2016: A Year of Lessons/Realizations

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PHOTO taken by my good friend and brother in Christ, Jared Kaiser

Fresh from a wonderful Sabbath of serving God and fellowship with my family plus friends, I am so stoked to have this post as my last for the year 2016. I was so blessed with the messages I heard from the Divine Service (it was so timely!) up to the AY Program. And it is my utmost desire to faithfully apply these in my life as the new year begins. (So help me God!)

2016 has been a very challenging year for me. In a lot of ways: physically, mentally (more of like academically), socially/emotionally and of course, as evidenced in recent write-ups, spiritually. I have to say I’ve grown for the good but it would be a lie not to admit that I’ve also grown for the worse. But despite all the happenings I went through this year, God has ever remained faithful and gracious to me. May that be reflected in the things I’m about to share.

Instead of writing about my highlights, let me share the lessons (hence, the title) or the realizations I’ve had from out of the different experiences I was in or circumstances I dealt with:

  1. No matter how hard you try to be good or kind to others, there will always be people who will use you, take advantage of your or hurt you for hurting’s sake. But then again, we live in an imperfect world; we can’t please everyone. So I guess I end up reminding myself that it is God Who I need to please or to focus on.Β And worse, maybe they thought that by dong such, you will go dark. But you will prove them wrong because you choose to let the good in you remain and improve for the better. Ouch! It seems like the first one is salt on a wound but definitely it’s the one that has the most impact on me. As you may have read in a post in the past, I’ve been through one ‘valley’ which tested my faith in God and my will to survive. But the Lord saw me through. So with love and forgiveness in my heart, I will move on to 2017 with this lesson inculcated in my heart.
  2. I’m a garbage collector, a good one.Β During the general cleaning of my room, I got to see how many stuff I have kept through the years that needed to be disposed. It made me ponder that I probably collected a lot of garbage, not only Β literally but also in my life’s room; maybe people, habits, emotions or other things which I definitely need to let go. So with enthusiasm and for a good purpose, here’s to cleaning up my life! (Plastic also serve as part of my collection but hopefully they’re not the people I know!)
  3. You can never survive anything life throws at you without God.Β Well, I believe I’m not the only one who understands this fully. From the book of Job (which was our topic for the Sabbath School lesson this quarter) to experiencing many tough times, I came to value how a relationship with God really helps during such and what faith in Him entails. Yes, being comforted by your family and friends is a blessing. But to know that the God of the Universe knows your pain and cares enough for You; to add, that He is always in control no matter what happens, is certainly far better. So here’s to enriching my spiritual walk even more as I enter 2017!!!

There are surely a lot of lessons/realizations for this year but these three are the ones worth sharing and heart tugging as well! I just could not overemphasize how deeply thankful I am for God’s love manifested in His guidance, sustenance, protection, and of course His forgiveness! Your grace is truly amazing, dear Lord!

With a grateful heart, a focused mind and a confident spirit, I move forward to 2017! Happy New Year!

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2014: A Year of Blessings

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This is me with a grateful smile for all God’s bountiful blessings this 2014… πŸ™‚

Whew… Alas, I have arrived at the last day of 2014 and were it not for God’s grace, I would not be here. As I look back to the previous year, I can’t help but thank God for all the blessings He has given me and my family. May it be through trials or gifts, closed doors or opportunities. This year has been a blast and I consider it one of the best years for me since it is packed with highlights, which I will share with you, dear reader. Each, I consider a blessing.

I was still an intern when the year started and it found me saying goodbye to Riverside Medical Center after 2 months of duty there. I enjoyed my stay at the laboratory full of friendly staff and awesome machines. One defining moment during my time there was our Christmas party where my fellow UNO-R interns and I won 4th place for our group performance which was a spoof of Showtime’s SIne Mo ‘To. I got to perform Wrecking Ball with Zidluck and it was both embarrassing and fun at the same time I continued my duties at Adventist Medical Center- Bacolod where my internship experience was more fun and memorable. The atmosphere in the lab was so light; it was like you belonged to a family. From overcoming my ‘shaking’ problem during venipuncture to meeting the ‘girl’ of my dreams there, the internship was one of the most challenging and memorable experiences in my life. I was glad that I was able to touch lives and be a witness for Jesus.

The second blessing was my graduation which took place on March 22, 2014. After 4 years in a Catholic university which was tough, I finally left UNO-R and unexpectedly, with flying colors. I thought I would never be an honor graduate due to my cross-enrollment for a subject which fell on a Sabbath. But God rewarded my faithfulness and so I graduated cum laude. Oh, I remember that moment of joyful surprise when I learned of this news! It was such a special blessing and I will always be grateful to God for it.

Third, the opportunity to serve God as a literature evangelist during summer was a worthwhile effort and I learned a lot from the ministry. The spiritual benefits outweigh the monetary ones.

Fourth, unemployment is an unusual blessing. After my in-house review, my life kinda took a sudden turn when I had to be the “atsoy” of the house. I was left at home most of the time, doing the chores and reviewing for the baord exams and NMAT. I really wanted to help my parents financially and so I applied at a hospital for the position of phlebotomist. But it was clear that God’s will for me was not to work yet. It was hard at first to accept this harsh truth but good enough, I was able to move on. In God’s time, I shall be employed and work for His glory.

Fifth, my dream of Β having a piano concert was fulfilled on the eve of my 21st birthday, October 24. It was a truly meaningful event because it was my ‘debut’ and it was a concert for a cause (all the proceeds went to the Jail Ministry of our church). Entitled “Through Life’s Ebony and Ivory”, I played pieces arranged by Greg Howlett which were songs that impacted my life. Giving back my talent to God was wonderful. I will always cherish this moment in my heart.

Sixth, my NMAT experience last Novem Despite my lack of sleep the night before, God sustained me and so I survived the whole test. And just 2 weeks before, I got my results and all praises to the One who provided me with strength and wisdom on that fateful day!

Last but not the least, the blessings of family and friends have made all the ones mentioned above more special and beautiful. Without these peeps supporting me and comforting me, what would I be? I remember our foodtrips and ‘lagaw’ at SM. Our time bonding with each other, may it be at church or simply at home. And of course, the recent Christmas fellowship that we had was superb! Indeed, time with family is something to look forward to.

So these are all my blessings this 2014! They all come in different forms, some expected, few otherwise but one thing remains true: God is the Source of all them. And in heartfelt gratitude, all I can say is To God be the glory!! πŸ™‚

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P.S. Happy New Year guys! Have a blissful 2o15!