Little, Sweet Reminders

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Forgive the blur. But this is a recent portrait of me: a LOVED HUMAN who is a FIGHTER!

 

BACKGROUND: It’s been a while since I last wrote in my blog! Well, as some of you dear readers know, med school happened and that means more time spent in academic stuff than blogging. But earlier this morning, during my daily devotional time, the message struck me and I had the urgent need to share my heart out. Despite the fact that it’s hell week as some would consider it (it’s the last week of classes BTW= yehey!!), I’m glad to have this moment of keeping my fingers busy. After all, I need a simple break from all the studying and I can’t deny it; I miss doing this!

THE ESSENTIALS: So the message was to “remind the people” and in the process that I was reminded of such a task, it would bring much bearing if I don’t keep to myself these reminders that are worthy to be shared to the world especially for times like these:

  1. You are loved. By God. By family. By friends. By someone.

After experiencing some challenges recently (in all aspects from sickness to stress to failure), I was able to see a clearer picture of God’s love for me. Sometimes, when life is smooth and everything seems to go well, we lose sight of what we have. We tend to forget the Lord and we fail to appreciate His love for us as we set our eyes on other things that seek our affection. That’s why maybe He allows trials to come our way so that this would not happen. And yet during such times, His love endures and sustains us. It is His love that causes Him to heal our infirmities, that keeps us going in the journey He’s called us (in my case, to continue studying though I feel like giving up), that brings us back to Him after we’ve hurt or failed Him constantly. And you know what I like about His love is that it is expressed in so many ways. Like through the people around you, whom He can use to bless you or mold you. Or just the simple necessities we take for granted: food, water, air, clothing.

And let us not forget Calvary. Oh, just to think how the Son of God was more than willing to give His life as a ransom for sinful man! Every time I meditate on this, it is just so overwhelming! Such a reminder is enough fuel for me to make the best out of my life, to live for Him out of earnest love and deepest gratitude. How about you?

2. You can do this! Through Christ Who gives you strength. (Phil. 4:13)

Being a medical student is such a great privilege but most of the time, it may be a burden with all the responsibilities and expectations laid on you. It is inevitable to be overwhelmed with the stock of knowledge to be dealt with in the absence of luxury of time. And I believe that some would even sacrifice their health or family time just to compensate. Well, this does not hold true for future doctors. In this fast paced world where competition thrives and selfish ambition rules, it is easy to give in to hopelessness, fear and loss of confidence. We are all prone to wear out and give up. But as cliche as this sounds, may this adage remind why you can achieve your goals and pursue your dreams no matter what: “If God puts you to it, He will put you through it.”

3. You are human. With limitations. With weaknesses. But with passions and necessities.

Somehow linked to the second reminder, there’s indeed more to life than just studying. Or whatever it is that we’re bound to do, wherever God called us. In order to keep a striking balance, let us not forget that we also have other needs. Giving ourselves a break by participating in sports, music, art, etc. or just indulging in a sweet treat- these can make all the difference. (Look at me now; I could have studied Pathology but I still feel equally fulfilled with this writing!)

So I guess that’s about it! Just three simple reminders. For myself. For you. For the whole jaded world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 24-30: A Week of Losses

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“We may lose something or someone but our loving God would not leave us without gain.” – KBH

For my second post on Simple Recall to be late again really proves how busy I am. I returned to Iloilo City just yesterday to attend a burial and throughout my day, I had no time to sit down and write this post. However, the fact that I can write now is because I’m already through with my important things-to-do for today. Spell relief!

Well, this week started with a big challenge for our family: the heartbreaking loss of my uncle Toting (He was the husband of my Aunt Lydia, the eldest sister of my father.) I remember how deeply sad I was upon learning of the unexpected news that Sunday morning. It was only two months ago when an uncle died, you know. So it was another tough ordeal for all of us. However, despite his death, I thanked God that he died peacefully in his sleep. And the best part? He got to see his youngest daughter who arrived the day before from the US so seeing all his children before dying could have been meaningful to him. Talk about the promptings of the Spirit! I guess God must have orchestrated how his daughters could go home out of the blue and spend time with him. His timing is always perfect, don’t you think?

Besides the familial loss, I had my share of losses which I could not describe in detail here because they are too personal. But one thing was and is sure: God brought me up where I stumbled and by His grace, I am fighting on even with all my scars and wounds. No matter how many times I failed Him, He has never given up on me! His love is so everlasting and His grace, so empowering! (Please pray for me, dear reader as I press on in my journey to where God wants me to go and against the things that must go…)

So throughout all my losses this week, I still praise Him for as I can see, I still gained something which He alone can give! And also, the Lord knows what He is doing so I trust His will.He always knows what is  best!

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 136:1

PHOTO SOURCE: https://static01.nyt.com/images/2010/02/10/health/loss480/loss480-blogSpan

The Greatest Connection of All

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Backstory: Last May, during our family summer trip at Palawan, I was amused to find that the Wi-Fi password for the pension house was JesusChrist. (Please refer to picture above.) I smiled back then and now I have to admit that it’s one of the best passwords I ever encountered. It was big proof that the owner of the place we lodged was probably a devout Christian. As time passed by, I had the prompting to write something about the password. Though it’s such a small matter, it spoke to me in volumes. So let me share the essence of this tiny, insignificant paper…

All around us, each day, we see how life is hugely dependent on technology. Our means of communication with each other entail the use of devices that have become more complex through the years. And for sure, as most of us are users of such, we know how important it is to have good connection. That’s why with the advent of Wi-Fi, everything seems to be faster and easier. (And personally, I couldn’t help but agree to this! There were times that I always inquired if there was Wi-Fi access or ensured that there was such! Yes, for a medical student/blogger/musician like me, Wi-Fi is a necessity.)

But as Christians, we need to ask ourselves the more important questions: How is my connection with Jesus? Am I spending time with Him, in prayer and study of His Word? Am I yearning to come to Him in solitude, to be near Him in spite of the inevitable pressures and constant busyness of  this life?

We all have different answers. And they reflect how we prioritize our relationship with God. But it doesn’t mean that if we perfect this practice daily, we’re in safe hands. Take it from my experience. I usually have my morning devotions and my separate time for my ‘Bible in One Year’ reading. But when assailed by temptation, it was like as if I never read any verse or prayed. I learned the hard way that coming out from the garden with God will not always prevent us from going into the wilderness of sin or hinder us from experiencing diverse trials. Yet, it is undoubtedly VITAL to keep our connection with God strong and especially during challenging times like when you are facing temptation, stronger. Kindly read Psalm 119:11 and 105 as supporting evidence to what His Word can do for us in those though moments.

I pray that these reflections would cause you to pursue a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the Lord by assimilating the Living Word into our hearts and minds and cementing them with prayer!

Here’s to a spiritual reboot!

 

July 17-23: A Musical Week

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PHOTO SOURCE: woodlibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/musical-notes

NOTE: I wanted to start blogging about how my week went by and to share the different lessons or notable experiences I had if there were any. This will be written in a context of gratitude to God by which without His grace I know I could never accomplish anything or survive. But since I was busy yesterday (Sunday, July 24, Philippine time), I have to apologize for the delay! You see, I’m back as the official atsoy (helper) of our household. Haha, that’s another topic! Anyway, it’s better late than never as I fondly believe!

Well, to start things off, I came from a very tiring yet fulfilling week! The Thursday before, I found myself miles away from home again as I was back in the “City of Love”, Iloilo City. I was there for a chorale appointment which entailed me to practice and although I was already late, I was able to catch up with the rest of the group in learning new songs. Besides the daily grind on my vocal cords, I managed to have a general cleaning of my dorm room every day. I didn’t push myself to clean it in just one time because that was too tiresome. What really mattered was before I leave for home, my room would be decent as possible. I thanked God for helping me with these but there are 3 things that I’m certainly grateful for:

  1. Gracious sustenance: With only 2,000 pesos added to my pocket, I had to make sure that my spending was wise for groceries, payments, etc. And with limited money, I survived! That was because I had 4 free meals within the week! It really helped! Oh, God bless those kindhearted people!
  2. Miraculous healing: As evidenced above, my voice got sore from all the singing and late night sleeping! Sadly, I couldn’t sleep immediately on some nights. I was concerned because the day before our chorale gig, my voice was not in good shape! With appropriate regimens, I sought help by asking my friends to pray for me! And what do you know? On the night of our performance, I was able to sing my heart out as my singing voice came back! Faith and prayer really do wonders! And I thank God again for the healing power of ginger! 🙂
  3. Successful event: Dubbed as the ‘Mystical Moonlight Serenade’, the mini concert of Med Symphony (yep, that’s the name of our group!) proved to be a delight to the listening ears of the Philippine Psychiatric Association. From timeless classics to modern Tagalog compositions and to a fun, concluding Abba medley, I believe the doctors were more than entertained as we were more than overwhelmed with the financial gains we received.Wow! It was just a beautiful evening at a beautiful place (twas my first time in Casa Real, huh!) with beautiful people! #Beautiful na ini! But seriously, we did it on such a short time! And how can I forget to give credit to the Master Musician?
Med Symph

Photo taken by Fritz Hernz

So yes, that was how my Musical Week went. Musical not only because of #3! But also because, like music, I had my highs and lows but through it all, everything still played well at the end, beautifully! Thank You Lord! Here’s to more musical weeks!

Don’t Stop the Drip Drop

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The view from my room after the downpour. I hope you can see that unclear water drop from the ceiling.

It has been a pluvious morning so far and the rain actually stopped like 2 minutes ago. Well, it brought mixed emotions within. Don’t get me wrong. I love the rain. I thanked God for it because I know the plants are rejoicing now with the abundant water supply provided for them. Well, I think the shower today was the strongest for this month. (By the way, if you still don’t know, it’s already rainy season here in the Philippines. It starts from June and can extend up to September. We only have 2 seasons here you know. So yeah, lying on a pile of orange leaves or making a snow angel is still on my my bucket list.) And with this weather, it’s not hard to appreciate the coolness of the air, a refreshing balm from the usual heat we have in a tropical country. But my gratitude and relief were quite short-lived. I got irked out because the rain came on such a wrong time- when I was doing the laundry manually outside the house (plus some other related stuff which I need not mention). Good thing, it stopped for a little while but talk about the perfect nightmare of having the clothes you just washed drying slowly, without the sun’s help. (Our washing machine is left unfixed so you get the picture. :/) But this is not what I’m going to write about. Looks like I’ve shared too much already. (Laughs) Forgive me. With the timeliness of a rainy Wednesday, I just wanted to share how my Tuesday was rainy too but in a different way.

You see, yesterday, before I wrote my “Round and Round… No More” post, I spent some alone time with the Lord through contemplation and prayer. With music to enrich my experience, I was getting emotional. And I cried. I cried out of desperation, out of shame, out of conviction, out of helplessness. (If you read my post, you’ll understand where I was coming from.) I just cried to Him.

It wasn’t long until I cried again while watching the movie, “Miracles from Heaven” with my family. Although some parts of the movie didn’t agree with my beliefs, the true-to-life story touched my heart in ways I didn’t expect. I was clearly overwhelmed with the many essential lessons I drew with regards to faith and family. (If you still haven’t watched it, I highly recommend it! Just prepare your tissues or hankies though especially if you’re onion-skinned.)

And just when you think it’s the end of my tear provoking journey!  I decided to respond to the people who liked my post yesterday and I ended up reading some of their works. I was inspired and blessed with what I read. Until that one post where I almost cried because her message was just what I needed at the moment!

(Sighs.) I really cried a lot yesterday that if there was like a normal value range for tears, I’d say I was in the ‘Very High’ category. Or worse, did I defeat Sadness from ‘Inside Out’? Haha… But seriously, I realized later (and even now as I’m typing this) something valuable: Crying is okay. Crying is beautiful. We live in a world where crying is ‘usually’ considered weakness or femininity. But I beg to disagree. To cry is to say that you are strong enough to accept that you can’t make it on your own. To cry is to let go. To cry is to be human.

So whatever happens or wherever I may be, if I feel  like crying, I won’t stop the drip drop. Because after all, for me, tears are no waste.

P.S.Wow, just, wow! As I was about to end this post, the rain returned! Talk about natural reinforcement!

 

Round and Round….. No More

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Let our constant speech be: “Lord, save me or I perish! I surrender all!”

Have you ever felt like your life is an endless cycle of mistakes and failures? You fall, dust off the dirt, you rise up; you stumble, you rise up again. And it’s with the same things you’ve been battling ever since: some formidable strongholds, darling sins or even secret weaknesses that have plagued you for too long. By and with God’s grace, you recover and experience a plethora of rich blessings and wonderful opportunities making you feel like you’re completely over the things that link you to the past; that you’d never do them again. But before you know it, you end up at the same place you never wanted to return to. With this heart-aching turn of events, the enemy of souls would cause you to think that there is no chance for you to come back to God, to change for the better. And now, you feel utterly hopeless and undoubtedly helpless. Too much for a description huh?  But I guess that’s the way it is when you really experienced such. And if your answer to the question above is YES (a resounding but bitter one), welcome to the club, dear friend! (Here’s my comforting virtual hug!) Don’t get stuck up with these negative feelings though! There is always hope in our Redeemer, Savior and Friend Jesus Christ! And it is my utmost desire to briefly share some insights the Lord has provided me with to you!

I believe that everyone in the world has his/her own spiritual Waterloo. Well, some have become victorious in their battle! (Praise God for that!) But to those who are still on the rocks, we need to understand one important truth: we are wretched human beings, born as sinners and always having the propensity to sin. Paul got it right when he wrote in Romans 7:24- “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (This verse actually has captured the essence of my personal spiritual experience.) Once we come to a full understanding of this, we see that whatever we do, we can’t stop something or change ourselves without divine aid. We are nothing on our own. We surely need the grace of God more than a strong will to overcome! Please echo with me in response to the said text, “No one can save me but Thee!”

But we later realize that God’s grace doesn’t win us all the time when it competes with our sins.It should because His grace is sufficient for us. (2 Corinthians 12:9) However, this is enough to say that something is still wrong or something is missing. You see, salvation is never a once-in-a-lifetime moment. It is a daily process of full surrender (where those things that kept you far from the Lord are not worth clinging to or they lose their power over you) and total commitment to what a ransomed life in Christ entails. What would it profit me if I am saved but I still do the same things that God is against? To add, it could be possible that we depend on feelings and think everything’s okay; only to find out in the end that there was no true conversion within us at all. Let us not forget that “true conversion means a changed life” as one of my favorite authors, Ellen G. White puts it. Or maybe we have been relying on ourselves too much that His grace is nothing more but just a lyric of a song.

Somehow, in assessment of myself, all those factors played a role on why I’m still struggling.But it’s not the end for me yet. I chose not to give up and get away from this mess. I am determined to make things right with the help of the Lord and now, I am humbled to say that I am 100% dependent upon His grace! Through faith, grace by which I stand, by which I am saved, by which I can change.

I don’t know about you but I’m sure tired of going around in circles!

P.S. Here’s a song to complete my post and to serve as a musical add-on!

IMAGE SOURCE: https://adventistmissionary.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/christ-hugging

Unleashing the Kangaroo in Me

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SOURCE: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/content/dam/kids/photos/animals/Mammals/H-P/kangaroo-hopping

Fresh from a precious nap, you might expect me to be energized to write out this entry. Or it might be the new month feels. (Wah, it’s already June 1?) Although they might be influential, there is certainly something deeper and more relevant that prompted me to hit the ‘Create a New Post’ button. Before sleeping earlier, I was not feeling well but I managed to have my daily, alone time with God. The message from Our Daily Bread was so timely and so inspiring that it got me thinking and self-evaluating. God’s providence even in the message you receive for the day never fails to amaze me. It was the same way too yesterday. So I guess now, you know why I really want to share this and hopefully, you can get something from this brief post.

From ODB, I learned that kangaroos seldom move backward and so do emus. Well, their anatomies are responsible for that. In analogy, the writer pointed out the importance of moving forward instead of being stuck in the past. I like what he said in the last paragraph: “While it is wise to learn from the past, we shouldn’t live in the past. We cannot redo or undo the past, but by God’s grace we can press forward and serve God faithfully today and in the future. The life of faith is a journey forward as we become like Christ.” These words hit me hard and led me to a self-examination because recently, things have been difficult for me. I was convicted of letting the past haunt me or rule my life even though there was already a time  I had to let go.

As I look back, I can’t help but feel regret for some things that I did. The feeling is mutual when I remember how I lost my IPhone 5 (it got wet during our trip to Palawan). Don’t get me wrong; I am not materialistic. But it kills me to know that I could never retrieve all the photos and videos taken from that device. Well, I just comfort myself though with the thought that at least, I didn’t lose something far valuable. I truly believe you know, dear reader, what I’m referring to. These are not actually things but people, values, etc. And before I forget, God taught me a lesson that day, learned the hard way but never forgotten. However, I’ll keep that to myself.

It wasn’t only in May that I was still bothered by the past. Just this morning, while doing the laundry with my sister, our conversation led to a ‘sensitive’ topic- the board exam. If you read my post on my board exam experience, then you’d understand where I’m coming from and why I mentioned it here. The unwanted reactions surely prove that I still didn’t move on completely and after reading the passage from ODB, God was clearly reminding me that I had to do so.

How about you, my friend? Are you still buried in the past that you can’t come out victorious even if you wanted to? Are you still harboring all those regrets and what-ifs in your mind? Now is the time to release them to the Lord. Now is the time to let go and completely entrust Him your life in faith. Now is the time to find your inner kangaroo and set it free.

P.S. Here’s something from the Bible to inspire you to move forward like a kangaroo (I hope the song would do likewise): “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (3:13-14).