The Prologue

Out of all the gifts they have hoped for, they have received the one they were not really asking for.

It was a season of different stages. It was denial turned into rejection, and a bit of rebellion. It turned into a good realization of a divine revelation, and turned into full bloom of acceptance. The acceptance then, is another [complicated] story.

It was not just about accepting and receiving it. It was acceptance with a twist. It was a rollercoaster ride of different emotions of rejection, betrayal, pain and ignorance. It was a whole lot of different questions of how, what, why and are you sure? It was [and still is] a season of spiritual warfare, and spiritual warfare at its finest at that.

But now, I am believing it in my spirit that the battle has toned down, if not dying down. What’s left are the remnants of broken hearts and crushed spirits. But these broken hearts and crushed spirits are starting to be made alive again. For the giver of the gift, can make these dry bones live.

What remains in my heart is peace. Peace that’s beyond understanding. The peace that is not the absence of war, but the peace in the middle of a war – but I’m walking and fighting strong, because the giver of the gift is fighting for me. Now, I am receiving it in my spirit – the promise of His peace.

And I believe I cannot walk this journey alone, but as I walk this road with the promise, I cut off whatever unnecessary feelings there is and wait patiently, wait enduringly and wait with joy and hope because at the end of this road, is a beginning of a new one, a new joy and a new hope to a very promising future.

I wait for that day when I can love that promise fully and glorify the Lord with that promise. But as for now, I will ponder this revelation and this spirit in my heart and wait. I will wait with joy and with thankfulness.

This would probably be my first and last blog post about this matter. I will leave it as it is. The next post would be the beginning of a new story.

But till then. Till then.

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I could write a million songs about the way you say my name
I could live a lifetime with you and then do it all again
and like I can’t force the sun to rise or hasten summer’s start,
neither should I rush my way into your heart

– Love is Waiting, Brooke Fraser

One Roller Coaster Ride

It was a good Monday morning. I woke up earlier than expected and so prepared for work and arrived at the office 15 minutes before the start of my shift. I was greeted with a normal hello by my partner and of course, greeted back. I sat on my desk, opened my PC, and did all the reports that I have to do.

It was a normal day for me, until I was asked by an “abnormal” question, “Okay ra ka? (Are you okay?)” Then, I answered her with a question: “Why?” and she said that she asked, because I am abnormally quiet today. So, I just answered “Okay ra ko (I’m okay).”

Not later than 30 minutes, my other friend arrived and brought food. He happily announced that he brought ginaling (which I like so much) because I requested it. He even joked, “I brought giniling on the floor for you.” That made me laugh – the giniling on the floor joke. But I guess that was not able to cheer me up because I was asked: “Naunsa diay ka, my friend? Luya lagi imong katawa. (What’s going on with you?)” I brushed that off and just said I’m okay. Really, I am.

I got back on my desk, grabbed my Bible and read Psalms. And there it was. The conviction. The guilt. The still small voice of the Holy Spirit speaking: “You can fool them, but you can’t fool me.”

I smiled at that. Oh Lord, you alone know.

These days, my Christmas tree are full of gifts and it’s not even Christmas. There’s an outpouring of gifts, some of them in the form of promises, some in the form of breakthroughs, some in the form of conquest and harvest, and some in the form of having the right timing. They are all good gifts, wrapped in silver and gold, with ribbons of pastel colors. It was a good sight under my tree, and good news is they are all for me.

But then, I can’t open them. Yet. The giver of the gift instructed me (and really instructed well) to wait until his specified time to open the gifts. Some of them, I’ll open after a few months, one gift will be opened after a couple of years, but some gifts, he said, it’s a surprise.

What a mystery! I’m a person who likes solving puzzles and finding hidden Mickeys. But this is a mystery that I cannot figure out. For who can fathom the infinite mind of the giver of the gift? No one. All you have to do is to wait for that go signal.

Oh, here’s the word. Waiting.

As I said to the giver of the gift before, “waiting is good when I wait upon you.” And so I waited. But I was not warned that it wasn’t just waiting.

It’s waiting + fear
Waiting + discouragement
Waiting + pain
Waiting + what if’s
Waiting + judgements
Waiting + betrayal
Waiting + backstabbing

It’s like a rollercoaster of emotions and spiritual warfare. And I don’t even ride a roller coaster! But here I am, riding one.

Are we even aware that the waiting game is the only game that we don’t even stand a chance in winning? You have nothing to do but wait. You cannot push back the time, nor push it forward. You just have to wait. You can complain while you wait. You can cry while you wait. You can endure while you wait. And you know the common denominator behind all of these? It’s waiting.

There’s pain in waiting. You know how it begins, but you don’t know when it ends. Only the giver of the gift knows. But then, I heard that sound again, that one voice that I hear whenever I grab my Bible, my pen and my journal saying “find the joy in waiting.”

Find the joy behind the fear in waiting. It’s yours. The Word said that the gift is yours and no one can steal it away from you.

Find the joy behind the discouragement. The joy behind the pain. The joy behind the what if’s, when there’s no what if’s. You just created them in your mind. Find the joy behind the judgements, the betrayals and the backstabbing. Because He specifically said: “Those who mind, don’t matter. And those who matter, don’t mind.” Filter the ones who doesn’t matter. Save the ones who does.

And find the joy in the relief. Relief that this ride will soon end. You may end up black and blue with bruises, emotionally drained, spiritually consumed, but the end of this ride, where you can finally open your gift will be worthwhile. And again, I enter this covenant with the giver of the gift: that I would not choose to see the struggle behind the waiting, but I will choose to see the beautiful picture of my promised future, the future where I can open these gifts. I know when that day comes, I can look at the situation, the people or the person and can say to myself that they are all worth it.

But when is that time going to be?

Oh Lord, you alone know.

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Celebrating Death

 

“If you have a dream, you just have to make it happen.”

I read that quote somewhere in Facebook and smiled to myself, believing that someone with a higher power can make them happen for me.

But this week, I don’t know why I see posts of people chasing their dreams and making them all happen. One friend is finishing her masterals in Ateneo, one is taking a second course in Architecture, the other one is going to Singapore, and one that I was close with is going to Indonesia for her doctorate degree. It was like the whole universe is conspiring against me, pushing me to go. It’s like they are cheering me on, shouting “Chase them! Chase them!” But then I know it was a stupid idea, hearing voices you should never hear. And so, I logged out on Facebook but then that’s when everything sunk in.

The feeling was a mixture of sadness, envy (good envy) and regret.

As I was happy for people living their dreams, I felt sad for myself for delaying my dreams. There’s so much delay in making it happen. To be honest, the now in my life, in my career to be specific, is not the one I really wanted for myself. I’m a person of passion more than practicality. But then, for a couple of years, I’m stuck with practicality more than my passion.

The regret from approximately six years ago came back. Took UPCAT. Passed UPCAT. When the dreamer in me was able to take hold of UP Dilliman, taking BA Journalism. But then I had to let it go. For a promdi to go and study in the city would trigger a heart attack to her parents, so I had to let go of my UP Dilliman dreams and chose the nearest state university. And so, I studied in MSU-IIT and took up Political Science. It’s five hours away from home but it’s the nearest. UP Dilliman and UST are the last universities my parents would choose for me.

But then that was six years ago. My now has a fresh batch of regrets.

As I see them live their dream, I keep on asking myself, when am I going to make mine happen?

I wanted to be a civil rights attorney. So bad. I want to take up my masters in Political Science and later on look for doctorate scholarships to have my PhD on a foreign land. These are the dreams that I have for myself. Sadly, I’m not even in step one from any of this.

And my family doesn’t get a thing at all. Although they are not angry, they just have a lot of questions. They are now ready to let me go to UP Dilliman and take up my bachelor of laws there. But this time, I was the one who said no. Of course, they asked why but then again, I can’t tell them the right reason. So I told them plainly that I don’t have the time yet. My mom would just say, “Ikaw bahala. Dako na man ka. Kabalo na ka mo-decide para sa imong kaugalingon. (It’s your choice. You’re a grown up now. You already know how to decide for yourself.)” My dad was consistent, telling me that I should begin early. But then again, I have to deal with a lot of whys from my college friends and my relatives. They had a lot of expectations of me and what I would become in a specific time frame. Well trust me, I felt sad too when I haven’t met such expectations.

I am pretty much frustrated. But then when I think about what made me say no, I have to die again to myself and bury all these dreams and let one thing dominate in the insides of me.

Do you know why I said no? Actually, it was not me who said no. Jesus did.

I am Ran, a dreamer, and a follower of Christ. And I love Him because He first loved me. Although my love would never be enough, but I love Him in the ways that I could. And my love for Jesus would include my obedience to Him and His word.

I prayed about all of my dreams. Believe me, I did, many times. I asked Him if He wanted this for me as much as I wanted it for myself. But He said a plain and simple no.

All because of a “higher calling” that He wanted me to pursue. This is the cost of being in love with Jesus, you have to deny yourself of the things that you want because He wants another things for you. Much higher things. Things of eternal value and can bring eternal satisfaction.

Just like what Paul said, “I die daily.”

Today, as I am reading my best friend’s blogpost, I die again to myself. I bury all sadness, all envy and all regrets, together with all the dreams in my life. Because behind me is a Greater Dreamer who wants greater things for me.

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Of Time and Waiting

“I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” – Psalm 130:5

 

You told me that you will meet me at the point of faith. Then Father, help me extend my faith up until that time, up until that moment, where you will meet me at the end of this crooked road.

 

How it has been a journey, God. How many times have I told you no. How many I cant’s have you heard? How have I provoked your anger when I told you I’m fine on my own? Who said the time of waiting is easy? No, it has never been. One second you’re okay, and then on the other something happens that makes your self-worth hit rock bottom, and then you think of giving up. You think of ways on how to detach yourself from this situation because it’s giving you so much pain. I can always give up. I can always run away.

 

Only. I have your Word with me. You said it. I must believe it. And that should be enough.

 

So now, I give to you every second of my waiting, Lord. I give to you every bit of it. Use it for Your glory. Use it to mold me, to shape me, until I become more like You. Help me think less of myself in this destiny and help me think more of You and how can this fulfill the purposes of Your heart. Afterall, you told me before that You have called me for this, not for my happiness or for anyone’s happiness, but for Your own enjoyment. Father, I want you to delight in me. So help me cling on Your word. I can’t assure You that I can. I am weak as I am. But help me.

 

I look to You.

I look to You.

At the end of this tunnel, I’m going to meet You and You will tell me, you did well.

When that time comes, I’m sure it will all be worth it.

 

I look to You. I have decided to look to You and to wait upon You. To wait for nothing and no one, just You. I won’t wait for the destiny, I will wait for the author of my destiny. And that’s you, my God.

 

Every second. It’s yours. And the time starts now.

Of Randomness and Rain

For Him to be greater, and me becoming less.

I have taken this in, desired so much for it, tried so hard, but never really applied it as much as I have now. When fatigue is eating you whole, your fever is trying to devour you and your gastritis is taking away every bit of the energy you have left, to rest and to sleep would be the best decision.

I honestly would like to shut myself down from the world and rest. I feel like dying of fatigue.

But the choice between rest and God, it’s like a choice between good or God. And not all good things come from Him, but all good things are made from Him.

No direction in this blogpost. This is so random. It’s so cold and my temperature’s rising.

I should probably rest. No. Kidding. Bye.

Of the Strength to Overcome

When everything is just painful, so painful that you feel the stinging pain in your chest. It paralyzes you. It makes you stop going. It makes you stop fighting. It paralyzes you, but your world keeps on revolving. And the people keeps coming and going on with their lives. And there’s just only one left – YOU.

 

When everything just aches, even breathing becomes so painful, that every breathe, you ask yourself, “Why am I still here?” When you sleep in pain, and you wake up in pain, and you tell Him, “Lord, comfort me in my sleep.” But you wake up feeling paralyzed again. That even when you need to pray but words does not come out of your mouth. Your insides shout at you telling you, “Give Him praise! Give Him worship!” but then even to pray before every meal is excruciating.

 

So this is what “hurts-like-hell” feels like.

 

When these things happen, do you just stop? Do you just let the circumstances paralyze you? Do you just let the pain devour you?

 

No.

 

You listen. You ask and you listen. You ask, “Why am I still here?” And that voice answered, “Because I want you here.” You listen when He says, “You are my courageous warrior,” even when you say you can’t fight the battle anymore. You listen when He says, “You are going to cross that territory,” even when you say, I’m not going any further.

 

You listen when He says, “I am going to bless you. No one can stop me from blessing you,” even when it is so hard to take it in.

 

You don’t stop. You don’t stop fighting. You don’t stop running that race. You have to outrun the world. You have to kill your circumstances even when it’s out of your control. And do you know what makes you do that?

 

Grace.

 

When you want to mope around and just cry, but then there’s grace. When you just want to stop and just stay, but then there’s grace. When you just wanted to shout at Him, telling Him how can a loving God let you experience so much pain, but then… there’s grace.

 

I so wanted to give up but then grace happened.

 

Why am I still here after every persecution? It’s grace. Why am I still here after every battle of self-worth, of being not good enough, of having to become “this person” just to be accepted, of earning someone’s love – it’s grace.

 

When you have already drowned in that grace, do you still want to ascent? When you experience that grace, do you still want to let go? No, you sink into that ocean of grace and immerse yourself deeper.

 

Life is hard. But it’s harder without His grace.

 

Indeed, true to it’s lyrics..  grace, what have you done?

 

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