Monday, June 30, 2014

{Marriage Monday} What I Learned About Forgiveness... (Part 2)

Last week, I was down with colds and a very high fever and I had to take a leave of absence for two days. That was my season of rest. Today, aside from my weird voice due to colds, I am fairly okay by God's amazing grace and faithfulness. And I praise my Lord and Savior for finally allowing me to break free from my Monday sickness! Yes, that's my new term for it since I have been weak and sickly almost every Monday. Perhaps, my body longs to have longer weekends? You bet! :)

Anyhow, I am writing this with a very overused brain as I have just finished making a pleading (Demurrer to Evidence, specifically) and entertaining clients, making Counter-Affidavits, etc. As to what are these terms, I hope and pray that I find time to be able to write about what I do and perhaps share some of the vital information in my profession. I am initially planning to call it Legally Aware and Simplified Saturdays. LASS, for short. Hahahaha. But I am not yet sure. I find LASS a bit much trying hard. :D

So, for today, here's Part 2 on What I Learned About Forgiveness. You can read Part 1 first or later. ;)


This is not something that is usually taught in psychology or guidance counselling but is always reiterated in the Bible. The Word of God repeats the same lesson/principle (not just for couples but for all of us)--Forgive just as I have forgiven you--and this only means one thing: Forgiveness must be so ingrained in our hearts and minds that it becomes innate in us. It becomes a way of life because that's how the Lord designed us to be--Christ-like. If He, the King of all kings and God of all gods, keeps on forgiving us of our sins, how can we not forgive the sins of others? 

This parable shared by Jesus Christ comes to mind and I am always overwhelmed at how the Lord values the true motives of our hearts than anything else. He wants us to be a revelation of who He is, specifically, His forgiving nature. He wants us to live forgiveness, not because we are good, but because He is good in our lives. Then, in another Gospel book, Jesus reiterates forgiveness and reconciliation.

Practical Application: So, how do we practice forgiveness as a way of life? In our relationship as husband and wife, we must be humble enough to ask for forgiveness once we sense we have hurt or offended the other and be able to give forgiveness when our partners ask us for one. It is inevitable that in our lifetime commitment to stay together that trials and misunderstandings will arise as we are two different individuals. But if we practice forgiveness as a way of life, there will still be misunderstandings and conflicts, but the load will be a whole lot easier. 

A concrete example will be this: If my husband hurts me (intentionally or unintentionally) and he later asks for forgiveness, we immediately tackle the issue. We do not let work or entertainment get in the way. We face the issue and be gracious with forgiveness. 

On my part, if I offend my husband, intentionally or unintentionally, and I sense that he is offended or when he tells me that he is, I might find a thousand reasons not to ask for forgiveness but I choose to eat my pride, acknowledge that I am wrong and that he is hurt and be humble to ask for forgiveness.. 

It is not easy but by the grace of God, this is very much doable. :))

Thursday, June 19, 2014

On why I make a big deal out of unequal yoking with unbelievers...

Recently, I have been asked straight to my face this question, and I paraphrase: Why is it a big deal for you and your hubby that believers should not be involved in relationships with unbelievers?

To be honest, I was taken aback by it. I was not expecting a Christian girl to ask me that way. Though I knew she meant it in a sincere and straightforward manner, I can also sense the resentment in her tone. My husband and I have been heavily advocating and warning young Christians to avoid unequal yoking. Sadly and regrettably though, I have received such a flak, even from fellow believers. :( Lest I be misinterpreted here, let me just be honest that I have own up to my mistakes (in the approach, in my tone of voice, in my avenues). And yes, though I do not sin in this unequal yoking part but I still sin (because none of us is perfect) but it does not necessarily mean that just because I am a sinner, I am no longer allowed to take my conviction on this matter. Right? 

Anyhow, my answer to that question was simple: 

"I am not the one making a big deal out of it. Neither is it my husband. It is God's word [the Bible] which says so. And no matter how imperfect we are, it should be our highest desire and pleasure in life to obey what our Lord and Master says. If we are on the same faith, then, we should be serious in doing what the Lord says." 

Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio wrote a very compelling and clarifying piece on her thoughts about believers dating unbelievers. If you find yourself reading this and would like to know more, I recommend that you read it by clicking here. She has eloquently stated what the Bible says and has untangled the complexity of the principle by boiling it down to one important choice: trusting the Lord or holding on to your non-believing date.

There is also an interesting article about the same principle and I recommend that you click and read just the same. It is important to be well-informed, whether you are a believer contemplating to enter into a relationship, one who is already in an unequally yoked relationship and seeking God's will, or a Christian desiring to grow in faith. 

And as you learn and discover on this principle, I pray that the Lord will lead you to His truth and by His enabling grace through the Holy Spirit, may you be strengthened to do what He says. 

Obey God, not man. 

This is it for Truth Thursday :)) Enjoy the rest of the week. 

*Photo does not belong to me; it was taken from here.

Monday, June 16, 2014

{Marriage Monday} What I Learned About Forgiveness... (Part 1)

I missed two {Marriage Monday} series because I was unexpectedly extremely sick for the last two Mondays, which led to a half-meant joke between me and hubby dear about me being pregnant. But I am now in my menstrual period and as hubby dear and I say, we rely in God's perfect timing. :)

Still, I know not why I have been feeling sluggish lately but my self-explanation is that I have been mindlessly eating junk food or food with less or no nutritional value at all. But, that deserves another blog entry, really. 

For now, let me focus on what I have promised to deliver during my last post: several lessons the Lord has taught me when it comes to forgiveness. Please bear in mind that I am still a work in progress in all aspects of my life so it does not necessarily mean I have learned all these by heart. Sometimes, I had to learn, un-learn, and re-learn several of these and it is only by God's grace that I was able to do so. Also, some of these lessons I have learned first-hand while the others I have learned through the more mature Godly women the Lord has placed in my life. 

This is my NIV Study Bible which I covered with artpaper and prettified with fabric flowers, serving as our Bible during our wedding ceremony. My hubby has a bigger one in the same version and this has helped us in our daily devotionals. One of my favorite parts during our wedding was the Symbols Ceremony where Pastor Joe reminded us that the Bible should always remain our guide and standard in living our lives. Indeed, the Bible--God's Word--has a lot to say about forgiveness and we could very well take advantage of it by applying His principles in our lives as husband and wife! 


More often than not, I am always lost on how to forgive. Most of the time (back then and until now), I have this tendency to hold on to my emotions, thinking that I have the right and privilege to do so. Then, I learned that holding on to my emotions is like putting myself on the throne of my heart, instead of Christ sitting there because I already have accepted Him as my personal Lord and Savior. I felt like that I have unceremoniously and disrespectfully executed power-grabbing against my King. So, I started to let go of my emotions, telling myself that the throne of my heart rightfully belongs to Jesus. This has made "emotional letting go" so much easier. 

So, how do we forgive like Christ? We forgive based on His truth (the Bible), not on our emotions and standards. The Bible says that we must love and forgive each other just as Christ loves and forgives us.  

How does Christ love me? He loves me by dying for and in my behalf while I am still a sinner. How does He forgive me? He does so by forgiving me always, not by my own righteousness but by His own righteousness which He freely gives to me once I truly accepted Him in my heart. 

Meditating and fully grasping this perfect love and faithful forgiveness of my Lord and Savior allows me to fully appreciate what He did and continues to do in me and in my husband. Knowing how he loves and forgives me provides my guide or standard on how I should forgive my husband (or anyone else who offends me). If I am loved and forgiven by Christ, then, I know that I should also love and forgive the same way he does love and forgive me. 

A flower will not bloom without water and sunlight. So it is with our marriages.
It will not bloom without love and forgiveness. 

Practical Application: How do I love my husband just as Christ loves me? I love him not just for his good qualities but also for his shortcomings and weaknesses (no one is perfect). I love him even if I don't feel like loving him at times. I love him even if he is unlovable at times. 

This is actually easier said than done but it is worth the intentional practice. During times of misunderstanding and conflicts, when my hubby dear offends me with his words or actions, it is quite tempting to sulk in hatred and misery. But I found out that the best way to love him is to hug him or hold his hand and communicate love through the sense of touch. But of course, as I have earlier pointed out, I have not mastered this art and all I can say is that it is all by God's grace that we have emerged victorious in our conflicts. 

One way that my husband communicates love even if I am unlovable is by reminding me with Biblical verses, fitting for my situation. I find it irritating at times (read: pride) but I have come to appreciate this trait of him--always leading me to Christ. 

How do I forgive like Christ? I forgive my husband because it is what God commands me to do. I should not base my forgiveness on whether I feel like forgiving him or not. I should not forgive with conditions. I should not forgive with reservations. I should not forgive with threats. Most of all, I should not delay forgiveness. 

Still a few months into our marriage, we had a big fight. My hubby dear said sorry but I did not want to forgive. I wanted him to learn his lesson the hard way, to make him know how offended I was. But the bitterness in my heart grew and took hold of me. I became prideful and irrational. I walked out of our rented place late at night in a place where both of us were not familiar. And it further complicated things. 

I've learned my lesson since then. The Bible says that as Christians, we must be quick to forgive. Forgiveness must be complete and quick as the Lord has forgiven me. Besides, it is also written that we sin if we do not do the good we know we should do. :) 

Next week, I will be blogging about more lessons I have learned through God's amazing ways :)

*Photos in this post are parts of our Pre-Nup session with Super Seven Studios

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Letter to Myself

Dear Beautiful and Cherished One,

I know what you are going through right now. The physical fatigue, the emotional stress, and the mental challenges--these are enough to send someone to the lowest pit. Throw in your need and desire to have deep friends where you are now and the desire to please and buy peace with the family you are living with and you have the perfect recipe for depression and self-pity. 

But I delight in you as you hold on and fight. I delight in seeing you bit your lip instead of talking back. I delight in seeing you get up and do something even if your body disagrees. I delight in you being joyful despite the circumstances you are in. I take delight in you as you choose to forgive, decide to be honest and make self-sacrifices.

You are altogether different from the one I used to know, the one who delight in pitying herself, the one who has had morbid thoughts, the one who contemplated suicide. The one who shies away from problems and hides in the dark world of computer games, bar hoppings, discos and cocktail shots--she has completely vanished. The old has been peeled away. 

You are brave and confident now though I know that you still have a long way to go. There will be changes in your body, changes in your character, changes in your surroundings--but you, with the saved and loved heart, will continue to soar high as you believe and continue to trust the One who saved and Loved you

He changed you. And He alone is the one capable of giving you that eternal joy that smiles despite the pain, forgives despite the offense, and keeps silent despite the accusations. Keep on trusting Him and loving Him. Allow Him to mold you and your character. 

Don't be afraid to be radical for Him. 

Go deeper to Him because He loves you more than anybody in this world can. 


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Rest: A Prayer Request

If there is one thing my body needs right now, it is this.

I need physical and spiritual rest.

For reasons unknown, my body suddenly took a U-turn this week, starting with an irregularity in my tummy last Monday. Until now, I am feeling unexpectedly extremely weak and easily tired and I do not know why.

My usual self wants to freak out but my renewed heart and mind want to rest in Christ.

So, please say a prayer for me that I will feel better and that whatever this is, everything will be alright by His awesome and perfect grace.

Thank you very much.