Category Archives: Reflections

Get married or baby sit!

Just today, one of the kids in our church asked me if I was a student. So,  I told her that I am already working. Then, she asked me if I am already married. (No escape even from kids!) So, I told her that I’m not yet married. Her follow up question led me to a chuckle. She asked that if I’m not yet married then how come I already have a job. Don’t we love the honest remarks of kids? 🙂 (No sarcasm here. I really do love those kids!)

If you really analyze the question, it’s kinda like – you have a job, it means you are already old, it means you should be married! It makes sense right? (Smart kids! )

As much as a lot of women in my age are already married and have growing family, the other half or probably more in my circle are also still single. I must say it’s great to be surrounded by both!

I love spending time with my married/mommy friends as I learn so much from them – about marriage, motherhood, parenting, etc. Good stuff!  It’s like going to a free seminar with so much freebies that you can take home. And my favorite perk, you get to spend time with their kiddos and enjoy those funny, innocent remarks. To be honest, as I spend time with kids including when I teach during Sunday School, I felt like my patience has increased so much. Being with kids has taught me to be more patient with adults also. 😉  It’s also an honor to be asked by parents to baby sit their kids. I think it’s a privilege to be able to impact even for a little the lives of these little ones.

Being with my single friends is one of my comfort zones. Of course, I belong! 😀 The conversations are different. It’s not about breastfeeding, potty training, Paw Patrol or My Little Pony. It’s about love life, career goals, involvements and weekend plans. Being with my single friends has helped me become more driven as a person. Seriously, we don’t talk about guys all the time. As we share some common struggles, we get strength and encouragement from one another. It also reminds me that being single is truly a blessing. As I see other single women being able to accomplish so much – not for themselves but for other people, I get reminded that if these women are married, then who will be able to accomplish these things?  Until our days of being single is over, we will just have to keep going.

If all or most of your friends are already married, don’t isolate yourself from them. You are one privileged single woman to be able to learn from them! Also, seek new single friends if you don’t have one anymore (though I doubt this is possible *wink*). It’s just great to have someone to share a common journey with and to have someone who also hopes the same for you as she hopes for herself – to be married. Indeed, iron sharpens iron.

To all my married and single friends, you are all great blessings in my life! Thank you!

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Discovering London, An Answered Prayer

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Everyone knows that when we want something so bad, the waiting part is the hardest. We wait for a lot of things in this life; a breakthrough in career, a specific amount in our bank accounts, that house and lot we’ve been eyeing out, the right person we’re going to marry and even our dreams to be a reality.

This was the one dream that I was willing to wait for. I was going to do it step by step. I was going to prepare myself. Little did I know that God was already working backstage. And this is the very reason why this journey was so much special.

How the Dream Started

My journey in dreaming and waiting started in 2013. Year after year, I committed this specific prayer to God and listed it down to my faith goals. The desire was too strong that there were days when I found myself crying on bended knees asking God that if He had no plans of granting my prayer, He might as well remove the desire and give me a new one – one that’s aligned with His. He saw how my heart broke and rejoiced in the news of friends being given the opportunity to live my dream. He knew about how scared and happy I was to have received the news, three years later – just the thought of stepping foot on the country and at the same time, having the possibility of a denied visa was both overwhelming and heartbreaking.

My Plan

I left the first company I worked for in 2014 with uncertainties in the new path I was going to take. I’ve always told everyone that leaving one of the best companies in the world and changing industries from IT retail to financials were for the bigger goals in my life. I had it all planned out; I was going to enter the financial industry and add some skills in my resume to qualify me for work in Singapore, thinking it would be so much easier if I enter UK from there. After, I was going to try out applying for the UK visa or doing whatever way I could, to fly to London. I had no specific end date, I just knew I’ll be in London sooner or later. I wasn’t the hurrying type, but I got so frustrated that I almost gave up. Well, that was MY plan.

The Shift

Just more than a year in the new company and in the first project I was assigned to, the team was suddenly dissolved. We found ourselves floating – exploring opportunities outside the company. I attended three interviews and promised three more to other companies. My last option was to go back to my hometown and rest for awhile and maybe keep my options open or try to chase other things I am passionate about.

I had sleepless nights and continued to pray to the Lord. And though I was a little depressed and scared about the future, I had this feeling of excitement – as if something big was coming, I didn’t know what or when, but there was an assurance that everything will work out fine.

God’s Plan

There are a lot of people who never fully trusted God nor His capacity to do wonders, it’s as if we always need to push and do our best to achieve something. But this one, I tell you, is something I never had to work hard for. Looking back, everything had fallen exactly into place. Project got dissolved. I was given a slot to the newly-acquired project of the company even though my manager had told me there wasn’t any slot left, that actually led me to prepare myself to pursue my other passions. The unfortunate event of almost losing a job, with the project getting dissolved turned out to be a beautiful blessing in disguise because it redirected me to new doors that skyrocketed me straight to my dream.

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When I was asked if I wanted to join the team to fly to United Kingdom for training, I got so excited, like a kid finally getting what she wished for birthdays, Christmas, and all the good days. Then fear set in – this was too good to be true. This was too easy. What if my visa application got denied? What if I got into an accident and couldn’t fly to UK? What and ifs. It clouded my mind for so many days but God always reminded me that He’s got this and that I shouldn’t limit His infinity to my finite mind, that nothing is too hard for Him!

“God, You’ve opened the doors when I was willing to wait. You’re handing out my dream when I was willing to work hard for it. You initiated this opportunity when I was willing to look for it. This isn’t me now, this is You. And I will trust in You. I will trust in Your promise that You will withhold nothing amazing from your children. May all the glory and honor be Yours, and Yours alone. And even if this doesn’t turn out good, I will still trust in Your Will because it’s always good and perfect,” this was the last entry I wrote before my visa got approved.

The Answered Prayer
 
While I was looking out the window just before our touchdown, my tears swelled as I saw the London Eye and the Shards. I couldn’t believe that I was finally seeing it in the flesh. My insides turned in a good way. My heart skipped beats and I couldn’t help but shed a few tears while taking photos from the window seat. I heard myself whispered a hundred times, “thank you Lord”.

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As I exited from the plane, the cool air struck my face and I stopped at the door and gave London my warmest smile. London air all over me! London air! Yes, I was that happy that even the thought of me gasping the London air made me so excited and teary.

I remembered a friend of mine told me a story about a friend of hers that went to London through a scholarship that was granted to her because of the connections she worked for by attending different UK seminars. Why didn’t I go and find opportunities myself?

Truth is, I could’ve done that if I wanted to. I was actually looking through opportunities and saving for some. But this wasn’t just a goal, this was a prayer and I wanted God to personally show me that He could answer prayers for me as big as this one. This wasn’t just a dream, this was a fusion of worldly and spiritual goals. I was giving it up to God and letting Him do what He does and thinks best.

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Even when I’m back in Manila, I still couldn’t process everything that has happened for the last few months. It was as if everything in my life built up to prepare me to receive this and I couldn’t be anymore grateful.

Just before I went home from United Kingdom, my best friend and I were talking about dreams being answered through prayers. She spoke about the term, “from glory to glory”, what it means and what we should be doing to understand what the phrase means. We should always have an open palm, always ready to accept blessings and have it replaced or removed. We shouldn’t clench our fists when God gives us something, because when He decides to remove it, we will hurt and we will grow bitter towards God. We should trust that our God knows what’s best for us and He wouldn’t give us anything less than what we have now.

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“Glory to glory” – I feel like I can dream bigger now, like I have this hope and faith that if God could give my biggest dream in a snap, what else can He not give? 

God wrapped this year with a ribbon. He was true to His Words, “Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and unsearchable things you do not know”, Jeremiah 33:3 and indeed, He showed me great and mighty things which I wouldn’t know if I didn’t offer this one to Him. 

To God be all the glory!

To the author of this story, thank you for sharing this dream turned into reality story! Indeed, nothing is impossible with the Lord! More stories of her at her blog site – Half of My Heart .

The Magnet Story

Last 2014, I asked my friend, Xenia to share her God-written love story. It took me two years to be able to publish it here in the blog site, for some reason I don’t know. 🙂

But, it’s never too late to share a great story authored by God. Hope you enjoy a glimpse of Xenia’s journey.

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Written February 2014

Rockwell and I have only been married since August 24th of last year. We are still enjoying the honeymoon stage.

I met Rockwell during the March for Jesus 2000 worship event at Bacolod City. At that time, he was a complete stranger to me. I saw him holding a banner and dancing to the song “Mercy is falling like sweet spring rain”. It was like magnet. My heart fell in love with how his soul loved Jesus while dancing in the rain in front of over a hundred people proclaiming the worth of Jesus. At that moment, I couldn’t help but utter praise and prayer. My prayer was that I wanted to worship the Lord like he did.

Little did I know, I was prophesying him to be my future husband (haha). In college, he was president of the student government in Riverside and I was his secretary. But I never mentioned this fact to him—about that worship event, and the prayer and the hoping. I had a long term relationship during that time and even after college. The prayer that was spoken for him to be for me was forgotten because of the circumstances that happened that I thought I could not control. I took the wrong path when I came here to the States. I got influenced with the worldly lifestyle. God became the last of my priorities. Having a good career and the praises of people were the ones that mattered to me the most.

As I chose to live my life freely, I continued to sin and to forget God. I was making a black hole in the depth of my soul that none of the material, physical or emotional factor can satisfy. The more that I drew farther from the Lord, the more that my life became very meaningless and hopeless. I reached to the point of giving up. I realized that it was not the life that God intended me to have. The life that He promised me was a life that is full of hope and a future. God reminded me that all good gifts come from Him because He is my Dad. I did not deserve the second hand things that I chose to settle with. As He promised, I deserved the fullness of life. When I asked God to take my calloused heart and make it new, it was like He breathed new life to my desert soul and dry bones.

After 14 years, God finally honored my prayer during that rainy event, having a heart that was so raw and open. Rockwell came back into the picture after I sought God’s purpose for my life. I did not beautifully wait for him. But God still turned my wasted life to a beautiful story when He rescued me and I was able to find fullness and grace again in Him. Isn’t God amazing?  He remembered every detail! He gave me the gift of a husband that I did not deserve.

Indeed, a life of worship and prayer is the key. God alone is good and faithful to His promises! He is full of mercy, grace and love for all of us. Our life should never be focused on the gifts that He gives us but our life should be all about who He is and His worth. How could a God still love us and still want us despite the things that we have done and will do which are not pleasing to Him? That’s our God!

Many are the plans in a man’s heart but only the will of God prevails.- Proverbs 19:21

It is not someone or our husband or wife that will complete us. The fullness of life can only be found in Jesus. I am blessed to have a husband whom I can see Jesus in him. It’s an opportunity for me to be able to love him with grace and mercy just like Jesus loves me. To be wired to Jesus, the Only Source of unconditional love, is how we are able to truly love someone unconditionally.  I believe that we can never give what we do not have. To be an overflow of love, we need God’s love to overflow in our life.

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Xenia & Rockwell Bennett

Flowers, Date and Whatnot…

Can you feel the LOVE

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Or, are you one of those “single beings” who will once again feel like an outcast on the 14th of February? That feeling when you can’t ask any of your girlfriends to hang out with you because they all have dates. That feeling when you see everyone posting in FB/Instagram photos of flowers and chocolates they received. That feeling when all of a sudden you just feel like eating out and you can’t find a place because you didn’t make reservation days before. If that’s how you had been feeling for the past years, it’s okay. Trust me, you are not alone in that boat.

I said it’s okay because I believe it is not about being insecure, jealous or bitter. It’s that feeling when you walk into a conference of doctors and you are a musician. It emphasizes what you are not. Not yet married, no kids – STILL SINGLE. And for sure, you get that feeling on other days too. Valentine’s day just adds more drama to it.

So, do you dwell or do you overcome? 

If you choose to dwell on that feeling, make sure that it will not lead you to do something temporary just to make you feel better and will have consequences that you will regret in the future. If you choose to dwell and sink in your emotions, bring it all to the Lord. You can ask Him, you can cry out to Him, you can be desperate in His presence. You can be real to Him. He will not judge you with what you feel.

If you choose to overcome, make sure you don’t overcome it by being stone-hearted and hostile on people who celebrates relationship and marriage. If you choose to overcome, it is because you choose to trust on God’s timing for you. You choose to be grateful because being single also has its own blessings that you can enjoy.

So, whatever you decide to do on Feb. 14, I hope that you do it in LOVE.

Love for God, Love for Others, Love for Yourself.

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Sending God’s love to you, Stifany (Princess Pepay)

Not Who, But Why

I was recently introduced to a book that is for singles who are considering marriage. I’ve read so many books about waiting and about maximizing being single, but never a marriage book for singles. Thus, the first.   

I’m glad I got a copy of the book. I got so many practical insights which gave me a new perspective about dating and marriage.  

As the tag line of the book says, “It’s not about who you marry, but why.” I realized I got so focused on the kind of person I am hoping to marry someday but never really answered the question – WHY? 

Unlike some women I know, when people asked me when I was younger what I wanted to be someday, I never thought about marriage or having my own family. However, you eventually reach to that point that you start thinking about it. Not just about being in a relationship and dating, but getting married and having a family. 

I won’t reveal the content of the book, as I hope if you are single, would read it as well.  

But I just want to share one important thing that took me back to the right foundation and thinking that the book highlighted. 

Matthew 6:33 was set as the foundation as to the WHY you want to get married. It says, “But seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

I realized I’ve been seeking things that I thought God would want me to do or have but I forgot to seek Him first. With having this verse in mind, it helps me have the right perspective of “Why” do I want to get married. 

And, someday, I will share it to you why. 

Seek GOD first.

Silent Heart

Waiting on God’s best is not just sitting at the corner and be a spectator of things around you.

So, you decided to go out and try to meet people.

Then, you met someone whom you felt could be a possible God’s best for you.

As time passed by, acquaintance grew to authentic friendship.

Silently, you were hoping something more than friendship can turn out with that person.

But then, God didn’t say anything.

And so, you kept waiting, trusting.

Then, God answered.

A love story unfolded right before your eyes with that person.

But, it was a story that was not yours.

Shoulders dropped. With a silent heart, you still chose to thank God.

You are just grateful that God knows better than you.

And so, you continue waiting.

Trusting that the best is yet to come.

 love story.

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Bakit Wala Ka Pang Asawa?

Bakit Wala Ka Pang Asawa? (Why Are You Not Yet Married?)

There are times when I meet a single man or woman – successful, good looking, has a good character, has the right age for marriage, I would always ask myself, “Bakit kaya wala pa siyang asawa?” (with a big question mark). I just can’t find any reason why such person can’t be married yet.

Bakit nga ba? Bakit? Bakit?

Truth is, there is not one specific answer. If there is, I could have been married now and all my other single friends too.

Some could have their own reasons of why, some could have formulated their own ready answers just to easily deal with it, and some are still trying to figure it out.

But then I realize, the answer to the “Why” is something that we need to leave with God.  Would we be able to handle if God would answer it?  Instead, we should start asking God, “What?”

 What should I be doing while I’m still single?

Do I have a balanced personal and work life?

Is my character displaying godly traits?

Is my mind perceiving the right thoughts?

Am I committed to my relationship with God, family and peers?

A lot of married couples say that being single is truly a blessing. It is a phase in life that should be maximized and not wasted on unnecessary things. However, this is something most singles fail to realize. Some are too focused in their careers and ambitions that they forgot about relationships. Or, some wanting to have all sorts of experiences that they jump from one relationship to another. Some are living the life the way they want it to be and just don’t care of the consequences. And some, clouded by their own insecurities, fears and failures that they just gave up trying to become better.

 Until  we start doing “What” God has intended us to do, we will continue to miss out the blessings of being single.

We just have to trust God that when the right time comes, just like when God brought Eve to Adam, God will also make it happen for us. Until God is not yet done with us being single, we will never be married.

So for now…

Let’s set aside the “Why” and start doing the “What”.

blessings