Here on Earth

On our 19th Year.

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 18:24

Praise God for a friendship that can withstood time and distance!

Yesterday, after twelve years, my bestest high school buddies and I finally found the perfect time to meet – complete. We were 5 in the all-female group in our senior year, and we’re sort of inseparable.

We used to hang-out together non-stop. There were times back then when we would be together from Monday to Sunday. I cannot remember exactly what we used to do in all those days, but I am pretty sure we were having so much fun. And until now, we still laugh and get crazy like when we were 16 years old.

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Circa 1998

After 19 years, a lot of changes took place.

They all have their own families now.  And I, I remain single and the Godmother of their kids.

Over the years, we were all able to hangout, but there would always be that one person who cannot come. We would exchange crazy messages over our FB group chat, laugh at each other’s silly stories, or narcissistic photos. We were able to keep the friendship alive and strongly kicking.

And after years of trying to match our uneven schedule, we were able to hit the spot!

This August is our Anniversary month. We annually celebrate the day we discover a world of friendship in each other. And this 2017, is our 19th year.

We have been through quite a lot of trials in terms of our friendship, and with the grace of God, we were able to stick together.  I love that we refused to look in our differences, but valued whatever that keeps us united. We are no longer just concern with school projects, or terror teachers, but we are full grown adults now. We are facing real life challenges and it’ll be hard to face the world alone without friends to run to.

We still have a lot of things to face together, there would be disagreements, misunderstandings, difference in political and religious views, and we would face another trouble in arranging another meet-up, but I know we are all looking forward to celebrate our 50th year of friendship.

These ladies, despite of new friends we are all about to meet, will remain special to me.

We are the POKZ. We have withstood the test of time and distance, and we are born to be each other’s friend.

 

 

 

In Stillness

The Battlefield Within.

Integrity is important, especially when you are a Christian. It will be hard to talk about Christ, and have people listen to you when they cannot see you living a life that follows Christ. It’s hard to say you’re a Christian when your actions do not reflect who your Father is. I guess I am not alone in this struggle.

Recently, God put me under a test. And I failed. Again. Always.

I’ve been praying to God that He’d change me. That He’d take over my temper, and make it like His. Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.  And even if each time I find myself in a tricky situation I remember to pray to Him, the devious side of me still wins.  Not because I am stronger than Him, but my refusal to listen to Him gives the devil a foothold on me.

My day was ruined because of that one SMS I received in the morning. I refused to talk to anyone at work. I refused to smile; I was difficult to deal with. I was so furious. I was hurt.  And my pain gave me a reason to be mean, to be rude, and to hurt people too.

I could have listened to Him as the words echoed in my head:

“In your anger, do not sin.”

Ephesians 4:26

But I didn’t. The rush of emotions, those words I could just easily lash out, those give me satisfaction. I savor the bitter taste in my throat. The face of those people as they tried to be calm so as not to trigger my anger, those were too sweet to see. I let the devil take over me that day. I failed God.  How will I call Him my Lord?

The next day, I still have the hangover of my fury. It was hard for me to switch back to my “old” self after what I did the other day. And in the evening, I need to rush from work to catch a meeting with my fellow Christians in our prayer meeting group. And I would admit that I was so embarrassed to even mention to anyone at work why I need to leave early. What would they say about me? That I am a hypocrite? How will I face my fellow Christians when I was so horrible a few hours before seeing them? How could I even call myself a Christian?

That week I need to meet two friends in a separate bible study session. I feel so unworthy to even speak to them and teach them about love, about the fruit of the Spirit. How could I even open my bible after having my lunch when it feels like it will burn in my fingers? It felt so unworthy to call myself a Christian, to even call God as my Father, as my Lord.

I remember when Jesus Christ chose to ignore the people who was about to stone the woman whom they found committing adultery. He chose to bend down and write on the ground with His finger. Amidst the continued questioning of people, after answering them back, he again stooped down and wrote on the ground.  He is God, He could have thrown those people away, but He didn’t. He was so slow to anger.

I lost my integrity. I listened to my heart, which was deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). I let my emotions took over my identity in Christ. But no matter how unworthy I feel to be called His Princess, I am not letting the devil win again. I am still my Father’s daughter, a princess of the King of kings.

What was hard for me in fighting in this battle was, the battlefield is within me. The battlefield is right inside my heart, my head, and right inside the comfort of my body, which was born innately a sinner. Someone who spent most of her lifetime finding happiness in getting even with people who hurt her. The battlefield is within me, and how shall I win in this? Who will emerge as the winner?

“Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

Ephesians 6:11

How are we to win over the battle within?
My walk as I wait on Him will always include fighting a battle, not just outward, but inward, and I know I must remember to come in full battle gear, always.

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when they day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6: 13-17

I need to not let go of my hold on Him. I need to make sure my battle gear is intact, as I extinguish all the flaming arrows of the enemy. The battle is within me, I can always destroy the battlefield.

I know God will let me go through this test again. He’d let me fail again, until I chose to win it over with Him. I am sure to fail until I let God take over my thoughts and emotions. I will go through this again until I learn to give the proper response. Until I choose not to sin anymore. Until I learn to practice humility, share peace, extend love, exercise patience, and stick to the path of Christ.

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 3:20

Other people’s attitude should not affect me anymore. I am no longer part of this world. Temporal things and situations should not hurt me anymore. What can I expect from the world that belongs to its god?

“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”

1 John 2:15-17

It will always be hard to fight this battle within, but only God can change me. I know I need to further search within my heart to see where I am failing, to repent on unconfessed sins.  To submit myself in full humility to seek His forgiveness and to let Him take control of my life.

He is my Lord, I belong to nobody else but Him.

In Stillness

Late Night Thank You.

I know You understand the pain I am going through. I know You can feel it, too. You know how much I want to break down. How much I want to run away and forget all my worries away. You know how much I need you now more than ever.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 

Psalm 51:10

Thank you, Lord, for sustaining me today. For giving me all the strength I need to smile, to laugh, to joke around. Thank you for filling the cracks in my heart, making sure I wouldn’t fall apart.

Thank you for this pain, for teaching me to trust and delight in you while I cannot see the path ahead. Thank you for the opportunity to see your love, to experience how it is to fully submit myself to you and wait for your works to unravel.

Thank you Lord, for loving me, for making me feel your love while I search for it in the people around me. Thank you for pulling me back to You.

Thank you for calling me, for sending me people to take care of, for helping me understand that my heart can accommodate more love for other people.

You will not let me go, I am sure of that. While the people that I learned to love will turn their back on me, you are there by my side, making sure I am not alone.

Thank you, Lord, and I know, no matter what I do I could never repay you for the love you generously gives me. And of course I know, Your love is the only love in the world that never asks for anything in return. 

I find it hard to open up my palms and just let it go. But I realized, I’d never know how easy it’ll be when to let go is the only option left. 

I’m letting this go, to hand it over to You. 

In Your hands, nothing will be put to waste.

In Your hands, everything is well taken care of.

Thank you, Lord.