Tag Archive | reflections

Epiphany in a Song*

What’s this life, anyway, what’s it to you and me

What’s it to anyone; who are we supposed to be?

Make me a storybook and write me away from here

I need a different now…

When you’re very young, you think that you know exactly what you want to be when you grow up. There are all these plans, these dreams, and the boundless optimism that they will all come true, that you will get to the place where you really want to be. But twenty or so years later, you realize that all the answers you thought you knew have faded like the images from a dream when you finally wake up. The maps you have carefully charted are suddenly outdated, impractical. Or maybe it is the optimism that was lost.

…Where we can wear each other for a while

And I’ll lend you my tears if I could borrow your smile

And we’ll get through tomorrow some other day

Happy after once upon these days…

Then it seems as if the horizon is forever out of your reach, and you begin to wonder if perhaps you should aim for another destination, an easier journey. But you can’t give up those old dreams just yet, so you linger on the path, maybe stop for a while and take notice of your surroundings, and of see how far you’ve already come. As you rest, there’s a temptation to go back to familiar lands, to the fields you’ve always known. But no matter how much you wish you could, you know that you can never truly return – you have gone too far and seen too much for those lands to feel like home again. So you wait some more, with another traveler perhaps, hoping for a renewal of strength for the road ahead.

…There are four roads to anywhere, four ways to everything

We were unbreakable; we spoke of destiny

Let’s take a moment out, and go where we never go

Let’s make a new world now…

After a while you begin to wonder if maybe you should try another course, different from the one you planned before you set out. True, this road may turn out to be more difficult, and you don’t have the maps, but it leads to the same destination. So now you have two choices: to stay on the path you know and try to muster up the enthusiasm, or to dare the unknown and embark on an adventure. Then you realize that maybe there is something to be said for having no undisputable directions, because then you can search for the way yourself; and the journey will be all the more precious to you.

…Then one day we’ll find when we’re looking back at this time

Wondering how we’ve come so far from this

And then we’ll close our eyes….

I’ll take a better world, I’ll take anything

I’ll take our little  world now….**

*This is for both of us, Legolas. =)

** lyrics from Chantal Kreviazuk’s song These Days

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Saturday Morning in a Coffee Shop

I sit here now, alone but not lonely, and I feel like I’m part of a different world, one that is lightyears away from the world I can see through the glass wall beside me. I’m supposed to be studying, thinking about Jack and his imbalances and the different ways to treat him, but instead I’m lost in the music from the stereo and the calmness of my solitude. It has been so, so long since I’ve had time to simply relax and listen to my thoughts. So I wander in the meandering pathways of my mind, seeking out the subtle twists and secret corners. And I find, for the first time in a long while, that I am no longer afraid of what I might discover.This freedom, this peace with myself and my God that I found last summer is the sweetest, most beautiful joy I have ever experienced. Even the thrill of being in love cannot surpass this exhiliration, this wonderful feeling of being vulnerable yet secure, unmasked and accepted. Like a golden sunrise chasing away memories of the past night’s desolation, I can feel the incredible tenderness of Jesus melting the walls of guilt and shame in my heart. How I lived for so long without this intimacy with my Savior is beyond me, but now that I have found it, I never, never want to lose it again. How amazing that only when I surrendered did I finally become free.

As I linger in the privacy of my thoughts, the other tables around me are filling up with people. Conversations mingle with the music and disturb the stillness that surrounded me a while ago. I can feel the sun grow warmer through the glass wall and the street outside become busier as people hurry about their business. When I leave here, I will get caught up in the city’s pace once more. But the peace in my heart is constant, a gift of grace that has no season. The choice to surrender is costly, but the reward is far greater than its price. It is the soul-deep assurance that no matter what happens today, next week, and in all the years to come, my identity is secure. To have this healing truth move from my mind to the depths of my soul is one of the most unforgettable legacies of last summer. The encounter with grace has changed my life, and my moments of solitude, like this morning, have become celebrations of a soul restored, a mind renewed and a heart made whole.

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Cry of My Heart

I can feel you pursuing me, I can feel the persistence of your love. A thousand times I’ve turned away from you, I’ve let you down, I’ve broken more promises than I care to count. And yet here you are, whispering, calling me to return to your embrace. Why me? Why, when you can see behind my masks and know all my secrets, would you still choose me? You are blameless, you are pure, and I bear the guilt and the dirt of the many times I’ve stumbled. Yet you look at me…you look at me as if I am more precious, more beautiful to you than I can ever imagine. You see me through the eyes of tenderness, through the eyes of breathtaking, extravagant grace. Your love is costly, but you did not hesitate to pay the price.

How many times have I broken your heart? How many times have I tried again, only to fail? And yet here you are again, holding out another chance, and I am torn. I want to believe that I can make it this time, that I will no longer be unfaithful. But the memories of the many ways I’ve hurt you hang in my mind, and I am afraid.

Can we really hope again, you and I? I want to belong to you once more, completely, like I once did when I first fell in love with you. I want you to teach me the art of losing myself in your love, surrendering with no inhibitions or pride, only trust. Do not give up on me yet, do not let go. Take me again, take my fear, take my shame. I know only you can release me. Take the broken pieces of my heart and heal these wounds. Make me whole, make me pure, make me free — so that you can finally, truly, call me Yours.

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Garnet

She is silent, and it is not the kind of silence I am used to from her. It is a weary silence…as if she were too broken and too exhausted to try to express whatever is haunting her.

She wants to give up, but to her, giving up has never been easy. She has held on for the longest time – dreaming big dreams and caring with all her heart and giving everything she had. It is not easy to let go of that now. But she is disillusioned, and she is hurting too much. If only, if only, if only…. But the wounds are already too deep, and she cannot pretend any longer.

I am not used to seeing her like this. Nobody is. She smiled so freely and laughed too easily for me to ever imagine her this way. But I look at her now and realize that maybe, just maybe, I have never really seen her before.

I want to ask her to hold on just a little bit longer. I want to tell her to talk to me, let me take some of the pain. And most of all, I want to urge her to try again, just one more time. But how can I ask that of her? How can I tell her to dream again, when she had given her soul to this one dream, and it had broken her heart so badly? How can I convince her that I believed in her, when she had already stopped believing in herself? The look in her eyes seems too distant for me to reach….

And yet I must try. She may not know it, but I feel that if she surrenders now, it will change her forever. If she stops dreaming, she may never allow herself dreams as big and beautiful as this one again. If she gives up, it will be a betrayal of the very essence that makes her who she is. Letting go will hurt her as much as holding on.

She needs to believe again. Just one more time, just one more try. Just one more dream. Maybe this time, she’ll find herself not being alone.


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one spectacular summer

Whew… I don’t know where to start. Once again, I find words so empty when trying to describe this joy I have inside. God has been so faithful, so good, and it always takes my breath away when I think of all He has done for me this summer. He never fails to amaze, and as usual, all that I expected fell short of what He had in store for me. I do not deserve to be loved this way, but His grace makes it possible.

First of all, the NLTI. It was wonderful! How can I describe the joy of worshipping God with His people? How can I put into words the thrill of learning things that will be vital in my ministry, or the sweetness of finding encouragement in the lives of His children? I had no idea just how much I needed those experiences until God gave them to me. The new things I tried, the friends I met, the inspiration I found in the lives of His servants – all these refueled the fire in me and refreshed my desire to serve Him better, love Him deeper and enjoy Him more. It was over too quickly. I will always treasure every memory, I will hide in my heart everything that I have learned. Next year, God willing, I will again be in Cebu. I need more training, I want to be better equipped, and I want to once again enjoy the company of those who share the same passion and serve the same God. Ten more months to go. I can hardly wait. (“,)

And then the church anniversary. God has been so faithful in providing the strength, creativity and talent we needed to help make the program a joyful celebration of His seventh year of faithfulness to the Christian Community Fellowship. But more than the success of the presentations, what I really treasure are the closer friendships that formed within the young people. We have a new youth pastor, Pastor Marvin Lachica, and it was his first time to lead the youth in any activity. Praise God for the smooth transition, I especially enjoy seeing the boys treat him as a friend. My prayer is that God will use him as the mentor they need and bless him as he continues to adjust to his new environment.

And then more recently, the CCF summer youth camp, dubbed Rescue 113 (from Colossians 1:13). It was designed for evangelism, and it was also the first major activity of the new core group. The youth leaders were hesitant at first, doubting their ability to lead small groups and facilitate programs. But God is so faithful, and my heart just overflows with joy when I think of how He has worked not only for the salvation of the non-Christian campers but also for the growth of our core leaders and the revival of other church youth. He truly makes everything beautiful in His time. I can’t stop praising God when I recall how responsible, confident and mature our core group turned out to be, thanks to His grace.  I feel so fulfilled, so blessed and so thankful that all the tears, prayers and effort spent in caring for them were not in vain. (Leah, Jocelyn, Vanessa, Inggo, Lisa and Rhyme, I am so very proud of you. You just don’t know how happy I am that you trusted God despite your fears. I feel so honored and humbled at the same time to be your ate, and I will always, always be praying for you. I love you so much.) The Sunday after the camp was a wonderful, happy experience. The new believers came to church and kept asking about when the next camp would take place. They have already spread the word in their community about what God has done in their lives, and are excited about bringing their friends. God willing, we will be ready to facilitate an Encounter God Retreat in October. Again, I can hardly wait.

The summer is not yet over. There are still two True Love Waits lectures and one wedding on the schedule before the sem begins. And when it does, the campus ministry will once again be in full swing. Oh, I am so excited. I know God will be faithful, and I know He will always take my breath away with His grace. It is such a joy to serve Him, I wouldn’t trade this priviledge for anything else. I could sing of His love forever!!!

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At a loss for words

When you have a Friend that holds you close despite your glaring imperfections, when you have a Saviour who forgives over and over again, when you have a God who somehow chooses to use the flawed vessel that is your life, can there be any words of praise and thanksgiving joyful enough to express your heart?

There are none.

And yet, I have to try. If only I can translate my tears to words…but surely He knows, and He sees how grateful I am.

He is wonderful. No, He is so much more than that. These past few weeks…I do not know how to recount them, I do not know how to tell the story of how He moved in the way it deserves to be told. All I know is, the Encounter God Retreat camp is an amazing testimony of His power, and I am humbled to have witnessed how He changed lives. The first night of the retreat was a discouraging sight. The hall was filled with around 200 young people who did not know how to worship God, who did not even desire to do so… And yet, when the last day came, the building shook with the shouts and jumps of His praising children who have been redeemed, purified, embraced. The God who hears. That is our God.

It was incredible. To witness how young people finally learned to look inside their own hearts and recognize their need, to see how hearts were broken with repentance, and to watch as those broken hearts were made whole by Love. I can only ask, Why, Lord? Why this grace, why this unmerited favor? Who are we, that You would love us so stubbornly?

But I know. It is not because of who we are, but because of who He is. There is nothing I can ever do to deserve this.

All I can do is to thank Him. For the victory. For the power. For the amazing, breathtaking grace. Over and over again, I thank Him.

Teach me, Lord, how to love You the way You want me to…

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Reflections

Fear not the night, for as fire brings out the purest gold, so does darkness reveal the stars. Light breaks to give us a rainbow; and a rose is crushed to surrender its fragrance. God uses even the bitterness of tears to cleanse our hearts and unveil the sweetness of our souls. Those He wants to purify, He puts through the fire. Those He wants to shine through most brightly, He leads to the night.

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