Posts Tagged ‘Lessons’

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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.”

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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)

Quickly Fading

Posted: November 23, 2014 in Prose
Tags: , , , ,

Old Grandpa sat on his rocking chair. He was staring at the flower garden again. Last spring, the flowers were all blooming. The lilies were glowing so white. The roses, so red. The orchids were all blooming. I couldn’t help but fall in love with these creatures, especially with the pink roses. But this week, they started to wither. Autumn had come, and the flowers’ beauty began to fade away.

“Grandpa,” I said as I approached him. As a six year old girl, I always loved to talk and spend time with my Grandpa. He seemed so wise, so understanding, so loving.

“Well hello, Lizzie. Come here, girl,” Grandpa smiled. His warm greeting was like the sun to me. And it warmed my heart, as it always did before.

I sat on Grandpa’s lap. I noticed he was still gazing at the flowers. So I asked him, “Grandpa, why do you always stare at the flowers?”

“Don’t you want to stare at them too, Lizzie?”

“Not when they’re withering. There’s nothing much to see.”

Grandpa chuckled. “Flowers are the forgotten meaning of beauty, dear child. They tell us something when they are in bloom; that is true. They are the living that proves the beauty of simplicity. But they tell much more when they wither. They remind us of the brevity of life and beauty. And they are so much like humans.”

“Like us, Grandpa? How?” I inquired, and he began to tell me his story.

Grandpa was a sturdy and dominant young man. He was successful both in politics and in business. He was known throughout the country, and he enjoyed the privileges of being the “favored one” of the society. He was handsome, strong, and rich. Like a gorgeous flower, he was blooming.

He was all settled, and he could have made it to the list of United States’ most prominent men. But then autumn came in his life, and his blooming figure began to wither.

The first petal to fall was his fame. He got involved in some political issue. It was rumored that he manipulated the ballots during one election. Though it was never proved, this rumor dethroned him as the people’s apple of the eye. Thus he left the world of politics.

And then a year later, he fell into a severe sickness, myositis by name, which damaged his muscle coordination permanently. Thus his strength, the second petal, fell.

Because of his damaged reputation and inability to work, his business greatly tumbled down. Investors withdrew their shares because of my Grandpa’s damaged reputation. He was at the very edge of bankruptcy. As his business fell, so did his wealth. The third petal has fallen. The heart of autumn had arrived, and my Grandpa started to wither—socially, mentally, and physically.

The once apple of the eye of the society became a plague for them. The loved and favored one, in such a short span of a time, transformed into an object of the people’s hatred. The winds have changed. The weather altered. Spring had come to an end, and days of cold and painful winter started to reign in his life.

He lost properties. He lost friends. He lost his money. He was left with nothing but his family, an old, almost-tumbled-down house, and barely enough money from his pension after retirement. From a great figure, he became an old man in a rocking chair.

“It has been such a short period of blooming, Lizzie,” concluded Grandpa. “Days of glory has been short, and followed by long periods of pain and misfortune,” he sighed. “Oh well, like what that old Chinese proverb said, man cannot be always fortunate; flowers don’t last forever.”

“But Grandpa, why do we have to wither, like these flowers in our garden? It’s so sad.” I frowned.

“It might be a sad thing. But you see, Lizzie girl, old flowers have to die. It is only in this way that new flowers, like you, can grow and bloom. Such is the reality and cycle of life. The death of one marks the birth of another. Flowers that wither and die give way for new ones to sprout up and have their chance to live and enjoy life.

Have you ever wondered why people who died for their nation are called heroes? It is because they offered up their lives for the hope of the future generation. They died, so others, so that the young ones, can live. So you, Lizzie, you are one for whom our fore fathers died. Make sure they did not die in vain. Live your life to the fullest. Use the days of your youth wisely. And make the most of your spring time. Always remember, flowers don’t last forever.”