New found identity (Gen San)

Was it really me that Pastor invited to General Santos?
“It can’t be me. I am not good enough. There are people much better than me”.

When my Pastor first invited me to General Santos with her, I could not contain the excitement inside of me. Yet, there were lots of self doubt inside of my head. I written down the words,” I want to be a missionary”, inside my tiny notebook when I was just a 8yo girl. Not knowing God back then, and not knowing the cost of this exact words. But I know, I want to serve the people, and to me that has always been enough.

I am not exactly the girl you invite to big parties, or even a big hangout. I am not the girl you invite to any events, or have a clique that I could form up too. And I definitely can’t fit into the expectations people have of me, or fit into a clique. That would have require too much of me. But I have friends, people whom I can turn too, press into their lives, and just love them. I am the girl-next-door. Nothing impressive, or special. But God has been mindful of someone like me. 

At 18yo, I heard of the man, Pastor Bill Wilson, in a Christian seminar (I wasn’t even a christian back then) and my heart has been stirred and have wanted to go General Santos since then. But I have a feeling, if that reckless girl went to General Santos back then, I would not have kept the fire burning within me.  Many things happened the past 6 years, I fell, and stumbled. I got my heart broken, became suicidal, depressed. I dropped out of school, left home, ran into hiding. Like Jacob, I have been hiding from people my whole life. At 21, I gave my life to Christ, with hope that things would turned better. But guess what? It did not.

I became even more suicidal than before. My heart was so hardened that it could no longer feel. I would cut my wrists, just to make myself feel. Yet, there was this little voice, whispering hope into my ears, and into my heart. This dream tarried, but God was faithful to the 8yo girl back then. My nervousness and excitement was knowing that I am at this tip of the iceberg. My self doubt became consciously stronger. Because it matters to me that this dream was coming to pass, but who was I that God has been so mindful of me.

To take this step of faith, and traveling to General Santos has shown me so much more. It is exactly the place I have dreamed of. And it felt right to be there. And what matter most was that in God’s perfect timing, I was there. The place captivated my heart and soul all at once. Above it all, I was there with my pastor, serving the people and my leader all at once. My heart was overwhelmed. Many times, I had to fight my tears. And standing at the slums, playing with the kids, hearing their worship to God made me realize that this is the purpose of my life. That in all my inadequacies, my smile, would just show them a little of God. I don’t think that we’re meant to understand it all the time. I think that sometimes we just have to have faith.

It took 16 years to come close to being called a missionary, and 6 years to even step into General Santos. There are many places that I would like to go, but nothing beats being exactly in the place, and exact time, doing what God has called me to do in this exact timing. As weird as it sounds, living in a slum with the little ones has probably brought me more joy than this world could have ever offered me. I am scared to have this qualified-dream from God, for an under qualified me. But the Lord is good, and He has always been. What good is it to have all the possessions in the world but loses your soul. There are moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have the feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well. And in that moment, I wished time stood still.

I found myself in God, in Christ. Now that I have seen His faithfulness manifesting out of my life, I don’t think I can stand not believing, and not having faith in this dreams my Lord have for me.

 

 

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His hands that never fails.

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her:”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:28‬ ‭

Something in me that was broken, has always made me wonder, how did I not feel my mother’s love for me. That when I was busy seeking and pursuing love from other people who have been hurt, my mum has been waiting for me. When I was younger, I would have said that, yes I did grew up in a home of an abuse family, not so much in the domestic or physical abuse, but on the emotions part. We grew up in a society of comparisons and social stigmas of how a girl should be. Along with that, it came with the pressure of being not good enough, and struggles with being a human. To be a human being, not a human doing. And this struggles, along with my emotions, and strong willed, of being unable to understand why is there a code of conduct of how a girl should be, has caused grieve to my mum and even myself.

I was different. I could not fit into the standards of my relatives, as someone who could sing and dance. I was not smart enough as compared to my cousins. I did not want to have a degree in something I did not love, just because it was important. I wanted to be me. I was not tall enough, not skinny enough, and to top it all, I was having some skin problems. And inferiority kicks in. But I was me. I was compassionate enough, kind enough, and filled with empathy for the people around me. And I love that side of me, writing, making cards, and handmade gifts for people I cared for. But this wasn’t a quality they were looking for. They said being smart is more important than being kind. And I lived my life defying that order that intelligence is better. 

Before I knew Christ, I could not accept the condemnations from people around me, and so I fell into depression. I was hurting myself so much that I knew that nothing else could hurt me. I slit my wrists, I cried in the night, I fought in school so much that my parents was asked to school on a regular basis. But little did I ever know, my mum was broken on the inside. I got a little older, and I decided to build walls around my heart, so nothing could hurt me. It was this time that I can no longer feel. My world caved in darkness, I had no friends, and I kept myself at home after school. I refused to talk, refused to listen and refused to heal. It went on for a long time, and I could no longer relate with people. I stopped turning up at my relative’s place. It got so bad that I could not even work in a group during my college years. And during this times, no matter what my mum did, I was unable to empathize anymore. Every argument with my parents led to bitterness and suicidal thoughts. I have murdered myself countless times in my heart.

I was wrecked, but God knew better. I went to church when I was 20 on Christmas Day, and I met God. Yet the me inside could not resonate with it. Why would someone give His life for me, and why should I allow His love to come inside of me, when I am not sure if He will leave again. So I hardened my heart for the whole year. Things did not change for the better at home, alongside with getting to know myself, and finding out who God is, I fought with my identity at home. I fought with my parents to break the social stigma of being a girl. And all this times, I made my mum cry, and brawl her eyes out by hurting myself in front of her. I stayed out late, so as to avoid seeing her. But my mum was faithfully waiting for me. When I was 23, even after attending bible school, there was a part of me which can never resonate with forgiveness. I could not forgive my mum for not attending the big events in my life, my birthdays and my graduation. And I decided to leave home after a big argument. A argument that led my mum to have sought help from a counselor from her break down. Yet the purpose of separation is to lead us to reconciliation. And through this separation, i found my identity, my walls broke down and we came to an understanding of one another. Everything was made beautiful in His time. God healed me, and He healed my mum.

And for the first time in my life, my family is planning a trip to travel together. God has given divine healing in our hurts and relationship. And to my mum, who have love unconditionally, served faithfully, give ungrudingly, and forgive endlessly, thank you. Thank you for removing the social stigmas from my life, and allowing me to be who I want to be in Christ. I may not earn the most money, be the smartest, prettiest and I might even make you angry, but my promise is that I will honor and love you. I was able to go for 5 missions in 6 months because you chose to allow me to stick to my heart desires and dreams. And this destiny that is unfolding right before my eyes has allowed me to be excited and anticipate His hands. Thank you for holding my hand and walking me into my destiny. I pray that this year God’s hands will move in your heart and life. Thank you mom. Happy Mother’s Day. You have shown me what love is. 

The cost to follow.

Without God, we cannot.
Without us, He will not.
                                                                           Augustine

Freely receive, freely give.

Traveling has always played a huge role in my life, and recently the new found joy of heading out for missions, and spreading the gospel of Christ. To offer all that I have up to the altar, because all this possession was never mine to begin with. Being out in the field, as much as I can in the recent times, I realized that the major part of being able to go out there was because of the love I have freely receive by the people who is in my life who never fails to love, edify, give and bless me. They have given me courage to lose sight of the shore as I venture out into the ocean. The manifest of God’s love into my life is through their time and constant prayer.

Heading out to the mission field allow my heart to come alive. The devil has placed in me constant self doubts, self hate, and negative self image every time I am prepared to head out, which further assure me what I desire to do is actually is actually in God’s plan. Yet the price to pay for leaving and seeking God was not always easy. There were things that I was forced to let go, and things I had to give up, so as to not lose the chance to seek God first. There were times when I have to learn to let go, but not doing it until I have a battle with God. And like Jacob, perhaps the pain in the hip socket will be the thing that always remind us the faithfulness of God.

The cost to follow will never be easy, but what we have done for Christ will never be in vain. 4 years ago, when I became a Christian, I paid a price of being abandoned by people who I held dearly in my heart. People who left eventually when they could not understand. Yet, this was a price I was willing to pay, because till today, Christ has still been the best thing for me. There were moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have a feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well. Without sadness, there would be no joy. Without suffering, there would be no compassion.

Afterwards, I had to let go of a toxic relationship which led to betrayal, and hurts. Yet the comfort of letting go back then was know that Jesus has intertwined. The comfort of walking out then and healing from the broken relationship is that God has saved me from even more heartbreaks. It took months to heal, and even days when there was too much uncertainty in walking out. But eventually His big hands have covered me, and there’s joy in just traveling, seeing the world and sharing His love. And some day, this special guy will come through my serving, holding the same verse as me.

Romans 1:1 Paul, a bondservant (love slave) of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle (an envoy of God’s word), set apart (separated from comfort, lifestyle, sin, failure and pride), for the gospel (call) of God.

Many are called by God, yet only few are chosen. The ones who are set apart are the people who are willing to rise and be separated for Jesus. To be chosen, we need to consecrate our lives, and there is a price to pay. Abraham had to be separated from:

  1. Home country; our comfort.
  2. Father; our custom.
  3.  Nephew Lot; worldly.
  4. Ishmael; mistakes.
  5. Isaac; pride.

The cost to pursue God lies in seeking Him first. And till today, giving freely whether it is possessions, time, and love for the cause of God is something I have never forgotten to do so. Before I am working adult, I am first a child of God. While growing up, people have said that I am different. I do not fit in anywhere but I think it is okay to be different now. I do not have everything, but all I have will always be found at the altar. The spirit of the world has come, but it has nothing on me. And like Romans 1:1 has said, one day, I want to stand in front of the throne, and be someone like Paul, who has given up everything to seek Him first. My priority in life has always been Jesus. He is no fool to give what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose. Christ is my reward, always.

 

 

2017, soaring w J.

In every season, You are still God

In 2014 (1st year), I wanted to learn to love myself, accept myself, and believe that God is still not done in my life.

In 2015 (2nd year), I wanted to learn to trust others, stand with others and fight with others.

In 2016 (3rd year), I wanted God’s love to manifest out of my life, into the life of others.

In 2017 (4th year), I wanted to recognize the seasons in life, and know clearly i was born for a time such as this.

“4” speaks of creation, separation of night and day, and marking off the seasons. 

And, “Seasons” in the hebrew is “Moed” which meant “appointed times”.

In Psalms 107, “oh, and that men would give thanks to the Lord for His grace”, has this verse appearing 4 times, after 4 different seasons. The garden of Eden has a river that parted into 4 other rivers which represents 4 different seasons. (Genesis 2:10-14).

This 2017 will be my forth year in church, committing my whole life to God, and set in a whole pursuit of Him. And amazingly, I was reading the book of Esther, and having some deep revelations of her life in the story. And the interesting thing that got to me in this morning devotion, was the fact of what the number “4” meant in the bible.The 4 witnesses of God on earth are miracles, wonders, signs and gift of the Holy Spirit. (Hebrews 2:4) and 4 gospel accounts of Jesus’s life ministry, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John has gone through 4 different seasons that has a unique aspect of sacrifice and ministry.

The number 17 meant – overcoming the enemy and complete victory.

1 Corinthians 13:13, has 17th mentioned of the word love. And in that verse, it wrote, “the greatest of this is love” and by this love it meant in John 3:16, God’s agape and sacrificial love that have overcome the evil with goodness.

True Christians, however, will gain the ultimate victory over God’s adversaries when he resurrects them back to life (Revelation 15:2; 20:4). One of the major themes of the Day of Atonement, which occurs in the seventh Hebrew month on the tenth day, is the binding of Satan (see Revelation 20). Thus, 10 plus 7 equal the number 17, which testifies to Christ’s perfect overcoming of Satan.

In Romans 8:35 the apostle Paul asks a simple question which is “What shall separate us from the love of Christ?” . He extends his question a little more by asking if the following seven things could separate us, which are tribulation, persecution, distress, nakedness, famine, the sword or any other danger. He then tells us ten things that CANNOT get between our God and us, which are life, death, principalities, powers, angels, things present or to come, depth, height or anything created. Thus we have 7 + 10 = 17, representing a Christian’s perfect and eternal standing with God through Christ.

Could it be, that God have appointed me in this season to overcome the devil, through my standing with Christ? 2017, I am looking forward to soar with God. Looking forward to go on missions in the Philippines, more moments of standing in the gap between the living and the dead. To grow in capacity and understanding of Christ.

A Father’s letter.

I think growing up, I have come to terms with being unable to receive love from my father. As he was too busy working hard for our future, I lost his attention and I have never stop craving for this love. I watched my friends having fun with their father, and in my heart, I asked myself where is my father, exactly? I wanted to look upon the other person in my family, my brother. But as much as I wanted too, he drew a line with me, he was more of a stranger living at the same house with me. I never managed to get into his heart, as he never did for me. Despite wanting restoration, I have almost given up on trying because the heartaches that came with it was too much to bear. I had friends whom he would look after, and slowly it dawned on me, that he would have never been the same towards me. Later on in years, I stopped searching for that love because I wanted to be kinder to myself, until my uncle came into my life. His life with me, though was a short mere 3 months, before he passed on, it was a love that came like a father. But all good things always come to an end, and when he left, it took me 2 years to resonate with it, to be set free, and to forgive myself and forgive him. Not so because he did anything wrong, yet somehow I blamed him for leaving me in this cold hearted world. For having it, and then losing it again. And it took 2 years to heal my emotional hurts, and two years to accept myself once again. That God loved me, and I have to love myself. And yet this healing process is a constant process, not a one time off process. And in the midst of this, a Father’s letter came to me, like a wind, flooding my heart with His tangible presence.

My precious daughter,

Before the day that you were formed, I have known you. I have called you by name, and I have never cease to stop loving you. As much as you were hurting through the times of hardships, and fighting to live, survive off your depression, I was there collecting all your tears. The nights that you were having insomnia, then hurting yourself, I was there wiping your tears and telling you to be strong. I have loved you that I would still bear that cross for one of you. I am your Father. I know what you need before you asked me, but all this trials was to make you stronger, so you could look to Me. I love you my precious daughter more than the gems of this world.

From: You Heavenly Father.

An encounter of such could have made my heart flutter over and over again. It reminds me of what love that this Father could have given me. Days when I feel not good enough, I know that I am enough for Him. I don’t hate myself, because I know He loves me. That even though the earthly people has ceased to be there for me, people who just choose to leave because it was easier than sticking around, my Father in heaven would still choose me. He was there with me in the comfort, when I am weak. Hearing from God, telling me that I do not have to be strong all the time, because He will never leave me, nor forsake me, even when the world caved in down on me, was the best thing that I could have known. That this God, this Father, was more than what the world could offer to me. When running around the park, He would have used this world as His canvas to paint something, Something that would marvel and capture my heart. To one, it might be a lavish image, but my Father know what would just satisfy me. Neither silver nor gold, nor the treasures of this world would have satisfy me more that a beautiful sunset that He have drawn for me. And along it came the love and tangible presence. 

And the battles ahead might get tough upon signing up for Trinity College when bible School ends, but I know in my heart that His love and grace can sustain me. And here I am, although imperfect, but just standing in awe of His great love, feeling thankful every single day, that this life not my own, but His. And I am safe in His hands. A pilgrimage of this world, knowing and being assured that hanging on to His love is the most precious thing to thank God for. And in all thankfulness, and a heart of gratitude, thanking God for Him who would choose to die for one of me, so that I could have a commune with Him. So that I could share His great love with people around me. So now, for me to live is Christ. Thank You Jesus.

I’ll be there.

Love is seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship.

I have always been guarded by a lot of my loved ones. And most recently, one of my close friend texted me a message that really touches my heart. It shows of the love I have around me, and the people who would have cared for me whether or not I was in a relationship. The message wrote in the exact words that, the walls you built around your heart has made you more guarded about love than you should be. And love is a process, and I hope one day, someone will be there step by step, slowly but surely break down this walls and fill your heart with love”To others, this might not seem like much of a significance, but it did matter the world to be because despite all my futile attempt to trust someone, I never had the courage too.

After being on a vow last year, having people walk out on me over and over again, I found it hard to relate to people. And watching the people around me getting hurt through relationships, I was afraid but more so, afraid that I was the one who will be hurting the person I love. And this fear crippled my heart and I was unable to see things as it is. Having saw this message, then reminded me of how I have been set free. And that the love of God has already cast out this fear. I remembered of God’s grace. Grace is when somebody hurts you and you try to understand their situation instead of trying to hurt them back. And I wanted to have more grace in my life.

The truth is that the more you know someone, the more clearly you will see their flaws. That’s just the way it is. This is why marriages fail, why children are abandoned, why friendships don’t last. You might think you love someone until you see the way they act when they are out of money or under pressure or hungry, for goodness’s sake. Love is something different. Love is choosing to serve someone and be with someone in spite of their filthy heart. Love is patient and kind. Love is deliberate. Love is hard. Love is pain and sacrifice, it is seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship.

Love is a choice. Maybe it is someone who bore their heart to you, someone who just needed a shoulder. Love is like being on a plane, even with turbulence, you still choose to stick on with the person. And as time goes by, the longer the ride, the smoother it will get. Love does not come to us in crashing waves or thunder bolts. It appears as a song on the radio or a particular blue in the sky. It dawns on you slowly like a warm winter sunrise — where the promise of summer shines out from within. Love is maybe just sitting around, hearing another wonderful being pour out their heart out to you, and in your heart, you wonder, how did someone so beautiful and so vulnerable, choose you. How did that person choose you among that 13 billion people that live on earth. And how did your paths ever cross.

Love is a choice, and love is a commitment. Love is hearing the story of another soul and let it slowly captivate all of your heart. Love is just wanting to be there. Even after seeing the worst side of the person, you still choose to be there. And one day a love like this would have break down the walls of my heart, slowly but surely. And someday, without moving forward any longer, you would run towards me. One day, as you are of now, you will still move towards me, pressing into my life, telling me that even though you cannot figure me out, you still want to know me more. And somehow, even though you said I am difficult to know, you will still run towards me, telling me that somehow, I am different. And somehow, you assured me that I was enough, enough for you, enough for God. And whenever you need me, know that it will never be out of love and not pity. Just as you have chose me, I will choose you too. Even though it is still not the time yet, as I wait for you, and you wait for me, the promise that I made to you, always will be:

I’ll be there.

 

 

Remembering His love.

A reminder of God’s love, as He writes on my heart again.

As a 10yo little girl, I first heard of this man named Jesus through a tuition teacher. And somehow from that moment on, even without knowing Jesus, I wrote my little dream on the surface of my heart, that when I grow up, I want to be a missionary. I want to do something different, and not just grow up and get married. I want to shed some love into this world. But somehow all the downturns of my life came on, and I met with Christ. And today, the answer dawned on me.

” We cannot give until we are broken”.

I did not know what impact it would have left on me, or what God would imprint in my heart with that one statement, but God must have heard my desires back then. And unless God have chosen me, I will never be able to end up where I was supposed to be. I always questioned God why do I have to go through all the nonsense in my life, and I never heard the answer. But the peace that settled in my heart recently helped me to realize, when I was lost, He is in control. To get me to the dream and desire that I wrote down, God must have been busy, putting me through the trials that I have been through. God must have tried calling me out to Him, but I was too busy searching for an answer in my own strength. To be able to give, I need to be broken.

I can only…

  • give love when I know what it is like to live without love
  • give hope when I know what it is like in hopelessness
  • give light when I know what its like to be in darkness

If I have never been where I was, I would have never experience the tangible love of God flowing through my life. I would have never known how important it is bringing the joy of God into the life of other people. Yet at the same time, all this convinced me of what an infinite God can do through a finite me. I never want to take for granted all the way He broke me, so I could know Him more. When I set out my life to be in a pursuit of Him, I let go of all my worldly needs, and went on a whole course to pursue Him. And God, unless You are with me, I do not want to be there. Nothing in this world could take away Your hand on my heart.

After 13 years, I know the time is soon. For this dream to bear forth the food that was due. And Lord, mould me, like I was since I was a 10year old girl.