Don’t Lose Jesus In The Feast

We prayed for something. We sought God for His will. When He answered our prayers, we jumped high in glee. We became too busy and preoccupied on what to do next and how to get things done that we somehow forgot why we earnestly sought God for that thing. Somehow, the things turned from God + Me + His calling for my life to Me + World + What I could get from this answered prayer. Thus, we may not notice it that we’re slowly losing sight of Jesus along the way.

In Luke 2:40 – 52, it tells of the time when Jesus, Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of the Passover there. Mary and Joseph were so busy and preoccupied with the religious rituals that they didn’t even notice that Jesus was no longer with them. It took them 3 days to find out that Jesus was no longer with them.

I’ve read this story many times before and heard of it from priests and preachers time and time again, but I would honestly say that I always miss the mark of the essence of this story. I just see it as some carelessness in the side of Mary and Joseph. At one point in my youth while reading this part of the Bible, I even thought of Jesus as arrogant because of the way He answered His parents then when they found Him. It was during our coaching last Saturday when I finally got to understand the essence of this story – all thanks to the explanation of my coach 🙂

Just like Mary and Joseph, we may not also notice it but somehow, in the midst of the routines, rituals, highs and lows of this life, we fail to notice that we’re already losing the presence of Jesus as we’re too preoccupied with what to do with our lives or with the situations. An example given by my coach was with the Victory group. As a leader, we sometimes become too used to the routine of preparing for the VG (small group), reading the materials, etc., that there are times when we no longer seek Jesus on His word for the VG members for that particular session. We just read the materials and think as if it’s already enough as long as you can share what’s in that piece of paper. There are even times when we only prepare few minutes before the VG starts. Thus, in some way, we are losing the essence of Jesus in the VG session. Yes, we share about Him but that’s just mainly because He’s the default topic in every VG sharing.

Right now, I am in the season of preparing for the next episode in my life. I prayed to God, sought His will for this new season and He answered me. I was overwhelmed with happiness when I got a ‘yes’ for this particular thing I’ve been praying for and I just knew then that this is the direction that God wants me to go. But somewhere along the way, the worries of the unknown future is trying to cripple my faith and my excitement for this new season. The unnecessary burdens are also working its way to my heart and mind to sap my joy. I’ve been thinking too much about trivial things and worrying a lot about the responses of people that I fail to notice that I am already losing Jesus along the way.

And as always, God’s word for me today is just what I needed to refresh my mind and calibrate my thoughts.

Matthew 6:33-34 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I might have been worrying too much about the not-so-important stuff that I am somehow losing the very essence of why I prayed for this particular thing to happen in my life. Some months ago, when I started to pray for this, I knew exactly why I wanted this thing so bad. It is for a greater purpose and a greater calling. It was clearly selfless that time. But now, it seemed that because of the clutters in my mind, the prayer is slowly turning into selfishness–always about me and not about HIM.

And all these I have to admit.

Thankfully, Jesus didn’t let go of my hand even if I seemed to be losing grasp of Him. He is still very patient in carrying me back to His path for me at times when I’ve been too engrossed with the sights I see on the left and the right that I didn’t notice I’m already turning to those directions. He gave me that verse in Matthew about worrying because He wanted me to just focus on Him as I step out in faith and embrace His calling for my life. This verse reminded me again that Jesus is the reason for this pursuit and not the people or the situation surrounding it. I know at times the enemy will still feed my mind with lies just to stop me from embracing this new season but I will just go back to this particular morning when Jesus reminded me again on why I prayed about it in the first place. I never want to lose sight of Him again.

If Jesus tells me to go, no matter how odd the circumstances may be, I WILL GO.

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The Story of My 2013 in A Thousand Words & Million Happy Smiles

“Memory is a funny thing. When I was in the scene, I hardly paid it any attention.” – Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)

In a few hours time, my 2013 will just be a memory to me. Another leaf in the calendar to throw away and replace with the new one. An old journal to keep inside the box and a new one with the blank pages to fill with fresh thoughts and new hopes. A new jar of happy pills to fill in with happy moments.

My 2013 seemed to happen so swiftly, but nevertheless, I believe that in all of the moments that happened to me this year, I was able to savor it and live within it during the time of their occurrences. I enjoyed every scene I played in my 2013 life story. I cherished every episodes with much appreciation and gratefulness because I know that after that, I can never recreate those special moments again. You can be with the same people in the scene again but the emotions you felt during that time could be a lot different.

Looking back at my 2013, my heart is full of gratitude for I really felt God’s love embracing me all throughout. Since the first month up to the last, God’s always present and involved in every bits and pieces of my 2013 story. I still don’t have a boyfriend and I’m too far to be engaged but who cares?! There are still a lot of things to thank Father God for the year that’s about to end.

I’m thankful that I still have my family with me. We are still complete and happy. Although there maybe occasional setbacks but our faith in God is steadfast that He will restore everything in His time. Every day that I wake up and I see them lying next to me, or when I go to my Lola’s house and see everyone there or have a phone call with a tito or tita or my cousins living a bit farther form us, I’m overwhelmed with much gratefulness that the protection of God is upon our family.

I’m thankful for the gift of friendship. I’m thankful that God gave me different set of friends who are really for keeps. Some of them, I’ve been friends with for almost two decades now, some for a decade, some for 6 or 5 years, some for a couple of months, but nevertheless, God’s been gracious to bless my life with friends who accept me for who I am, laugh at my weirdness, understand my randomness, feel for me when I feel down, and rebuke me if necessary. Thankful for the broken relationships and burned bridges which have been restored this year. There were friends I lose along the way but I’m still hopeful that God can restore my relationship with them. Just as I have faith in Him, I also have faith in the foundation of our friendship and that no amount of misunderstanding or strife can totally ruin it.

I’m thankful for the new people that God brought in my life this 2013. In one way or the other, these people have touched my life in a very special way. They are, undoubtedly, another addition to my bunch of friends for keeps. I hope that God will also make use of me to extend His unconditional love to them.

I’m thankful to God for sending me to the nation of Medan, Indonesia. That mission trip is perhaps one of the highlights of my 2013. The year before, that mission trip was just a desire, but God made that desire come into fruition this year and I just couldn’t contain the happiness and fulfillment I felt when I was finally in the mission field. Indeed, man has plans but it is the Lord who will direct his steps (Proverbs 16:9). It wasn’t an easy episode  and there were a lot of emotional struggles I had to battle just to get through but God remained true to His promise till the end. He never left me and was faithful and providing for me and our team during that time. I’m also grateful to those people who allowed themselves to be used by God for this mission trip. Their “yes” really made a big difference in my 2013.

I’m thankful for my spiritual family. These people never fail to remind me of God’s goodness in my life and they’ve been great instruments on the changes in my perspectives about life and love in general. And truly, my walk with Jesus is made even more fun and enjoyable because I’m walking with them, too.

Nine years has passed and still I am thankful to Oliver and his family. He might have long bid goodbye to this world but the pieces of his life are still connected with me. I am forever thankful that God blessed me with another family in them.

Travels. Some people might view it as just a luxury, a waste of money perhaps. But never for me. Traveling makes me appreciate the life I live and the world I live in. It makes me value my job and hard work but also helps me understand that life is not just about pushing your way to the top without stopping for a moment and enjoying the beauty surrounding the road your trudging on. Traveling makes me come to terms with my fears and issues. It makes me experience different cultures, understand that people have different opinions on things, and it makes me appreciate and love my country — the Philippines — more and more. Moreover, it helps me weave words in a more creative manner which I never thought I could do before.

And on that note, I thank God for blessing me with travel opportunities and provisions this 2013. My Bangkok trip was memorable because that’s the first time I traveled with my family out of the country. The joy that I see in my mom’s face every time she shares about that Bangkok experience is really priceless.

I’m thankful for the jobs I got to do and earn from without feeling stressed or slaved out. I’m thankful for the students who made me feel like I’m the best teacher ever especially during our summer class. I’m thankful for my online employers who continuously give me community development and writing projects. I’m thankful for our events clients who entrusted the special milestone of their lives to us and for appreciating our service. I might not be trudging the corporate ladder with my power suits on but I’m equally happy where I am now. I’m blessed to be doing the things that I love the most and earn from them– writing, teaching, and events management.

Just as I’m part of the happy scenes in my 2013, there were also sad episodes that I had to act upon on. But I have to thank those melancholic moments, too for they helped me cling on to God more for strength and comfort. The issues and struggles I battled with in 2013 helped shaped the kind of faith I have now. And truly, at the end of every storms, there’s a rainbow to give hope and smiles for the coming days. I’m thankful that God was glorified even in my lowest points and I was able to bear witness to how He’s moving in my life.

2013 was also the year when I celebrated my 30th year of existence. Months, weeks, and days before my 30th birthday, I’ve been having mixed feelings about turning 30. In all honesty, I more of dreaded it before the day came. The thought of hitting the big 30 and still single, I believe, is a common dilemma. March 13 came and from 29, I finally became a 30-year-old single lady. But wait, I’m not just a 30-year-old single lady, I am a 30-year-old single but empowered, blessed, and complete woman of God. Hitting 30 did change some things in my life but I learned to embrace them all and celebrate the joy of hitting this age of maturity (hopefully). I am still single but I thank God endlessly for I know that He has already prepared “the one” for me. In His appointed time, I know our paths will meet. For now, I will busy myself doing what God has called me for while waiting for His best for me.

My 2013 wouldn’t be meaningful and complete without the presence of Father God in my life. I am eternally grateful that He is the Lord and Savior of my life. Each and everyday, I thank Him for the gift of my life and His involvement in every details of it. I hope that in the coming year, I will experience more of Him and soar higher with Him.

Happy New Year everyone!

Here’s to loving more the people you’re with, welcoming the new ones that will come into your life, embracing new changes, facing new challenges, winning over difficulties and trials, climbing more mountains and maybe hoping to move some, leaping of an even greater faith, sharing more laughter and joys, crying over heartbreaking moments, giving more of what we have, appreciating the people and things in our lives, giving more hugs, drinking more coffee and tsokolate batirol, munching more chocolates, reading more books, visiting more holes-in-the-wall, traveling to different places, and dreaming big dreams!

Let’s declare that 2014 is the Year of the Lord’s favor upon our lives!

Jeremiah 29: 11-13 

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Cheers! Life is better when you share it with the people who matters to you! Share the love! Be blessed! 😀

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