Help

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I need others in my life. Thank You for making me understand that. Please help me believe that. Allow that thought to stick in my heart and mind especially when I’m in a hurry, when I’m getting impatient, and when I am so tired. There’s something wrong with keeping struggles to oneself. Thoughts, dreams, achievements and day to day experiences no matter how small become bigger and more beautiful when shared. Teach me to trust. This way I can live and love more. I can live and love better. John Maxwell said “If you want to go fast, do it by yourself. If you want to go far, do it with others”. My dreams will come true. I will expand and I will grow. I can’t do this alone. I need my family, friends, mentors, even strangers to help me do this. And they’re all around me. I only need to take their hands when they offer help.

Everything I need comes to me. Thanks TIta Julie! 🙂

In Your Hands

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Thank You for this wonderful day. Thank You for taking the confusion and worries away. I lift up to you my struggles, my pain, my concerns (big or small), my dreams. Yes “Bahala na!” But I’ll speak those very abused Filipino words in a positive light – denoting sacrifice but most importantly surrender. Purify not only my dreams but also me so I’ll become worthy of them. I will run towards them unrelentingly no matter how tiring that seems. I’m certain You’re there eagerly waiting at the finish line, with arms wide open, with a proud look on your smiling face. I am asking now (more than ever) in trust. On top of it all, I am acting in faith. Whatever I have I’ll use it no matter how little, meaningless, insignificant in my eyes. Just like the little boy I give you my fish and my bread hoping with all my heart that with generosity, kindness, and love they will multiply. I know an avalanche of blessings will fall upon me. A river of miracles will welcome me. Teach me to be patient. In times of distress, quietly remind me I’m still on phase 1. 🙂 That’s why the good things are still invisible to my naked eyes. You’re just there behind the curtain preparing something that will take me by surprise. When I enter phase 2, I’ll get a sense of why. I’ll have the wisdom to understand.

Bless me so I will expand. Just like Brother Bo, I believe “Nothing remains small in the big hands of God.” 🙂

Because of Who You Are

I don’t have to live in fear 
Because of what Your love has done 
Now that You are near I don’t have to be alone
God of all the earth, You know my thoughts
You are all I need, You’re my praise, my song

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Because of who You are, I can live with hope
Knowing that You’ll always be
God of all my dreams
Everything I want to be is found in You

Because of who You are, I can live with hope
Knowing that You’ll always be
God of all my dreams
Everything I want to be is found in You

That’s who You are, that’s who You are
That’s who You are, that’s who You are
That’s who You are, that’s who You are
That’s who You are, that’s who You are
That’s who You are, that’s who You are

CHORUS
Because of who You are, I can live with hope
Knowing that You’ll always be
God of all my dreams
Everything I want to be is found in You
Because of who You are, I can live with hope
Knowing that You’ll always be
God of all my dreams
Everything I want to be is found in You
I can live, I can dream; You are all, all that I need
I can live, I can dream; You are all, all that I need

Ramblings

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I’m presently all over the place. My thoughts are incoherent and I don’t feel good about myself. The bad weather outside ended yesterday. Yet the wrath of the angry wind and the rain’s wild lashing seemed to hit me deep within. I’m finding it hard to recover. Why can’t things work out the way I want them to? Why does it have to be soooooooo hard? I feel that I’ve given so much today but in return nothing happened. I remember Brother Bo’s words 2 weeks ago in his talk. He said, “God will never waste a single hurt in your life. He will use that hurt for your healing and for your harvest. ” Why do I keep on hitting this dead end? How come this path always seemed dark? I know just like the other roads I’ve taken I’ll get through this somehow. But at the back of my mind, I know I don’t want that SOMEHOW. I desire to emerge triumphant and hold victory in my hands. I believe this journey is worth taking. There is treasure waiting for me on the other side.

I am oftentimes tempted to make a detour and turn away but I know I shouldn’t. I’m certain I wouldn’t. Is that the right choice? How will I know if this will lead to real joy? To a life that’s fuller? Will this dream bring me closer to You? Will this make me better? Will this bear fruits that can bless others, too? I am seriously doubting. I’m not sure anymore. There, finally I said it. It was at the tip of my tongue. It was hiding in the caverns of my confused mind. Many times, I pushed away those words, those thoughts but then they’re there. They’re now out in the open. And I’m thankful I let them go. felt relieved. It’s like a heavy weight was lifted of my shoulders. So this is what all these “clutter” is all about. The pressure is beginning to melt over me and I don’t want to admit it. I couldn’t handle it. Fears are beginning to inch towards me, slowly and quietly asserting themselves to my thoughts and to my body. What if things don’t work out? What if I fail again? A list of uninspiring thoughts about the future that is also not certain. I want to forget about these ugly things, bury it down under, send it to the wind. If only I could.

As this day finishes and I start to rest, I pray that I be cleansed of all these random ramblings, dispersed thoughts heading nowhere. I pray that I find answers to questions that really matter. And tomorrow when I open my eyes, I will wake up to the hope, beauty, and joy that the new day offers. For now, I’ll accept the truth that some days are wonderful and others unbearable. Still, whatever days I have, they are sill gifts from You. Nonetheless I’m not giving up. In the end, I know that there’s something good (even small) this weary day will give no matter what.

Dear God,

Let Your light shine before me, that I may see Your good works and give glory to Your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). I know that the hurting will cease. The crying will stop. Soon I will ascend and others will learn. Consume me. Consume me from the inside out.

Home

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For many months I waited. For countless weeks I prayed. For some days I tossed and turned in bed. And finally, for a few hours I couldn’t hide my excitement. The 7th of July was something very special to me. Do you know why? For 8 long months I worked at sea. And on this special day, I got the chance to go back to my family.

It was past 10 in the morning when our plane landed in NAIA. Despite the heavy weight of my 2 luggage, I didn’t know how I managed to walk as fast as I could the moment I saw my mom and sister waiting for me. And there was my uncle, too. Also my niece and 2 nephews who showered me with their sweet kisses and suffocated me with their super tight embrace. We didn’t waste a moment. We rode the van and went straight to Bulacan where we reside. It was a fun ride despite the heat and the heavy traffic. Stories never ended. 🙂 I had tales to tell and they had their own, too. It was indeed a fun exchange.

When we reached the house, the stories continued. This time with food I dreamt of eating while still on board. Authentic Pinoy dishes lovingly made by the hands of people who give me love, inspiration, and hope. And I made them happy, too. Well my huge bags made them happy actually. Hahaha!!! The gifts, chocolates, and other pasalubong inside. J Seeing them smile and feel grateful after getting a slice of the blessings I received was a priceless sight. It’s a feeling that will make me want to carry heavier luggage the next time around. Ayayay… Early that night I went to bed feeling thankful I’m finally home. And as I lay on bed, happy thoughts about tomorrow started parading in my head.

Then came the next day which I think was very important. On the first day, everything was so ideal. Things looked perfect. But the day that followed was when reality came in. What now??? I started making a list of things I needed to do. Oh boy, there were lots of them – document to updates, IDs to renew, training to take, friends to meet (exciting!!!), bills to pay (scary), items to buy. Just looking at the list made me feel tired. The post-it notes were a bit overwhelming. But I like it when my days are planned. I knew that I will tick those things off my list one at a time. And gradually I did. 🙂

While I was busy doing this, I felt an itch on my right arm. Naturally, just like most of us will do, I put ointment on it.  But then to no use. The itch continued, even grew worst. I noticed it turned red and it started getting bigger. I thought there’s something wrong. The itch was then becoming unbearable and the redness was a bit alarming. So I went to see the doctor and showed her my arm. She asked me “Why just now?” And I told her our schedules won’t meet and I thought it was just normal. So I was given medicines, soap and special ointment for it. She told me it must have been an insect bite and the ointment I used caused allergic reaction to my skin.

For many days I was stressed out. At first I thought, the medicines weren’t working. I was getting impatient. I want to make the itch and the pain go away instantly. There were times when I would just stay in my room and without me knowing the tears will fall from my eyes. (Ang drama.) I was asking myself why now? You got to be kidding me. I mean I waited so long for this. And now that I’m here I can’t do the things I want to do. I can’t leave the house and have a good time outside. Worst, I can’t eat the food I want to eat. Yes there were many things I was not allowed to eat, and to my dismay these are mostly food I fantasized about when I was still aboard the ship. I felt like a prisoner locked up in the house. My activities were limited because every time I’ll go outside (usually because I have some papers to fix) the heat will make me sweat which in turn will make the allergy itch all the more and even hurt. Also, it didn’t look very pleasant. People will stare and ask me what happened. And I would feel even more disappointed.

But then these past few days, I realized how I benefited a lot from this experience. Well, to be honest it took a really long time before this thought came. Maybe sometimes, certain things happen to make us pause and do some serious thinking. This way, new ideas are born or we get to revisit dreams that seemed to be momentarily forgotten.

I hate cleaning. I’m so not good at it. I get bored when I do chores. And it’s something I’m not very proud of. I remember on my first contract as a seafarer, we were given sidelines or jobs outside our line of work where we earn extra money. On turn around days (days when passengers will disembark and a new batch of cruisers will come), cabin stewards would hire helpers so they can finish preparing all the rooms. And right after that, usually in less than 2 hours they will pay. Since almost everyone in our department was doing it, I was pressured to join even though I know I’m not capable and I will noooooooooot enjoy it. So every turn around day, I will torture myself in exchange for the instant cash I will get after some hours of cleaning. There were many times I gave my cabin steward a headache for failing to do some things like checking the ref which is a big big crime. To cut the story short, I was fired. Well he didn’t tell me upfront but I sensed it so I stopped bothering him. Haha!!! So I think I made a point. Basically put, cleaning is not my one of my strongest suits. Homely tasks are not my passion. But then going back to my real story, since I was just at home waiting for my wounds to heal completely, I had no other choice but to do this. You see I don’t enjoy watching TV and I can’t stand being in front of my PC the whole day. Also, one thought was bugging me. Somehow I felt that things have changed at home since I left and I find it hard to adjust to them. So I embarked on this cleaning session which went on for days. I started with my room, our little altar and then our sala. The kitchen followed and then the dining room. I still need to do the toilet and the laundry area. But hey that can wait. Surprisingly as I engaged myself on this little adventure at home, I realized that I am enjoying it. I felt extremely exhausted (Thanks to mama for helping me J) but at the same time I felt really great. Not only did I have some bonding time with my mother (In an instant I was updated about the things that happened while I was away, the things she wants to do, how she feels the house will look better) somehow I was cleaning not only the house but also myself. Heavy? Ang drama but then true. Well it’s something I didn’t plan, something I didn’t expect to happen,  but then with what’s around me getting cleaner, I think my mind became sharper, my vision clearer. Things I intended to do before, plans I left here because I was called to work again, dreams that were delayed – all these started coming back. Divine spark? Maybe. Whatever it is, I’m happy to get acquainted with it. Then I began asking myself yes why did I leave all this behind and didn’t take them with me when I went away. I could have worked on them while at sea. Things would surely be difficult but then I know that I’d always find a way if I wanted it so badly. If I just remained focused and more disciplined. But then those were the days I could not get back anymore. So the resolution I made was to make the most of the time I have at hand. And I believe this is where the real adventure begins. 🙂 I know that if I get lost or find things so hard to understand, help will come.

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For sanity and inspiration.

My wounds are gone by the way, but the scars remain. And together with this not so good looking stains left on my skin are dreams at work and are ready to become real. 🙂 I’m home at last, back to where my true treasure is.

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“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

Your Ways

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Some of God’s gifts are unanswered prayers (from Garth Brook’s song Unanswered Prayers).

This I read a few weeks ago. But then surprisingly the revelations made by the previous days were overwhelming that it lead me back to this nugget of thought. 🙂 And I can almost hear You say, “See, that’s why I won’t give it. I have better things for you instead.”

There are times when just like any regular child, I find myself at Your feet begging for something, asking You with all my heart to grant whatever request I think will make me happier and complete. Frequently, You answer yes with sheer delight and pure excitement. I know You want me to feel Your love. You desire to give me joy that’s overwhelming and more than enough. Yet on some rare occasions, You firmly say no. And this You say so cold and harsh, as if I’m not Your child. For no matter how hard I try to convince You to change Your mind, You just won’t do it. Even when my eyes will tire of crying and I pray without ceasing, You just won’t listen. So I’ll be left feeling neglected, abandoned, unloved. 😦 But then after a while, when the big picture unfolds I will realize how You have saved the best for me. That You have made a good decision not to heed my call after all. For always in the end, more beautiful rewards await me. And I will stand in amazement, completely awed by Your magnificent surprise.

There are moments though when You just keep quiet, as if contemplating whether to give it or not. Is it yes, no, maybe??? Craaaaaaaaaaaaaazy!!! I’ve been in this circumstance many times. But then I still can’t find the wisdom and grace to handle it right. Black and white. Very straightforward. With this, I know exactly where to put myself. I know precisely what to feel. But the gray area in the middle… it’s something very uncertain. And i’ts crippling as if I’m tied onto something that keeps me from moving. Am I just too busy to hear Your answer? It’s an ugly feeling. I feel like I’m stuck on one place. I don’t know which side to go to believing my decision should be based on the answer You will give. I sometimes think maybe You haven’t made up Your mind yet. And I just have to wait. It requires a lot of patience and also the gift of discernment. It makes me feel scared somehow for I don’t know how long the waiting will end. I am frightened by the possibility of making poor choices.

But then I realized these past few days (with all the twists and turns) how good You are to me. How You will always look after me and protect me. Thank You for opening my eyes. I can now see. 🙂 I now understand why You seem not to move no matter how much I tried to convince You to hear my call and give me what I am asking for. The waiting was long, I know. It was sad, too. But then it paid off. Finally, I heard Your answer. It runs counter to what I’m wishing to achieve. Very opposite in fact. Frustrating but surprisingly liberating. So now I’m glad I waited. Gratitude fills my heart. I felt empty and lonely but You see I learned. 🙂

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways…Isaiah 55:8. Teach me to honor Your words when You said that. To trust You most especially when I don’t get the things I want.

 

Still

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Waves are beautiful. Waves can be a friend. Sometimes a loving mom that caresses you softly while on bed. They sing songs of promise. They sing songs of love. They whisper delightful words that make your heart throbs.

But sometimes waves can be scary. Waves can be bad. They go crazily mad; they make you fear for your life. They rise like angry giants ready to take the fight. They’re frightening, intimidating. You want them out of your sight.

So how do you send them away? How do you make them stop? When they shake you forcefully from left to right. When they wake you up and make you toss on bed at night. It makes you wonder – how come they were peaceful and quiet beforehand. For some reasons you don’t understand, they suddenly changed their minds. Without a prior warning. Just like that.

I know it’s something beyond my control. One thing my hands can’t do about. Nothing can combat them but a short prayer held securely in my heart. Hoping with all my might you will respond. That You will silence the storm in a snap. And once again the waters will behave like a sleeping child.

Of course, You did.

Thank You for reminding me to be still. For telling me You are my “GOD”. That I am Your child. And just like any loving father, you will never leave my side. Even when the tides are high (literally). When I’m facing something bigger and everything around me is going wild. I know You got me covered. That under Your protective hands I am safe and sound. That all I have to do is believe. And then after that I can relax. Because You’ll take good care of everything. After all You are the one in charge. 🙂

Fish

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swim

I want to be a fish.

I want to swim gracefully and wide awake.

I want to open my eyes down under

and flap my excited little fingers.

I want to sway my arms in circles

or float while learning to whistle. 🙂

I want to freely move my small feet

and know what it feels to play with one’s precious breath.

I want to dance with water in a sweet rhythm.

Oh I truly, madly, deeply want to swim.

Never mind if I’ll get darker.

I know I’ll be happier (Masayang negrita. Masayang pritong isda.)

just to glide, jump, and dive wherever.

 

Thanks Mary for a quick yet fruitful session. Someday I’ll swim with you for real. 🙂