Five Friendly Pre-Marriage Advice from A Thrift Shop Owner

After my three straight classes today, I went into a thrift shop to buy some blouses. I don’t mind having secondhand clothes, as long as it fits me and my style. The owner, whom I knew through my mother, greeted me with a smile and surprise. She was wondering what am I doing here. I told her that I’ve been back since June. While I was looking at the clothes, she kept on talking. She told me that it is better for me to stay with my parents so I can save money. I nod and smiled. After some time someone she knew came in and the two of them chatted for a bit. I was relieved. Now I can focus on what I went there for.

As I was picking up a shirt, she asked me this question: Aren’t you planning on getting married? I was stunned. But I laughed and said, “I have no plans yet. Maybe next year.” At the back of my mind, I didn’t speak of the whole truth. My boyfriend and I have plans, of course. Then again, I am not totally comfortable at talking about my personal life. 😉

She said, “That is good, it’s better if you enjoy being single first. You are still young. Nowadays it is hard to find a good man who has a stable job and without vices. It is also important to choose someone is of the same religion as yours, and someone who won’t hurt you, right?” I nodded. I was listening to her with admiration. She has wisdom and joy as she speaks. I’ve never encountered a woman whom I barely knew speak to me like that until now. I guess it’s a divine set-up. After paying, she recalled her love story with her husband. (And that could be another post!)

Her words echoed in my mind. I felt like it was a perfect timing for me to hear. And here are my reflections that I would like to share with you.

1. ENJOY SINGLEHOOD

As I reflect on it. She’s right. It is important to enjoy this phase in my life — singleness. Because once I am married, there is no turning back. I know my life would completely change. My priorities will be altered. Instead of thinking about my family, my church, and my self alone, I will have a husband and a future family to put above all else (except for God of course). Moreover, there is a huge possibility of losing my career. Merely thinking about it, hurts. I only turned 24 last month and I wanted to grow more, I want to explore what I can do — my potentials. Then again, I am asking God to teach me how to let go of it when the time comes.

For now, it is needless to say that my life should be solely devoted unto HIM. That is I believe what matters most, whether single or not, our lives must be knitted unto God.

2. FIND A MAN WITH A STABLE JOB 

Everyone I know would agree to this. It is imperative for someone to be have financial stability to provide for his family. In fact, this was emphasised in the book of 1 Timothy 5:8, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

Each man, before thinking of getting married or even before pursuing  woman must therefore must be responsible enough to get a job, business, or any profession so as to prepare him for his future family. After all he is not only building a house for himself, but a home for the Lord.

3. FIND A GOOD HUSBAND WITHOUT VICES

This one is significant. I know she is talking about drinking, smoking, gambling, and womanizing.  Still, there is more to it. Vices can be larger than this. Men were created to take dominion of the earth, for leadership. Their lives are supposed to be on the right track not only for themselves, but more importantly for their family so they can give glory to God. If men would be enslaved by these things, how then can they lead properly?

Our hearts must deeply be rooted in the Lord, in His words, so we can live out His ways. It isn’t and won’t be easy, but it is worth it. Nowadays, it is normal to see broken families, children drawn into illicit drugs, teenage pregnancies, etc. There may be many reasons for this but certainly this is not part of God’s design. His will is for families to live together in harmony and peace. His vision is a world where children are following the footsteps of Christ. And that is the responsibility of the parents.

4. CHOOSE SOMEONE WHO HAS THE SAME RELIGION/ CHURCH AS YOURS

Having a partner who shares the same spiritual belief, values, and convictions as yours is very important. It is written in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

This is crucial. And women and men, we got to get this right. Obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). There are non-negotiable qualities when it comes to marrying and this should be one of them. As someone said, it is better to not marry than to marry and suffer for the rest of your life. Being in a relationship is hard enough, how much more if you are in a relationship with a person who has a different religious belief as yours? In the future, what will your children believe in? This can pose a lot of conflict and confusion in the family. And of course, we don’t want that to happen. That is why, I’m saying it again: Obedience is better than sacrifice.

5. FIND SOMEONE WHO WOULD NOT HURT YOU

It is so wonderful to be loved and to love. I am not a relationship expert though. I can only speak of my own experience and those around me. My relationship with my boyfriend is far from being perfect. My parents’ 25-year relationship isn’t perfect either. Even my church mates’ relationships and families have their own ups and downs. Being a Christian doesn’t exempt one from having a flawless relationship and marriage. The only certainty that I know of is Christ. He is the only one that can hold things together despite the earthquakes in each household, or that deep wound in one’s heart.

So can I/we find someone who won’t hurt us? Maybe we can find someone who is gentle and won’t even lift a finger to hurt us physically.

However, one cannot be free from being hurt emotionally. Our hearts are sensitive. Especially women who are coined as emotional beings. And we have fragile hearts lest we surrender it to God and let Him take care of it.Nonetheless, I know finding someone who loves us enough that hurting us would mean disobeying God’s word cannot be easy, but possible. That is why it is important to follow number four. Being patient enough to wait for the right man will come (if it hasn’t yet). Rushing things or going ahead of God’s plan can bring irreparable damage.

For men out there, keep this in your heart: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25).” Christ gave himself for the church, for us. Thus, God is calling you to do the same. To do everything in your might to protect, provide, save, love, sacrifice, everything… for your wives.

It is surprising to be advised by a seemingly random person. That was both weird and surprising. Nevertheless, I was glad to have heard from her wisdom and input some of God’s words and principles I have learned from my mentors and friends.

P.S. Tell me of your thoughts. Can you share some advice for me or young women/men out there who are waiting or probably praying for a future partner? Hope to hear from you!

Forever Praise

This wonderful song brings me back to my early days with God – the times when I started truly seeking Him. It wasn’t a love at first sight kind of thing or a head over heels kind of feeling. It was more of a passionate pursuit on His part.

It was six years ago when He found me and stole my heart. I was a messed up teenage girl who only cares about herself and her self-centred dreams. I know my worth but I didn’t know my true value. I know Jesus, but I have no encounters with Him until He rescued me from myself. I decided to pursue Him as well. That decision was not meant to last for a day, a year, or a decade. IT MEANT FOREVER.

My relationship with Him have undergone all sorts of trouble. I’ve learned that love is a decision. It’s a commitment that must be translated into action. As they say, love is a verb.  I am always reminded of the time He was nailed on the cross. That was the ultimate expression of His love. Nothing beats His love. And all I can do is respond to it in total abandonment, love, and praise.

I can say that it’s always sweet to revisit that part of memory lane. 😉 I can see that childlike heart leaning in God’s loving arms . . . that innocent girl dancing with His Daddy. Such precious moments of surrender, acceptance, love and warmth were incomparable.

He had drawn me inside His heart until it became natural for me to respond to Him. It took a real while for me to fully grasp His intention. His love was too much for me. I was caught up in His relentless love and mercy. I might have lost the childlike heart in me for a while, but now is a different tune… I’m singing all out to Him — my one and only.

A New Beginning

Life is so beautiful. Here I am in a new place surrounded by new people with an unfamiliar air. THIS is an answered prayer.

After my eight-month stint/volunteer work at our church, I am now working full-time as a college instructor. I knew I love teaching, but I never knew how tough this is until now.

It’s been two months since I started teaching. Doing the thing that I love to is not easy. There were days that I don’t feel like teaching or going to school. There were moments that I would feel low and pull myself together just to BE in the mood. I don’t know why I feel this. I guess it’s my tendency to keep myself in a comfortable spot. Or maybe I don’t like my job? Or I really don’t like to work? O.O

Each day is a humbling experience. I am learning a lot about myself. Who I am and who I am not. I discovered that the greater part of becoming a teacher is dealing with students. It’s motivating them how to think for themselves; to think beyond what the book or the world offers them. It is challenging because most of them are used on the conventional method. Some frown at me and expect me to feed them with information. I am just not like that.

I am learning how to be more patient and tender with my students especially those highschool-ish ones. I always remind myself that if Jesus was able to love his stubborn disciples, I believe that I could love my students too. After all, I have a secret mission. 😉

So, where could this new path lead me?

We have yet to see.

All I know, Jesus is leading me.

The thing is…

I am so happy. It feels like I’ve soaked in all the love this world could contain.

I am joyful beyond comprehension and doubt.

And that’s what keeps me from writing. I’m stupefied in this realm called ‘heavenly bliss’. I don’t know when I shall recover.

But hey, I will write soon. I will come back to you, first love.

Tonight

Tonight is so wonderful I couldn’t even pen the right words. I am both terrified and happy.

Purpose. Joy. Silence. Peace. Anticipation. Risks. Could they suffice the burst of emotions within?

I really have nothing to say to [my] readers. I just wanted to write these silly words only you and I could understand. For someday, somehow you’ll get to read this. And be convinced how crazy I am.

So before this night ends, what I really wanted to say was, “It is amazing how you bring joy in my heart and how you effortlessly make me laugh . . .”

Where Am I Exactly?

I woke up today realizing that I have no definite plan. The only thing that is clear to me is that I am made for God. That my life is meant to glorify His mighty name.

(For those close to me, it is not new that I would like to organize and write stuff. I am a dreamer. And a mind wanderer. I’d like to plan and list the things I’d love to do and places I would go. Oh, the places I would go!)

Whatever I do, wherever I am or wherever I will be, I am to live for Him. I am one of those who prepares the way for His second coming. I do believe in my heart that it is my call in the Kingdom. And my heart says that I am to reach out to other nations and do my best to share the gospel and equip them. This, I feel is so big. But He is already there. I just have to jump in and take a big leap of faith!

Now I am in my hometown and serving with our local church. It is supposed to be a lot easier to share the gospel and reach out to people. However, things are different. People have grown cold even with the idea of God. They are full of the knowledge about God, but lack personal encounter. God has specifically placed me in this situation to test my faith and intensify my commitment to Him.

Everyday I face obstacles especially within myself. My heart is aching. I have this holy discontent. I can feel deep within that His Spirit is beckoning me to GO OUT! He is shouting,  AWAKE, AWAKE! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

If I cannot conquer my heart, how will I be able to be an instrument in putting cold hearts into fire?

It pains me so much.

Sometimes it is easier to take part in the church ministry and carry out assignments. But the call of God and the process towards it requires not just to DO THINGS, but to BRING HEAVEN ON EARTH.

The call is to REPRESENT THE FATHER in this fallen word. As His daughter, it is my privilege and responsibility.

I have reached the point where I think I AM OK. Yeah, I convince myself that nothing is wrong. I do my devotions, wake up everyday and attend the dawn prayer meeting, conduct a small group, visit the campus, and connect with other people. As you can see, I am pretty busy. 😉

BUT is that it? Have you asked yourself that the things you do is the end in itself? Does it satisfy you at all?

I strongly believe that the things we do does not define us. It will never have the power to define who we are. If it has, I would rather die now.

I believe that God is calling me to restore what was lost. That is the very core of my relationship with Him.

For intimacy was no more.

Yes, I talk to God and pray often. Yet my heart feels a little empty. I feel Him inside of me but I feel that there is something missing. I feel lost within myself.

I don’t know what exactly is that. All I know is that He has placed a deep want in me to dig deeper; to grow inside His heart.

Isn’t that beautiful? The God of the universe is calling me to grow inside His heart.

We all know that growth is a lifetime process. Maturity doesn’t stop somewhere in the middle of having assignments, taking responsibilities, and becoming like Him. There is so much more.

Thus, I embark on this unknown journey. As I enter into rest, I do believe that intimacy will be restored. From there, He will lead me to where I should be and guide me on what I must do. Everything will be clearer. I am certain that He is putting things together in my life.

The invitation is not for me alone. It is for you as well. I am more convinced that it is not about the plans, but THE ONE WHO PURPOSED EVERYTHING ACCORDING TO HIS GLORY.

So, where am I exactly?
Well, I’m digging a little deeper INSIDE GOD’S HEART.

No more plans, just PURE LOVE.

 

 

 

How about you, what was the first thing on your mind when you woke up today?

Where do you think He is leading you?

01.31.13

The Random Post

Yesterday I set my foot on my hometown – Coron, Palawan. I was born here. It’s a rare mixed-up beauty of beaches, mountains, rivers, blanketed  by the sun rays and bathed by occasional rain showers. Being back for good doesn’t make me feel good in every way. I guess there’s this lingering unsolved something in me which holds me back to fully spread my wings and say, “FREEDOM!”

Well, it’s just again one of my pathetic moments.

Now, I’m here in the office. After hours of making a second exam for my students I am thinking (more than 50 times already) if I was able to do it right and half-imagining their reactions once they got it tomorrow. Haha! I am pretty nervous.

I don’t feel comfortable these days. Someone asked me, “Are you happy?” I waited for a few moments to pass before answering. That was the moment when I’ve assessed my heart. I felt that I am not totally happy. BUT I am fulfilled.

I’ve learned that I should get over my emotions. There are moments when our emotions would be overrated and would get in the way (whatever that is). I may not be “happy” in the truest sense right now, that doesn’t mean I am devoid of all the enjoyment Life can bring.

I am half agony, half hope. -Jane Austen

 

Floating and Thinking: A Status Update

Last night before I went to sleep, I asked God of what I am to do next and where I should go. I heard his voice in my heart. A word was embedded. It hit me in the head. Now, I’m thinking about that word and how it will affect my decisions and change my life. I woke up this morning with the same thoughts. They now occupy a significant space in my mind.

I usually ask God before I make concrete decisions. But sometimes, when He answers me, I feel like I have to hear another answer. The one that would make me feel at ease, an answer that perfectly fits what I want or most of the time what I think I want.

Many people are asking what I will do next since I recently graduated from college (Oh Yes! Praise HIM!). They want to know where I’m planning to work and what kind of work I would like to do. I’ve thought a lot about it. Intensively. Seriously. Like a removal exam. Make or break. All or nothing. Haha!

Well, what I really wanna do with my life is to travel the world, explore the endless possibilities, do research and publish relevant studies, change lives and transform nations one at a time. But I’ve got to start somewhere, right?

That somewhere can be too far or it can also be land where I am now.

#060612