Real love is

Friday, 15 August 2014
"Real love waits in the snow on your front porch so you can walk to school together in the fifth grade. It brings you a chocolate bar when you fall and finish last in the seventh grade Olympics. 
Real love whispers something in the middle of algebra about your pink fingernail polish so that you don’t forget how to smile when you’re doing math, and it saves a seat for you in the lunchroom every Friday through high school. Even when the other baseball players think you’re stupid.
Real love has time to listen to your hopes and dreams when your parents are too busy with the PTA or the auxiliary club or the business they run at the local bank.
Real love stays up late on a Saturday making chocolate chip cookies together, flicking flour at you and getting eggshells in the batter and making sure you’ll remember that night the rest of your life. And real love thinks you’re pretty even when your hair is pulled back in a ponytail and you don’t stand perfectly straight."

I was reading a book by one of my favorite authors, Karen Kingsbury, and came across these lines. To say that they hit hard would be an understatement. Because really, when was real love ever that simple. Or rather, when did we make love so complicated? Caught up in rules and dos and don'ts and expectations, a relationship has become more of a game that the one who cares less wins. 

And somehow, along the way, love has become a set of rules one has to fit into. Now I'm not saying I'm an advocate of relationships before the season of singlehood, but I'm not saying I'm against it either. If there is a student couple in church, wouldn't it be better that they be guided into the relationship with God as the center and then they decide for themselves wherever God leads them rather than judging them and they end up rebelling and walking away? Of course there is wisdom from the elderly and godly counsel from leaders, but there isn't anyone to judge that what the younger couples have are any less true. 

However, here's another point I'd like to leave out there: real love waits. And like any other Christian girl, I have read a Genesis 29 with a prayer that someone out there will wait for me the same way Jacob waited for Rachel. As it was written, "Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her." And of course there were 7 more years afterwards because of the situation with Leah (I suggest you go read your bible if you're not familiar with what I'm talking about) for a total of 14 years. FOURTEEN YEARS, believe it. And sweetheart, you are worth waiting. You are worth laboring for and praying for - even that long.

And here's the thing in any kind of platonic or romantic relationship: it doesn't have to be so dramatic. Some people want so much emotional roller coasters and "passion" that the value of commitment gets lost along the way. I repeat, love does not have to be complicated. Of course, that's very idealistic and there will be disagreements and misunderstandings - but that's totally normal. You don't need a full-out telenovela-worthy love story filled with gunshots and run-ways. And I'm not saying it's about the kilig moments and the walks in the park. But it is about being aligned to God's will, keeping yourselves accountable, and living out a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love. 

And of course, always always go back to Christ's example of true love: death on the cross. Whether you're waiting for someone or trying to forgive a friend or understanding a parent, it boils down to Christ's perfect love. Because, to top it off with one last Karen Kingsbury line, "real love lets you figure out the answers by yourself. It says good-bye for a season and prays for your return. Real love understands about love and sacrifice and is willing to live accordingly."

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
-Romans 8:37-39

Real love isn't possessive and selfish that wants right now. It isn't a race of  good-looking Maseratis about who will get to the finish line first, because then you'd just crash and burn. Real love doesn't have to be complicated. Real love is this: it is so purely beautiful that it never ends.

When all is lost

Friday, 20 June 2014
Here I am, having yet another "lost" story. My brother chalks it up to carelessness, my best friend blames it on my naïveté, I say it's both. 2 years ago, a good deal of cash was swiped from me literally from right under my nose. Last year, my 4s was stolen in a blink of an eye. This year. Well. I lost my 5s.

Already running late for practice, I got on a tricycle, texted my parents, and jumped out as soon as I reached my destination. I usually start listening to music as soon I start walking, so I reached inside my bag. I couldn't feel my phone. Opening the bag wide, I rummaged and basically excavated. Still no phone. Panicking, I ran back to the place where the tricycle driver dropped me, but he was already gone. In my disarray, I was looking left and right, running up and down and crossing streets in complete disregard of the motorists. 

Now if I were to be honest, I was kind of mad at God while all of it was happening. I've been going through a tough season where He asked me to give up and sacrifice some of the things and people that matter most to me, and I'm still really reeling from that. And then I lose my phone. In my mind, I was yelling that I obeyed, I followed, I gave up so much. And this is what I get? I was livid; frustrated.

And so another tricycle driver, upon seeing how out of it I am, asked what was wrong. I told him, so he took pity on me and offered to take me back to the condo where I first got on the tricycle, for they usually go through the same routes. When he dropped me off, I offered to pay him but he refused. In the midst of all that was going wrong, I found a blessing. I thanked him and ran up to my brother. 

As soon as I entered the condo, I started talking and sobbing as I tried to explain what was happening. He calmed me down, got on the browser to track my phone (here I actually started appreciating the tracker my parents use to track us), and saw that it was at the edges of town. He called my phone and it rang. I tracked my phone again and this time saw that it was on the move. In a hurry, he grabbed the car keys, I grabbed my laptop (to continue tracking), and we went running to the car - ready for a wild goose chase. 

At this point, all I could do was to plead to God; to have faith in Him that things will turn out okay, and to have faith in the driver I left my phone with. 

As soon as we got on the streets, we saw the tricycle I rode in. I hurriedly got out of the car and ran up to the driver. When I got to him, he pointed at me and said that he had my phone. Apparently, he saw it on the seats when another passenger was getting off, and asked the passenger to give it to him. Out of gratitude, I got every bill that I could out of my wallet and gave it to him. Relief and thankfulness enveloped me; I felt God reassure me.

And so I realized one thing: God knows all that is lost. See, what if the driver wasn't honest. What if the passenger picked it up. What if, like the last time my phone was stolen, I barely batted an eyelash and just continued on my merry way. Too many what ifs, really. But at the end of the day, it's not moving in my own strength; it's not about the what ifs. It's having complete faith that He knows what's going on and He knows what He's doing. He gives back what is truly yours and holds back what isn't. Either way, after everything has passed, there will be another wonderful story to tell.

The grandeur of love

Thursday, 13 February 2014
Last year, I wrote about love and how it's a decision to love people even when it hurts and when they're just plain irritating. This time, though, I'd like to take it even deeper. 

When I did that last post on loving, I thought I already knew the full extent of what it means to love. But when I looked at Christ's framework for love, I realized that I still lacked. Miserably. Because love isn't just biting your tongue when you get annoyed, true love is completely choosing not to dwell on the negative emotion.

And I always had this notion that I would only love the people who would love me back, because that's what feels good. I mean, why in the world would I want to waste my emotion on someone who's just downright unlovable and doesn't know how to love in return, right?


Love is giving. And giving. And giving. Unconditionally. Without expecting anything in return.

I know it sounds hard, it is hard. Frankly, it sounds awfully good in theory but it is exceptionally difficult to live out. I repeat, exceptionally difficult.

Loving this way means being prone to hurt; being vulnerable. People might not return your love and will only take you for granted. But then, that's one more thing I recently learned about love.

Love takes risks. Not just risks, but giant leaps of faith.

You have to decide that you care more about the person than your fear of getting hurt. It's looking past the height below the cliff and seeing the magnificent view in front of you. Because the truth is, love is beautiful.

I have this huge thing for watching engagement and wedding videos. I usually get teased for being way too excited to get married but in reality, I just really like seeing the look of love and joy in the eyes of the groom and the bride - it takes my breath away.

And I realized that, be it love for your family or friends or special someone, it should be that way: it should leave your heart fluttering. I've been told I read too many fairy tales and maybe I have. But here's one thing I know for sure: I wasn't made to be mediocre, so why in the world should I settle for a mediocre kind of love? 

I'm not just talking about that roller-coaster emotion that you feel, I'm talking about the commitment to love. Because in all reality, as much as the butterflies feel good, they would eventually fly away. But the emotions fading doesn't make love any less grander than it was before. In fact, all the more should you put in more effort to sustain the relationship; all the more should you be motivated to love.

So what to do with that classmate that annoys you so much? Love. That friend who betrayed your trust? Love. The pedicab driver causing traffic? Love.

We are called to love people, to the fullest extent that we are capable of. Yes, even the annoying tear-your-hair-out people. In Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy; Jack and Rose; Noah and Allie proportions. To the extent that the emotions conveyed by the classic songs you sing at the top of your lungs into a hairbrush-microphone when you think no one is watching start being real.

Because that's what Christ did for us. He loved us even when we weren't worth loving, for as much as he was capable of. He loved us so much that he was willing to die for us, and that's a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love. He took a chance on us, even when we might not love him back. Crazy, right?

That's how true love should be - CRAZY. It's being selfless and sacrificial. It's giving up the last slice of your favorite cake because your friend is craving; it's comforting your sister through her breakup even if you have an exam you haven't reviewed for; it's foregoing your own preferences just so there is harmony.

It's an adventure; a discovery; an awakening. So have faith as you jump of that cliff for even if you end up falling instead of flying, you can be rest assured that God's ready to catch you.

Living louder

Friday, 24 January 2014
"There is something about the courage of others that makes us extremely nervous. It calls into question every safe decision we’ve ever made, and forces us to ask what we’re really protecting when we do things in the most comfortable way possible."

Life is too short for mediocrity and settling. I'd really rather not live a life that lacks passion. Years from now, I don't want to look back and wonder a series of what ifs and dream of could bes. I don't want to stand in a place that I thought I would be happy in and realize that I'm not because deep inside I know I was made for more. 

I don't want life to keep catching up to me, I want to be the one who catches life. 

I'm sure I'm not the only one who have made too many decisions on the basis that they were safe and have gone far too long living in the comforts of familiarity. Safe is feels nice, safe feels sure. 

But safe also means living less than what could be. 

I know way too many people afraid to leave their hometowns because it's a big, unsure world out there; too many people afraid to live a life far from their family and friends because those people were their safety net; too many people afraid to quit their jobs to chase after their dreams because people think it's silly. Too many people afraid.

You may tell me I don't know what I'm talking about and I have no experience in the "real world." Well maybe I don't. But I don't mind living through rose colored glasses, because in reality I know that my God is big and I was made to dream big. 

I'll be turning 18 AND graduating university this year, the thought of it scares me. I have so many blank pages ahead of me that I have to fill up, and I'm having a writer's block. I feel like a kid who grew up way too fast, and fear surrounds me. But I refuse to let it cripple me. I'll keep chasing glitters of gold.

We'll all die, I just don't want to be the one who dies having regrets. Life is way too beautiful a gift to not make it worth living.

Goodbye, 2013!

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 had so many ups and downs, so many defining moments. If I had one word to sum everything up, it would be: serendipitous. For amidst the down moments stood a silver lining, and the most amazing experiences came naturally, spontaneously, and unexpectedly. 

I lost a loved one this year and it still hurts, of course it does. I can't count the number of times that I would walk into his office this vacation only to remember he's not there and will never be, and I just have to hold back and quietly shed tears. I understand pain during this season, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who has to simply look at the brighter side, but indeed I also gained new people to love. 

God gave me such new wonderful friends this year, and beyond that He has blessed me with such a warm and loving family, and so many unforgettable memories that come with them. 

2013 was full of spontaneity, humor, courage, hope, love, and faith. I have so much to be thankful for, and I just know that God has so much in store this 2014. I'm in faith for bigger things, greater things, more wonderful memories. 

Yes, tragedies hit this year, but there are also so many blessing to be grateful for - blessings that should not be forgotten just because dark clouds cast over. So whatever you're going through, SMILE! There is hope for 2014. :)

I know that He is working behind the scenes, and that events are lining up to take place. The tapestry is getting weaved to paint the bigger picture, and I'm excited to be part of it. I'm excited to finally turn 18, to graduate college, to go to my first ten days mission trip, and for so much more! ❤️

Cheers to a blessed 2013, and here's to an even more blessed and amazing 2014! ☺️

The All In Manifesto

Tuesday, 8 October 2013
Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.
Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions.
Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.
Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes.
Keep seeking God.
Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution.
Stop repeating the past and start creating the future.
Stop playing it safe and start taking risks.
Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences.
Enjoy the journey.
Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can.
Live like today is the first day and last day of your life.
Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshiping what’s right with God.
Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails.
Don’t let fear dictate your decisions.
Take a flying leap of faith.
Quit holding out. Quit holding back.
Push all of your chips to the middle of the table.
It’s time to ante up all of your faith.
It’s time to go all in.
It’s time to go all out.

The thing about commitment

Sunday, 6 October 2013

I learned on thing from Daniel Dela Torre today and it's that when you commit to something, you see it all the way through. He used the example of relationships; how when you're in a relationship with someone, you should see t all the way through despite the hardships. Now I won't say I'm an expert at this because I am most definitely not. But one thing I realized is that while so many people see it as a given in their human relationships, many Christians fail to apply it in relationship with God. Somehow, it became so much easier to disappoint God than to disappoint the world. 

Let's make it a little easier to understand. Think of a person you really like. Imagine that you're in a relationship with that someone and said person cheats on you. Or imagine that the person committed to you and yet decided to walk away when a disappointment happens. Can you feel how much pain that would cause?
Well Jesus lives that through with us everyday. 
Each and every day, we choose friends, fame, money, pride, and other worldly things over Him. The moment something doesn't go along the way we planned, we instantly blame Him and make tampo and turn away.

I'm not pointing fingers, because I myself have done this so many times that I couldn't count - to God and to people. But I guess that's where Jesus comes in, for He is the perfect example of commitment. No matter how many times we let Him go, He never lets us go. We haven't even loved Him yet, but He loved us so much already that He CHOSE to die for us.

That's one more thing Daniel made me realize about commitment. It's not something you do because you feel like it, it's something you stick by even when you don't. People fail at it so many times, need I mention the 50% divorce rate in America? But again, that's where Jesus comes in. He sticks by us even when we aren't worth staying with anymore. 

Before you commit to your friends, to responsibilities, or romantic relationships, commit to God first. Only then will you realize what it means to be truly committed - only He is the perfect epitome.