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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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!

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

What Grace is This!

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Let our constant speech be: “Jesus, keep me near the Cross!” (Photo taken from: guardianlv.com)

 

Fresh from my personal Bible study, I would like to share some insights about the spiritual manna that I received minutes ago. Indeed, as the Catholic world commemorates the death of Jesus Christ this Good Friday, I can’t help but ponder upon the ultimate sacrifice made for humanity. (The devotional entry I read was timely.) We don’t have the same beliefs, I guess, dear reader but one thing is true: we highly regard Jesus as the greatest Gift the Father has given for His children; human beings who are lost and weary, hopeless if it were not for this.

As I think about the love of God, my heart is filled with so much awe and wonder; with so much gratitude that even the whole universe can’t contain. And yet, I am filled with remorse and shame; with irrevocable despair over myself, knowing with certainty that it was all my sin that caused Him to die for me to live, for me to gain eternal life. Without Jesus, I could have been nothing. We all could have been. You and I would never get to know the riches of His grace and the depths of the  Father’s love!

This grace, which never ceases to amaze me, is free for all of us. Ephesians 2:8-9 reminded me and it does so to everyone that it comes without any price tag: ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.’

Wow! Isn’t that amazing? What a wonderful and blessed assurance we have from God’s Word! I know that some of my Christian friends still do not know the real essence of this. Sadly, some still think that in order to gain salvation, they need to perform something like nailing oneself to a cross (a common tradition in some parts of the country). Even I am not excluded from thinking this way because at times, there is this tendency to focus on doing good in order to get God’s favor. But the message is clear: God’s grace is shown through Jesus Christ and it is a free gift, readily given to anyone who repents and confesses his/her sins! Thank You God for such marvelous provision!

Not only this Holy Week but each day of our lives until He comes, let this sacred theme be constantly meditated upon! After all, it is only when we learn to appreciate Christ’s death that we get to see that in Him, we have life!

2015: A Year of Transition

(Fresh from my daily alone time with God, I am certainly in the mood to write this post! I guess being able to have my exercise this morning helped me to be all pumped out for the first day of 2016! How I wish I can keep up with this and make it a routine for a healthier life this New Year.)

Wow!!! (Breathes deeply…) I cannot believe it guys! It’s already 2016 and another year has just gone by. Let me briefly share with you how my 2015 went because it was surely filled with many big achievements, fun moments and abundant blessings!

I dubbed this year as a “Year of Transition” because it found me entering a state of independence. Last January, I left for Manila and lived there for almost 3 months. While surviving the unwanted and harsh realities in the capital (being away from my family for the first time was tougher), I had my review there for the Med Tech board exams which took place last March. By God’s grace, I passed the examinations and was only few points away from the Top 10! Talk about shattered dreams! It was hard to swallow and even now, if it crosses my mind, I somehow get bothered and all. But God taught me an unforgettable lesson which I will ever remember. And of course, how could I not be happy? I passed and became a Registered Medical Technologist! May I seek to focus on the future and not on what could have been! ‘Let it go, let it go, can’t hold me back anymore!’  There you go, that’s helpful!

Besides becoming a professional this year, it was also transitional for me because I entered West Visayas State University- College of Medicine last July. Med school was a big leap because I stayed miles away from my family and for the first time also, I was living in a dorm. And academically speaking, the study load was far different from my pre med course. But one thing was and has been certain, always: God sustained me, in all aspects especially financially, throughout my stay at Roxas Hall. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to study in a premiere school so that I could achieve my childhood dream!

These two were the highlights of the past year but I couldn’t afford not to mention the people that made it memorable and meaningful. I have been richly blessed with many new found friendships. My med school barkada, Team AAAACHU (our group name is a combination of the first letter of our family names) has added joy and laughter to my plate making med school a delightful ride. How much more my SGD Group, Mangtwo2waz! Med school has taken brand new meaning when I joined the chorale group of the college, the Med Symphony. Our tiring practices for our Christmas caroling were profoundly rewarded with delicious meals, generous donations and heartwarming compliments! This goes the same way for my SDA family at West, the 136 Wishers, a group of talented and friendly people whose presence I will always be thankful for. And I will certainly not forget my family especially my father. Tatay was the one who accompanied me to Manila and Iloilo (What big sacrifice!); he was undoubtedly influential in my successes. Nanay, on the other hand, has supported me a lot through her motherly prayers and genuine comfort. My two loving sisters have been instrumental in making my life easier and happier. Indeed, it is our relationships that spice our life. What could be our memories without family or friends? Thank You Lord for these precious souls, such vivid reminders of how loving You are!

Well, I wish I could tell you more but my tummy’s rumbling! Haha… In summary, 2015 has been a challenging rollercoaster ride for me and my family. I learned a lot of things and I am hoping that these lessons would serve me good this year. I failed, I stumbled, I messed up. But God, in His great faithfulness and loving goodness still forgave, forgot and fixed me. Despite all the setbacks and shortcomings, I couldn’t be more grateful for He is in control and He loves me unconditionally!

Letting go of the past, living for the present and looking forward to a brighter and better future this 2016, I bid you as I end this post: Happy New Year!

 

Family and All Things in Between

After dinner at Chicken Charlie. I love this wacky photo!!

After dinner at Chicken Charlie. I love this wacky photo!!

I felt the urge to write about this. I believe it was because of the many things that transpired recently with me and my family. After the tough times (not only the recent ones but considering even the past), I gained some precious insights on the essence of the basic unit of society and how things go. Let me share with you, dear reader what these are. It might be that you think the same way or you are still going to learn these valuable lessons.

1. No family is perfect. It may sound a bit cliche but I think everyone believes that’s the truth. It’s the reality of things because not only is the family composed of human beings but each member is different. Your father might be the tough disciplinarian, too stern and meticulous even with the smallest stuff or the complete opposite. Your mother- the loving and ‘got-it-covered’ type or the busy woman with no time for her kids. Your siblings- well, you can insert any adjective here to describe them. With different personalities, preferences and needs, there’s no doubt that misunderstandings and conflicts arise. This surely proves that in every family, any member can hurt another. Hurtful words can be spoken, violence may be seen so tears are shed and hearts are broken. No matter how perfect some may see one family, there’s always a part unknown and unseen that proves no one comes from a perfect family. Accepting how things go, I believe, really helps in making the family bond stronger. Instead of pretending to be all happy and living up to some fantasy, one can focus on helping each other with there weaknesses and improving their strengths. Despite the imperfections, a family can still work through any dilemma if they work together in cooperation and love. And you’ll understand that an imperfect family might be the happiest and best family to belong to.

2. Sometimes, you have to make the first move. Well, if conflict does arise, I learned in time, that even though it’s not your fault, you always have the choice to apologize first. It is very much contrary to human nature to do that. I mean who would want to apologize to someone who doesn’t even see his wrong and would not bother saying sorry? But I came to realize that when you think about God’s love and compassion, it hits you hard that you’re wasting time by waiting for the other person to apologize. Don’t get me wrong; there are moments when you really have to give silence its spotlight but if hatred is eating your heart up and revenge is sticking to your mind like glue, better let go of these feelings and pave the way for reconciliation. It always helps when you seek God’s help.

3. Respect is always a must. There are times when you argue with your parents and you feel like they don’t get where you’re coming from. Or worse, you got hurt by them and they don’t have a clue on what you’re feeling. Your perception of them changes and you think that the way you treat them must too.These are tough times and it feels like showing respect is the last thing you’ll ever do. But before you might regret it, never loose hold of respect for them. No matter what happens, they are still your parents and they deserve the same level of respect as before. It’s a very difficult situation to be in, provided that many things get in the way like your ego. But sorting things out with them in a spirit of lowliness, without any form of disrespect might be the road to healing- they would acknowledge their shortcomings and change. This doesn’t only to apply with parents but to anyone in the family older than you.

4. Unconditional love is the force that keeps the family going despite all circumstances. If respect is necessary, how much more love? Well, unconditional love that is. I pretty much don’t need to explicate on this one. I believe that almost everyone can agree that no matter what happens, love will reign supreme. And it is truly possible if God dwells in our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Well, there you have it. Just four simple truths that I acquired so far about the family which for me, is one of the greatest blessings from above. And to sum it all up, nothing can change the fact, despite the imperfections and trails, that family will always be family.

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