from mind to heart to words

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As a missionary, one of the advocacies that I would like everyone to dedicate into is to build a church for the family. They always say that “family is the basic unit of society.” Right. To understand and strengthen the soul of a family, its members have to commit to keeping it together in love and hope; thus, making the life at home a life worth-giving to the society, to the world.

It’s hard to picture or even point out a family who represents such. And with the dreadful influence of media to the families nowadays, maintaining an intact household is somehow a hopeless case. However, one family manages to bring hope and joy to other families, inspiring the world with their random sweet nothings.

Life in the limelight isn’t always charming. A public life can be very demanding and messy yet, Doug and Cheska Kramer know so well that it’s not all show business.  I know they’re not perfect but praise God, they‘re keeping theirs steady.  

I’m sure most of us didn’t know that they are more than what we expect them to be. More than the pretty faces and cute moves, what makes this family trending?

Behind a great man is a great woman. I wasn’t a fan of their relationship. I don’t become a fan of showbiz couples unless they’re married. I am an advocate of marriage. For me, it’s a spiritual union of two people.

It is when you get to know the heart of your spouse that your marriage becomes genuine.  Notice how Doug and Cheska go on regular dates? It’s not surprising why their marriage is healthy because they are really one. They update each other, support, loosen up once in a while, gossip maybe, and get to know each other all over again. A refreshment to an always thirsty heart.

Not only the dates but also the devotional books they read and how they share it to their followers. It’s good to highlight a line or two but observe how the two took photos of the whole page! Clearly, they want their followers to have that fullness of God’s messages to them. Not to mention their dedication to the bible study group.   

Moreover, this couple never fail to capture their kids’ little adventures: singing, goofing around, crying, throwing tantrums, wearing costumes, heels and make up. Many people misunderstand and found it a little over the top but those are the magical instances of a child, a sequence of unrewindable moments that only lead to the future. Not ideal but real.

Sum it all up, team Kramer is a manifestation of God’s love for us because that’s how the Lord works in us. He throws us into the public, into a world full of the unknown. He is proud of us. He wants the whole world to see the beauty of His children and keeps us all intact despite our whines and tantrums! He is one with us. He sets dates to catch up with us, to get to know us, to capture our own magical moments but do we respond just like how we respond to #teamKramer?

With the technology today, #teamKramer is the most accessible inspiration. Their life is wide open for the whole world to see. But as this team overflows their blessings to us (fans/followers), may we also shower God a like or a simple comment, an affirmation, a thanksgiving. As Doug Kramer puts it in one of his photos’ captions, “..be a reflection of Him to others.”

This is the season when one would find himself/herself battling with the weather! Rain has been pouring hard! Look outside and all you’d have to say is “this is the best time to stay at home!” I’ve been saying that to myself for a week now before going to work and I am guilty of giving in to the temptation once in a while. Forgive me.

Anyway, while I was browsing through my newsfeed a few days back, a certain status or I think it was a fan page that a friend liked, caught my attention. It says, Pag may bagyo College lang may klase anong tingin niyo samin WaterProof?”

I gave a smirk. Well, back when I was in college, I also became this remorseful of the law. There were times when my patience wasn’t enough and went to school with a bitchy face and attitude. Imagine what we have to go through in skirts! Add to the list the arrogant drivers, the greedy manong pedicab, the floating diapers, and the rats which seemed on their way to school also. There was so much to endure and life was really unfair. That was not funny, I thought. But looking back, going to class on a stormy day was an once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

It is just now that I understand why the government pushes such law. It’s true that college students aren’t waterproof. But among all those who are going to school, college students are expected to deal with incidents like flood, heavy traffic, and storm, more maturely than anyone. College students are professionals in the making. They are expected to make smart moves. Not only do they have the mind that can strategize their way out of a flood but also, they should be responsible enough for their health. Take vitamins, bring umbrellas and raincoats, wrap an open wound with a plastic and secure it with a tape. Don’t go crying like a kindergarten or whining like a high school. You are through with that.  

The country needs leaders who stand up rightly even at hard times. As petty as it may sound, my courage fired up because of the moments when I was down in floods. I learned how to decline convenience (no to 100 peso pedicab ride) and take risks. I grew more compassionate (asking some street children if they’ve already eaten, buy them some soup). I understand how serious people are in managing to get on with their lives; the McDonald’s delivery boy, the pedicab drivers, even the reporters endure just so they can earn a living.

Don’t feel bad, college students. You just have to be extra careful. Neither storm nor flood can take down your passion in studying. Be a model of excellence. Yes, you are not waterproof but you are deep inside.

Have you ever desired for something so special only to realize it wasn’t meant for you? Sometimes, it’s hard to distinguish if our wishes and prayers are right; if the Lord is even one with us in our yearnings.  Well, He is. He’s just taking matters in His own hands which most of the time clashes with our own ways.

Recently, He’s been exposing me to, so far, my sweetest downfall. It’s so unfair and frustrating when the Lord is testing you; more so, teasing you! And as confusing as it may sound, everything He allowed to happen, good or bad, is a blessing not a curse.

LOVINGLY INJURED.  This is how I describe the state of my heart. The past weeks were a battle between being just a woman who acknowledges the humanly feelings and desires and being a woman of God who does what is right even if it feels otherwise. I have to admit that it was one of the toughest moments I have to face.

When you are at the peak of embracing God’s love, it is also the evil’s cue to bring you down, so one wrong move and you’ll fall. There is always harm in bearing too much even if it’s love. As the Spice Girls put it, “too much of something is bad enough… too much of nothing is just as tough.” I found myself giving in to little moments of weaknesses that unconsciously left a wound in my heart.  And because I am a woman desiring for a perfect place in God’s heart, I knew I was lost. I felt like I was never even near Him. As I try so hard to maintain balance, I stumble upon moments of self-pity, remorse, and sadness.

One could just imagine the panic and confusion I was in. How can I waste my precious time investing on unnecessary people and emotions? I felt like people were only taking a lot from me while I was giving too much to them. I felt I mishandled God’s affection and compromised all His beautiful plans for me.

But I was wrong. All the time I thought I was lost but it turned out that I was in the right place. Every prayer and conviction I held on to was given authenticity. I was like gold tested on fire. The Lord made me fight for my heart’s purity by staining my soul. He didn’t take it easy on me because He wanted me badly. He dragged me and beat me up so I would have no choice but to surrender.

It is in our downfalls that miracles happen. A wound becomes a favor because it gave me a chance to heal. It is in our sins that we are given a chance to rediscover God’s love and mercy. And it is with people who are unlovable that we have all the opportunities to love unconditionally. God’s love for me is so great and powerful, He made what I thought was an evil’s curse into a blessing!

Truly, when you are pushed beyond your limits, that’s when you’ll know who you really are and what you are meant for. You just have to remind yourself that no matter what happens, the Lord desires you because He made you for His world. Remember that something special you’ve always desired for yourself? Keep praying. It’s meant for you.

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Chris August

God is a stranger Himself. His ways are mysterious, His acts are unpredictable and His plans are unknown. It doesn’t make sense to be praying to Him yet He caught my heart with answers I’ve been chasing in my prayers for so long thus, proving that I am not foolish to be calling upon to Him. You must allow Him to convince you that He can create balance; that it’s good when there’s too much because you don’t have any choice but to surrender control of your life; that even in your confusions, something great happen. Call off the search, the answers are with this Stranger.

When you pursue/are being pursued by someone in need, you won’t realize that you only stay because you’re enjoying the pleasure of filling up their needs which is not your job in the first place. That’s why a man and a woman should be already satisfied with the love of God before entering a relationship, because the more they thirst for each other’s love, the more they give in to the wrong ones.

Many things haven’t gone the way I wanted them to. Many people haven’t acted the way I expected them to. It kills me to be bombarded with both hard moments and people. I always believe that GOD IS LOVE and WE SHOULD LOVE LIKE GOD but why, again, am I back in that gloomy place wherein taking it easy on love gives me such a hard time?

I fail and am so disappointed in how I turned out. I began to hate myself for it but more than that, I began hating the people who made me go through such emotional tragedy. Why can’t they just have a joyful heart during their downfalls? Worse is, why do they have to pull me down as well?

But the same questions apply to me. Where’s my joyful heart? Why do I let them pull me down? Why am I making this about them when it’s all about me? And so I realized, I am turning into this frustrated and wretched woman not because of others’ frustrations and wretchedness but of my own! It’s really embarrassing to have realized that. How humiliating to have comprehended just now that I haven’t really dwelt into God’s love. I just dip in His warm water and when it’s either too cold or too hot; I step back and don’t take the plunge.

Maybe I’m too afraid to go in swimming.  Maybe I feel threatened by other swimmers. Or maybe I’m too exhausted of the swim itself. If I’d think that the swim is for other people, if I’d consider how fed up I am, and if I’d believe that my strength is not enough to handle those laid upon me, I would’ve given up the swim a long time ago to get by without drowning. But as I think about it, I am neglecting the fact God is in control. This is His work. This is His swim not mine. The swim where my strokes and kicks are appreciated but not as significant as His. If I don’t take the plunge, I put myself and my needs more important than God’s.  

It’s such a sad reality that the Lord always has to hammer circumstances only to remind us of Him. Sometimes, I wonder why we have to be so full of our own demands for us to realize that we are empty. It is when we are excessively occupied with our personal desires that wisdom is lost, thus, pumping out our already drained souls.

Sigh. Maybe God is up to something. He is.

How you handle the results of the election reflects how you are as a person. Do you think you’re being heroic by whining about how some candidates are so undeserving to win and unhelpful to the growth of the country? Do you think you’re uplifting the Philippine nation by making fun of your so-called losers? Check yourselves, friends. By stepping on the dignity of these people who are only trying to serve you, you become a part of the fall of our country because you are only proving that Filipinos embrace such evil ways. So who’s to blame?