Monday, June 14, 2021

"Are you okay?"

"Are you okay?" She asked me that question as her eyes met mine, my arms around her, her arms around mine. I nodded. But she knew my nod didn't mean yes as the answer to her question.

I gazed my eyes back on the screen as the worship team continued the song, leading the congregation to praise Him.

She knew for sure I wasn't okay. I was not the usual mom she sees at church during worship. My body was not dancing with the music. I didn't open my mouth to sing. I didn't raise my hands to praise. I stood beside her like a statue.

I wasn't okay, and it's okay. I got to church with this raging feeling inside. Several minutes before that, I was at home, mad. Little things ticked me. I snapped at the girls. My husband too. Usually, I manage to resolve these kind of feelings on our way to church. But today, I decided to be stubborn. I decided to feed those feelings.

While the worship started, I just stood there for minutes. I sulked. I was throwing tantrums inside me. I was like in a "terrible-twos" kind of outburst, but in a silent way. I tried to read the lyrics of the song. Some words penetrated my disordered heart. Some spilled to nothingness.

But... God.

Despite my messy thoughts and stormy emotions, I anchored myself to one truth. My Father loves me despite of my fit. I hear Him say, "It's okay." And He's right there, patiently waiting for me to run to Him whenever I am ready. He's right there, arms ready to receive me. In situations like this, I sometimes think of  how spoiled I am because the God of the universe waits for me. He understands me. He doesn't demand to pull myself together right there and then. He waits. He never leaves. That is probably the reason why sometimes, I just allow myself to wallow in my emotions and feel the outburst like a child who didn't get what she wants. All because I know deep inside, that to my Father, it's okay to feel that way. That doesn't change His love for me anyway. That's how secure I am.

I am loved no matter what.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

"Martha, Martha..."

"Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." 
Luke 10:41-42

"Riza, Riza, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." 

I can hear Jesus telling me these words, only when I actually take a pause and listen. Many times, I am deaf of these words from Him. My deafness is caused by the worries and troubles about many things. I often do this during my Bible time in the morning. Most oftent than not, I hurry my time with the Lord. A quarter of my brain is with him, three quarters are on the things I need to do for the day. I call it "my time with the Lord." The reality is, it isn't. Oftentimes, I don't even recognize that I am doing it. It's because my mind is full of worries and troubles of this world. Just like Martha when she got upset that her sister Mary didn't help her prepare food to serve Jesus.

Unlike Martha, I do not have Mary with me to get upset of. Part of myself is actually the "Mary" who wants to spend time with the Word of the Lord. Yet, the Martha side of me is dominant.

"Help me Jesus in times the Martha in me nags to hurry my time with you. Help the Mary in me to overcome the other side so that my soul is satisfied after each time I spend with you."

Friday, October 30, 2020

Lost: Adventure with My Daughter, Evie

I won't let this day pass without putting this experience on the record. I do not want this forgotten. It's one of the memories that I (or my daughter) will look one day to laugh, and tell ourselves, "we didn't give up!"

My 6th grader was invited to her best friend's birthday party today. The schedule is not a typical party time. It's between 5 to 7 PM. Her Dad has a scheduled online meeting with his friends, therefore, I will be the one to drive her to and fro.

I do not drive very often. Most of all, I haven't driven to a place where I am not familiar with. Well, the venue where the party will be is totally not familiar. But I have Google maps which gives me instruction as I drive, so there's nothing to worry about. I am very confident about it. Plus, I get to prove that I can take her to places by myself.

Well, I was totally wrong. The GPS brought us to the wrong address. We circled and circled in the place. It took us to nowhere. I started to get upset. I felt bad for her. I called her friend's Mom, but her instruction didn't help at all. We tried several ways to get to the destination, but failed. She started to get upset and started to whimper. She begged to just go home. But I didn't want to do that. I wanted to take her where she should be in those hours. After a few tries, we came into an agreement that if we don't find the place again, we will just go home. But deep inside me I didn't want to give up. I kept calling heaven for help. She took care of the phone and gave me instructions on where to go. The GPS took us to the same place again. I called her Dad and told him what happened. He asked us about the address. And well, we totally messed up. Apparently I didn't specify the word "court" after the number and the street name. So, the GPS took us by default to a "drive" instead of court. Most streets in our valley use "drive" instead of "street," "lane," "circle," etc. I was clueless that these names matter a lot when asking a GPS to locate the place for direction.

Even though we decided to just go home, Evie changed the wordings on the phone, thus showing her the correct direction. On our way out, I stopped by the corner, and one good Samaritan noticed us just circling around, so he asked. Well, we were totally in the wrong place, the reason we couldn't find it. He gave us an instruction which actually matched the new info that Evie entered on the phone. We headed our way and in 3 minutes was parked right in front of her friend's house. She has an hour and seven minutes late. Yup. It was already dark. I felt bad for her and at the same time happy that despite our misadventures, we made it together. I took it as a beautiful, learning experience for the both of us together. I saw how and what we will be when we are bombarded by surprises. I am very proud of her. Even though there was a point she lost her hope, she didn't give up in the end.

We just laughed what happened after we picked her up. When she and I got out of the car, she asked for a hug. Then she told me that what we went through is just like something that happens on Amazing Race. LOL. I thought of the same thing on my way home from dropping her off. Talk about mother and daughter thinking alike (and yes, Dada drove me and Fifi to pick her up). 

Today is a beautiful day. Today is totally a different day. Today is something to celebrate with wonderful memories that we get to talk about in the future.

My Abba, Father, my Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit, all His angels were there all the time to help us out. It's another evidence of how He takes care and protects us all the time.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

The Chosen Devotional Day 40: Mission

"I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me." The the righteous will answer Jesus saying, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and we feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, and naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick and in prison and visit you?" And the King will answer them, "Truly I say to you, as you did to the one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.-" Matthew 25:30-40
  • Jesus takes what you do and don't do for others personally. What does that mean to you? How does it motivate you?
I need to be reminded of this. At the same time, if my humanness fails me, I need not feel guilty or condemn because of all the things, that is not what Jesus wants me to feel. I will make it better each time to do the mission that He purposed me to do.
  • Who comes to mind when you read Matthew 25:35-40? What is the Holy Spirit leading you to do?
Those who do not know who really Jesus is and how loved they are by Him. Share the good news whenever  I can.
  • Our mission is clear, but we're easily distracted. What in your life, your relationsjips, your priorities, your perspective needs to change in order for you to be more active in Christ's mission? 
Eliminate some distractions.

Friday, August 7, 2020

The Chosen Devotional Day 39: Wellspring

[Jesus] came to a town of Samaria called Sychar... Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as He was from His journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink."... [But she] said to Him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, "Give me a drink," you would have asked Him, and He would have given you the living water.-" John 4:5-10
  • What kind of statement was Jesus making by choosing to announce Himself to an outcast who was both a Samaritan and a woman?
He is saying that not everyone treats the woman like she was treated, that He's different.
  • How was Jesus different than every other person she'd come across? How was she expecting to be treated by Him?
She expected to be treated with silence or talked with harsh words. She expected for Jesus to stay away from her.
  • After she realized Jesus was the Messiah, she spread the word. How can you do the same?
Share the good news to the people around me.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Chosen Devotional Day 38: Wolves

"Watch out for the false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.-" Matthew 7:15
  • Jesus said, "By their fruit, you will recognize them" (Matthew 7:16 NIV). What does that mean?
To me it means that wolves in churches are recognized by the kind of congregation they produced. Is it a congregation that shows and follow the commandment of Jesus which is to love one another. Is it a congregation that shares the good news to those around them? Is it a congregation that doesn't condemn and judge someone?
  • How can you improve your wolf-spotting skills?
What fruit they produce.
  • What measures can you take to guard your heart and mind and loved ones from wolves?
Pray for wisdom and discernment. Be vigilant of what is going on around my church.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The Chosen Devotional Day 37: Create

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. - Ephesians 2:10
  • Describe a meaningful work you've been a part of.
Church's children ministry.
  • What did you learn about God through the process?
I've learned to love kids who are not my own, to work in harmony alongside other volunteers for the family that we served.
  • What unique opportunities can you create to further the kingdom?
Open conversations. Know the story of one person, and when the door of opportunity opens to share the Good News, share it.