Archive for the ‘Journals’ Category

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If there would just be one word I could use to describe my 2017, there’s nothing else more fitting to use but the term, “transition.” It was the year that for me was the best and the worst at the same time because of the many things that happened to me. I started 2017 as a student struggling with graduation requirements, and I ended it as a Licensed Professional Teacher who makes Senior High School students struggle. It was the hardest year for me just yet, full of difficult lessons and heavy realizations. But never had I been so blessed and overwhelmed with the truths revealed to me as I had been this year. And so looking back, I can say that all the tearful nights, the exhaustion, and the disappointments of this year have revealed to me in a deeper personal level who God is, and have ultimately drawn me all the more nearer to my Savior.

2017 taught me that God, and God alone, is in control. My entire life, to the last detail, is in His hands. Not in mine. Not in anyone else’s. He holds my heart like water in His hands, and turns it to whatever direction He pleases. He has the complete hold on the reins of everyone’s lives. We all try to hold on tightly to our plans and intentions, but at the end of the day, it is always the perfect plan of God that stands. And thankfully so.

Because this year, I learned that God is a purposeful planner. I learned that my stay in this temporary world is simply my pathway to the state of glory. And everything I have to go through has a significant contribution to my sanctification. Not a detail in my story happens randomly. Nothing is meaningless. Every turn in the path, every twist of the road, every rock that blocks up my path, every pebble I have to stumble upon—each has a truth to reveal to me. And the Lord makes sure that I get everything I need to be more Christ-like every day.

This year also taught me that God is a loving God. He has a perfect plan for me, and He executes that plan very lovingly. He sees all my tears and puts them all in a bottle. He knows my every pain, and He does not make me suffer in vain. Instead, He is a God who leads me through the valley of the shadow of death while keeping me under the shadow of His wings. He is a God who will let me go through storms and wild tempest because I need to learn how to trust Him. But at the same time, while I suffer in the storm, He is a God who would cause His loving promises and means of grace to surround me, giving me the strength to endure, and overcome, the stormy nights. He is a loving God, and if discovering this on a personal level meant having to go through everything I went through this year, I would not skip out on even one of them—even the most painful and difficult ones.

And most importantly, I learned this year that God is working on countless stories all at once to weave the one that matters most: the story of His glory. What’s happening around me is not about what I feel. It has even very little to do about me at all. But everything that happens is about God and how He is best glorified through the lives of all His people. It’s about how He is continuing the story that has started from eternity past—the story of how He will sanctify His people, the story of His glorification.

2017 has been a year of transition. It was a phase I needed to go through to find myself in far greater places, in far better situations. My dark night of transition is over, and as I enter 2018, I see the glimpse of a bright morning of trusting God more, of a faster running of the race, of a more victorious fight of the faith. As the old hymn goes, I can say the year 2017 was “a well-spent journey, though seven deaths lay between.” And as I begin another year of faith lessons, I pray for my heart to have only one cry: “I am the Lord’s servant. Let Him do to me as He pleases.”



Posted: December 13, 2017 in Journals

Flowers or chocolates? Roses or tulips? Grand dinner party or a quiet walk by the beach? Many ask the question, what’s the most romantic surprise I can ever throw at my partner? What’s that one grand gesture that would sweep my girl off of her feet? What should I do to make my guy realize I’m that one heaven-sent gift he should never let go of?

Just the other day, my friends and I went to hang out by the seaside, with the country’s tallest Ferris wheel in view. Majority of the conversations were pretty much random, but one topic did perk up my interest. The part that I caught went something like this:
“Gano’n ‘yon, gano’n dapat mag-propose,” [That’s how you should propose.] my brother said.
“Ano, anong pinag-uusapan niyo?” [What are you talking about?] asked, joining the conversation.
“Tinuturuan ako ng kuya mo, dapat daw sa ferris wheel magbigay ng proposal,” [Your brother was telling me that I should my wedding proposal in a ferris wheel.] answered my best friend.
I snorted. “Ang corny niyo.” [You guys are corny.]
My best friend looked at me for a second before answering, “But love is corny.”


In the efforts to redeem myself, I tried to explain to my best friend what I meant; that some parts of the ideal love scenario may be cliché to some extent, but not corny. Yet even as I spoke, I knew something was amiss in my argument. The more I thought about it, the more I realize that my best friend was actually right. Romantic gestures—or gestures done in the effort of being romantic—are corny. They’re not just a series of cliché setups. They’re downright corny, awfully awkward, and pretty much overrated.

But somehow, some of these gestures touch the heart down to the very core. Somehow, like rightfully fitting pieces of the puzzle, they all click into place and become a couple’s perfect moments. How does that happen? Is there a specific recipe for transforming corny efforts into the cutest and sweetest of gestures? The thing is, there is no formula to the perfect gesture. But we do find heartfelt romance in the gestures that are made significant to us by fond memories and personal preferences.


Gestures, firstly, become significant when you can link them to the memories you’ve created together. The idea is simple: if it can make a person remember favorite memories, the gesture becomes relevant. People make memories with one another. Do you often sing together? Do you take library trips? Do you try food from various places? Or do you, perhaps, find pun jokes at every street corner and wordplay at every line thrown at the conversation table? Calling to mind the fondest of these memories would be like cracking an inside joke between the two of you, or having a set of jargons you both can enjoy. I don’t know about others out there, but for me I’m sure this trip to memory lane is one great way to go.

Another way that gestures become significant is when you can link them to the things you love the most. The things we hold dear to our hearts will always be very meaningful—that much is clear. One who finds magic in the melodies of a song would most likely find the lost art of harana romantic. A star-gazer would find a walk through the quiet night very lovely. But things get a little tricky on this part. Every individual is as unique as a fingerprint—no one is exactly, precisely the same. In effect, this distinctness causes many efforts to get lost in translation. Often, your preferences are different from your love interest’s preferences. You may have your pool of similarities, but that is always limited. So, what do you do? There are perhaps two most important things you should do to find that click through preferences. One, widen that pool. It is always better to have a larger pool of shared preferences to refer back to. Secondly, though, know what is meaningful to the other person, and communicate yours also to him/her. This effort is something rarely done these days. This millennium has always been about the “I”. I want this genre. I want this kind of attention, this love language. Relationships do not work that way, however. It’s always a two-way learning and understanding. Try knowing what your loved one likes, and see for yourself how that road goes.


So do you want to do your proposal while in a Ferris wheel? While walking through the cemetery? While having dinner under the stars? Do you wish to bring it up during one of your library dates? Or perhaps during your weekend computer gaming night? Do you want to do it before a crowd? Or perhaps just between the two of you? By all means, customize your proposal plan (and even date itineraries!) all you want. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how downright corny or awkward your moments may appear to others if for the two of you they most rightly and romantically fall into place. Remember, we cherish what is significant to us.

The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad. (Psalm 126:3)
I recall my four years of stay in PNU with such fondness and tearful eyes. If every milestone is a framed painting, I would like to believe college is a completed masterpiece, now with added highlights of gold. But the painting isn’t all happy colors. There were hues of purple and gray, of wicked green and pitch black. There were moments of self-doubt, confusion, and plain heartaches. In my limited perspective, there were those I-don’t-get-why-this-should-happen times; the “times that try men’s souls”; the painful times of failures and losing battles and letting go.
My masterpiece wasn’t all gold. But if there’s just one thing I’ve learned in college, it’s that I am being painted by the Best Artist ever, One who doesn’t just want a great work of art but loves the painting very dearly, too. I’ve learned to thank Him for the happy colors, and to trust Him as He paints the darker hues. I’ve learned to entrust my heart to Him, and to wait for Him to gather me back into His arms when He, in the process of teaching, breaks me into pieces.
College taught me to lie still as God turns my dull existence of a canvass into a picture-story worth telling.
College taught me to not be afraid of going out of my comfort zone, so long as God is the one calling out to me.
College taught me that, yes, life will have an abundance of heartbreaks–but all will be beautiful ones with God securing me under His wings.
College made me realize that life paintings will have various shades of painful reds and insecure greens, of confusing grays and sorrowful blacks. And that’s okay, because my life-picture needs all those colors to be my loving Painter’s masterpiece, along with all the silver linings and golden highlights.
And more importantly, college taught me that people come and go, but there are those who are meant to stay–in our hearts, forever. These are the people who matter. These are those souls who hugged yours tight when you weren’t in your best state to be hugged. These people are the strokes in my canvass that made all the difference.
The past four years have been a series of mental, emotional, and spiritual crash courses for me. I learned, I taught,  I laughed and cried, I broke my heart, and again learned a lot in the process. As I look back to see the kind of masterpiece God painted of me, I can only say, “Jesus led me all the way.”
When all thy mercies, O my God, my rising soul surveys, transported with the view, I’m lost in wonder, love, and praise. (Addison, 1712)
This year, the Lord revealed truths about Himself to me—
Not in grand gestures and excessively dramatic style,
Not in the form of a burning bush or a speaking donkey,
Not even in the guise of an angel in a dream.
But He showed Himself to me in the little, everyday things—
in verses daily read, in hymns often sung,
in casual conversations, in trivial tasks—
which I think is even more majestic and astounding.
This year, He taught me He knows me inside out
And that He’s the best person to teach me lessons—
Never too hard so I’d inevitably fail,
But also never too easy so I’d get too comfortable.
He taught me to fully let go of my life’s steering wheel
And wait on His every turn with patience and complete trust.
He taught me to never doubt His loving care,
To never question why He puts me in situations,
But simply to ask how to best glorify Him there—
How to best bloom in the garden He has placed me.
This year He revealed to me matters of the heart,
Teaching me to love more unconditionally His people,
And let go of things that aren’t meant for me.
This year He taught me that letting go doesn’t always have to be painful,
And that painful breakage can be beautiful too.
Like a vessel breaking and showing up cracks,
Only to reveal golden light inside.
Yes, this year, God broke my heart—a lot.
But it all turns out to be a beautiful breakage
And, dare I say it, may He prepare me for more heartbreaks.
Because it was when he broke me that I’ve seen—
I am in need of nothing and no one else but Him.
This year I learned to be more honest with the Lord—
With how I feel, what I hope for, what I’m confused about,
Things I want to know from Him and of Him.
My relationship with Him grew so much deeper as He taught me
That I can really and literally talk to Him as I would an esteemed friend.
And isn’t He the best person to be friends with!
This year I learned to laugh more heartily—
Not because I have no more cares and concerns,
Not because I can see the solution in every problem,
But because I’ve clearly seen how God is very intimately involved in my daily life—
And with a loving and Almighty God writing your story,
Who needs to fret on the plot development and ending?
This year I found myself singing along with Horatio Spafford when he wrote,
“Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul.”
Has God spared me from traumatic trials?
It is well with my soul.
Has He kept me from getting things I thought I’ve wanted?
It is well.
Has He told me countless times to let go?
It is well. It is well.
Because what He ultimately taught me this year
Is that I may never be enough,
But He always is. Always will be.
And I guess that’s the best lesson of all.
And so, yes, I’m now facing a new “turn” in the road.
And I can only smile excitedly as I wait to see,
just right there at the corner, what He has in store for me.

Great Is Your Faith

Posted: July 24, 2016 in Journals

​She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” (Matthew 15:27)
To be told, “O woman, great is your faith!” by the Author and Finisher of faith–that is an experience I am willing to strive hard for, to spend my whole life working on. Six words. One statement. But with such great powerful way of defining my life.
May my perspective be as strong as this woman’s. May my faith be as firm. May I ever cling to You, Lord, though circumstances may tell me otherwise. Let me always, always see that promise, that rainbow, throughout the storms and rains. Let my anchor hold firmly despite every veil of darkness.
That at the end of the day, I would hear you say, “O woman, great is your faith.”


Be Anxious For Nothing

Posted: July 15, 2016 in Journals

​”Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34)
I have a lot of cares, a lot of worries. I am being hard pressed by the cares of this temporal world. They are necessary, yes. But not to the point that it would consume me.
Be anxious for nothing. I give you all my name worries, Lord. I give you all my cares. My deadlines, my papers to check, my requirements. My dealings with other people. You know my struggles. You know my weaknesses. I lay down before you all the cares of my heart. Teach my heart to trust you fully.


The Kingdom is at Hand

Posted: July 9, 2016 in Journals

​From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

Heaven’s within man’s reach, for the first time in all of history. A first, a breakthrough, in man’s story. God before was that eternal, Almighty God you have to approach through rituals and sacrifices and curtain boundaries with a continuous plea for mercy, for Him to spare you from punishment.

But now the curtain was torn, the boundary crossed for good by Christ, our Mediator. And now the once unapproachable, Holy God became the gracious, saving, still-Holy God. He showered to the fullest His salvation upon us, people who least deserve it. His just demands being met by His own Son on our behalf. On /my/ behalf. The immortal, invisible God stays immortal and invisible, but now He has also become a Friend, a Savior, a loving Father. All you need to do now, to approach this gracious God, is to repent. The kingdom is at hand. Forsake your sins, and live in viee of eternity.

Let me live my entire life, its every aspect, in view of this, Lord. Hear me.