Note to My Younger Self | 02 | 2008

“I made a list of things I love just in case you go. All my life has been about waiting for people to go.”

It is funny; I couldn’t see or read any journal entry or poem you wrote. Nothing. As if 2008 didn’t exist at all. May be you’re happy that time so you didn’t bother to write anything or was it just your life then was very random that writing it would be a waste of time? So I tried my best to remember what had happened. And this is what your present self can remember…

I can still feel the emotions while you were marching down the stage with your white toga: feeling of uncertainties, feeling of inadequacies, feeling of lost, feeling of longing, yet, you were also feeling the relief,  feeling a new sense of hope, feeling of standing strong and making your dreams come true.

GOODBYE!

You thought that moment was the worst because you were leaving behind friends, classmates and the familiar scent of the school you invested your 7 years of existence. You cried and that was the last time you allow yourself to cry in public. Because it was okay then to cry, because you were leaving all the familiar things you once knew, you were stepping out from your 7 years of comfort, you were stepping to the unknown life (a make or break life, you thought). You cried because the future is uncertain. You cried and made vows of long-term friendship. You of all people knew that promises are meant to be broken. But you still promised to be there and the unavoidable things happened, you and your friends grew apart and it scared a hell out of you. You were scared because you were afraid of being left-behind, of goodbyes, of things uncertain.

GOODBYE!

Yes, younger self, goodbyes are part of life. People will leave you behind without saying anything. Or you will leave people behind also without saying anything. And that is okay. Because in the following years, you will learn that life is always like that, closing doors, opening new ones that will eventually close. And that is also okay. Because there are still people who will stay no matter what, no matter how hard you push them away (yes, younger self, up to now you have still this tendency to push people away). Thank God for that kind of people, cherish them, love them in ways you know.

GOODBYE!

Younger self, goodbye is a great reminder that everything shall pass. Your heartaches, your mistakes, your negative thoughts shall pass too, that these will not remain. Remember that.


To read the first in the Sunday Series, Note to My Younger Self, click here.

Note to My Younger Self is a 12-week Sunday Series that aims to make sense of my past in order for me to move on to the present without extra baggage.


 

Photo Credit: Flickr


 

Hey Grace!

“If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking…”

Today, I was reminded by you. Oh, grace, in every unexpected moments of my life, you’ve been there. In every boring parts of my existence, you’ve been there. And to tell you truthfully, I can’t see myself without you.

There were times, when I forget how you work. I thought I was entitled by everything I have, not realizing that you and you alone made me worthy of everything. There were times, I thought I could do it all to the extent that I would be drowning with my own frustrations without realizing that you and you alone can make everything work.

I am looking at my journals from the past years and I am astounded and in awe on how my experiences lead me into this person I am right now. Grace, you are the reason why. Without you, maybe, I am not alive today. Remember the time that I almost gotten hit by an SUV? It was you who saved me because you know that I am not done yet. Or that time that my family almost had a car accident? But because of you, we are safe and sound right now. Or the time when I really wanted to eat my mom’s “sopas” but she’s living far away and then the food vendor gave me a free “sopas”? And I the list go on, on how you show me who you are. With all those that had happened in my life, you keep on reminding me of the cross and how a Man sacrificed His life for me, that’s you, Grace, the free unmerited favor of God. The favor which I do not deserve. The favor that is freely given. The favor that I am thankful for.

I don’t know what I have done to be worthy of you. With all those bad things that had happened, with all those bad words I said, with all those inexcusable actions I made, with all those things I should’ve said but didn’t, with all those slipping away, Grace, you still remain.  You remain.


Note to My Younger Self | 01 | 2007

“Don’t dull the sparkle in your eyes.” – Stay the Night, Zedd ft. Hayley Williams

I know what you have felt. When I think of 2007, I think of the times you wanted to be someone: someone who is worth their time, their effort; someone who excel; someone who is not an almost.

But also, when I think of 2007, I think of the days that even when people made you feel unappreciated, you still gave them your best: your best smile, your best laugh, your best joke, your best shot. Even at times when you felt the world is trying to pull you down, you managed to stay on your footing and hold on to what the future can bring.

You stayed. With many hesitations, suppression and hiding… you stayed.

Your eyes still sparkle even the world is keeping you dull. And I believe that is why people like to be with you. You never fail to see the goodness of everyone. You never fail to see the little sparkle of hope in everyone’s eye. Your eyes speak hope. And to tell you truthfully, hope is the only thing that is keeping this world and the people around you alive.

No, younger self, don’t dull the sparkle in your eyes. Let it spark. Let it be the light. Let it be hope.


Photo credit: Beauty Moves Me

Borrowed Time


“Life is short.” I have heard this cliché many times; so many times that I have never imagined that it will hit home and it will hit home hard enough; so many times that I have never imagined that it would be literal as 6 days, 14 hours and 55 minutes of living.

It is already 9 days after my niece died (as of writing), but I still couldn’t comprehend how and why this little baby girl, innocent and full of potential, should suffer and feel the pain even adults couldn’t bear. Why in her young age, she should undergo angioplasty? How her young body could bear all the pain?

Life is very short for this young little girl. She hadn’t seen the world. From the day she was born, she was taken to the heart center for operation. 6 days in the ICU.  She didn’t see her mother; her mother didn’t have the chance to hug her.  September 21 was her first breath. September 28 was her last.

In times like this, I want to tell every person I meet that life is short; that they should not spend it YOLO-ing but instead make out of most of their time loving and caring for people; that they should not be selfish to flick a cigarette while others are dying from lack of oxygen; that they should learn to value their health; that time is of essence; your time spent more to one thing is a time you spent less to another; that life is too fragile to break it.

Seeing my niece (7 days old) inside the coffin was heart-breaking. It is as if imagining how she suffered greatly, how much pain she endured. I would like to ask God, not to whine, but to have a conversation, just to know His plans, just to know what’s going on in His mind, to be assured that this little angel is safe and sound to His loving arms.

“A man’s days are numbered. You know the number of his months. He cannot live longer than the time You have set. So now look away from him that he may rest, until he has lived the time set for him like a man paid to work.” – Job 14:15

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Everyday – different, shifting and free

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I still have to comprehend life (and death). I still have to organize my thoughts as they are racing in my mind. I still need to evaluate every emotions. Nothing is sinking in. Nothing makes sense. Does life make sense? Does it need to make sense? Or should I leave everything in oblivion? Leave it as unfathomable? Leave it as a case indifferent from others?

Right now, what I am sure of, life is like the sky: everyday – different, shifting and free.



“Don’t let go too soon, but don’t hold on too long.”
Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie


“There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.”
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars


“Every loss leaves a hole in your heart.”
Mitch Albom, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto: A Novel


“There should be a statute of limitation on grief. A rulebook that says it is all right to wake up crying, but only for a month. That after 42 days you will no longer turn with your heart racing, certain you have heard her call out your name. That there will be no fine imposed if you feel the need to clean out her desk; take down her artwork from the refrigerator; turn over a school portrait as you pass – if only because it cuts you fresh again to see it. That it’s okay to measure the time she has been gone, the way we once measured her birthdays.”
Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper


“Death doesn’t just take someone, it misses someone else, and in the small distance between being taken and being missed, lives are changed.”
Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven


“The truth is, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”
Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie


“It is only with practice what we learn to say goodbye.”
Martin Davies, The Unicorn Road


“When someone is in your heart, they’re never truly gone. They can come back to you, even at unlikely times.”
Mitch Albom, For One More Day


“It’s cruel that I got to spend so much time with James and Lily, and you so little. But know this; the ones that love us never really leave us.”

— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


“The dream is ended- this is the morning.”
C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle



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Choice

Everything in life is a series of choice. Whatever, whoever we are is the sum of the choices we’ve made.

This is not really a new realization but sometimes I need to remind myself that life is like that. We are our choices.

Jacob and the Apple of His Eye

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  – Psalm 34:18

I’ve never seen this verse in a new light. This has been a verse I read then skip without even reflecting on it. For me, this never been a verse to really think about deeply.

Then, last May 24, as I was reading the Book of Genesis I realized that this verse is somewhat my life verse, it truly hits home.

Here’s the overview of the Book of Genesis: In the Book of Genesis, Jacob has two wives, Leah and Rachel. Rachel has always been the apple of the eye of Jacob that Leah always ends up being the second choice. But, because of this, Leah found favor in God. She was blessed with children while Rachel has none.

Then, that’s when I was reminded by this verse: God is near to the brokenhearted. Leah was brokenhearted. Even her spirit was crushed knowing that she would never be the first choice, she would never be the apple of the eye of Jacob. But, God saw her heartaches and blessed her.

All my life, I have been always battling to be the best, to be excellent, to be the first choice of people close to me. My heart breaks whenever people subconsciously remind me that what I do and what I say is not enough. It is like saying I am not simply enough. I accepted that fact a long time ago. I am the “almost but not quite” person.

Being an almost and pleasing everyone is exhausting. It is poison, it will eat you up inside and leave you empty. It is also frustrating to the point it is suffocating.

But being reminded that God is near to the brokenhearted, is comforting. God knows my heart, my thoughts. He knows what’s going on and He also knows the way out. And the way out is Him, to believe and trust, to be faithful with His promises.

I may not found favor to people. But I found favor with God and that’s more than enough.

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The good thing about sensitivity

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Five days of being very sensitive to God’s presence led to so much realizations and revelations.

Day 1: Repentance and Forgiveness

For I will be merciful towards their iniquities, and I will REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE.” ~Hebrews 8:12

God is truly merciful. He already forgave the sins you did or will still be doing. Even if we don’t utter a single word, He already forgave us. So why still repent? When we repent, it pleases God so much. God is pleased in seeing that we are aware of our iniquities. Much more pleased when we devote time to pray and repent to Him.

Day 2: Plan

…everything we ever do or know or have in this life is a gift from the good Lord. He has a SPECIAL PLAN for each of us, and HE HAS PROVIDED EVERYTHING WE NEED to fulfill that plan. ~The Ultimate Gift

Most of the time, I do things on my own. Not that I do not have faith on Him, it is just that I want to take part of my future. I want to be successful in MY CHOSEN AREA. I think there is nothing wrong with that. But being sensitive to God’s presence made me realize that my chosen area is not exactly what He has chosen for me. It is like buying a notebook to a hardware store. Wrong path, wrong choice, wrong direction.

He has provided everything we need for His special plan to us. He did not give me the gift of creativity just to be in an idle world of recruitment. He did not give me the gift of encouragement just to keep my mouth shut. He gave me those gifts to share it to the world. He provided everything I need to fulfill the plan He has for me.

Day 3: Love will never change its mind

He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind. ~ 1 Samuel 15:29

God never changes His mind. His plans yesterday are still His plans today and tomorrow. He is the same yestreday, today and tomorrow. Even sometimes, we slip away, His plans are still His plans.

Remembering 2 years ago when He said that my family will experience salvation. I am still holding on to that because our God never changes His mind.

Day 4: Opportunity and Trust

Having a purpose meant having to leave the familiar behind.

~co-blogger (Rolain)

This is my world. This is me. This is only what I accept as truth. My life once revolved on “ME,” what I want is what I want. Which led me to more unhappiness. But God always has His ways of knocking to me just to tell me not to doubt Him.

Last year, I resigned to my first job because I was too comfortable with what I was doing. I wanted to pursue arts. But because of doubting God’s plan, I shifted my mind again and went back to the familiar. What I realized was if we want to have a purpose in this world, we should learn to take chances and be assertive. If you want something, do something about it. Trust God… always! 🙂

Day 5: Share

The only way you can truly get more out of life for yourself is to give part of yourself away. ~ The Ultimate Gift

There is nothing more fulfilling than giving a part of yourself. Giving time to others is like giving yourself to the world. Most especially, when you share God’s word to them. We never know how much others need encouragement unless we spend time with them.

After 5 days of prayers, realizations, reflections and revelations, here’s another God’s word:

I have told you these things, so that in me, you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. ~ John 16:33

God is the God of peace. He gives peace to those who honors Him and keep His commandments.

Even how much chaotic this world is, for His children peace is given. In the midst of trouble, we still find peace because we know God already overcome the world.

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That’s life!

Credits to: www.madison.k12.wi.us
Credits to: http://www.madison.k12.wi.us

Our days are numbered. Life is so short to live in a stagnant life. Unlike the people in the Old Testament who could live for 300 years, the people today cannot.

The author of Refuel, Ru deal Torre nearly face death many times. One, he has his car accident (which by the way, the starting point of his faith to God); two, when he was a toddler having fell from the carousel ride.

It took him so many trials to realize that “Life is so short, and we have to make each day count.”

And look where he’s been now, he is now a Youth Director of Wildfire and Youth Ministry of His Life, he inspires many youth to stand with their faith to God.

I never had a near death experience. However, sometimes I feel like I am dead because I am not living my life the way it should be, that I’m still alive but not connected in this world. But one turn around point changes my concept of life. That one event made me realize, “Julienne, you’ve been that kind girl all of your life… now start living your life… dream big… dream excellently… it is your time now.”

God wants us to seize our day, to connect with people, to love our family, friends and enemies, to take every opportunity (which by the way may stretch our faith to God), to dream big, to love, to cry, to smile, to laugh, to work and most of all to praise and worship Him (by the way, yesterday’s entry is about putting God first before our dreams ).

I just remembered my entry last January 20, 2014 (please visit it here). I told there that I should now start living and seize the day. Take it one step at a time.

Here’s a little thought for you: Stop living like you will not die tomorrow. Live life like there’s no tomorrow. Start loving today, start pursuing your dream today, and start connecting today… because our days are numbered. Well, that’s life!

–my reflection for the 16th week devotional of Refuel by Ru dela Torre.

 

Ces’t la vie!

What is your dream life?

My dream life includes writing a best-selling novel or inspirational book, a really big house with 10 rooms, an owned business, an owned free library for all and last but not the least—comfort!

But are these worth it?

I have on my mp3 player the song of Switchfoot about having a dream becomes reality, the song is called “Company Car,” (Which, by the way, my favorite song for this season. It describes how his dreams draw him far from his purpose, values and principles in life. That he has the “company car” yet he doesn’t like himself. That’s the price to pay!

Having a dream life come true is not wrong. Yet, having it just for your own comfort… isn’t worth it. Sometimes, people whose dreams come true forget the sole purpose of their existence… TO GLORIFY GOD!

There’s nothing wrong in dreaming big since God is a promoter of excellence and God wants to show His greatness to His beloved children. However, if you lose yourself in the long run, if you lose yourself while reaching your dreams, you may not want the result of it.

Here’s my favorite line from the song “Company Car” (see full lyrics here):

I’ve got the company car.
I’m the one swinging at two below par.
Yeah, I’ve become one with the ones,
That I’ve never believed in.
But I’ve got the company car.

I always say, dream big, dream excellently, don’t be a mediocre because God wants us to be excellent in all our ways! But, we shouldn’t forget this:

In whatever we do, always put God first.

I am not to preach here because I’m one of them. I sometimes forget that the purpose of these all is God and Him alone. That we should connect with people just like what He did through Jesus, to see trees and all His creation, to attain greatness and not forget Him.

This entry is very close to my heart because in the past days, I felt like losing myself, that the only thing that keeps me going is the love of God and the excellence I am craving for. Like, I finally realized that I don’t like what I’m doing. When I was on my college days, I said that I would love anything that relates to my field of expertise (which is Psychology. By the way, I’m an IT Recruiter). However, the now seems too vague for me. I don’t know if what I don’t like is my job or the people around me or both or this is just another of that “I-hated-everything-season” (Well, this is another story). But whatever it is, this is not healthy to me and to my walk with God. I need to get my mind straight.

I don’t want to sound preachy or grumpy or moody or lonely in my post but because this is very close to my heart, I cannot help myself but to sound preachy, grumpy, moody and lonely at the same time. Sorry, I have a multiple personality (please refer to this entry). Haha!

And also, this should be my post for my reflection on Refuel but felt like it is out of context. So tomorrow will be it!

For now, Ces’t la vie!

GUYS, LET’S DREAM BIG AND GLORIFY GOD!