To Those Who Lost Their Dreams, Hopes and Jobs

Yesterday was my tenth time to withdraw a sum of money from my bank account since the start of the pandemic outbreak. I often glance at the digits imprinted in my passbook, calculating the amount deducted and contemplating the total amount left. At first it was nothing but slowly as my savings decrease significantly, I am almost on the verge of panic. My mind can’t take the fact that we spent such a huge amount of money for the past 7 months. And yesterday, once again, a large amount was taken miserably from my savings which I earned for years of working hard.

I shouldn’t write these things, my mind tells me. Just keep it to myself because it’s too personal. But I want to share these matters because I know that I’m just one of the thousands of people around the world who lost their jobs and are struggling to earn a living. I’m one of those people who are immensely affected by the outbreak of virus. This isn’t something to be ashamed of. This is reality which is most of the Filipinos are facing.

Yesterday, we needed 21,600 pesos for the payment of the house we reserved for our return to abroad. For 7 consecutive months, approximately 170,000 pesos was consumed. That’s small money for the rich but for a middle class such as myself, it breaks my heart into pieces. Just to give an idea how it happened, this is the breakdown of my monthly expenses.

  • Prenatal check-up — ranging from 6,000 to 7,500
  • Health insurance — 5,370
  • Water bill — ranging from 1,200 to 2,500
  • Electric bill — ranging from 3,500 to 7,000
  • Internet bill — 1,800
  • Food, toiletries and others — ranging from 10,000 to 15,000

I thought of many things to earn money while I’m at home. I tried to apply as a transcriber and freelance online writer but got rejected. I tried drop shipping but it was harder than I expected. I sold my old collection of books and helped my sibling sell plants online. I enjoyed it but I approximately got only 2,500 pesos in exchange for those efforts.

Because I left my prayer notebook abroad, for the past months I haven’t written my prayers like I used to do. I grabbed my old 2016 journal and started writing. My prayers were just simple and concise. I wanted God to know my needs in brief and precise words. I wanted Him to know that I have needs in case He forgot. I know that He never forgets but certain circumstances urged me to think that maybe, somehow, the Lord has forgotten me. Trying not to entertain that thought I scribbled a letter to God which I usually do in my journals.

Excuse my penmanship.

I share this to you because as soon as I finished writing I was reminded of the verse from Isaiah 43:2,

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.

God doesn’t say that He won’t let us experience any hardship. He says that whenever we pass through different kinds of sufferings He will be with us to help us. In this difficult time, we are vulnerable to evil’s lies. We have lost our dreams, hopes and jobs and think that we can’t make it. We’re currently passing through deep waters and think we’re drowning. We may be walking through the scorching fire and think we’re burning. The enemy’s persuading us to believe that we are defeated, abandoned and forgotten but the truth is there’s a reason why until now we’re still getting by.

My husband told me, “We had nothing before but God blessed us with something. Why are you so worried if we may lost everything? Surely God will restore what has been lost.” Marlon was right. I temporarily lost my job right now but we still have good food on our table. Our house has still stable roofs which protect us from sun and rain. Most of all, we’re surrounded by family who is more precious than golds.

A Letter To My Baby Girl When She Is Still 31 Weeks Inside Her Mama’s Tummy

Dearest anak,

I wonder what you look like and I don’t think you look like me because I don’t want you to. You are definitely more good-looking and charming than Mommy. Some people will see your beauty and some won’t but that’s alright, anak, because to Mommy, you are the prettiest and most lovable human being. I want you to realize that real love is loving someone regardless of looks because I love you even before seeing you. God loves you even before you were born.

Whenever I feel you move, I’m reminded that I am never alone. Whenever I eat something, I’m reminded that you’re also eating same thing too. I feel happy whenever I think about it. You make me happy by just being you.

You start to kick a lot in my womb. I can feel it even while I am sleeping. You are part of my body, taking up so much space in my belly. Giving birth to you is like a part of my body will be taken out of me but still a part of me. I know that you will grow up and someday you won’t need me anymore but I want you to know that nobody can love you more than I and God can. How can’t I love a precious part of my body? You will be my tiny baby in Mommy’s tummy forever.

Anak, I am excited yet anxious about what you will become. I want you to be more sociable and outgoing like Daddy. I want you to be more expressive and bubbly. But even if you won’t be, it doesn’t matter. I still love you the same. I want you to find your own voice and create your own personality. I will help you unleash your full potential, discover your talents, embrace your weaknesses and celebrate your strengths. Above all, I want you to realize your true identity in Christ. May you grow up to be a good person who fears and follows the Lord. I’m always here to guide you and support all your endeavors. I’m not a perfect mother and I’m afraid that I can’t raise you better than I should. I may read more parenting articles but I know it won’t suffice. I’ll let God do the rest.

I’m your mother and also your best friend. You can confide in me. I will listen to you with no judgment but let me teach you things that I learned from my experiences. I don’t have all the wisdom in the world but I will be glad if you will learn from me.

Love,

Mommy

When a Friend Unfriends You

When I was in high school my classmate refused to sit next to me on the bus for our field trip. She was telling her friend that I was too quiet and too boring to be seated next to. Our teacher wanted us to make friends with whom we weren’t close to so she enforced seating arrangement. I was hurt and felt rejected so I told my friends if I could sit beside them instead. When I was in college I saw Facebook account of that high school classmate who refused to sit next to me and I added her to my friends list. She accepted me. She wasn’t ugly before but she blossomed into an attractive woman. Later on, she unfriend-ed me. She wasn’t the only one because I found out that my classmate in college also removed me in their list of friends. I felt so small and unwanted so since then I haven’t added friends except if they added me or they asked me to add them so that if they will afterwards unfriend me it will be less hurtful.

Being unfriend-ed in social media isn’t a big thing and shouldn’t be taken personally, I told myself. It isn’t as if people who unfriend us hate us. They perhaps dislike the things we posts on our social networking accounts. Is it possible to like a person and at the same time get irritated by her pictures and opinions she shares and decided not to see them? I don’t want to think too much but because of that I learned the significance of unfriend-ing. I learned to set boundaries, to protect my personal space, to build walls around me, to appreciate only those who tries to engage and keep in touch, and to ignore who ignore.

Admit it, most of our friends in Facebook aren’t our friend.

Way back I had a strong desire to be accepted and to feel belong to a group of people whom I could be myself without fear of being judged. As I grow old, that desire diminishes. Not everyone will like you. You won’t like everybody. When it seemed like you were the only one exerting effort to reach out, when it seemed like you were all alone yet you were with a bunch of people, when it seemed like you were an intruder in their private world, better leave. As much as we want to befriend everyone there are certain people in our circle who either tend to stick with us or drift away. Introverts are compatible with extroverts. Certain personalities complement certain personalities. People who think alike seem to get along well. Like what we always hear, same feathers flock together. Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are. My high school pals had things in common. We were studious but weren’t too grade conscious. While some of our classmates were campus crushes or winning in beauty pageants in school, we were suffering from awkward stage of puberty. We were the late bloomer but we became a lot better years after graduation. In college, most of my friends were single since birth and I liked to call our circle ‘the manangs’ who dressed up simple and no intentions of involving in any form of romance or maybe because we were watching too many Korean dramas.

We choose our peers and our peers choose us.

But what if I thought we’re friends but I was wrong.

As we become mature, our circle of friends becomes smaller. We changed jobs, locations and paths. We outgrew them and perhaps there were certain things which made us skeptical and reluctant to establish new relationship. Perhaps we have been betrayed or we have felt left out. I would like to tap you on your back and say, remind yourself of your worth. Like what I often say to myself when a friend unfriends me, either in social media or in person, you are more important than you think you are. Or it’s about time to be self-aware. I sometimes blame myself for friendship that didn’t work out. Perhaps I was really too quiet and too boring to be seated next to or I was often apathetic in times when I should be spontaneous. We all have flaws and trying to please everyone is a waste of time. But I know Somebody who knows our shortcomings and past mistakes but still willing to be our friend, Somebody who won’t unfriend us even though we share a lot of opinionated political posts or too much annoying photos, Somebody who can break strong walls we built around us and can embrace us with no judgment.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

Jesus lay down His life for His friends and those friends are us, the ones who believe and follow Him. We are loved by a great and loving friend for all seasons of our lives.

2 Lessons in the Time of Covid-19

Everyday I always look from our terrace to observe our neighborhood. Is everyone doing well inside their dwellings? What are they up to? I am curious about how Covid-19 has changed their routine and way of life. Our neighbors seem at peace and oblivious to their surroundings. I watch the clouds turn into orange and then violet and then dark blue. I see the trees and plants dance in the rhythm of the wind. When the rain falls, I can feel my lips twist into a smile. The sound of pouring rain, the beauty of the moistened scenery, the cool breeze after a hot and humid noon soothe my nerves. Raindrops make the leaves greener and soil more potent. In moments like this I can think of many good things. The sweetness of Ube jam in Baguio, my favorite cozy jacket I bought from Ukay-ukay in Session road and this time lessons Covid-19 has taught me.

1. Though it can buy food, money can’t buy time.

Money is very significant in this time of crisis. We temporarily lost our jobs abroad because of travel restrictions. I supposed to be a front liner checking vital signs of patients in my workplace but the pandemic extends our vacation. I don’t want to deceive anyone that I don’t feel anxious. Who won’t worry if you’re regularly paying bills and buying needs but you haven’t received monthly salary since February? Money is essential to live but living a meaningful life isn’t all about what money can buy.

Working abroad since 2013 robbed me of my time with my family. I come home once every 2 years and each time I arrive home my mother looks older, weaker and slimmer. The first time I came for vacation my nieces who were children before I left home became as tall as me. I felt cheated. I didn’t expect that two years could do so much changes. I thought of the years I missed. Those years seem fast but those years drew us apart. I no longer knew them. Perhaps they no longer knew me. My sister isn’t the same sister I remember 2 years ago.

Though I’m losing my money I saved for years of hard work I know the time I spend with them can’t be bought. I can still earn money but I can’t turn back the precious time I wasn’t with them. I can still earn every cent I lost but the lost time is lost forever. Money can’t buy time. This pandemic took our wealth but gives us time to spend with the ones we value more than our wealth.

2. The Lord’s plan is always amazing.

I love planning and setting goals to achieve. We planned to buy a property as an investment and by God’s will, it happened. We planned that after I transferred to other company we were going to have a child because we’re already of age. I planned to save more money to build my dream business. But Covid-19 came unexpectedly and all those plans flew away like birds in the sky.

I set a goal that by the end of the year 2020 I will have a specific good amount of money to be added in my bank account but little did I know that by the end of the year, a particular amount of money will be deducted from my bank account. Overwhelming, right? But what is more surprising is that I was already four weeks pregnant when I left my work for vacation last February. My pregnant colleagues who were working when I left are also put on forced leave because they are at risk due to Covid-19. I can’t resume duty even though travel ban will be lifted.

They say that conceiving a child during this time of crisis is a curse. But I tell you, God’s plan is perfect because I am with my family in the Philippines, safe, instead of staying in my room in Qatar because pregnancy inhibits me to work, while others are falling ill or working away from their loved ones. The Lord’s plan is the best because being home with my family is such a cherished commodity I was deprived of for many years. I also believe that having a child is always a blessing like how blessed your mother felt when she first knew she was carrying you in her womb, like how joyful your parents were when they first heard your heartbeat or how ecstatic they were when they first knew your gender. We didn’t plan it but God’s plans for me are beautiful.

I still have plenty of plans for next year and years to come and when God permits, it will happen but if not, I understand that He has better one. In the book of Psalms 31:15, King David says to God, “My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me.”

Our times are in God’s hand.

2020 Soundtrack

Hi folks! We’re done with the first month of 2020 but I’m still adjusting to this new decade. I feel hopeful for this year though I didn’t eat good food on New Year’s eve nor had fireworks or something fancy for the celebration of New Year. I just slept. But there is something exciting about this year which overwhelms me and led me to create my 2020 soundtrack, accumulation of songs which will hopefully motivate me to become the better version of myself in all aspects. I adore music. There are meaningful songs which remind me of my unforgettable childhood summer vacations, my first year in high school, my review classes after college graduation and my first year as an overseas employee. Lyrics speak words my silent heart longs to utter and its beat add flavor and emotion for each word. Here is my list:

1. Never Lost – Elevation Worship

You can do all things

‘Cause You’ve never lost a battle

No, You’ve never lost a battle

And I know, I know You never will

I chose this music because its melody gives happy vibes and it declares God’s capability, power and proven track record of winning against the enemy’s schemes. I would love to listen to this song whenever I want to chill and relax while having a good time in an intimate get-together with close friends, or in the morning while fixing my bed or preparing breakfast, or whenever I want to feel happy.

2. Defender – Upper Room

I imagine this song playing when I amble along the seashore all by myself, contemplating life while admiring the beauty of the beach and feeling the warm sand in my feet. This song is a kind of music I want to hear whenever I am enjoying my own company watching sunsets and sunrises or with my special someone while holding his hand and sitting still.

The lyrics are mainly taken from the story of King Jehoshaphat of Kingdom of Judah in 2 Chronicles 20. A multitude of army came to attack the people of Judah. King Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast for all Judah. They came together to pray to God and they all bowed down in worship before the Lord. All men of Judah marched down against their enemies and King Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing and praise God with loud voices as they went out as a head of the army. When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. (2 Chronicles‬ ‭20:24‬ ‭NIV) Their enemies destroyed one another! Not all that, there was a bonus. They also found among the dead armies great amount of ‬‬equipment and clothing and it took them 3 days to collect all. Led by King Jehoshaphat, all the people of Judah joyfully entered Jerusalem singing and worshiping God with harp, lyre and trumpet because the Lord fought their enemies.

All people of Judah did was praise. All they did was worship. All they did was bow down to the Lord. All they did was stay still. As they were singing on the top of their lungs, a battalion of army was killing one another. If God could to it in ancient times, who says that God can’t do it today? All we have to do is to sing our worship and praises to God and let God fight for us.

3. Surrounded – Upper Room

The chorus is repetitive like a chant which is able to ruin Satan who aims to ruin us.

This is how I fight my battle

It may look like I’m surrounded

But I’m surrounded by You

This how I fight my battle

This is how

This music has similar meaning to the song Defender. Sometimes we feel like we are almost defeated by our enemies but the truth is we are surrounded by God’s protective hands. Fighting our battle means worshiping and praising God just like what King Jehoshaphat and his people did in old times. Fighting a vast of army means singing this song out loud. The same lyrics go on and on until I can feel Satan’s face distorting in pain and his body crumbling, collapsing and slowly banishing. If we are battling with emotional turmoil, financial crisis, physical pain and illness, this is our song. This is how we fight our biggest struggles and greatest agony, through singing praises to the Lord.

4. Echo – Elevation Worship

My favorite lines go out like this:

When my mind says I’m not good enough

God, You’re enough for me

I’ve decided I won’t give up

You won’t give up on me

I will go with this music when I feel like listening to upbeat sound and it’s a good choice for dance music. Who says that Christian songs are always solemn and boring?

5. This Is a Move – Bethel Music

This is more than a music or a melody but a move. Singing songs of worship is more than singing but a fight.

We are here for You

Come and do what You do

Set our hearts on You

Come and do what You do

We need a move

The chorus is a call for God proclaiming that we are present and our hearts focus on Him.

Bodies are still being raised

Giants are still being slayed

God, we believe it

Yes, we can see that

Wonders are still what You do

We clearly have no doubts on God’s cabability to perform miracles long time ago and up to this day. God has brought dead people back to life. The Lord has fought strongest opponents to protect His people. He has done all of these before and we are calling Him today to do these things again.

Miracles happen when You move

Healing is coming in this room

This is a move

This song is simple but powerful. The scriptures say that when you have a faith as little as a seed you can move a mountain. (Matthew 17:20) What more can we do when we have a faith as big as a mountain? We can move hearts and souls.

6. Here Again – Elevation Worship

This music is for my good old closest friend whenever I feel like I’m starting to forget how beautiful He is because I get distracted by fleeting colorful rainbows and temporary glitters. This is my song for Jesus whenever I want to encounter Him once again because I came to a point where the fascination I had in singing song for Him lost its warm. I get excited whenever I sing this music like how excited we are when we are about meet our closest pal after a long while. This song brings me back to my first love. It brings me back to a good old place where we first met.

I’m not enough

Unless you come

Will You meet me here again?

Cause all I want is all You are

Will You meet me here again?

7. See A Victory – Elevation Worship

It was love at first hearing.

I’m gonna see a victory

I’m gonna see a victory

For the battle belongs to You, Lord

Remember the amazing story of King Jehoshaphat. It was written in 2 Chronicles 20:15,

“He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

Sometimes when we solely depend on our own strength and ability to conquer our biggest war, we may feel discouraged and afraid but when we inquire the Lord just like what the people of Judah and Jerusalem did, we already know how the story ended. The Lord fought for them. God has never lost a battle. We will see a triumph. Victory is ours, that’s what the song is all about.


I chose songs which I feel more alive when I listen to them. It amazed me that most of my chosen music has same meanings because I didn’t plan it that way. In 2019, I fought battles and felt defeated in some areas in my life. This 2020, the battle still continues and this time I know the best strategy to win. To win is to sing my 2020 soundtrack. Cheers, folks!

5 Big Changes I Did in 2019 That Changed My Life

2019 was a year of financial struggles and work-related stress and pain. But I am grateful for the hardship because it changed me into a wiser and tougher person. Life is hard, that’s a fact but we are more than conquerors through God who loves us. (Romans 8:37) Without these trials we will never grow mature. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, Jesus said, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33) I would like to share with you the changes I did in the previous year and I will continue doing this 2020 and for the years to come.

1. I decided to become a minimalist.

When I was younger I used to think that minimalism is boring because I thought that minimalists only use either black or white things. I was wrong. Reading a lot about sustainable living, I figured out that minimalist is all about buying things that you only need. I am not ashamed of the fact that I bought a bag way back 2016 and I’ve been using only one bag at work for the last 5 years (which was a gift to me in 2015). The last purchase of shoes that I use for going out (not for work) was in 2015. Minimalism is not about depriving yourself to buy things that you love. It’s about being content with what you have. I became a minimalist because unnecessary shopping doesn’t excite me anymore. I remember I was often mistaken as a saleslady when I went to malls because I always wear jeans and just black tshirt which is the usual attire of people working in malls. Wearing black or white clothes is fun for me because it doesn’t matter if you wear them endless times. I’m not impoverished but I want to spend my money with more valuable stuff such as investments.

2. I don’t care about people’s perception of me.

If I care about people’s opinion of me I will buy many trendy and latest items to impress them. If their perception of me matters to me I will be ashamed of my 5 year-old bag that I use daily for duty and my clothes that I used hundreds of times. But no, I am proud of my ancient but durable and high quality things. I am not impressed by others (with the same salary as me) who always have new expensive clothes. Our worth doesn’t depend on the things that we have or we lack.

Our worth also doesn’t depend on what others say about us. Whatever we do, people will comment bad things about us. Assess ourselves. Are they right when they tell me I’m incompetent? Are they correct when they say that I’m dumb? If we know ourselves enough we know which comment is truth or just trying to put you down. I heard many bad remarks about me and I know that I am not the kind of person they think I am. I don’t care anymore. I practice the thing called Mind What Matters. What you don’t mind doesn’t matter. Don’t mind them and they don’t matter.

3. I don’t collect things anymore.

I realized that my mind is clearer when I’m dwelling in a place with less clutter. As an overseas worker, collecting things in a foreign land is a waste. I will end up going back to my homeland and I can’t bring all useless things with me when I go home. I also hate the idea of stuffing my room with too many shoes, clothes and the like until my place turns into a mess. I rather collect memories with the people I love the most.

4. I plan my retirement.

I want to retire as early as possible because I want to spend the rest of my life enjoying the fruit of my labor. Retirement for me doesn’t mean working no more. I imagine myself managing my dream business when I retire. Planning my retirement is setting my priorities, educate myself on finances and saving money for investments. Being a minimalist also helps in saving money for my dream job when I retire as an employee.

5. I write my prayers in my notebook.

I always believe in miracles and the power of prayer. As a Christian, I believe that prayers can move mountains. We may not see the result right away but as we continue praying day by day, God slowly teaches us how to pray and what to pray for.

Most of my prayers written in my notebooks are still unanswered. But the mere fact that I’m writing my prayers in my notebook has changed my life because it has changed my outlook and disposition in life. Rereading my prayers everyday is like reminding myself that the Lord is working everyday even if I don’t see it or feel it. There’s blazing hope in every prayer because He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)

3 Ways To Know Our Real Identity

Knowing our true identity is the beginning of discovering our purpose. We are here not to exist and die but to figure out our identity so we can fully understand our purpose. Many people are coming up with different ideas about their purpose. They say that helping others is their purpose. Some say that living their lives to the fullest is the reason for their existence. Other say making an impact on the world or influence others is their purpose. But are those really the purpose of their lives? We can comprehend our purpose by figuring out our identity first. We must know ourselves first. We know our own name, age, sex, biological family and the like but there are 3 ways to know our real identity.

1. Know Who Our Father Is.

We are defined by what family we belong. We are defined by identifying the one who teaches, influences, nurtures and corrects us. We are defined by who our real father is. I’m not talking about our biological fathers but the real father who is a reflection of ourselves. The behavior of the parent is the reflection of his child’s personality. Do you know who your father is?

It is written in John 8:44,“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Jesus was the one speaking in above verse to particular people who didn’t believe Him but claimed that they belonged to God. But in John 1:12-13, the scriptures say “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

‭‭It is clear that not all created by God belong to God. Not all who claim that they belong to God are children of God. Do we believe in Him and carry out His desires? Or do we doubt the existence of the Creator and following all our selfish desires?

2. Know What Our Father Says We Are

Initially we have to know who our real father is because not everyone has the same father. We are all created by the same God but God has special people whom He set apart from all other creations, His chosen children.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter‬ ‭2:9-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

The Bible is filled with descriptions of people of God. I can’t include all of them but I will share my favorites among them.

We are the salt and light of the world. (Matthew 5:14-15)

Food is tasteless without salt and we are unable to see without light. The children of God make the world happier place to live.

We are God’s temple. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

We are citizens of heaven. (Philippians 3:20-21)

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

We are accepted and loved. (Romans 5:8)

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

We are more than conquerors. (Romans 8:37)

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

We’ve been made rich. (‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭8:9‬)

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”

We’ve been healed. ‭‭(1 Peter‬ ‭2:24)

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

We are free from sin. (Romans 6:22)

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”

And many more.

3. Know Your Choices

God has given us the ability to make choices. He wants everyone to be His children but we know that it won’t happen. Many people in His time denied Him. In fact, they crucified Him because they couldn’t accept Him as their Lord. After all, it is the choices that we make everyday that define us. We choose either to be better or to be worse, to be content or to be unsatisfied, to believe or to doubt. We can choose not to believe in Jesus and everything that is written here. We can define own identity based on our own knowledge, ideas and feelings. But remember, when everything else fails to fill the void in our hearts, don’t hesitate to go back to number 1 up to the third one. May we find our real identity in the One who Created us.

Christian Blogger in the Internet Full of Make Up Tutorials and Travel Goals

Before vlogs became popular, blogs were born. Before YouTubers became famous, bloggers were superstars. I witnessed it because I began to write blogs way back 2009 on Friendster blog. I was in college when I went to my university computer room for free internet and started to compose my first draft. I had no reader because audience that time wasn’t as essential as income. When writing is your passion, the mere idea that your words will be published on the website drives you crazy regardless of view or money. Personal blog became a trend and as I was religiously updating my blog site I gained followers or cyber friends who regularly left comments and nice remarks on my posts. It seemed surreal but because of blog monetization I got 4,000 pesos or 100 US dollars as my first payment. I believe that 2010 was the golden year of blogging because everyone was interested in blogs until Facebook snatched the spotlight. Everyone got hooked on that blue favicon and since it’s easier to express yourself on social media with just simple captions than to post it on more complicated blog site, the ones who weren’t fan of writing shifted to FB and closed their sites. I noticed that most blogs with personal theme didn’t last long except if the author has a knack for literary works. Networking sites stole the scene so blog readers were decreasing unless the blog is owned by famous celebrity. Most people aren’t into reading personal issues of some random persons. People will only be interested if it is beneficial to them or if it is entertaining. So blogs with niche such as fashion, lifestyle, travel and the like stayed in the limelight because those bloggers could showcase their talent and knowledge in a particular topic which was helpful and interesting to a specific target of people. Before Instagram was known the term bloggers were pertaining to the fashionable ladies who were posting perfect photos of themselves flaunting their outfit of the day which are now considered as influencers. Then creative YouTubers nowadays caught our interest with their witty vlogs and helpful tips of living our lives to the fullest. Bloggers before became video blogger today or short for vloggers.

2015 when I attempted to bring More Drafts back to life after a year of inactivity. I figured out that blogging lost its fame because most of blog sites that I followed were no longer existing. But just like painting, the painter’s reward is the art itself and an audience is just a secondary consideration. I’m not as talented as others but I love the power of written words which can change perspectives and feelings of a human heart. On The Mind of a Self-proclaimed Ugly was the very first post about my beliefs as a Christian. I wasn’t planning to change the theme of this blog when I was writing that entry. It took me many months to finally decide to publish that draft because I couldn’t find the resolution of that essay. It remained incomplete and insufficient for a long time, adding few sentences at a time until one day, I suddenly felt certain with my ideas and words were flowing smoothly like a calm river gliding gracefully to its destination. Completing that blog post is like overcoming my biggest insecurity. Posting it and rereading it a hundred times felt like being freed from a hundred years of imprisonment. Publishing it is the start of writing about my pursuit of becoming a child of the Most High.I don’t have much reader and it’s okay. But I love the idea that when I die, people are going to be curious about what I have been through and they will find my blog out. They will feel comforted by everything that was written here. I also love my blog to be read by my children when I am old and my grandchildren when I already passed away. I want them to be inspired to pursue God in their lives because I did. It’s nice to be remembered as fashionista, a beauty icon or a well-traveled person but I want to be remembered in a different way. I want them to be happy remembering me because I overcame all life’s battles through God’s faithfulness. Because in the end, all material and superficial things don’t have any value at all. It’s how you inspired them to believe, how you made them feel important, how you encouraged them to move forward, are all that will matter. As long as I have the capability in the world where we can be anything, I will choose to blog about the pursuit of our true identity in the Lord.

The Pessimistic and Complaining Christian

During my school days I heard someone talking about me in annoyed but very small voice, “She keeps complaining all the time.” I didn’t hear the rest of her speech but I knew that she was pertaining to me because as she was speaking all our classmates were looking at me like I did some horrendous crime. When college days just ended as an act of farewell we wrote letter anonymously to each other before we separated ways. I received a letter saying, “Karen, please stop complaining too much.” I was never aware that I was complaining a lot. I speak what I feel. If I feel uncomfortable I will express it and if I feel uneasy I will tell about it. I thought there was nothing wrong with me until I heard others complaining also about me.

The series of unfortunate events in my life could be the reason why I always think negatively. It could be the result of hoping and praying intensely but ended up not getting what I hoped and prayed for. It could be the numerous times of disappointments and frustrations. It could be my way of protecting myself from pain of not getting what I wished for. I developed a pessimistic mind because I might just wanted to prepare myself to be hurt because I might hurt anyway. Pessimism is also another form of hopelessness, in my own perspective. I grew up with this kind of attitude or it’s better to say that as I grew up I learned this kind of behavior as a form of survival in this tough life. Being complainer somehow correlates pessimism. I complain because I focus on negativity. I complain because I am unhappy and unsatisfied. I complain because I always see the bad sides of everything. I wasn’t aware of the effect of this to the other people around me until I heard them also complaining about me.

I felt a bit hurt when I heard others are irked by my trait which I wasn’t aware that I was. Being a complainer and negative thinker is similar to being ill-tempered, nagger, impatient or any other nasty behavior which is a common reaction when dealing with conflicts. It is my way to function as a human with emotions. I act this way because there’s a cause. But when it starts to bother others, affect my relationship with others and my disposition and contradicts my identity in the Lord, something must break.

Break the Chain

They said that when you let your emotion control your actions you are enslaved by it. You are chained. You are a prisoner of your own feelings because you follow whatever it leads you. When we get mad we may do things mindlessly even though it’s hurting people. I complain because my heart says it doesn’t feel good. Whenever I feel miserable I whine because my heart says so. To break the chain is to let my mind take over my feelings. If I know that God says I am His masterpiece so why am I complaining about my appearance? If I know that God’s plans are better than my plans then why am I complaining about unmet expectations and disappointments? If I know that God is for me and not against me then I should be expectant of His favor and blessings. To break the chain is to let my mind filled with God’s wisdom take over my heart.

God’s wisdom can be found in God’s Word, the scriptures. Many people read self-help books to grow and mature emotionally. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help from self-help books but I figured out that the first self-help book was written ages ago before any book ever published. It was engraved in stones, written by different kinds of people in different generations, the Bible. Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11-13‬ says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” ‭‭God reassured us that we may not know His plans for us but surely He knows. He will prosper us, that’s what He promised. I often complain that I don’t get proper compensation in my job. I think I’m getting less than I deserve. But whenever I meditate on God’s promises for me I feel ashamed of my thoughts. God teaches me to manage my finances and value what I have. As long as I have all that I need I am certainly blessed and it doesn’t matter if I have little or more.

It’s easier said than done because to break the chain is also to break our hearts and all its evil tendencies. To break the chain is to break ourselves into pieces. To break what we are is to allow God to remold and reshape us perfectly according to His will and plan.

Is There Unbreakable Chain?

Being a Christian doesn’t mean being faultless. I became a Christian and it doesn’t signify that my behavior instantly became flawless. We are still flawed but made perfect through the grace of God. We still have bad traits but one of the best things about being a Christian is whenever a Christian makes mistakes the Holy Spirit rebukes him/her. It is impossible that the Spirit of God didn’t convict us whenever we did unpleasant deeds. We are on the process of remolding and reshaping by God to become the Godly person we ought to be. I still fail even though I try so hard. I still complain and can’t help but to create negative thoughts on my head when life bombards me with uncertainties and difficulties. Is there an unbreakable chain? Isn’t God working enough in my life? I know He is. Bit by bit people may not see but deep inside we can feel that something has changed and though many times the enemy attacks us telling us that God’s promises are all lies and promises are meant to be broken, we sometimes give in. We almost believe. The enemy already deceived us long time ago in the middle of the garden of Eden. We once believed the serpent’s lies and he still keeps on deceiving us up to this present day. That is the reason why God has given us His Son that even though we fail numerous times and keep on failing repeatedly, Jesus already paid the price of our failures. Through Christ’s blood we already won the battle against the same serpent in the middle of the garden of Eden. No human imperfections the blood of Christ can’t wash away. No chain the blood of Christ can’t break.

On The Verge of Losing My Faith

Approximately two years back I was self-studying the Bible daily for months. I was writing the verses on my planner, jotting down my own realizations about the scriptures and at the same time I was researching through the internet. I read many websites and blogs which share clear explanations of each verses. But I didn’t believe everything that the Internet feeds. I would click the About page first and if the author was a Christian I would proceed but I also didn’t believe everything a Christian author says. I must be parallel with the Word. I discovered interesting things about the scriptures. Amazed and overwhelmed by the the Holy Book until I found myself on the verge of losing my Christian faith.

It started when I tried to understand the Bible.

The beginning was my attempt to analyze the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden in Genesis. I was full of whys. Why did God plant a tree of knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden where Adam and Eve lived? The Lord prohibited them to eat its fruit but He placed it in their dwelling. It is like storing a food in your fridge and telling you not to eat it because it will kill you. I couldn’t help but to ask a big WHY? I thought the one who kept that food in the refrigerator had intention to kill me because even though He warned me that the food was harmful for me, He knew I would be tempted but He still put it in. Was it all set up? Were Adam and Eve planned to fall? I read articles about free will. God has given humans freedom to choose. Satan was clever and he deceived the woman and the woman had a choice either to believe the lies of the serpent or obey God. It wasn’t set up, they said. The human was at fault, they said. The serpent contributed a huge part of it but all was blamed on human. God only created the tree and placed it near them. It seems like He just placed a knife beside my table and told me not to use it and the devil came and urged me to use it to kill myself and I believed the devil. So I took my own life using the knife that the Lord gave me. But what if there was no knife which acted as an aide to harm myself? What if there was no tree of life that opened our eyes to know the right and wrong in the garden of Eden?

I was determined to answer all my questions about the Bible. Mysteries in the scriptures to me are like treasures that sleep in the heart of earth and I dug up enthusiastically, dug dug dug. Along the way I found some pretty things but not enough to make all blurred pictures clear. In the process of searching and contemplating instead of answers, questions poured out more like an avalanche.

If God is omniscient then why didn’t He foresee that people would become so evil? If He did, then why did God regret that He created them and decided to wipe them out of Earth? I am pertaining to the God-induced genocide through flood and fire in the Old Testament.

If God is omnipotent and nothing He can’t do then why didn’t He make the world perfect? Does the imperfection of the world signify God’s limited power?

Why was the God in the Old Testament more wrathful and less forgiving than the New Testament God?

If there is no impossible to God then why He can’t change the heart of all the people so no one will be tortured in hell? Which leads us to conclusion that indeed His power has limits.

Why did God still create Satan even though He knew Satan would rebel?

I’ve been working in the Middle East since 2013 and I’ve known Arabs who were born Muslim and had no deep understanding about Christianity but really were kind and loving people. They died of sickness. I felt a pang of pain thinking that their destination will be the lake of fire. I wanted to ask God why.

Why?

Why?

I had plenty of whys on my mind which had no adequate answer. It was like an unfinished novel, a song, a movie which keep you thinking until you lost your sanity. I craved truth and the Bible is true when it says that the truth will set you free. Truth would break the crippling chains. I wouldn’t follow a God that I didn’t totally understand. I wanted to be released from confusion and doubts which were imprisoning me. I wanted to be free from hindrances of accepting my identity which God pronounced. I wanted to be fully equipped with facts and right words to answer huge question marks lurking in my mind. On the process of probing, I came across the darker side of internet. And though I didn’t believe everything I read, I read still, to weigh points of each opposing sides. I read a lot until I found myself on the verge of losing my Christian faith.

Selfish and Wrathful God

Approximately two years ago I stopped reading the Bible like used to do. I lost the appetite, the delight to savor the taste of my favorite delicacy because I found out that the spices which added flavor to it were made of plastic. I didn’t believe the Bible anymore but still believed that God exists but the image of God in my head turned into something worse, from a warm and gentle into austere and hostile face. Nobody knew but I was slowly drifting away from Christianity. I was going to church but my heart became bitter to the wrathful God as I perceived He was.

I came to the point when I fed my mind with enough knowledge for all my queries. The internet is like a national library full of books written by different writers and you are free to pick as much as you want and digest each page. It is also like a supermarket full of various edible goods looking presentable and delicious before your eyes waiting for you to take them. But you need to be wise enough to know which is tasty and which is rubbish. You have to first taste them eagerly and chew them carefully and then decide if it’s worth swallowing or spitting out. I acknowledged both Christian and non-Christian perspectives and both had their own share of logic and explanations to consider like two different bestselling products in the market. I chose the atheistic views not because Christian views weren’t sufficient to change my mind. In fact both sides are thoroughly scrutinized and discussed. Nonetheless, losing Christianity didn’t make me an evil person who did evil things but I felt sympathy for Satan. Isn’t it heartbreaking that your Creator knew that you will end up in hell but still created you? Isn’t it hurtful to know that your Maker let you live to suffer for eternity? Before I knew it I was becoming resentful and rebellious to the liar and selfish God. Is Satan also like that? In the midst of my busy life, I paused and examined the kind of heart I was cultivating. I initially allowed myself to be persuaded by non-Christian viewpoints but it wasn’t long until I decided to quit what I was thinking for only one reason: the choice is mine.

The Battle Is In the Mind

Our mind is a battlefield. Unlike other creatures which only follow their nature and the flow of life, humans have the complete control of themselves. From the time we wake up we decide what to do first, eat breakfast or take a bath. When taking a bath we choose what soap to use. When eating we choose what food to eat. We choose our lives though there are things we were born with like financial status, physical appearance, sickness, family and many more but we are able to change our ways for our betterment. We can unleash our fullest potential to become the best version of ourselves. Will power, determination, patience and resilience are all we need. We are also capable of destroying ourselves into bits by failing to realize our self-worth. Experiences and our environment also mold our personality but it is our choices that define us. It is our choices that dictate who we are going to be. Now I choose to become a Christian not because I am blinded by false teaching and wrong doctrines, forced by culture and traditions and led by lack of understanding and knowledge. I choose Christianity because I have options and to be able to freely decide what to believe is power.

Satan Has a Choice

I once believed that Lucifer is hopelessly trapped in a miserable life which has no escape. His life story has already an end and it is eternal condemnation. I read many atheist say, ‘I don’t agree with eternal punishment’, and I can hear Satan also says it. They said they can’t imagine for just temporal sin God will let humans eternally suffer. I understand them. I was thinking same thoughts before. The beginning and the end of the world are already written in the Bible. Whatever we do in this lifetime is the fulfillment of what has written. Whatever I do in my life has consequences which already been prophesied long ago. God already knew my choices before I choose them. God already knew Satan won’t surrender to His power before He created him. But along with the gift of life He has given to Satan is the freedom to choose his individuality which is the same thing He gives to humanity. But the difference between Satan and I is I chose to embrace my identity in Christ and succumb to God’s sovereignty while Satan remains rebellious and resentful which exactly I was two years ago.

Choose Wisely

I seldom read Christian websites and blogs nowadays because I switched to watching YouTube videos and below are my favorite channels that follow.

Sergio and Rhoda in Israel. This couple showcases their travel escapades mainly in the holy land of Israel and rediscovers the historical places mentioned in the Bible. Their videos are entertaining and at the time same, full of insights and historical facts. Watching their videos is like visiting interesting places which you can only read in the scriptures. So amazing! Here is one of their best videos:

Inspiring Philosophy is a Christian apologetics channel which tackles compelling issues of the Bible and other theological concepts thoroughly and flawlessly which you probably can’t hear from church or other religious gatherings. The creator is indeed blessed with a gift of discernment. This video below is one of its finest.

Please share if you know more amazing videos or websites. I love to know!