Finding Beauty in Chaos

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 

In a span of one month, I lost my job in Bahrain, then transferred to a new one in UAE. Barely two weeks after I left,  our dearly beloved cat was put to sleep because of lingering illness, now he’s free from pain.  Until now my resident visa is still on hold as there are findings on my x-ray that require further tests; yet it may be a way for me to reaffirm the real status of my health.  It is causing a grim outlook for a permanent status in the workplace, but then again, it may be saving me for a better one. Since 1st August of last year, I have been made redundant thrice; and thrice I was redirected to new assignments.  Why these series of unfortunate events keep happening, only God knows.

Some say it’s unfortunate, I say I’m blessed.  From the past year onwards,  I continue to struggle.  I cringe in fear. I cry in frustration.  Why is life so mean to me, I ask sometimes.  Yet oftentimes, I realize life is kind in ways that far outweigh what I struggle with; what I fear most, and what I cry about.  Why?

These I know.

He never said it would be easy.  But He promised He would never leave us.  So. I may not see Him with human eyes, but He is alway present in all my medical tests to hold my hand as each needle pierces my veins.  He rides with me everyday as I travel for hours to my workplace in the middle of the desert.  He cries with me when I think about Storm.  He knows when I miss my family, and so He comforts me withthrough the scriptures.  He makes me fall asleep whenever I’m exhasuted.  He provides what I need, even when there seems to be nothing left.

I know that God is love.  I know that this is a imperfect world we live in.  I know that in between, a beautiful mess thrives, that’s me.  To proclaim God’s perfect love in all the brokenness is to find the the real beauty amidst all the chaos – JESUS ūüíú

So I thank Him everyday – for the chaos only highlight the glory of God; the twists and turns only enhance the colors of the rainbow of His promises, and the abyss of my distress finds rest only upon the rock-solid foundation of Jesus’ love where I will feel secure and always protected.

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There’s Hope

“…but those who hope in the Lord  will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  – Isaiah 40:31

My work contract ends on March 31.  My bosses are working hard to keep me.  However, visa issues have kept them from making any promises if I’d stay or leave. 

If I’d manage to stay, I would survive a second redundancy case.  Being kicked out is nothing new.  Working in the Middle East as an expat is an uncertainty these days. In fact, it has been, the past couple of years.  My husband was actually one of the first casualties.

It’s sad considering we’re still way above our heads in debt.  And with my husband still unemployed, I should have worried myself to death, or to debt, for that matter.  To even imagine the prospect of being jobless as well, would have made me cringe.

But even I am surprised how the grace of God has given me the absolute trust that my husband and I are not alone in this plight.  I know that He sees what we are going through, and He will not leave us alone, helpless and hopeless.  

I don’t know what’s in it for me by the end of this month.  But God knows.  Because he had already written it long before I was even born.  He planned it for He is the architect of my life.

Surely His plans are not to harm me, but to prosper me.  Exactly how, only He knows.  And if only for that, I should not be afraid.  Because if I depend on what I know, there’s nothing but despair.

But in God, I lean on because only He knows what my purpose is.  Through Jesus Christ, who is the Way, I shall find it.

The Lesson from the Socks and the Shoes

But he said to me, ‚ÄúMy grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.‚ÄĚ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:9-10

I remember fifteen years ago. My youngest who was a cutie, little boy then, could barely open his eyes much less put on his uniform to go to school.

Every morning, from the bathroom, he sat down on a chair with his curly hair still dripping. His eyes drooped as I helped him get into his uniform.

I remember how I would kneel before him when I put his socks, and then his shoes onto his tiny feet. His helpless baby face tried hard to stay awake.

Now he has grown. He can do pretty much all things by himself. As I grew older, my power over him diminished by the day.


There will be challenging situations in our lives, when our human battery will be depleted, and only a higher power can recharge us.

It is our God Almighty. Not Bruce Almighty. Definitely not the Marvel Super Heroes, nor the Fantastic Beasts. 

God is the power bank to which we should be connected at all times.

Notice when, at our weakest, we instinctively call upon Him. Because deep in our hearts, we know God is ever present and powerful. That the mere mention of the name of Jesus, all the heavens hear.

He won’t hesitate to put our “socks and shoes” on for us when we need to, but can’t. So we can go forward.

For as much as we love our children, God loves us even more. 

Of Supermoon and Mini-moons

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1

Let me now join the world in going gaga about the supermoon. ¬†I would have written about it the same night it appeared, but I fell asleep on the couch ¬†with deep thoughts about it. ¬†There is a Tagalog word “muni-muni” that means to reflect or to ponder. Funny that it actually sounds like moony-moony which I now define as reflections about the supermoon, no pun intended.

I was just as excited and curious to witness the phenomenon advertised as a once a lifetime thing.  Because I just turned 50, I thought it should be in my imaginary bucket list.

Between 5pm-6pm, when it was supposed to rise over the cluster of other rooftops around our building, I waited for that WOW moment! ¬†It didn’t come.


But the mini-moon did. ¬†Slowly it eased its way past the antennaes and satellite dishes that blocked my full view of it as it rose. ¬†When its path cleared, I realized it wouldn’t get any bigger.

So was I disappointed? Yes, because I thought I would see it like others did. ¬†But surprisingly, I didn’t care that it was tiny. It was the same moon. ¬†How huge (or not), depends on just where we were.

Then it came, my WOW moment!  It was when I stared at the moon and see past its magnitude.  Because beyond its size, I saw a masterpiece of its Creator.

It doesn’t matter now when the next supermoon will appear. ¬†We can experience its beauty every night, visible or not, as we look up to the sky. ¬†There is a vast universe out there in all its splendor. ¬†If we do a moony-moony, one day we would see Jesus come down from the heavens. Then we rejoice all the more, for the wonder of it all, no supermoon could ever match.

What Easter Means to Me

“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, ‚ÄúIt is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.‚ÄĚ Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. ”  Luke 24:30-35

Today is Thursday after Easter Sunday. In the Middle East, it was a working Easter. That day being also the deadline for submission of month end reports, I struggled to keep my focus on the image of the risen Christ as I battle emails and phone calls, in between entering data to finish the tasks at hand. To top it all, my colleagues were on holiday and so my work load was multiplied like the bread to feed thousands.

By end of business hours, I was really exhausted but nonetheless, the Holy Spirit helped me through the day. So it happened that we were able to attend the 7pm Easter Mass. The smell of tires being burnt on the road leading to where Sacred Heart Church was located, dominated the festive atmosphere. That did not stop the hundreds who were inside the church compound to pray and praise God. And that was my Easter of 2015.

If the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a one day affair, I would really, really feel bad that a great number of hours on that day was taken up by my earthly duties. But as I continue to “follow” Jesus after He left the tomb, my eyes were opened.

Easter is our daily reminder that Jesus is alive and one day, we shall see His face when He comes again. My eyes were opened, that it is alright to fulfill our earthly duties when it glorifies God and the greater good comes out of it. My eyes were opened, that as we go about our daily lives, the Holy Spirit is ever present. Just like Jesus was, with Cleophas and his companion on their way to Emmaus.

Between life and death, we choose life. Easter is the life after Jesus Christ suffered and died on the Cross. We also died from our old selves during Lent and were renewed on Easter, forgiven of our sins when we repented sincerely. So therefore, let us celebrate Easter everyday so that the sacrifice of Jesus, the sign of His infinite and eternal love will ever be worth it.

The Greatest Announcement

But the angel said to her, ‚ÄúDo not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob‚Äôs descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.‚ÄĚ Luke 1:30-33

Who doesn’t love surprises? I’m sure I have had my share in the 48 years of my existence. But as I try to recall which one had the most impact, not even one comes to mind. Now that surprises me!

Let me see. Well, a wedding proposal might have surprised me. I would have loved to be in the receiving end of one. But sorry for me. Because during our time, it was not necessary. Not because we were less romantic. It was just that the wedding and marriage were already being discussed over the courtship stage that it was in itself, already a proposal and a yes.

And yes, a diagnosis from my OB once surprised me. But in a negative way though. So I would not want to count it in.  And the proper term should be “scare” instead of surprise. If scare is the word, then I have a lot stored in my memory.

So let us go back in time with Mary; when the angel Gabriel announced to her that she was going to be the mother of God, and she will call Him, Jesus. Now that was a big surprise to her. Imagine, in her simplicity and meekness, she found favor with God. Imagine her wonderment. Imagine a life-changing surprise in all her innocence.

But what differs us now, with Mary then when she received God’s word?

Mary was young and inexperienced, while we are older and “matured”, so to speak, and have years of religious instruction in school and the church. Yet when she got the greatest announcement of her life, she trusted God wholeheartedly and believed in His grand plan for her absolutely. She humbly went on with her daily life, even with the knowledge that she was (and still is) most special.

How about us? How do we accept the big surprises that come our way? It may be an unexpected promotion, a huge bonus, a love life that’s long overdue, healing for our ailments, maybe even winning the lottery. Do we receive them with humble and grateful acceptance? Or do we get drunk with self-entitlement that we fail to see the hand of God in all the merriment? And do we even remember to thank Him?

Like Mary, the greatest announcement we could ever receive in our lives is Jesus. Let us be innocent like Mary. Ever trusting. Ever thankful. Because whenever we least expect it, Jesus will continually surprise us with His everlasting love.  And it would be pleasing to Him if we respond exactly like His Mother.

Close Encounter with Pope Francis

It was a typical day.The sun was just up rising above the mountain range that stand guard to our little barrio, Balian where there was a time during my childhood when everyone knows everybody.

All of a sudden, a man in a white robe and skull cap breezed into the sala from nowhere. Of course we knew he was coming. But to literally enter our home was a heavenly experience. Time stood still for a moment as we stood there staring at him in awe, as we share the same space and breathe the same air. We were Pope-strucked!

As I came back slowly to my senses, which seemed like ages, I inched toward him, bowed down, took his hand and kissed it in the traditional way that we, Filipinos, do the “Mano po” to pay our respect.

His hand seemed huge. And I said to myself, this is the big hand of a generous man who has likewise a big heart.

It was quick. The next moment, I saw him sneaking out through our back door. Then everything was vague after that. But every moment with him was vivid.

Then I woke up. It was the day before his arrival in Manila. And I was 7,367 km away here in Bahrain. And I was dreaming!

The following days, much has already been said and done of the papal visit. as I watched the entire Filipino nation welcome Pope Francis wherever he went; as TV cameras focused on each and every face that radiated the joy Pope Francis shared; as I saw my fellowmen wiping their tears at the mere sight of him as I tried so hard to hold back my own- I couldn’t help but remember the dream that I had and how the Pope made me feel. So I empathized. And I understood. I was overwhelmed. I have to write and share.

For five very special days, for Filipinos everywhere in the world, it felt like heaven was within reach.

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Pope Francis rekindled our faith in God, in Jesus who he represents on earth, in the Spirit dwelling amongst us. Pope Francis awakened the innate generosity of our humanity as Filipinos that has long been put to sleep because of social injustice brought about by corruption and greed disguised as government. Pope Francis reaffirmed the sacredness of family and its importance in spreading the Word of God. He reminded us that in order to follow Christ, we should follow His example.

Be a beggar. Be a child. Think well. Feel well. Do well. Be quiet. Cry. Dream. Love. These were notable reminders from the Pope that we will cherish in our hearts and minds long after his departure.

But the real essence of our encounter with the Pope is Jesus. In our generation of materialism when our daily goal had become to make more money, he reminds us that there is something more important in life. That despite how the world has gotten ahead of itself in terms of technology, humankind in fact is getting poorer in terms of the quality of lives of the majority of its population.

It is therefore imperative for us to look back into that five days (six days for me) when Filipinos were elevated to holiness because we came face to face with who we really are and what we should always be. And we are a merciful and compassionate people filled with God’s love. Let not the absence of Pope Francis in our midst once again diminish us to self-centered, self-righteous and self-sufficient people that we are not. God created us in His image and likeness. Let us live up to it.

Let us continue to pray for Pope Francis with grateful hearts. Let us pray for each other as we live not for ourselves alone. We need one another. So let us tell the world of His love. Like Pope Francis joyfully does.

Labor Pains

“Martha, Martha” the Lord answered, “you are upset about so many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

It’s the first day of the new year!!! It’s time to write a new book in our life’s story.
But first let me remember how I got this far.

If asked to describe 2014 in just one word, I choose “meaningful”.

From day one of 2014, the scene in our home where we just moved just days before, was absolutely chaotic. Except for that spot where we sat for the obligatory family photo, everywhere we look at were boxes upon boxes of stuff that were yet to be unpacked and sorted out. It took us about a month to put order into our new home.

Since I grew up where New Year’s Day is the gauge to which the whole year could be predicted to become, we made sure that on every New Year’s Eve, there was bountiful media noche; a clean house down to each cabinet drawers and shelves; pockets full of coins and bills; among other handed down traditions that somehow shape the way we think and live.

But traditions or not, regardless of the disorder in our New Year’s dwelling, 2014 was one that’s full of trials, challenges and difficulties. A year which one with a weak heart and spirit could not endure. The pain was excruciating to say the least. Though not physically, the pain nevertheless pierced each and every part of my being to the very core. But then with each surge of pain, there was always an anticipation so great it momentarily made me forget I was hurting.

Like I was in labor after months of carrying, not a bundle of joy, but a load too heavy to bear. I finally heaved a sigh of relief when a couple of days before Christmas of 2014, my prayer was answered. God once again gave me a gift of hope, like on that first Christmas when Jesus is the “gift” for our salvation.

I cannot recall ever praying so hard like I did those dark days in 2014. And when I saw the light in my answered prayer, the more I felt God’s presence in the here and now. Nothing compares, even those two times I gave birth to my children. The labor pains I had to endure became flickers of memory. The pain disappeared into the wonderful sight of a baby. Now into the sight of a rebirth to a second chance.

It never stops at giving birth. We had to nurture the life that was entrusted to us until it grows into its own fullness in Christ. So should I not stop after receiving the gift of answered prayer. This new year 2015 and for the rest of my life, I have the responsibility to follow through my promise to fulfill the will of God in me; a humble way to express my endless gratitude and praise for His unconditional love for me. I don’t expect the labor pains to go. I’d probably give birth to a new hope over and over again until I grow into full spiritual maturity. Until then, I look forward to this journey to more New Years to come with the Lord in my heart. As that first way of Jesus to the Cross, the pain would be worth it.

So please do not be discouraged. All of us has battlefields to go through at some points in our lives. God will never leave us, if we only let Him fight our battles for us through constant prayer. We have to acknowledge our weakness and believe in His power over all things and in all things.

Bloom Where You Are Re-planted

“Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them…” 1 Corinthians 7:17

I just celebrated my 48th birthday a few weeks back. As part of my annual sentimental “look-back” at what have been, I realized that there is one constant that dominates the story of my life- and that is MOVING.

Before I finished my studies, I lived at 5 different houses and went to 8 different schools. from the time i got married until now, I lived at 9 houses and worked in a commercial establishment, a government agency, a bank, 2 schools and a hospital. That does not include where I live and work now.

Sometimes I wonder what my life could have been if there wasn’t too much action. How stress-free it could have been if i work at the same office table until i retire. And how comforting to live in just one house until my last breath. But who really knows?

So S also wondered how it could have been if I was stuck in only one corner of the same office and worked consistently on the same assignment everyday. by now I would have probably mastered the grooves and accomplish all without batting my short lashes, but how bored to death I would be now.

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I also wondered how many places I would not have the privilege to visit if it was my destiny to normally age within the four corners of the same house i was born to. How I would have missed the rapid beating of my heart whenever i experience the rising of the sun and its setting from different perspectives, the changing of the seasons under a different view of the sky, the genuine tastes and sounds of various societies.

And yes, I wondered how many people I would not have met… and known… and loved, if I was just bounded by the walls of my immediate family. I would not have known people from other nations who are as diverse in our culture and tradition, yet so similar in our humanity.

Moving is actually a joyful adventure for me rather than a futile exercise; like a flowering plant that is constantly being pulled from where it has grown its roots and re-planted to a new and strange spot. It may be a new pot or a beautiful garden. It doesn’t matter where, only its purpose is to bloom.

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I believe I am God’s little flower. And I am repeatedly being uprooted and re-planted to serve my purpose. I am in the here and now because God planned this from the beginning.

When it is time for that little flower in me to move again, I will no longer wonder. because all I need to do is bloom.

Let It Go

“Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:9

My office mate have been singing “let it go, let it go” since I came to work this morning until now that work is over. ¬†I love the song but to hear only those three words over and over (she hums the rest of the song), annoyed me. Until I realized it may be an angel’s way to get a message across.

My patience is on a limited supply usually on the first week of each month, with all the deadlines and the cramming. ¬†God knows i try so hard to be nice. ¬†But there’s a lot going on in my life too. ¬†The personal stuff, if you know what i mean. ¬†And it’s causing my patience meter to do a roller coaster on me. ¬†So it’s hard to flash that smile. ¬†The way to go for my face now is blank. ¬†Like no expression at all. ¬†Like i’m on an out-of-body trip to the nearest exit. Like i’m frozen or something.

Finally before the day is over, I get it. ¬†Tell that to me again…¬†LEt it go. ¬†Let it go. Let it go.¬† And I say, alright! alright! alright!

This is synonymous with sacrifice because I have to part with what I have. ¬†Apparently, no one ever lets go of what he doesn’t have. So let me see, what do I have now? ¬†I have negative vibes. Worries. Stress. Pain. Insecurity. Sadness. Darn! I didn’t realize how much I have until now. These I don’t really need in my life. So yes, let them go.

It is probably the best way to partake in the suffering of Christ.  To let go of our own.  and focus on His Cross.