Twenty Nine

I turned 29 today.

I was honestly too busy to start counting the days to my birthday in the past weeks. I stopped the countdown last year, and the days leading to my birthday this year was just filled with too many activities that I hardly thought of writing, or documenting anything, or counting, even. Before I knew it, it was the 16th of March, and I fell asleep before midnight and woke up – I’m already 29.

Every time I think of that – I’m turning 29, or now, I’m 29 – I get this freaked out feeling inside. I always thought that age was just a number (and it still is), and I never thought that I’d be the kind of person who’d stop counting at a certain age…but really, I’m sort of freaking out. I’m almost at the end of this decade of my life. I’m almost thirty. I mean, it’s still a year to go, but I’m twenty-freaking-nine. How did that happen?

When my friends asked me yesterday and today about my birthday wish, I was at a loss. I had…nothing, really. I got just a little bit worried. How can I not want something? But I don’t. I mean, yeah, there are some things that would be nice to have1 but it those nice-to-haves aren’t really deal breakers.

I am happy now. I mean, I was happy before, but now I don’t feel like asking for anything anymore. My 28th year was, as a friend described it, “…a year of surprises, of mending broken fences, of accomplishments.” It was a year of silence, of trying new things, of forgiveness, of transitions, embracing my crosses, and consecrations. It was an eventful year, and now it feels like all of those have finally settled down.

I’m actually content.

So what now?

Most of the readings for my birthday in the past year were exhortations about blessings, and running the race, and being filled to overflow. This year’s readings were just a little bit different. First, the Gospel was about the paralytic man who stayed by the river for 38 years, waiting for his chance to get in to be healed. Jesus came, saw him and talked to him, and healed him by saying:

“Stand up, take up your mat, and walk.” – John5:8

It felt like a marching order of sorts. My 28th (and 27th) year(s) were very eventful, and I felt like they were the years where so many things happened in my life, in work, and in my relationships. It was a crazy ride, so to speak, and now that they’re all over, I still find myself still looking back, and kind of revisiting and reliving some of them. Now don’t get me wrong – it’s okay to look back. But maybe…not so much. I think it’s time that I stop lying there, waiting for something, because really I have been forgiven and healed, and I have been so blessed, that it is time to pick up my mat, and walk.

Walk towards something new. Walk towards what God has in store for me. Walk into where He wants me to be.

I take it back. I actually have a birthday wish. This came from today’s first reading:

“Wherever it flows, life abounds.” – Ezekiel 47:9

I never paid attention to this one before. This was the kind of first reading that didn’t really make sense to me, and I never really appreciated it. Interestingly, I found that I had highlighted this passage early on, and reading it now, on my 29th birthday, this suddenly made more sense.

I want to be someone where life abounds.

river life
image credit

I don’t know if I said it right. But in my 29th year, I want to be the kind of person who gives life. Not physically, as in giving birth, or you know, suddenly going into medicine so I could save lives. I mean it more in the spiritual, maybe emotional sense. I want to be someone who’s so full of life that sharing it is the only thing to do. I want to be the kind of person whose words and actions give life to other people. I want to be someone that God uses to bring life and light to everyone I meet.

Truth be told, this wish, and this “marching order” of sorts kind of makes me nervous, on top of me freaking out that I am one year closer to 30. But time and time again, as one of my best friends always reminds me: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him. :)

So thank you, to everyone who made this day special despite me being at work and really not having plans. Thank you for the 28th year, and thank you to all the people who journeyed with me. I am grateful. ♥ I wish you love and joy, as always.

I leave you all with words from Pope Francis, one of my favorite messages during the Papal Visit last January:

Allow yourselves to be surprised by God. Don’t be afraid of surprises. They shake the ground beneath our feet and make us insecure, but they move us forward in the right direction.

Here’s to 29. :)

  1. I will be honest here – a love life would be nice, haha. []

All These Things (4): January-February edition

m4s0n501

Here I thought I’d have time to blog more come 2015, but look, it’s already February. Scratch that – February is almost over, and I just sat down to finally blog. I promise, I really wanted to write last January, but I went through another round of transition then, so I had other things I needed to focus on.

But don’t worry, it’s good transition. And by that, I mean I don’t feel as lost now as I did at first. :)

So what has happened to me so far in 2015?

  • Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines – I will write another blog entry about this, but this is definitely one of the experiences I will never ever forget. What a way to kickstart 2015.
  • Work, and lots of it – This isn’t new, but there was a lot of work only because I filed my resignation last December, so most of this is transition stuff. This means…
  • I have a new job. :) This wasn’t in any of my plans at all. I had other plans, really, especially since this opportunity came to me last year but I ignored it the first time. Then when I asked for it, someone else got it, so I figured it wasn’t for me. Lo and behold, I got a message by December if I wanted to go for it again. So I did, and I got the job. I’ve been in the role for one month and it’s been fun so far. The tasks and responsibilities are quite daunting, but I’m also having fun and I actually like this stretch. (So much that I actually went to work yesterday – a holiday – willingly, how about that.) Lots more to come for this, and I’m quite excited for those things. :)
  • SFC International Conference in Palawan. My fourth SFC ICON, my second time in Palawan, and thanks to the generosity of some CFCs in Palawan, we got to visit El Nido on a budget (like, really awesome budget). What an amazing, amazing experience, and I really, really hope that I get to write about this soon.

There are many things that I need to write about (part two of the Bangkok-Siem Reap trip, for one), and I’m really going to try harder to do that soon. I mean, I have a lot of time outside of work now. I think I’m just sort of adjusting from all this free time now. Ever had that dilemma? You know, having almost no free time to suddenly having so much free time that you don’t know what to do with it now? Yeah, that thing. But let’s not waste time, right?

Here’s one thing I know, after the first 51 days of 2015: it’s been a blast, so far. :)

Faith

On November 23, I wrote this post that started with this:

Sometime around last week, I started to feel this tiny little worry because my word for 2015 hasn’t found me yet.

What I didn’t write after that blog entry was that my 2015 word found me soon after posting that.

I can’t remember how I found it, or how it found me. The thing is, the word has been with me ever since I started writing my second book, but I didn’t really notice it because I was too worried with too many things, and I was struggling too much with Delight. I was torn between wanting to find my next word and thinking that maybe I should focus on the word that I have now before moving onto the next. I figured that my word will find me, or I will find it; I just needed to give it time.

But like I said, soon after I wrote that post, before December rolled around, I found my word for 2015.

Faith.

By “finding it,” the word has been sort-of literally staring me in the face all this time, in the form of my next book‘s title, Keep the Faith. I just had that moment: why can’t FAITH be my word for 2015?

And then all the struggles I was having at the end of the 2014 started to make sense. With how I was being asked to wait, and how there were some things that were totally out of control that was driving me nuts…all through that, God was asking me not just to choose His joy, but also, to have faith.

I haven’t completely figured it out yet, but soon as 2014 ended and 2015 came in, I kept on holding onto that: to have faith. In the midst of the struggles, the confusion, the chaos. In the midst of the feeling that I am disappointing people, or in the midst of all the little inconveniences. In the midst of happiness, and the fatalistic feeling that comes after that asks, What if this doesn’t last? In the midst of the anxiety of the new year, and the things I will say goodbye to and the things that will start, and the moments in between that I am desperately wishing wouldn’t be so hard. In the midst of good people and difficult people. In the midst of these thoughts of what people will think, or what they will say or do about certain decisions I will make. In the midst of uncertainties and certainties, I always come back to these words:

Have faith.

I knew from the moment I found this word that this isn’t about me finding out what I believe in, or looking for faith that I have lost. This faith is about realizing and recognizing God’s faithfulness in my life – every second, every minute, every hour, every day.

Faith is about trusting this faithfulness that I have known and experienced, knowing that He has got this covered, and He will not let me fall.

Faith is also me being faithful to Him just as He is faithful to me. It is about me being faithful not just in the big things, but also (and especially) in the small things, because these are all gifts from Him, and I should be a good steward of them.

Faith is about bringing my current faith into a new level, because He wants to take me deeper, and He wants to make it richer. There is so much more I don’t know about my faith, and this is the year to learn about it, and experience it.

If I could be totally honest, I’m a little bit scared of this word. Somehow, Faith reminds me of Courage, and I am feeling the things that I felt when I declared the Year of the Brave.

But we know how all that turned out, right? So there’s no need to be scared.

Perhaps this scared, apprehensive feeling is already a lesson on trusting God’s faithfulness. Because when was He ever not faithful to me?

So 2015 is my year of Faith. I don’t have quotes from blogs or authors about this word, which is just as well, because I think the best thing to go about this is to go to His Word, which has more than enough stories of faith than I could ask for. :)

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1 (NASB)

I like that word, conviction.

Have a great 2015, everyone! May we all see, recognize, and experience more of God’s faithfulness in our lives this year. :)

take delight

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