’ title ‘Lamb of God’ is but a common or popular one, yet I seem to disregard the significance of it. Every time I hear that phrase before, what registers to my mind is God himself, with all His power, strength, and might. It was only earlier this month, when I attended the Regional Leader’s Retreat of Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon Eastern Visayas Region that I began to look at it differently.

During the leader’s retreat, we were to understand the characteristics of a sheep for us to be a better shepherd who can lead a flock. I learned from the retreat that a sheep is a dumb and directionless animal and that it really needs the guidance of a shepherd because of the said weaknesses.
And here comes this verse in John 1:29 saying, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God. Behold, he who takes away the sin of the world.‘ Wow! It was my initial reaction when I realized what that verse  really meant. What is it with being a Lamb? This question paves way to our salvation. Jesus, humbled himself to be our sacrificial lamb and accepted all the punishment for our sins which He didn’t commit. He did it despite Him being God himself, Jesus may have actually done it differently. He could have still saved us without Him going through all those sufferings, but He didn’t do otherwise. Jesus allowed Himself to go through all the sufferings of physical pain, torture, and even death to pay for our sins and save  everyone of us, astrayed and sinful people.  With that realization, I asked myself: “who am I to deserve such great act from the Lord? Who am I to deserve His love?” For I know that I, like all other people, am but a sinner; I am but a person whose faith is still shaky sometimes; I am a person who sometimes doubts Him; a person who sometimes does not acknowledge Him. And He allowed Himself to die on the cross to save me? to save us? Wow! Its a big, big wow! Moments after I asked myself that question, I was enlightened right away. The answer was in one of the songs that is usually used during Lingkod Cebu’s prayer meetings entitled ‘How Great is Your Love’ by Mark Altrogge. The second stanza of the song says:
“For everyone who has believed.

You brought us near

And called us Your own

And made us joint heirs with

Your Son.”
That line from the song is the answer. We were made equal heirs of His own son. We are also His children, we are considered as God the Father’s own sons and daughters. Thus, having Him acknowledge us as His own is enough reason to accept and experience the great love only Him can give. With that, I was instantly overwhelmed with God’s great love. And so, I was lead to appreciating my life even more. I was suddenly enlightened and overwhelmed with all the blessings He’s been granting me daily since before, yet I fail to recognize. On that very moment, I was thankful and appreciative that He granted me another day to live with all my senses still intact! I was and still am thankful I still have the ability to see clearly the things around me, I could still hear, touch and taste, I still have the capacity to feel, connect and relate with people around me, I still have my family, friends and officemates, I still have my job, Im provided with air to breath, food and water; those random people and instances He puts in my life for me to know a thing or two; I also realized that He was there with me during all the tiring times of my life, Im most thankful of Him for that. My list of the blessings and graces He granted me could still go on, I believe its never ending, but my point is, during the retreat I realized how blessed I am with every detail the Lord passionately puts into my life to make it colorful.

He’s not in the windstorm, not in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but in the murmur of the gentle breeze.

The recollection was truly a timely activity for me. The week before that, I was actually feeling down without a particular reason at all. All I know was I was feeling sad and I was longing for a certain connection with the Lord. I was trying to feel Him during my prayer time yet it seems that I just can’t, seems that He was not around. And during the recollection, my longing for that certain connection with the Lord was answered through our retreat master when he mentioned a passage from 1 Kings 19:11-12 saying the Lord was not in the storm, not in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but in the whisper of a gentle breeze. I was struck upon hearing it that I realized I have to be still for a moment and allow the Lord to speak to me in my stillness, I was searching Him probably the wrong way, for during my prayer times I didn’t allow myself to listen to Him. And so upon hearing that passage, I closed my eyes and looked back to what had happened in my life. Scenes of my life began to flash in my mind, higlighting all the challenging times I went through together with my family. Those challenges includes financial difficulty that our family started to experience way before I even finished elementary schooling and we continued to carry up until I was in college. And during those times I could say that the Lord was with us, the Lord helped us get through all the hardships our family went through. He was already with me way before I started searching for Him. All those challenges we went through, no matter how hard, were all that we needed to experience for a reason that He best knows. And so before the retreat ended I sensed the Lord answering my longing of Him by telling me, ‘Wake up! I am with you all along. You may not know, you may not notice, but I am always here. Allow my plans to be revealed in my own time. Surrender yourself to me and I will take care of you as I always did.’ It was such an overwhelming experience to finally realize the Lord is with me all along even before I cared to seek help from Him and built a personal relationship with Him.
In conclusion, I’d like to share few more important points I was reminded of during the retreat. They are as follows:

1. Juses humbled Himself to be the Lamb of God out of obedience and love of the Father.

2. Obedience comes with total surrender, that includes everything in life from dreams, plans, finances, responsibilities, worries, and even sin.

3. Being a leader, or a shepherd to a flock should be done out of obedience and out of love.

(All photos in this post are by MISS TJANE)