2018, You Were Really Somethin’

Last year, I said in my annual “year-ender” blog post that “I actually consider 2017 as my BEST YEAR.” But I also concluded that entry with this: “Yes, 2017 was my best year… SO FAR. Not to worry, though. I have a feeling na hindi naman papatalo si 2018 ehApir!”

And indeed, hindi nga nagpatalo ang 2018 ko! 😀

I’m going to make this year ender short and simple. God really took over my 2018, and He actually made me feel His tender loving care (TLC) through these things that made a mark on me this year:

Travels

God once again answered my travel dreams by allowing me to visit four new countries I haven’t been to before… including my last stop: the heart of my Catholic faith — The Vatican!!! ❤

my 2018 travels

Love

Well, if there’s something I’m most grateful for this year, it’ll be my special someone: Ish. 🙂 Yes, friendsss, I’m in a relationship with someone who I love and highly respect — most of all, who loves God more than anyone and anything, even more than me and I like that fact very much! Also, I’m happy that God allowed him to find me at a time when I was very content with my single life and not really looking for a boyfriend (my close friends could attest that before I met Ish, I was actually planning on entering the convent! HA HA HA). But God had other plans for my life, and He knows what’s best. Indeed, God works on His own timeline — so to all my single friends reading this, just continue to trust Him and let Him surprise you. God NEVER FAILS, and He’s still probably preparing the one for you to be at his/her best according to His will (or perhaps, preparing YOU)! In His perfect time, all will fall into place. Not your time, but His perfect time.

Career

My work is still one of my answered prayers ever since I started working at my dream workplace almost four years ago. This year, God surprised me even more with a promotion I didn’t really expect to happen at all in 2018! Haha! When the opportunity opened, I just grabbed it and placed it in God’s hands… it has been a quarter since I acquired my new position at work. There are added responsibilities and I admit that I’m still in the learning process (learning never stops anyway), but as I enter the new year, I’m excited for what God has in store more for my career, trusting that He always has got me covered! 😉

So, that was my 2018. As the newest Miss Universe, Catriona Gray (yay for the Philippines!), reminded us in her winning answer: “be grateful” and “see situations with a silver lining.” I totally agree (in fact, “gratitude” has always been a recurring theme in all of my year-ender posts since 2011!). As we enter 2019, let’s continue to be grateful and to see situations with a silver lining… but most importantly (as one post I saw also mentioned), may Ms. Gray‘s win be a reminder of how beautiful you are in God’s eyes. Don’t let the world dictate who you are; operate in God’s universe and see how He can transform you into being a true champion and warrior who is made in His image and likeness! 🙂

“So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them…” -Genesis 1:27

I pray that you’ll allow God to be the center of your universe this coming 2019, and may He bless you abundantly!!!

As for me, if 2017 was my so-called “best year” and 2018 was really something, I claim in Jesus‘ mighty name that 2019 will be my MOST BLESSED YEAR BY FAR! ❤

HAPPY, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

TO GOD BE THE GLORY ALWAYS AND FOREVER!

“I Love You” Means…

Has it been more than three months since my last post?! Haha! Well, I’ve been meaning to update my blog and I think it’s just fitting to finally publish this today, the first day of a new month. 🙂

Sooo.

One of my favorite Catholic lay preachers, Bro. Bo Sanchez, once said that if someone said “I love you” to you, you might as well reply with this question: “Are you willing to die for me?”

And I actually agree! As of this writing, I’ve been single for a year and a half already, and if there’s one thing God taught me in this current season I’m in, it’s what true love really means — it’s not a feeling, it’s not just a decision, but it’s about dying to one’s self for the good of the other. Did you get that? Authentic loving means dying — selfless, not selfish. What does this mean?

For this one, it’s best to turn to the Greeks’ definition of love (the English one is just so vague! haha). The Greeks have these different terms for love:

  • Eros – more on feelings and/or romance (also the most fleeting!); this is the one that makes us say, “I fell in love”
  • Philia – more on friendship (the best foundation); this is the one we can offer to everyone, even non-romantic prospects
  • Agape – more on dying to one’s self for the good of the other — the ultimate form of love! This is the one modeled by Jesus on the cross; for couples, this is the kind of love you ought to show to your partner when the honeymoon phase has already faded away; for the rest of humanity, this is the kind of love we’re all called for in order to have happy, healthy, loving, and peaceful relationships

So how exactly can we apply agape (the highest form of love) in our lives? As a follower of Christ, my best guide is the Bible. Saint John Paul the Great‘s Theology of the Body is also a good place to start! (And thanks to catholic-link.org, I was enlightened more through this infographic!)

Here’s what it says and my understanding of each:

Agape means answering without arguing (Proverbs 17:1). For example, if you’re a Christian from a different denomination and I’m Catholic, let’s focus on sharing our common love for Jesus. Arguing about doctrine/dogma just isn’t Christ-like. The same goes to discriminating other religions. Let’s just not.

Agape means speaking without accusing (James 1:19). We all have the right to voice out our concerns. But we have to remember that sometimes it’s not about what we have to say, but how we say it.

Agape means promising without forgetting (Proverbs 13:12). I’m sometimes guilty of this! Haha! But yes, we gotta learn to be accountable of our own words — whether it’s as minor as doing a favor for another, or as major as staying faithful to your partner. That’s agape looove!

Agape means listening without interrupting (Proverbs 18). As a very talkative person (wordy pa!), this was a very hard lesson to learn. But gradually, I’m happy to say that I’m now able to apply this to the point that sometimes I’m already mistaken for being an introvert (sooo not me! wahahahaha)! But yes, I’m still a work in progress in this aspect, and I can only thank God for His grace.

Agape means working without complaining (Philippians 2:14). You know that feeling when you’re willing to do anything for someone you love? Well, that also applies to someone or something you don’t necessarily like or love but is required of you. For example, if there’s a major reorganization at your workplace and you don’t necessarily like it but you still do it nonetheless for the greater good of the entire organization, then that, in itself, is already showing agape love to your workplace, boss/es, and colleagues! Besides, thank God that you still have a job and you still have the capacity and means to work!

Agape means trusting without wavering (1 Corinthians 13:7). For most singles, trusting God in the waiting season is probably one of the hardest things to do! But we gotta keep on trusting lest we end up settling for not His best — and that’s just sad. So trust God fully, and use this time to love and seek Him all the more!!!

Agape means forgiving without punishing (Colossians 3:13). More than forgiving others, this is about forgiving yourself too. After all, forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. And when you don’t forgive, you’re the only one who’s punishing yourself. Don’t do that. Show yourself some agape love. And just like hurt people, hurt people, people who have sufficient self-love are also the ones who are able to give love to others more!

Agape means praying without ceasing (Colossians 1:9). It’s easy to pray when things are going well. But when they don’t? I say that agape love is when the going gets tough, the tough get to praying more! This includes praying for your enemies. It’s not easy, but God will be very proud of you!

Agape means giving without sparing (Proverbs 21 and 26). For example, if you’re going to donate pre-loved items to a charity, make sure that those items can really still be used. Don’t just give for the sake of giving. Give with a purpose and it’ll be more meaningful. Also, agape love means loving freely without expecting anything in return. Easier said than done, but through God’s grace, anything’s possible!

Agape means giving without regret (2 Corinthians 9:7). When my ex and I broke up, there was a point that I considered him as the biggest mistake of my life! Haha! But no, that was just the high emotions talking. When I realized that I’ve already moved on, I have nothing but thanksgiving to my ex and our past four-year relationship because that experience brought out the best version of myself — and I wouldn’t have it any other way! BUT we need to draw the line. When it comes to sin, though, we must learn to repent, recover, then restore. So yes, regret the sin/s, but not the love.

I’m sure there are still other examples apt for each of the aforementioned points, so you’re free to reflect on your own. Ain’t it fun? So many ways to show authentic love! 😀

Basta ako, sabi nga sa isang commercial, wala man akong “love life” ngayon, hindi naman nawala ang love sa buhay ko — not just love from my family, my friends, and myself, but most importantly from God, who is Love Himself.

So now, before I utter those “three words, eight letters” to anyone, I reflect first if I really mean it. Am I really willing to die to myself for the good of that person for me to say that I love him or her? ‘Cause if not, then I might as well just keep my mouth shut. This way, when I finally utter the words “I love you,” God, me, and that person will know that I really, really do.

I guess it’s also timing that I’m going to Greece very, very soon. I bet there’s a thing or two I could learn more from the Greeks.

Less eros, more agape, and then some. 😉

Happy agape loving,
Mika

“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.”

-1 Corinthians 13:2

When was the last time you exemplified agape love to others?
Share your thoughts!

Two Words for 2017: THANK YOU!

Tell you what. I actually consider 2017 as my BEST YEAR. And for that, I am THANKFUL! 🙂

When I say “best year,” I didn’t mean an easy-going year. In fact, 2017 had been the most difficult year in my entire adult life so far. The first half of the year (which is evident in my #hugot-filled blog posts in those months! haha) was a very dark time… But it’s true that there’s always a rainbow after the rain. By God’s grace, that dark time was gradually replaced by His light, and slowly but surely, everything in my life just started to fall into place, including my healing — not just of my broken heart, but my entire brokenness as a person that I haven’t addressed in years! I’m not going to detail those anymore because at this point, I’d feel like a broken record if I still did so. I guess I’ll just repeat what I always say: that the trials I faced this year were always accompanied by blessings and lessons that helped me be the best version of myself today.

And what are those blessings and lessons? 😉

In no particular order, they are:

My travels.

In my year-ender blog post last 2016, I mentioned about my “travel year” — the time when I travel as much as I can using my own hard-earned money and making the most out of my work leaves and holidays. I said that my “travel year” happens every four years, which means if 2016 was a travel year for me, then the next should’ve been in 2020. Anyare? Hahaha! Well, obviously, God had better plans for me this 2017 (He always has!), and His provisions for my life this year was beyond what I could imagine — including my opportunity to travel again to six countries I haven’t been to before! So yes, my travels are part of God’s blessings to me this 2017. And for that, I am thankful!

my 2017 travels

My faith ministries.

My faith life has deepened and improved A LOT this 2017, and that’s thanks to the Light of Jesus Family (LOJF)’s The Feast, The Light of Christ (TLC)’s deliverance ministry and healing seminars headed by the Society of the Divine Word (SVD), and of course, the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church as a whole (I was looking for “answers,” and I stumbled upon some of them by self-studying the faith and religion I was born into, which is the Catholic Church — but that’s for another blog entry altogether!). So yes, my faith ministries are part of God’s blessings and lessons to me this 2017. And for that, I am thankful!

My family and friends.

For some unexplainable reason, God really knows when to send people my way at a time when I need them the most. Of course, my family’s already a given — I’ll forever be grateful for them. But for all the friends I met and reconnected with this 2017 (this includes the ones in my faith ministries mentioned above), THANK YOU! You are all part of God’s blessings to me this year — each and every one of yoouuu! ❤

God’s LOVE.

Ah! This one. This is probably the highlight of my 2017. Sure, I know (we all do) that God loves all of us unconditionally any time of the year, all day, every day, 24/7. But there’s something about this particular year that had made me feel God’s love for me all the more. There were times His love was manifested through the people He sent my way, but there were also times that I just literally knew it was Jesus Himself — for real! Whatever way He manifested His love to me this 2017, in the past, and in the coming years (Hello, 2018!!!), no words are enough to express how much I feel unworthy, yet still so, so, sooo GRATEFUL for God’s mercy and love! And for that, the least I can do for Him is offer my life to Him, that it may always bring honor and glory to His name, and that I may always follow His will — no matter how difficult it is to me sometimes.

You were, are, and will always be the best thing in my life, Jesus! And I wouldn’t trade anything, as in anything, for You!! For that, I surrender my entire 2018 to You and You alone, Jesus!!! Let Your will be done. In Your mighty name, AMEN.

Yes, 2017 was my best year… SO FAR. Not to worry, though. I have a feeling na hindi naman papatalo si 2018 eh! Apir!

A BLESSED AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU! 😀

Remember, be thankful always.

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
-1 Thessalonians 5:18