Battle Scars

If there’s one thing, Death is a reality. And Pain goes along with it. And man, this Life is going to hurt, it will really really hurt. And you’re not going to be okay. Because Death is not okay.

Lately there’s always been news about sickness and dying of sickness and funerals. To be honest, funeral is the last thing I ever wanted to go to in this lifetime. Well, no one ever wanted funerals. No one ever wanted to die or let someone they love so dearly be snatched away from their fingertips. No one ever wanted to experience loss because losing someone can be unbearable. I cannot imagine the pain it takes to realize that you cannot hold that one person you’ve been with your whole life anymore. The word painful cannot even delineate how death can leave a hole in someone’s heart. Any other word cannot even.

I’ve been in the sidelines of watching a friend after a friend sticking out the courage to fight with their parents who’s suffering from this villain called Cancer until it was proven – time and again – how human efforts can only do so much. Sometimes nothing’s ever gonna be enough to stop cancer from taking away someone precious. It breaks hearts and hearts that hope for healing. It shutters bones that stand strong amidst continued beating. It brings despondency to the eyes of someone who used to be only consumed by fire but not anymore because flame was put out because of tears.

Cancer has its ways to creep into your lungs until your gasping out of air even if you’re not the one caught by it, even if you’re just battling it with someone who you’re holding on to because you don’t ever wanna let go and give up on the people you love, right? But Cancer or any other disease can disregard all of your fighting fuel. Really, it will just give it a cruel go and let death happen. And then that’s it, it ended someone’s life. And you’ll feel as if you were taken along.

God is good. All the time.

We’ve been so used to this line. We know it is written in the Bible. We use this as an encouragement for every downcast soul we meet; believing that everything happens for a reason, knowing that the God we serve is a big God, much bigger than our circumstances. But there might come a time when we will be filled with doubt and our confidence to this truth will be shaken. And when it happens, I hope we pour out all our burdens, questions, longings and desperation in a To Be Honest, God barrel and hold on to it no longer. Carry it no longer.

Because that’s the beauty of Life. That though it hurts, we can call out for help. When we are in pain, when we are down and hopeless, when we are in fear and we feel too much, when we meet Death in the eye threatening to take anybody we love, we can cry out an honest cry to the Lord and He’ll hear our broken voices and wounded hearts.

And when time comes that we lose a battle with life, when death wins, be still and know that it’s not the end. That the moment we chose to surrender everything, the moment we chose to believe in our Savior Jesus Christ, the moment we chose to lay all our encumbrance at His feet, that’s also the very moment that we are carried and enveloped in His arms. The enemy may bring excessive pain or sickness or death in this life but our Savior cannot be held down by such things. It holds no power.

We may be lonely because we are the ones left. And we’ll probably miss them terribly everyday. And sometimes mornings may not seem like a good one because it’s not the same anymore. We cannot see them anymore, or smell them, or touch them, or tell them our usual banters, or feel them. We cannot spend any more time with them because time was already gone. It’s not the same. Someone we dearly love is gone. It’s never gonna be the same.

But the sun still rises. And the sun still sets. The moon still glows. And the stars still shine. Time will keep on running. And there’ll be a day like tomorrow. There’ll still be weeks. And months. And years. And sometimes it will still hurt. And it’s okay because we still have God. And our God understands.

To be the one who stays at the moment means we still have a lot to accomplish. We have a purpose. We still are to make a dent in this universe; leaving it like it was never left before. One day, we will unite in the heavens and our hearts will fill with joy as we revel in each other’s presence again. And there’ll be no pain, no sorrow, no tears.

Someday.

One day.

But for now, while we travel and feel the Earth with our hands, we go on. We move on. We get molded and strengthened and made new each day. We have battle scars to show up what’s having faith looks like.

Hold On

How can you comprehend loss? How do you comfort someone who is currently holding on to tiny strings of Everything’s Going To Be Okay and yet people around them will keep on pushing the reality of pain, the reality of sickness, the reality of death, the reality of losing someone they cared for their whole lives? How will you be able to stare Loss in the face and never be bothered by his existence? How can you translate words of encouragement into comfort? How can you comfort someone with words when you believe words, sometimes, reach its limit?

H O P E
F A I T H
G O D

These words are bigger than Cancer, Pain, and most of all, Death. Our human minds, however, can be so weak that it can sunk us so low and will leave us without any idea how to bounce back from the negatives.

Cancer happened in our family twenty years ago and it took my dad. But I was young then, I never understood the pain of actually losing a father who’s been there the whole time. It was an event of loss, yes, but for me it was just something on the surface. That loss never got me. I’ve never felt Loss cut so deep that it drenched me helpless, hopeless and broken. So when my friend came face to face with the possibility of a loss, I don’t know the right words to say or offer that would make the pain go away.

However, even if I’m not so confident with my words versus the situation as of current, I think here’s where I’ll still stand. I wrote this in the first chapter of my (ongoing) novel a year ago:

To doubt was easy. To lose hope was easy. To question the circumstance was easy. But I believe, we humans are not created for easy or choosing easy. The virtue of a miracle is that it works when your heart is almost throwing out the white towel of Hope, almost at the edge of giving up, almost crying tears of I don’t wanna do this anymore. It’s when you surrender it all to Faith. It’s when you handed all the pain to that Someone who understands… the miracle is: it will all get better. And yes, in time. Just like what it said in a song.

What cancer taught us is that you can never box Encouragement, Huge Hugs, Kiss On The Forehead, Smiles, Laughter, and an Overflow Of Love. You can never box those things. You can never box Moments.

Loss can be this huge galaxy of uncertainty. Yet, one thing remains true above this all: with our good Lord, we are certain that we are always safe. That His arms are wide open to catch all the pain we can’t anymore carry and heal us where we are most broken. That in our weakness, He can shower us with strength — an inner invincibility. That alone is the last thing we will ever feel because He will bring us to people who can help, who can bring smiles and buckets full of genuine concerns and prayers. That whatever this world throws in front of our face, the reality that we have a God who saves will remain unshaken.

Death is just death. Sickness is just sickness. Cancer is just cancer. But God, He is our God, our Father, Savior, Healer, Comforter.

To my dear friend, you and I might never understand everything that’s going on but our Lord does. He will never forsake you. He will never forsake your family. Not now. Not ever.

Hold on. We’re holding on the strings with you.

***

Can you do me a favor? Can you please include prayers of comfort and strength for my friend Mayu and her family (most especially, her mom)? We need you to pray with us. Thank you for your good heart! :)

You is kind. You is smart. You is important. You is brave.

I watched the movie The Help over the weekends, and I must say, the story is a story of Courage.

Courage has always been a beautiful word for me. It’s like a secret chant you say to yourself which instantly delivers a wonderful amount of bravery and confidence. When uncertainty lingers at the porch of your mind, trying to quaff every single barrel of your sunshine, Courage will make you believe that there’s nothing wrong being in the dark for a while. Courage trusts that you’ll find the light. That’s what Courage does, it makes you Hope. And Hope shares the same attributes of Courage: beautiful. (I abuse the word beautiful so much, but, there’s no other way I can describe these two.)

The movie was set in a far away past where racial discrimination was still eminent in the United States of America – the Blacks serve as helpers in White people’s residences. However, their rights has always been disregarded. It makes me feel lighter, though, when I saw that not all White people are prejudiced; take Skeeter, a journalist who pushed for the Helpers to share their side of story with their service at the White people’s houses. Although, all her efforts might have been for naught if not for the willingness of Abiliene to support.

Skeeter and Abiliene were the two lead persons in the movie who took a stand and choose – what many people in their time, won’t – Courage. What’s very crucial about Courage is that it has to be chosen. You have to choose to be courageous. Nobody else can do it for you.

Despite the fact that Skeeter and Abiliene (together with the other Helpers) could be in grave danger, they still do what they had to do: act against racism and seek equality between the Colored and the Whites. They started a revolution, a spark for change. And I believe, they contributed a big part in the freedom of all cultures and races America is experiencing today. Imagine if they didn’t do anything when the very circumstance they’re in is asking them to make a stand? We, humans, most times don’t act out when we need to; afraid of so many things that would expose us in possible danger. Courage, often requires sacrifice – of our own time, money, talent, and even comfort – for the greater good. We have it all inside of us, we have the capacity to be brave, we have been given the ability to serve. It’s just that, sometimes, we tend to forget.

Yes, you is (also) brave.

When things go way out of hand and you tremble to your knees as you are shaken to the core, hold hands with Courage, do not let go. When every single molecule of your being wants you to run away and escape the grind of tomorrow, behold Courage in the eye, as long as his eyes flicker, don’t lose hope. When there’s too much fear in your heart and you can’t keep the tears anymore, look up, Courage is always looking down.

To have Courage is not to rely on your own strength. To have Courage is to surrender all your weaknesses in the hands of an Almighty God, entrusting every small portions of your life into His bigger plans for your future – be prepared to witness His power working in you. To have Courage is not to be free from fear, Fear is a healthy friend. To have Courage is bringing Fear with you in skydiving; no matter the struggle, it will remind you that you have wings – you are meant to fly. To have Courage is not to go through life easy. To have Courage is to embrace life in all of its uncertainties.

Show me how big your Brave is.

Do Not Fear the Future, Thomas

I had been meaning to write something about how September greeted me with so many unexpected things in life since Day 1. But much to my chagrin, I wasn’t able to sit down face-to-face with this white blank page until today.

To summarize what’s the fuzz in my mind about: I am just overwhelmingly grateful of how the Big Guy favored me in the most unexpected time in my most unguarded moment.

If you ever heard about the disciple named Thomas, you might actually heard about me: the Doubter. I am a person who doubts a lot – mostly, the subject of all my doubts is myself. I got this very low regard with my capabilities as an individual; I tend to focus more on what I might fail to do or what I might actually done wrong to a perfect situation. I’ve come to learn that that’s not humility. Whenever we say, I can’t do this or I don’t know how to do that, we really are hindering all the possibilities where God can intervene in our lives. Sometimes, when doubt just pops out a big CAUTION: This might be dangerous for you, it is strongly suggested for you not to continue – we just freeze and we just want to stay where we are comfortable. Fear takes over. Doubt is eating up on Hope, every second that it counts.

Last month, I was really at the edge of my seat wanting to dive in my sea of worries. And I did so, because I lost heart like losing a battle I’m itching to win. That particular Friday, I became emotional, too emotional, that I cried to God to ask Him what does He want from me because I believe I gave it my all and all I wanted is some consolation – what about what I want, for a change? Selfish little brat that I am, I did ask that.

I wanted to explore a new field. I already proclaimed it with all conviction that I’ll be in one on September. And then doubt came in halfway August and I panicked. How can I possibly enter September with new beginnings if the company I’m applying for – the company which my mother told me to try – haven’t been in contact with me after two days? Spell #atat. LOL. (Now that I’m looking back, it was actually funny that I think they won’t ever consider getting me since they haven’t given me a text, call or email…and it was only two days passed!!!) That day, I seriously accepted the fact that they won’t ever regard me. See what our emotional hormones can do?

I was discussing all my drama to the Lord and just before I dwell deeper into the quicksand of paranoia and worry, a text message came in. Guess what the message was about? Yup, it’s God telling me, Why are you in such a hurry? Have you forgotten that everything is under my control? because the company already came in contact with me and told me that I am scheduled for an exam and interview the following week.

In that week, I finally surrendered all my doubts. I prayed to God that if the job really is for me, He’ll make way; if it’s not, I prayed that He’ll bless my heart whatever the decision may be. I will not elaborate point-per-point how everything unfold the way it did. All I know was, the Lord backed me up big time. Meaning, He approved of me getting it and so I did. Everything went smoothly by God’s grace! True enough, what I proclaimed September to be, it happened.

After getting the job, another set of doubt – actually, fear – came in. Since I’m getting myself in a new field, I’m fully aware that it’s different from what (some) people will expect from me. I’m afraid that they’ll judge me. Some of them – I saw through their actions and words – seemed to think through on my decision, assessing if I’m doing the right one. I know that they are just concerned, but that kind of quiet pressure, made me doubt my decision to explore this new field too. And I remembered that I prayed about this, the Lord gave His answers clear. I need not to worry.

You see, we all are in varying stages or phases in our lives where we are choosing what we want to be, where we want to be. To tell you honestly, I don’t know where I wanted to be and what I want to become, yet. If others are sure that they wanted to be teachers, accountants, doctors, writers, musicians, etcetera; all I wanted – as of this moment – was to be an explorer of life: to do things with my heart, to feel the world in my hands. I swear, I see nothing wrong with that. I think it’s beautiful to enjoy the voyage when you haven’t got a clue where you are headed. At least for me, that’s the case.

Although I fear the future, calculating if my decisions will benefit me in the long run, I have come to realize that I don’t have to, because the Lord has promised to be with me wherever I go.

And as for my Doubt,

Doubt was cool. Doubt was predictable. It broke my heart a lot less. But over time, that changed and I realized that all doubt really did was stifle truth. I am always grateful for that. There are big things out there for each of us. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is just believe.

-Isabel Garcia

Take that! Lol

Instead of Fear, I’ll choose to Hope. Hope always lets you believe that you can fly and it has always been a liberating feeling touching the clouds.

There’s a lot to learn in this new expedition. I pray that the Lord will give me Courage to face the calmness of the sea, as well as its rages. For the now, let’s take heed of my September Moodboard (yes, it’s back!!!): Do Not Fear the Future :)

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Connected Ka Ba? #afterthoughts

Despite the heavy rain and traffic, I braved Ortigas last Tuesday because I needed to get my hands on this new book written by one of my coolest OJT Supervisors back in ISACC days: Sir Rei Lemuel Crizaldo! Woot woot! Yes, my dear friends, I’m one of the firsts to have had witnessed this book in flesh before the Manila International Book Fair 2013 opened yesterday and before this book’s formal launch on Saturday at 1pm at OMF Literature’s booth at MIBF (make sure you’ll have the time to go there because the author will be there to sign your very own copies of his book)!

Several months ago, I heard that Sir Rei would be writing a book about prayer. Initially, I thought: why prayer? I honestly think that this wouldn’t be something that most people my age might be interested in, unlike love stories, sci-fi, novels and such. But kudos to his courage, I definitely salute what he had done in the book!

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The book is entitled Connected Ka Ba? (How to Pray Kahit Lo-batt Ka Na) which only contains 93 pages worth of read. It is very light that you could finish it in a matter of 1 (if you’re a fast reader) to 2.5 (or a slow one, like me) hours. The number of pages and the hours you’re going to read it doesn’t equate to the insights that you may gain or may be enlightened about as you go through the book. Not only that, I promise you that it’s enjoyable. I never thought Sir Rei had this sense of humor. Haha! There were parts that made me laugh and say to myself: Oo nga, noh? In all fairness with this book, #mahusay.

At the early discussions in it, I was glad to see a familiar name being quoted. I mean, it’s not everyday you see a Marshall McLuhan being quoted on a particular book outside your readings back in College. As a Communication Research graduate, McLuhan played a vital role in all of my exams back in my very first year-first semester in College. So, seeing him in the book gives me a jolt of joy like bumping with an old friend across a street in a city you haven’t been to. Lol. Babaw.

Anyways, according to McLuhan: We shape our tools and then our tools shape us. Technology has unleashed its power of changing the way we view our world, especially when it comes to social media. Nowadays, everybody gets connected easily. We are the children of the digital age where Facebook comes second after brushing our teeth in the morning. The book tackled the reality of how convenient we think it would be for us if we were to find God in these social media applications we are so hyped about. Maybe then, praying would be easier. Maybe then, we could not just guess what God is telling us since He could directly comment on our status or PM us whenever He wanted to say anything or whenever He wanted to answer all our questions and requests. E di sana, ang dali ng buhay!

I love how the book reminded me that prayer is always personal. That each of us got different styles when it comes to praying – some sing it, dance it, write it, talk to God about it, being silent, staring at the ceiling like gazing stars at the top of a mountain, etcetera. It varies for every person. The book integrated how our culture as Filipinos somehow affects the way we behave when it comes to praying. Since we Filipinos have this ability to comprehend non-verbal actions impeccably, we also express ourselves non-verbally – if we can’t say what we want, we act it out. And yet, no two Filipinos pray the exact same way. It is a beauty to witness that even when we’re very similar, we are also very different.

“…Alam niyang sapat na kahit ang buntong-hininga para maipa-abot sa Diyos anuman ang laman ng kanyang kalooban.”

And even when we are different, the Lord just understands each of us perfectly. I love it! Shows you that the God we serve is not a puny God., right?

The book is honest in a way that it says how our motives and actions have consequences in our prayer life. You know how sometimes we harbor sin in our hearts and that hinders God from hearing us? This is one of the things I fear, that God won’t hear me because I let myself be covered with sin. That doesn’t mean to say that God is angry at us when we sin, He is angry at sin and He loves us so greatly that Forgiveness is always waiting in the wings. We just have to choose it. When we confess and let go of our most treasured sin, He is faithful and just to hear our petitions.

“Don’t worry. Hindi naman maramot ang Diyos sa pag-scan at pag-delete sa mga kasalanang nagagawa natin.”

What’s more overwhelming is that not only He hears us when we call but God wanted His children to call Him, Father. Nux, close na close!

“…Sa madaling salita, hindi ka basta-basta lalapit sa Diyos na makapangyarihan at kabanal-banalan. Pero binaliktad ito ni Jesus. Sabi Niya chill lang tayo. Let’s call the Lord, ‘Dad.’

Therefore, if He’s our Dad and we are His children, we don’t only ask from Him, we also need to listen to what He has to say about whatever it is that we are going through, right? Prayer is communication – we speak, we listen. Most times, just like many of us, I tell the Lord all I wanted to say and I intentionally forget to listen to what He has to say about me. It’s like He hasn’t responded yet but I already put the phone down. We work that way, we are creatures of convenience. Sometimes, we think that the Lord is not giving us answers, that He’s just not there when we need Him when we were the ones who can’t bear His answers we could find in silence.

“Prayer is when you realize and take God as your environment. He is always there, always speaking. It is a matter of paying attention.”

I love that the book doesn’t just discuss how we pray for ourselves but the need for us to pray for other people. It is called interceding for others. I liked how the book said this:

“Sa mata ng Diyos, hindi rin tama ang manalangin para sa sarili lang natin. Dahil ang lahat ng bagay ay magkakaugnay, mararapat lang na ang lahat ng tao ay marunong makiramay.

There are a lot of insights that I got from the book but my ultimate favorite was the realization that prayer is our life, it is the way we live. When we pray more, we depend on God more. Thus, our relationship with Him grows intimately. Whatever we do could be an act of prayer, an act of full dependence to that Someone we call Father. I think it is super nice to know that even God is an Almighty, He desires a relationship with us – a nobody. And for that, I am grateful.

Prayer is, indeed, an exciting journey after all. :)

Just Keep Swimming Through

Never had I been in any relationship in my twenty-one years here on Earth and I don’t know when would I be in one. I’m a firm believer that the best is yet to come and my only chance at it is when I learned to wait patiently. However, every time a very dear friend of mine experience heart break, I always always wanted to comfort them the best that I can especially if in that moment, I won’t be by their side to hug them tight (to give them cookies and siomai) and narrate to them the eternal lists of how beautiful they are as a person.

To the girl who always had the greatest potential:

You texted me last night to tell me that you are in the core of a break-up; your long year relationship has finally ended. I want to let you know that I am sorry. I want to tell you that everything will be fine and everything will come into passing – that the time will come when you can finally run again and eventually you will fly, you can fly. You were always meant to fly.

I know, people will probably laugh at me – and I too, sometimes, find myself funny – when I give love advice when I, for one, never experienced and felt the same way that you did. But I hope you’ll hear me out, even so.

I know a lot of things don’t make sense right now – your heart is beaten and bruised from the whole course of your fight for love. It has been a tough ride. You have conquered the waves, you took courage to sail against the current. You had been very brave. You believe in this love sincerely that you had willingly given yourself  in the deep blue of the ocean where most of us won’t even dare to swim through. You were gasping for breath each time, you didn’t care if your legs are tired from swimming; the jellyfish may sting you but you just know in your heart that going to the bottom of it will prove to yourself that what you felt and where you are in is because of love.

I don’t blame you because of your choices. And I don’t think that this will be a wasted time, let alone, a wasted story. I’ve seen in it in you. You have this vast ability to care and to love. You are a story – and a very beautiful one at that. You are waiting to unfold. So, you need all these – the pain, the doubt, the tears, the weak knees, the lost appetite, the fear, the consequences, the feeling of emptiness. You need to feel that you are broken. You need to feel this hollow at this very moment. This might be the hardest days in the world for you, but you have to go through this like the way you did being at the bottom of the ocean: just keep swimming through.

While you are struggling to go back from the way it was, I hope that you will stop. Stop thinking that you can return, that you can do it all over again if the relationship will be given another chance, that maybe you are just running away from a bad dream. Let me tell it to you frankly, my love:

It’s over. Nobody’s coming back. Nobody’s expecting you to return. This is the end of the road for that relationship. It is finished. You are now free.

You have to keep living. You have to make your way up, the sun has always shine its rays in the surface of the water. Follow that light. Paddle at your own pace and do yourself a favor of not looking back. You have to rise from the depths of the blue; it might be a long long way to finally breathe the air from the dock of the bay, but you’ll be there soon should you choose it to be.

If you clear out all that space in your mind that you’re using right now to obsess about this person, you’ll have a vacuum there, an open spot – a doorway. And guess what the universe will do with that doorway? It will rush in – God will rush in – and fill you with more love than you ever dreamed. So stop using that person to block that door. Let it go.

– Eat. Pray. Love.

Remember, the only mistakes we can have in life are the ones that we didn’t choose to make right.

Love will come again. As long as we live, we will love. Someone will come and accept everything that we are, everything we have become and everything we will be. Just believe and pray that when the time comes, you are fully restored and healed. I know you will be, and I’m excited to see all of it. Did you know that in order for the caterpillar to become a butterfly, it needs to let go of its head? Gross idea, but, sometimes what we most treasure is the very same thing that we have to fully surrender in order for us to achieve our full metamorphosis. The caterpillar will never become a beautiful butterfly when it will just keep its head forever. It goes the same way with us humans, we cannot take hold of what’s best until we learn to let go of what’s good. Always easier said than done, but believe that God will help you surrender.

You are beautiful. True love will always see you as beautiful. And I hope you can give it to yourself – that love – and believe that in the midst of all these, you are still beautiful, you will be beautiful. Learn to find yourself again. Learn to forgive yourself. The beauty of being broken is the very miracle that someday, in God’s most perfect timing, you will be whole again.

God loves you, my dear. You are a gift from God to all of us and we love you. I can’t wait for the time when I can see your full bloom out of this brokenness.

When the past has passed from you at last, let go. Then climb down and begin the rest of your life. With great joy. 

– Eat. Pray. Love.

You Can’t Box It In

When events in our lives are unfolding the way it should, it’s so easy to praise God — feeling all His favors pouring on us like pixie dusts. But when events unravel the other way around a.k.a. the unexpected this-is-not-how-it-suppose-to-happen-ever way, do we still see God’s favor like rain — showering on us in the desert of chaos? Are we ever still grateful?

Last night in our DGroup, our discipleship leader asked us: what comes to your mind when you hear the word “favor?

I would want to formulate some smart answer as what I always intend to do to look smart in front of people (haha, and rarely succeeding at it ((read: never))) but she already called my attention to respond to the question (talk about, God doesn’t always want you to think that you should always be smart in answering questions — “It’s not a beauty pageant anyways; we’re just here spending Quality Time and it’s appreciated for you to answer truthfully.” — I can hear Him speak to my pride in my mind HAHA). So, what I told them was the first thing that I always feel with the word, and well yes, favor for me is like grace – something that is given to me which I really don’t deserve most of the time. Other words that came up in the discussion include favor being a blessing and a gift.

Then my DGroup leader gave some definitions of favor in reference to her notes, I was able to write some favorite points:

Favor is God’s goodness given to a person’s life, to which it’s only God who can get the credit.

Favor is a relationship with God of great confidence where no matter what, you know that with God, you will always end up on top.

Favor is the acceptance, approval and assistance of God awarded to us in the finish work of Jesus.

In different stories from the Bible, we’ll see how our Lord favors His people — there’s Abraham who became the father of all nations; Sarah who bore a child at a tender age and despite the fact that she’s barren (imagine that!); Jonah who was eventually thrown out from the insides of a whale; Daniel who was spared in the lion’s den; Joseph who was once a slave and became a king; David who battled Goliath (we all know this story); Gideon who was the timid and shy and yet considered a warrior in God’s sight; Paul who once a persecutor of Christians then became a servant of Jesus, reaching out to so many people and building so many ministries; etcetera etcetera. Then there was our dear friend, Mary, the virgin who gave birth to Jesus. Then there was Jesus who chose to suffer death on the cross for all of us. Amazing these favors from God are!

Every so often, though, our visions of these favors are limited when it comes to facing unbearable circumstances in our lives. When trials come gate crashing our mini-parties of happiness and just drenching every positive molecule of our being, sometimes we think the favors of God are nowhere. Have we ever learned to thank God when everything’s going great and when everything’s going not so?

You see, trials are also God’s way in wrapping up our favors for us. The problem is, we never really wanted to take those final exams even when we were in school – afraid of stress and failure. We always wanted a carefree life where we can chill to the max with good friends and good music as company. But we need those trials – our character is being molded and the power of God in our lives is revealed through it. More so, when we surpass it, it’s incredible how God polished us all throughout. We just need to persevere, after when the finals are done, here comes the summer break, or even, the graduation – where we can get enough time to bum before proceeding to our next stage in life a.k.a when trials will come pouring in again in metric tons.

As we continued to discuss favor, we were asked to examine our lives and share the most wonderful favor God has given us. The seven of us in the group, who were present that night, impart each one’s “favor story”. It sounded different from time to time but all of it were like bead strings attached to each one – like our story could be presented like a bead work; our stories interconnect. And I believe it’s the same in everyone of us when we all tell our “favor story”, it’ll always boil down to one: unimaginable. I can’t imagine going through life without God in it. I mean, you cannot express in words how God just do things in your life and place you wherever you are right now because His favor has always been on you. Oh, salvation is sweet!

“I’ll be good to you because I wanted to be good to you.” -God

It’s His attribute: He is Love and He is Good. He is our Father who always wanted to shower favors upon favors on us. Have you ever thought of that? Or do you always think that wherever you are right now, it is because of all you’ve done to make the most out of life; and the universe, somehow, is indebted to you that’s why it’s giving you what you are due?

When I heard the favor stories of the other girls in the group and what I’ve witnessed personally in my own life, I cannot help but be humbled by just about everything. And I can’t think of any other way but to be grateful for all of it. You can’t box favor. You can’t box what the Lord wants to give you – it will always fill your cup, it will always have an overflow in your heart. You can’t box God in all His great might! Once we do realize how God sees us and just gives generously in this life for us, we can never be the same. I can only live to give Him the praise everyday of my life. It’s just wonderful. It’s undeserved. It’s overwhelming. It’s all God’s favor!

Blessed be the name of the Lord, from this time forth and forever. (Psalm 113:2)