a time to be lost, only to be found

I still remember the day it went missing, around seven years ago. I was so angry, sad, upset and disappointed. I told my younger brother to take any bible from my bookshelf except for the white one. And which one did he take? The white one.

You see, this wasn’t just any bible. It held a certain sentimental value. Not only was it a gift, but it was the bible that helped me grow in my wisdom, faith and love for Christ. I turned to it in times of joy, sorrow and despair. I know it seems silly but I really loved that bible. And I was so upset when it was lost it that I openly vented about it to my YFC household, close friends and even sometimes, strangers. Hahaha. I begged my brother to retrace his steps to find it and after a lot of searching, I had to bitterly accept that it was lost.

Three years later I visited a church while in Singapore and unexpectedly stumbled upon the exact same version of the lost bible – colour, size and everything. I opened it up but the inscription wasn’t there. I flipped through the pages and my favourite bible verses weren’t highlighted. I don’t know what I was expecting considering it was a brand new bible, but it just wasn’t the same. After a few minutes of contemplation, I bought it anyway. “It’s time to move on.”, I thought.

Four years on, which brings us to just last week, I was having one of the most difficult weeks I’ve had in years, mentally. To say the least, I’m going through a hard time in my life right now due to my employment situation. And because of this, I found myself getting lost and turning away from those that love me the most, especially God. But deep down I knew that life outside my mental illness wasn’t going to wait for me, so I tried to go about my daily life as if I was ok. One night, I called one of my SFC household members to see how she was doing. She was moving into a new house and told me that while looking through her boxes, she found a bible she initially thought was hers. But after opening it to see the inscribed message on the first page, she realised it was my long lost bible. Lost, but now found.

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I honestly don’t think it was a coincidence that this beloved bible that I had lost all those years ago just happened to be found again at a time of despair and hopelessness in my life. A few days later, I was reunited with it, and I can’t begin to tell you how much joy it brought me, especially when I found all the little pieces of paper, book marks, tabs and highlights that personalised my faith companion. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the parables of the lost coin, sheep and prodigal son. Imagine the happiness He feels every time we decide to turn back to Him again, to be found again.

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“Look inside yourself and recognise that change starts with you.” Zootopia

When I first started driving, which was long before Google Maps/Maps was invented, I always had a ridiculous fear of making the wrong turn, thinking that if I take that wrong turn, I would’t have a chance to turn around again. But we do. God gives us a million second chances because He loves us that much. Whether we’re on the path of destruction, of faithlessness, of hopelessness, for a couple of days, a week, a year or our whole lives – we can still be found.

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and save what was lost.” Luke 19:10

Found again, – M.

a time to have hope

“Man, you really know how to get someone down
Everything was fine until you came around
And I’ve been chasing after dreamers in the clouds
After all wasn’t I the one who said
To keep your feet on the ground
Man, you really brought me back down

Hold onto hope if you got it
Don’t let it go for nobody
And they say that dreaming is free
But I wouldn’t care what it cost me

You got me tied up but I stay close to the window
And I talk to myself about the places that I used to go
And hope that someday maybe I just float away
And I’ll forget every cynical thing you said
When you gonna hear me out
Man, you really bring me down

Hold onto hope if you got it
Don’t let it go for nobody
They say that dreaming is free
I wouldn’t care what it cost me

Reality will break your heart
Survival will not be the hardest part
It’s keeping all your hopes alive
When all the rest of you has died
So let it break your heart

And hold onto hope if you got it
Don’t let it go for nobody

Hold onto hope if you got it
Don’t let it go for nobody
They say that dreaming is free
I wouldn’t care what it cost me”

26 – Paramore

a time to remember where you came from

“The only time you should ever look back is to see how far you’ve come.”

Although true, it never said how often we should look back. No matter how much we can deny it, where we are right now is partly because of the people that helped us get there. We didn’t do it alone. And we’re not meant to. So let’s not forget about those who helped us get this far. We are in the company of angels – how blessed are we!

“No man is an island.”

One angel in particular is that special lady in our lives that we tend to overlook. The one who gave us life. The one who helped us take our first breath of air. The one who fed us with fruit from their very own body. The one who tirelessly made sure we had clothes on our backs (and that those clothes were washed and ironed). The one who taught us countless life lessons. The one who reassures us of their unconditional love despite our own shortcomings. The one we call our mother.

And if you weren’t fortunate enough to experience this maternal love, I’m sorry. I’m praying for you. And so is one of the greatest mother of them all, our most devoted prayer warrior – Mama Mary.

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“Mama Mary, please intercede for all of our mothers. Ask your Divine Son to give them the grace of surrendered love so that they could join with you in giving their own “fiat.” May they find daily strength to say yes to the call to the sacrificial love – the very heart of the vocation of motherhood. May their love and witness be a source of great inspiration for all of us called to follow your Son. “

I’m one of five children, the middle one. Kudos to my parents, especially my mum, for raising a crazy bunch. My mum has given me a lot in my very comfortable life – a house to live in, the best chicken adobo I have ever tasted, a multitude of second chances and not to mention, ridiculously good looks. And even to this day, at a ripe age of 30, she still shows me some love. She even wakes me up in the morning to say goodbye before she leaves for work. But out of all the gifts she’s given me, there’s one thing that isn’t comparable to the rest of them.

When I was young and we were still living in the Philippines, my mum and I used to do “Visita Iglesia”, which is a Catholic Lenten tradition that involves visiting seven churches on Holy Thursday (or was it Good Friday?). This was probably my earliest pilgrim memory. Visiting seven churches might not sound like much here in Australia but it’s a whole other experience in the Philippines. I remember it being a difficult, yearly journey of commuting through Manila using tricycles and jeepneys, weaving through crowded streets who were also embarking on the same pilgrimage and it usually started in the early hours of the day until late at night. But every year, I went with my mum without hesitation. I’m not sure why she only took me out of her five kids, and I’ve never asked. But I’ll be forever grateful for it because she introduced me to what came to be the core and foundation of my very being – my Catholic faith.

Shout out to you, my Mama. I’m not sure if you’ll ever read this. But know that I love you, even when I fail to show you. Thank you for all that you’ve done for us.

So if you’re lucky enough, show your mum some love this mother’s day, with a present, a coffee, a meal, some flowers or even just a genuine hug. Trust me, she’ll love it! And she deserves it, because she’s been there since day one. #mainchick #dayones

“It is they, mothers, who often give the first roots of the faith, the ones that permeate deepest; without them not only would the faithful be lost, but also a good part of the deepest fire of our faith,” Pope Francis

Mama’s girl, – M.

a time to be original

Tell me, when was the last time you had an original thought? And when was the last time you acted on these thoughts and ideas? I’ve seen people, people who I care about, and their identity being drowned out because of their significant others’ or close friends’ interests and hobbies. And I can’t help but feel sad (and just a little disappointed) at the sight of them losing their unique identities, qualities, traits, personality, because they cling on to others’.

Is this you? Well, let me let you in on a secret..

You are fricking special, dammit!

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with some inspiration. We live in a Pinterest world, where our ideas are inspired by randoms from across the globe. It’s a crazy, amazing digital age that we live in but sometimes it can be dangerous. Sometimes that inspiration can be misconstrued with thoughts of “our worth”, then it turns into comparison.

The other night I fell into another one of my episodes of comparing myself to, not even the world, but those that are close to me. Those that I love. I get into bouts of insecurity with thoughts like, “Why don’t I have that?” and “Why am I not there yet?”.

“You were created in the image and likeness of God.”

I started re-watching the tv show Heroes this week, thanks to Netflix. The first few episodes are when the main characters are revealed. My two favourites (for now, coz I actually don’t know how the series ends) is Peter (Milo, what a babe #amirite?) and Hiro. They were the main inspiration for this post because at the start of the series they talk about their purpose, their uniqueness. They knew deep down that they were made for greatness. And they went and did something about it.

I remember when I was in high school. I went to an all-girls school from year 7-10 and I had no self awareness whatsoever. I had no original thoughts. I liked whatever my friends liked and hated whatever they hated. And I honestly had no idea why. I remember staring at a poster of Joshua Jackson, Pacey from Dawson’s Creek, which I inserted in the sleeve of my school folder and thinking “I have no idea why this guy is cute, but my friends think he’s cute so I’m gonna put him in here so that they don’t notice my cluelessness.” (years later, his cuteness was revealed to me when he got rid of those blonde cool guy tips, hahaha). Anyway, I was that girl. We all become that girl/boy. We all fall into it. It’s an inevitable part of the learning experience.

Then we get to a point in our lives when we yearn for more. In year 11 our family moved 40 minutes south of Western Sydney which meant I also had to move schools. As much as I hated it at that time, this was a blessing in disguise. I found myself out of my comfort zone, and because of that, it was probably the first time I was finally able to discover myself. I was a lot more aware of what kind of music I liked, my interests, hobbies, strengths and weaknesses.

Twelve years on, and I’m still discovering who I am but on a much more bigger scale. I’m starting to find my real purpose and I wholeheartedly believe that, just like Peter Petrelli and Hiro Nakamura, I too am made for greatness. I’m finally starting to see the beauty inside of me. Which is the real me. Thank God for my amazing friends who encourage me to explore this beauty. If you know me personally, you would know the people I surround myself with. We’re not perfect, and we’re most definitely not the same. In fact, we are all completely different. And we talk about it all the time. We think, dress, talk and love differently. That’s what makes us work (most times, hahah). Find friends like these. (Shout out to my true friends). They’ll help you reveal yourself to the world and the world deserves to see your beauty.

But most importantly, you deserve to see your own beauty, your talents, your true worth, your value, your likeness of God.

Kudos to everyone out there who are living up to their potential. Those who are acknowledging their God given talents, facing their fears, and doing it anyway. You the real MVPs! Be the best you can be! God created you that way. It’s never too late. Trust me, I know.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:13-16

AMDG, – M.

a time to let go

Letting go is never easy. But sometimes it needs to be done. Especially when it weighs us down so much that it keeps us stagnant in our lives. This post is inspired by the next three losses experienced by real life people. Three different lives, three different situations, three different heartbreaks – but all three stories ended with one person having to let go, even if they didn’t want to.

1. A ‘relationship’
This is probably the most experienced of them all, losing a relationship. Just last week a heartbreak I experienced became anonymously publicised. To be completely honest, after reading over my story again and receiving feedback and sincere concern from my close friends, I couldn’t help but feel the heartache all over again. And a friend of mine asked me, “Don’t you want closure?” Of course I did, but I don’t think I’ll ever get it. However, If I kept holding on to it, I couldn’t help but think that he is occupying a part of my heart that I knew belonged to someone else.

“Close your eyes. Clear your heart. Let it go.”

2. A friendship
Some people say that losing a friendship is worse than losing a relationship. My friend can attest to that. I recently caught up with him and despite what people assumed (including myself) he wasn’t only grieving the loss of a relationship but also a close friendship. How it happened was quite deceitful and what makes it even more sad is that it could have been prevented. What’s humbling is that despite never receiving closure, this friend of mine is choosing to forgive.

“If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down.”

3. A life
And, the toughest one of them all – a friend of mine recently lost her father quite unexpectedly. There’s nothing one can really do to fully prepare themselves for losing a parent. But she did what she could and courageously delivered a eulogy at his funeral to commemorate the short life he had lived. Along with the beautiful stories she had shared, she also spoke about the reality of moving forward, which she truthfully admitted to being the hardest part of this whole devastating ordeal.

“Moving forward is not betrayal.”

No, letting go is not easy at all. Especially when it involves someone we love. And everyone has their different methods of dealing with it. Some turn to hobbies that will keep them busy and distracted. Others turn to vices that will help drown the sorrow and the pain. I’ve definitely done both. And from experience, the best and healthiest way to do it is to.. let go, and let God.

He heals our broken hearts, our broken lives, our broken selves. So, when you’re ready, just let go and let God intervene.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Letting God, – M.