MikeMisce 2013 Year Ender




"When I realize that it is not God who is in my debt but I who am in His great debt, then doesn't all become gift? For He might not have." - Ann Voskamp

Creating and watching this video made us realize more how good and gracious is our God. 2013 hasn't been the easiest year for us, in fact, it was the hardest in the 3 years of our marriage. However, our God doesn't waste anything. He never allows us to go through afflictions without a purpose. He is a God who is passionately, crazy in love with us that He wants ONLY HIM to be the first place in our hearts. He is a God who cares more about our character than our physical comfort. He is a God who gives us gifts. This year, He taught us to be grateful. To humbly receive and thank Him for every single gift that He has given us... and that include those that didn't even look like gifts in our worldly eyes.

It was only when we look back that we see, that every trial and challenge were GRACE. His Grace to lead us to the path that He wants us to go. His Grace to discipline us that we may experience to depend on Him alone. His Grace that He "gives and takes away" that we may see what are the real important things in life (and they are not things!). His Grace that we may find joy in what really matters, those that we fail to see most of the time. ALL IS GRACE after all... From the rising to the setting of the sun... and all that's in between is GRACE... gifts, that He is not obligated to give, yet, in His great love, He chooses to FREELY GIVE every single day to undeserving people like us. ALL IS GRACE. All we can say is, "Thank you LORD!"

To everyone who became a part of our 2013, thank you for the gift that you are! To everyone whom we have hurt, we ask for your forgiveness. May our eyes be more open to see the goodness of our Lord a midst all the trials and struggles, and may we all receive the gifts that He has prepared for us this 2014 with a grateful heart!

A BLESSED NEW YEAR TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!

Saved, Living, and Standing on Grace Alone,
- Mike & Misce

A Christmas Longing

Sometimes, it is during this season when the things that we lack in our lives magnify. There's a certain pain in the chest when you see that your friends or relatives have what you don't or what you've been longing and praying for, for so long. Material things such as gadgets, expensive clothes etc... or it maybe the huge house where the family reunion was held, for some it maybe the kind of food that other families shared during the Noche Buena, or a loved one that won't be joining the celebration this year. For me, it's the children running around insanely not knowing which present to open first... How that kind of longing steals the joy of the season.

We've been so busy the last two days before Christmas and the Christmas day itself that I didn't have the time to spend some quality moment with the Lord. And that was it, it has always been that way. Whenever I turn my eyes away from Jesus, I feel that longing... the feeling of not having enough and everything that I felt was lacking in my life magnifies. The day after Christmas, finally, I had the chance to sit down quietly and pour out my heart before Him. As always, when I focus my eyes again upon His face, everything else shrinks down, blurs... and I see Him alone. Magnified. And just like that everything turns back to its proper place. I know, I have Enough. He is enough... In the first place, the Truth is... Christmas is enough.

He invites us to come to Him as a lowly, despised, shepherd with nothing to offer to Him but our hearts. A heart that is ready to receive Him, His gifts. A heart that is ready to witness His glory. Focusing my eyes on Him lets me see the gifts that He has already given... my life, my husband, my family... my relationship with Him. Above all, His gift of eternal life... my heart overflows with gratitude.

My Christmas this year. :)
I'd love to read how you spent yours. :)














IG Hiatus -- Again!



It's almost Christmas! And the spirit just gets warmer and warmer! Circumstances try to steal my joy this season, and everyday is a constant battle of choosing to be joyful despite and inspite every "sigh" moment. Giving thanks has always been my road back to the presence of my loving Father. Continuously writing His gifts everyday in my gratitude journal changes my heart every time. I'm writing a blog about my "One Thousand Gifts" journey soon.

I just got back on instagram the other day after more than a week of processing with the Lord. After my social media fast, after reading some helpful articles, and through the encouraging messages and comments of my #SheReadsTruth sisters, I became so sure of what the Lord exactly wants me to do. I went back to posting my journal pages again in IG and it felt so right. I know God was pleased that I have sought His heart and decided to obey. It's just so ironic that after I have been so empowered to going back to this ministry, I started having problems again with my phone, and this time, Mike decided once and for all to get rid of it. So last night, we sold my phone. There was a bit of sadness because I have no idea when it will be replaced (I don't want to pressure my husband because he has been thinking of so many things lately). Aside from that, I just got back in IG, and now I have to take a break again. But I know that the Lord always has a purpose. I am also 100% sure that He wants me to continue this ministry so I have faith that He will provide me with a new one - in His time. I just feel confident and secure this time, unlike two weeks ago, I was pouting when Mike first thought of selling it.

Looking at the brighter side, I know that this is the perfect time for me to be more active in writing in this blog page. I must admit, it's easier to post in IG than to compose a blog entry and that is why most of the time I feel lazy. But I am not letting my circumstance to stop me from doing what the Lord calls me to do -- and that is to share my life -- my struggles, failures, and triumphs in my walk with Him. In His perfect time, I know that He will provide!

So having said all of that, actually the purpose of this post is to let my instagram followers, friends, #ShereadsTruth sisters know that I will be on IG Hiatus again! This time, it's really indefinite! I will be more active here in my blog page and I am hoping to connect with you all through facebook too! Also, I won't have the chance to do this through IG so I'd like to take this opportunity to greet you all a

MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS
Enjoy your moments with your families and friends, 
and most of all, let us make room in our hearts for the 
coming of our Savior and Lord! 


My Avodah

It's the third day since I posted my struggle here in my blog (if you haven't read it, you may click this link) and I have received so many words of encouragement and love from my sisters in Christ from different parts of the world. I am so thankful and blessed by how the Lord used them to speak to me. I have also felt their prayers covering me... and Wow! No words can ever describe the feeling! So, thank you, to every single soul who took the time to leave an encouragement here, in facebook, and in instagram.

I have also read comments and messages from some women sharing their similar struggles. Somehow it's a relief to know that my case isn't an isolated case, and I also realized more the importance of having a community of women where we can share our struggles, and encourage one another. SheReadsTruth has been such an enormous blessing in bringing women like us together.

So I've decided yesterday through the Holy Spirit's leading that I am going back to writing and sharing my journal pages again, though I must admit that I still felt a bit anxious about messing up again. In my prayer, I told God that I need His guidance because I wasn't sure how to start again and that I need Him to search and purify the intentions of my heart.

James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."

True enough, today, the Lord led me to a blog post written by Ann Voskamp in 2010. Her post has helped me a lot today in my reflection. I think every blogger who is struggling with the same struggles that I had should read it! I am sharing my journal entry today which I've written based on my reflections from her blog posts. I am also sharing her links below so you can read them on your own. May you be blessed as much as I was! And may the Lord meet you wherever you are through Ann's words... and hey, don't forget to read the Blogger's Prayer at the end of it! :)




Here are the links to Ann Voskamp's blog:

My Christmas Miracle



My very first Jesse Tree is almost finished. But no, the season isn't over yet... and I know God's miracle still continues to unfold as His big day arrives. But I can't help but to write how His presence overwhelmed me today. After a whole week of my emotional roller coaster with the Lord, and after I have just divulged it in my blog entry last night, I woke up today with such a calm spirit. Nannette (Candacejo) and Deirdra's comments were used by the Lord to speak to my heart along with other sisters in Christ who have shared the same struggle and prayed with me.

Through today's SRT Devo, the Lord made me realize that I have been living in guilt and fear the last few days. The enemy has used this fear to hinder me from doing the works that God has called me to do. Yes, the Lord has brought me to the wilderness, to speak tenderly to my heart. It was also in the wilderness where God allowed John the Baptist to live all his life to make his spirit strong before he was sent to minister to Israel. I feel that today, the Lord is calling me to go back and do the work that He has prepared me to do beforehand (Ephesians 2:10), this time, with a weaker flesh, and a stronger Spirit -- dependent on HIM ALONE.

Luke 1:74-75 "...That we being delivered from the hand of our enemies might serve Him WITHOUT FEAR in HOLINESS and RIGHTEOUSNESS before Him all our days.

It is His will for me to serve Him all the days of my life. And He gave me gifts to use for the Glory of His Kingdom, and not to keep them, not to shrink with them in fear of making a mistake. Yet, in His goodness, He consecrates me through these emotional tests and trials so I may serve Him in Holiness and Righteousness.

"The miracle of Christmas is that you get more than proof of God's existence. You get the experience of God's presence." - Ann Voskamp (Day 20 - "The Greatest Gift" Advent Devotional).

I mentioned in my previous post that I started this month praying for Him to make this Advent Season a meaningful one... My first Christmas to really focus on Him, the real reason for the season and not on the rush of the world. Just when I thought I've lost it, He meets me right where I am. He taught me to let go of the weight and the need to perform... He taught me to rest in Him... To wait with Him... This is my Christmas miracle, to feel  Jesus removing the heaviness in my heart and replacing it with His weightless grace...

"Open your heart to the miracle of grace. He will prepare your heart for the coming of the Lord." - Ann Voskamp






My Magnificat

My relationship with the Lord hasn't been going well lately. I remember that at the beginning of the Advent Season, I prayed to Him that I never want to miss Him this year. For some reason, I didn't understand why in the middle of my journey in seeking Him this season, He seemed so distant from me. I was thinking that maybe this is His way of revealing Himself. True enough, little by little, He began revealing hidden sins in my heart.

It all started when I felt stressed and pressured about not keeping up with the current devotions that I was doing. Then I noticed that during my quiet times, I felt like I was just squeezing my mind with what I will be writing in my journal rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to let the wisdom overflow like how it used to. That's when I started to loose my passion in writing. My quiet times with the Lord have not been as meaningful as they used to since then.

It was also timely that my phone has been having a lot of issues lately that my husband decided to dispose it. My phone is so important to me because I use it to post my daily journal in instagram. So I began to understand, clearly, the Lord is taking them away from me -- my phone and my passion in writing my journal.

At Day 15 of "The Greatest Gift" Advent Devotional, Ann Voskamp wrote:

"You know you have an idol whenever you have to perform. You know you have a Baal that needs to be cut down whenever you cut yourself down. Whenever you slash yourself, you have an idol that needs to be slashed down." 


That day I realized, the cause of all my stress is trying to perform. The sins that the Lord revealed to me -- The sins of Idolatry and Pride. I wasn't even aware that these sins have been infesting me. Trying in my own effort to make good journal entries, watching out to see how many likes and comments, misplacing my priorities... turning my heart away from my First Love and bowing down to my Baal -- myself, my ego.

I felt ashamed of myself, but I see the goodness of the Lord. In His great love for me, He never lets me go too far away from Him. He never allows any lesser god to replace Him in my heart. And in today's #SheReadsTruth Devotion, God showed me the beautiful example of Mary. The woman who was given the most prestigious role in the world, yet did not take the center stage, but rather humbled herself down and acknowledged herself as a lowly servant of the Lord. Inspired by her, I wrote my own Magnificat to the Lord.


 I humbly ask you (my dear reader) to please pray for me, as I continue to seek Him and His leading in this season of my life. Thank you very much! ALL Glory to Him ALONE!

"But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there... She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, 
when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt." 
- Hosea 3:14-15


Two Thousand Gifts

Few months ago, due to the influence of my #shereadstruth sisters, I became so interested in the book "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. From time to time, my husband grants me with a book from my reading wishlist. I was so excited the day when we were supposed to buy the book. To my frustration, we were not able to find the book in the four major bookstores that we went to. One of the attendants told me that they are no longer ordering stocks of this book. I felt really sad, but I knew that God has a perfect plan, so I just let go and prayed to Him to grant me with the book if it is His will for me to read it.

I was so happy when the Lord answered my prayer in less than 2 days after that prayer. Amy, a lovely #shereadstruth sister from the other side of the world (we just knew each other online) sent me a message telling me that she wants to send me a copy of this book as a gift! I was so overwhlemed because then I understood why I was having a hard time finding the book in my country -- The Lord did not want me to buy it, He wanted to give it to me as a gift.

One day later, another #shereadstruth sweet sister, Angie sent me an email telling me that she also wants to send me a copy of this book! I told her that as much as I loved to, I felt that it might be a bit too much for me to say yes to her when I already said yes to Amy. She told me that if anything changes and I still need a copy, I can email her anytime.

After Amy sent the package, it was waiting time. In my previous post I wrote about an unexpected package which I thought was the one from Amy, it was a Jesus Calling Devotional sent by another sister (God's provision and surprises are blowing my mind away!) I waited for more than a month, I found God's way of teaching me to be patient to be really, really sweet! He knows it's always been my weakness! I tracked the package online almost everyday and even called the post office frequently. That's just me, always in a hurry!

But God's timing is always perfect! After weeks of studying the "Giving Thanks" devotional in SRT and Jesus Calling, the package arrived at the post office and I received a notification card that it was ready for pick up.

This morning, when husband and I picked up the package, it was such a sweet surprise! Amy sent me two copies of the book! I meant to send her a message to ask her what made her decide to send me two copies. Then I suddenly remembered Angie, who also wanted to send me a copy of the book (that time Amy has not sent the package yet). Then I thought, maybe the Lord really wanted me to receive two copies, that when I did not say yes to Angie's offer, the Lord touched Amy's heart to send me two copies instead!

It's amazing to think, that God's will and plan will push through no matter what! I am now praying and asking the Lord to reveal to me to whom He wants me to give this extra copy. I know He has prepared it for someone, (I already have a few people in mind, I'm just waiting for God's confirmation) and I know that that person will feel very special the moment I tell her what the Lord has done to give this book to her.

Thank you sisters Amy and Angie for being used by God as an instrument to make me feel His love! I'm so excited to start writing my One Thousand Gifts! Thank you Lord for your wonderful and amazing ways! To You alone be all the Glory, Honor, and Praise! ♥





He Surprises!

A month ago, I received an email from a lovely woman from instagram, her name is Sheila. In her email she said that the Lord was leading her to bless me with the Jesus Calling Devotional Book by Sarah Young. I was so excited because it was my first time to ever receive that kind of email from someone that I haven't personally known. We've also had a few chitchats and I was really happy to find a new sister in Christ through her.  After the last email that I sent, she was not able to email me back to confirm if she was able to mail the book to the address that I gave her. Few weeks have passed, and I haven't heard from her, so I thought that maybe she became busy, or that maybe something happened. I didn't want to send her an email to follow up because I was shy to ask, and I knew that God knows the perfect plan. Still, I continued to pray every night for The Jesus Calling Devotional Book.

A few weeks later, another sweet and kind woman, a SheReadsTruth sister, named Amy, messaged me to let me know that she wants to bless me with another book that I have also been praying for. (This is going to be a different story, and I will share it on my next blog post). I was again very surprised! Amazed by how the Lord touches the hearts of people to meet our needs -- even from across the ocean! Amy confirmed to me that she already mailed the book, and I was very, very excited!

In less than a week after she sent the package, I received a notification from the post office that they don't deliver international parcels door-to-door. Because of some Customs procedure, I have to pick it up personally. Due to my husband's schedule and a holiday, I had to wait for 6 days so he can drive me to the post office. Believe me, it was the longest 6 days of my life! :)

So Monday night, I messaged Amy to inform her that I am picking up her package the following morning. This morning, my husband was as excited as I was when we approached the window that will release my package.



To my excitement after I got the package, I didn't even check the sender's name and address (even as I was holding it in this picture). I didn't even want to open it there.


 We were almost at the exit door when I noticed that the sender's return address was Oklahoma! The package that I was expecting was supposed to come from Tennessee!


Then I immediately remembered Sheila, the woman who wanted to bless me with the Jesus Calling Devotional. I was really speechless and in awe by how the Lord moves! He surprised me today! (Well, He made me, so He knows how much I love surprises!) :) That means that I should be expecting another package to arrive anytime this week, the one from Amy!

On our way home, I can't get over of what just happened. I felt like the Lord has given me a big hug today. He knows my heart. He knows that there are times when I am tempted to doubt if He really wants to give me the desires of my heart especially when I feel that there are so many big prayers that I've been waiting for Him to answer. Today, I feel like He wants to tell me, that He doesn't want to withhold any good thing from me. As long as what I ask of Him is according to His will, I don't have to doubt if He would want to give it to me, all I have to do is ask. I am His daughter, and He delights in granting the things that would make me happy, whether big or small. I just need to trust that He will only give me what He knows is good for me -- at the moment. My Jesus, you are such a sweet, loving Father. 


Thank you Father! 
Thank you for using Sheila as an instrument to make me feel your love today! 
May you return this blessing to her a hundred and thousand folds!
To HIM be all the Honor, Glory, and Praises!


"But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!" - John 15:7

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The "Ball of Fire" Experience

Last week, my husband and I went to the mall to buy our groceries. I saw a stationery booth where i found this cute little journal notebook. I really liked it and I couldn't put it down. So when my husband asked me if I wanted to buy it, I said yes, then I put it in the cart.

While Mike was roaming around the fruits section, I couldn't stop looking at the journal notebook. In my mind, I knew I liked the design, but I really didn't know to what I would use it for. It wasn't the kind of notebook that I wanted to use for my Bible Study or the Gratitude Journal that I am planning to start. I really didn't know why I was buying it, (I am the kind of person who doesn't like buying stuffs I don't need). Anyhow, I just told myself that maybe  it was too cute not to buy.

As we approached the counter to pay for our items, we were pleasantly welcomed by this cheerful and perky Cashier. She was very different from the other Cashiers that were present around. She was really nice and very enthusiastic. When she was about to punch the journal, she said this comment in a very lighthearted way, "Mam, nakita nio na po ang loob nito? Ang ganda naman po ng Diary!" ("Mam, have you seen how the pages inside look like? This Diary is so lovely"). Immediately after she said that, I felt something inside my chest ignited! Something was blazing inside! My heart was beating so fast! I remembered Crystal McVea, author of the book Waking Up in Heaven described her similar experience as a "nudge". I cannot find any other words to describe the feeling, but a "Ball of Fire" experience! It felt surreal but so incredible! I was speechless for a few seconds and Mike noticed. He asked me what was wrong. I told him that I felt something. He looked worried because he thought that I was sick or not feeling well. But when I told him that I felt that God was telling me to give the notebook to this perky Cashier, he immediately told me that I must obey.

I was tempted to ignore what God was asking me to do at that moment for two reasons: First, I am really not used to talking to people that I do not know. Second, I just didn't know what to do or what to say! But as I imagined myself leaving the counter without obeying, I knew I will not have peace. And I also felt that I was going to miss out on something. So I looked at her name on her I.D, and asked her, "Rowena, pano ko pwedeng ibigay to sa'yo?" (Rowena, how can I give this to you?) I asked her because I knew that Cashiers are not allowed to keep any merchandise in their possession while they are on duty. She looked very surprised, and she asked "Mam, bakit po?" (Why mam?) And this was it, in my mind I didn't want to answer her question because I didn't want her to think that I am crazy. I mean, not everyone understands the truth about the Holy Spirit and how He works. But I answered her anyway, I said, "Sabe ni Lord ibigay ko daw sa'yo tong notebook eh." ("The Lord asked me to give this notebook to you.") After I said that, I saw her trying to hold back the tears in her eyes, and with a stuttering voice, she asked, "Mam, Christian po kayo?" ("Mam, are you a Christian?"). I smiled and said "Yes". I saw in her that she was as overwhelmed as I was even while she was telling me to just leave it in their Customer Service booth, she could't even concentrate on what she was saying.

Before I left it in the Customer Service booth, I wrote her a note saying:
Dear Rowena,



Thank you for being so cheerful in serving your customers. God wants you to know that He is proud of what you are doing, and He loves you.


Love,
Misce
 I didn't know why I wrote that. Those words just came out flowing as I obeyed. I didn't know Rowena. I have no idea if she is a Christian or not. I also didn't know what was going on in her life at that very moment. I didn't know why she became very emotional when I mentioned The Lord, when she was very perky and cheerful when she first approached us. But this is what I know:  There were days when I, myself have experienced being downcast and low-spirited without other people knowing. And even if I just spend most of my time at home, I am so astonished by how God makes a way to uplift me and reassure me that He loves me. Sometimes, through a an unexpected text message from a friend, or sometimes through an anonymous email telling me that God is proud of what I am doing and He loves me. That's why I have no doubt, that night, it was my turn to be used by the Lord to let her daughter, Rowena feel His love, comfort, and appreciation.

I have read once, that we, Christians, are the hands and feet of Jesus in this fallen world. It is through us that He will let others (believers or unbelievers) experience His amazing love. What a wonderful privilege that is! And I was right, I could have had missed out on something had I not obeyed His leading --AN INCOMPARABLE JOY! That night, I slept with a huge smile on my face and an overflowing heart thanking God for allowing me to have that incredible experience -- an amazing encounter with"The Ball of Fire" -- God Himself, the Holy Spirit who lives inside the heart of His children.

To HIM ALONE  be ALL the Honor, Glory, and Praises!




This is the same as the journal notebook that God asked me to gave her.
I bought another copy to take pictures and give to a friend.

Do you have any similar experience? 
Please feel free to share your story in the comments section, 
e-mail me, or post the link of your blog post. 
 I  would really love to read them! :)






Every Season is a Gift

Recently, some of my relatives and friends have been asking what's keeping me busy these days. What are my plans and what I've been doing in the last few months. It's been a while since the Lord called me to be a stay home wife, seven months to be exact and I must admit, being someone who is not used to not being busy, I never thought that I would actually appreciate this kind of set up.

I spend most of my days home alone as husband leaves for work in the afternoon. Since we do not have kids yet, I only have a handful of wife duties and chores to finish before he comes home. And yes, I do have a lot of  free alone time. This allows me do my daily Bible Study, Quiet Time, and Journal Writing without interruption (I will be writing more of the details of my quiet time in my next post).  It also gives me time to enjoy the things that I have always loved to do (which I lost passion about when I became so busy with work and business) like reading, blogging, listening to music, playing my guitar, and graphic designing.

Some would ask if I don't get bored having most of my time home alone. My social life revolves around my new found sisters in Christ through the #SheReadsTruth Community. They are such lovely women who have helped me a lot in my walk with the Lord. I also have my Church Discipleship Groups who we (husband and I)  meet every Sunday. Occasionally, some friends would visit me at home for a little chit chat. I also catch up with friends through social media. Overall, I would say that my life now is simpler, less stressful, and definitely happier!

Some of my friends would tell me that I am so blessed to have all the time in the world to do my quiet time and Bible Study without worrying about getting ready for work or taking care of kids. Before, I used to tell myself, "if only we already have babies". I used to cry out to the Lord with hopelessness and frustration in my heart in this area of my life that I have been praying for, for so long. I have always called this season of my life as "The Waiting Season". Waiting for the babies... waiting for answers to my prayers... waiting for our dreams to be fulfilled... waiting for the season of pruning to end... waiting.. waiting... But as time went by,  the Lord has shown me a different perspective.

I now understand why God took all of the other things that kept me busy in the past.  God wanted me and Him to spend more moments together while I am continuing to grow and understand His love through His Word. Yes, because He gave me more time to spend reading the Bible, I have learned to fall deeply in love with His Word. It is through reading the Bible that I have learned His Character, His promises, His purpose for me, His wonderful plans for my life, and His deep love for me. In my alone time at home, I wasn't really alone. I felt like God isolated me from everything else so that I can grow my relationship with Him. I found myself telling stories with Him, sharing my dreams with Him, laughing with Him, crying out to Him, sometimes pouring out  my emotions to Him when I'm upset with my husband, with anyone else, or with myself. It's a wonderful experience every time. Even in my "not so good" mood, He always finds a way to comfort me and touch my heart. I have never felt closer to Him than now... in this season.

The other day, while I was taking a bath, something popped up in my head: Wait a minute, this isn't just a waiting season! This season is actually my 'Intimate Growing Season with Him'. I have learned enough from my past experiences (and choices) as a single-young-adult that when I rush things, I am the one missing out on God's best. So I decided that rather than rushing to the next season of my life, I might as well enjoy this season where I am right now! This is a season in my life that I would never get back the moment He gives us the babies that we've been praying for! Indeed, every season is a gift. And God's gifts to me right now are my uninterrupted moments with Him, joyful and romantic moments spent with my husband as we continue to become closer and in love with God and with each other, the opportunity to serve in the ministry and to explore my creativity enjoying the things that I love to do without worrying about other things.

Instead of praying with a hopeless and frustrated heart, God taught me to appreciate this wonderful season in my life knowing that He alone knows the perfect time for everything. To Him be all the Honor, Glory, and Praises!



In His Presence

Yesterday, my husband and I were talking about a vacation that he wants to have on his birthday this year. I don't know but for some reason, after our conversation, something was bothering me. I didn't do my normal quiet time (sitting in my favorite corner of the house with my cookies, chocolate milk, SheReadsTruth, Bible, journal, and worship music), instead I just laid down in bed and talked to Him in my "not so motivated" mood. I told Him, "Lord, here we go again. You let us dream and plan our goals, and then in the end You will ask us to choose between You and these dreams." I wasn't angry with the Lord, I just don't like the "guilt" feeling of wanting worldly things and ambitions. (The Lord has just brought us through a process where we realized the purpose and priorities that He wants for us). I told Him, "Lord, if You will not give these to us, please just don't let us think about them!" That was the honest cry of my heart! I praise God that I can be straight forward and honest to Him about how I feel. Before I went to bed, I prayed, "Lord, You know my heart. You know I love you. Please help me overcome this struggle."

I woke up still not in the mood. This is not new to me. When I have an unsettled issue with God, I have this kind of restless feeling. But from my past experiences with Him, I knew He will make a way to speak to me, and I was waiting for it. I checked my email and found this message from an anonymous sender:


The verse that she put in the last part hit me: ARISE QUICKLY FOR THE LORD! (Acts 12:7) I couldn't help but cry! Then I remember Exodus 33 when God was telling Moses to bring His people to the promised land. He said that He will fulfill His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He will give the land to them. He will even send an angel to win battles for them. They can get all the milk and honey that they want... but His presence will not go with them.

I love that Moses insisted on not going without His presence. He knew that not the angels nor the milk and honey could ever be compared to the joy of being in the Lord's presence! And that is exactly what He is trying to reveal to me! Surely, I'd be happy to have those dream vacations, material possessions that I've been dreaming about. But it is nothing compared to the joy of knowing that He is with me! To the overwhelming love that I feel when I come broken and honest before Him about my struggles, and then waking up with an e-mail speaking clearly of what He wants to tell me! Sometimes even Him speaking to me in my dreams and then confirming that it was Him through His Word when I woke up... the countless times when I experience His Grace in impossible situations, physical and emotional struggles.

I repent for doubting that He doesn't want to give me my heart's desires. I know that He does not want to withhold good things from me, but He has other more important matters that He wants to accomplish in me -- My character, my purpose, and most important of all my knowledge of Him. He cares more for me to get to know and understand the depth of His love to me, and if He has to delay the answer to my prayers, my dreams, my desires He will choose to do that. He gives more than what I am praying for, He gives Himself to me.

Oh! The joy of being in His presence! 
WONDERFUL! BEAUTIFUL! GLORIOUS!
MATCHLESS IN EVERY WAY!


Listening to:
Here in Your Presence by New Life Worship





Beautiful in His Time

The other night, I was speaking with a friend. She was sharing to me her sadness at that moment, feeling of emptiness, longing to finally have that special someone who will love and take care of her. I knew exactly what she was feeling at that moment. Like her, I also felt that longing. Whenever I see a newborn baby on my news feed, or whenever I hear a friend or someone I know getting pregnant, I feel that longing. Longing to finally have what I have been praying for for the longest time.

God and I have talked about this so many times, and I love the way He comforts me every time. Of the many comforting verses that He gave me, this is one of my favorites:


There are so many thoughts juggling around my head about this verse that I don't even know where to start! All I know is I have to write them down to share how mind blowing God's love is for you and me!

GOD'S THOUGHTS ARE HIGHER THAN MY THOUGHTS

Have you ever had that feeling when you wanted something so badly, that you tell God, "Lord, if I could only have this... or that... RIGHT NOW! I will be completely happy!" I did! So many times in my life!

In this season of waiting, I realized... well, maybe that's how I look at it from just as far as I can see. But God is an all-knowing God! I imagine Him shaking His head saying, "Really? Right Now? You have no idea what could happen if I give it to you now." or "You have no idea what I have prepared  for you! How beautiful it is!... And the time for you to feel the "happiest feeling" for it is not Right Now!" Most of the time "I think" that "I know" what will make me happy "right now". But He alone knows the time when I will feel the happiest when He finally gives it to me.

GOD'S BROKEN HEART WHEN I GRAB THINGS IN HIS HANDS

I grew up thinking that just attending Sunday masses was enough to be called religious. I had no intimate relationship with God during my younger years so I had no idea what He has to say in every minor and major decision making that I had to make. I didn't read the Bible, and I didn't have quiet moments to speak to Him back then (except for memorized prayers that I prayed from time to time). I was just used in getting what I wanted when I wanted them. Everything was about my way, I didn't know that there is God's Way in every aspect of our lives.

Looking back, I realized that most of the regrets that I had in my life were those times when I rushed on things and did not wait for His perfect time. I spoke to Him the other night when I could not sleep. I told Him, "Lord, I'm sorry. It must have broken your heart when I made decisions after decisions without seeking Your will." I started recalling the things that He didn't want me to have yet, the things that He didn't want me to do yet in my younger years. I began to understand why I had those unecessary heartaches, stress, and wasted years. It wasn't His time for me for those things yet... but I grabbed them, that's why it wasn't beautiful. It was ugly. It was burdensome.

"For I know the plans that I have for you", declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future." 
- Jeremiah 29:11

In my mind, I saw a picture of a Father who prepared something beautiful for His child. Something extraordinary. Something wonderful. Only Him knew how much joy His child would have when she finally have them at the time He set for her. I imagine a Father witnessing how her daughter started loosing what He had prepared for her because of her rush decisions in settling for temporary happiness, for short term pleasures. I imagined God's broken heart every time His child chooses second best not knowing that she is missing out on God's best for her life.

If it is not yet God's time, it is ugly. Or it may sometimes look pretty, or cute, but not beautiful... Not as beautiful as God intended it to be. And that's what we are missing out when we grab it ahead of time!

UNDERSTANDING HIS LOVE

As I began to read the Bible and know His ways, I started to understand His great love. The depth of His love to His children is mind blowing! I realized that the things that He tells me not to do or not to have (yet) are His ways to protect me and lead me to the beautiful life that He has prepared for me. His heart was broken for every wrong decisions that I did, not just because I disobeyed Him, but out of His overflowing love for me, His heart was broken because my wrong decisions caused me to miss out the best that He prepared for me for that season of my life.

It is Satan's scheme to rush us into making decisions without seeking the will of God. He came to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). To steal the beautiful life that God prepared for us, to destroy our future. The enemy may have stolen some of the best years that God has prepared for us through his schemes. But our God is full of grace and mercy! He redeems our wasted years! He turns ashes into beauty! And what the enemy used against us: the shame and the guilt from our past, God can use for His Glory! And I know that as long as I keep on seeking the will of God moving forward in my life, I will claim the beautiful life that He had prepared for me here on earth and throughout eternity!

I am so thankful, that it is in this season of waiting when He gave me more than what I have been praying for. It is HIM. It is knowing Him deeper. Understanding His great love for me. Revealing His purpose for my life. And indeed, His love satisfies! 

God is good! No matter what season you are in your life right now, know that God is good! Even if you cannot understand the things that He allows to happen, God is good! Choose to follow His ways. Choose to obey Him. I have learned to thank Him for my delayed prayers, because I know that just like how He blooms the flowers, just like how He changes the season, just like how He develops a baby in the womb of a mother... He will give me what is best for me, in the best moment of my life.. In His time, it will surely be beautiful. 


Emptied to be Filled: My 27th Birthday!

Last Monday, was my 27th birthday. A day before it I was able to spend time with my parents and siblings after attending the Sunday Service. It was a very meaningful moment when I shared my testimony to my family about God's provision for my birthday! If I could just write the whole story here! It was really AMAZING that I was crying the whole time I was sharing the story with my family! All I can say is that, God is really a sweet loving Father!

When I was younger, my birthday was always such a big deal for me because it's that one day of the year when I get to see all my friends and family (some don't even know each other) in one place to celebrate my special day. I remember preparing for it months before, saving my salary to make sure that I will have the celebration that I want. Well, I still miss the people who celebrated my birthday with me year after year. Most of them I no longer have the chance to talk to. 


This year is different. No more huge birthday blast. Actually, I would say that this is the year of my life when God took most of the things that I once thought were important to me. He literally emptied my hand so that He could fill it with WHAT MATTERS MOST -- THE REASON FOR EVERYTHING! The best gift that someone could ever receive! -- This was the year when He revealed His purpose for my life. And I am so grateful, because I now know to Whom I should live the rest of my life for. 


This is the year when I realized that I don't have to grab everything, or to keep myself busy with doing a lot of stuffs. Instead, God taught me to actually do less. To just focus on what's important. To do only the things that He wants me to do. This is the first time in my life when I felt this kind of fulfillment! The joy in knowing that I am in the exact place where God wants me to be! 


He gave me a song that day. The song THROUGH IT ALL by Hillsong. I am very much familiar with this song, but it wasn't really one of my favorite worship songs. What's amazing was, with all the miracles that happened on a such impossible situation that day, I believe that it is no coincidence that someone was singing that song in the Videoke when we arrived at our parent's house that afternoon! It made me burst into tears! 


Right after my midnight prayer and quiet time, I asked GOD'S BIRTHDAY MESSAGE for me. And He gave me these messages through 2 Timothy Chapter 2:



  • DISCIPLE. - 2 Timothy 2:2
  • Do not be attached to the world, endure suffering as a Soldier of Christ. - 2 Timothy 2:3-7
  • The Word of God cannot be Chained! - 2 Timothy 2:8-13
  • Do not be involved in worthless talks! (I needed this one at that very moment!) - 2 Timothy 2:4-16
  • Keep yourself pure for the Exclusive Use of The Master. - 2 Timothy 2:20-22
  • Be kind and patient with difficult people. (He emphasized what I really needed that moment! This is one of my weaknesses!)- 2 Timothy 2:24


NOTHING COULD EVER BE COMPARED TO THE JOY OF HAVING GOD'S PRESENCE IN OUR LIVES! 
THANK YOU JESUS FOR A PURPOSE-DRIVEN YEAR!

My Sweet Father

Today is so amazing! While reading today's #SheReadsTruth devotion, I was blown away by the words of Jesus in the book of Luke. Martha was so distracted in preparing a dinner for Him and felt that it was unfair to her that her sister Mary was just sitting at His feet while she does all the work. These are His words to her:

"41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” - Luke 10:41-42
 I just can't get over the fact that those words came out directly from Jesus! Soooooo sweet!!!! I imagine hearing Jesus telling it directly to me... "No one can take me away from you!" 

From time to time, with every season of my walk with Him, Jesus gives me a song that I can sing for Him. I find it really sweet because He knows how much I love music, and it's so amazing to know that He can get that personal and intimate with us, to the point when He connects with us through our passion, hobbies, likes etc.. No wonder David said in Psalm 40:3 "He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God." He knew that David loved music and He communicated to him through it! He does that to me too! I experienced it many times over! I feel like He gives a theme song for me to remember every season of my walk with Him! He knows what song to give me! Amazing!!!

Today He gave me the song Saving Grace by Hillsong United. I can't help but cry over the lyrics of this song. Very timely! I'd say that Jesus knows my taste in music, and the lyrics that I wanted to sing to Him! Good song choice today my sweet Father! Thank you!


"Saving Grace"

Night and day I seek Your face
Long for You in the secret place
All I want in this life
Is to truly know you more...

As the waters cover the sea,
So Your love covers me
Guiding me on,
Roads unknown
I trust in You alone 

[CHORUS]
My Saving Grace
My endless love
Deeper and deeper I'm falling in love with You
My one desire
My only truth
Deeper and deeper I'm falling in love with you

And I will rise on wings of eagles
Soaring high above all my fears
I rest in Your open arms of love

[CHORUS 2x]

As the waters cover the sea
So your love covers me....



Steady My Heart

It's one of those days when I just feel tired and drained with a lot of things that are happening around me. A lot of stuffs just seem tangled, and I don't know what I need to do to fix them (or if I should keep my hands off and just don't do anything about it).

Contrary to what most people think, being a Christian doesn't mean that everything goes well all the time. It's actually the opposite. Our Senior Pastor often says, "Being a Christian is not hard... it is IMPOSSIBLE! (without Christ)"  One minute I'm on fire with my faith, and the next thing I know, I'm burned out (like all I want to do is just sleep the whole day and isolate myself from everyone!) I may be so enthusiastic today in giving encouragement to someone, tomorrow, I might be the one in need of that encouragement.

In a few years that I have been in a relationship with Jesus, I learned to accept that reality. I guess it's His way of reminding me that everything is by His grace alone. That includes my faith in Him. What I love about Jesus is that I can totally be honest to Him to the point where I tell Him that, "Lord, honestly, I don't even feel like praying right now... I just feel so broken, I know that only you can fix me.." And just like that, an S.O.S prayer (sometimes it's even half-hearted), and He does makes a way to Steady My Heart! -- Always!

Today is one of those days. I felt like I was just dragging myself while reading the devotion in #SheReadsTruth. So after reading, I just prayed my S.O.S prayer, and the Lord showered His grace upon my faith through this video and through the song that He always, always use to comfort me! -- Steady My Heart.

(Thank God for using Kari Jobe as an instrument to encourage me today!) 


And then He spoke these Words of comfort to my heart...





 Thank you Jesus for always being there to Steady My Heart
Always healing me of my affliction, and always keeping my feet on solid ground!


Blessings after Obedience

At the beginning of this year, God clearly instructed me to take my hands off from all of my activities and just focus on growing as a full-time wife to Mike. It took me sometime before I finally decided to respond to God's calling for me. There were many things that caused my delay in obedience. I had a struggle accepting the fact that I have to fully depend on my husband for our financial needs. I was concerned of what other people would think. What about my degree? What about my career? What about my past achievements? Title? The things that I have worked so hard for in our business, the vision that I wanted for myself in the future. The pride of life kept me from obeying God's call.

The Lord said in Isaiah 48:17 
This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go."
Yes it took sometime, but we all know how the Lord works. He dealt with my disobedient heart and so I finally decided to obey His instruction. I took my hands off from the matters concerning our business and I decided to start my journey in being the wife that God wants me to be. I started reading books and listening to podcast of different Christian Women who have been faithful in their walk with the Lord which blessed their families in amazing ways. One of my favorites is the Secrets of Fascinating Womanhood by Helen Andelin. It's a must-read to every wife out there! It can truly save, restore, and enrich a marriage!

As I continue to seek, I realized that being a "Wife After God's Own Heart" is a lot harder than I thought. It meant putting my husband first before my own selfish desires. It meant giving up some things that I love to do, even some music that I love to listen to so I can look feminine in his sight (my husband is not delighted when I listen to hardcore rock music). It meant being careful on every word that comes out of my mouth knowing that it can make or break him. It meant being aware of when to speak and when not to speak, mastering the art of "shut up and pray". It meant understanding his ways and not attempting to change him knowing that only God has the power to do that. It meant knowing his deepest needs and going the extra mile in meeting them, doing things that I never thought I could possibly do for anyone. It meant humility. It meant surrendering to the power of the Holy Spirit knowing that it is impossible to do it on my own. It made me realize that the reason why God made His standards so high is that so I would never feel that I did them by myself.

The Lord promised His blessings after obedience (Deuteronomy 28). In just a short span of time I felt the blessings that He poured on our marriage. I felt Mike's love and affection grew deeper and deeper to me, which I believe is the greatest desire of every wife. He spends more time with me. We talk, we laugh, we share dreams together! He spoils me, he literally puts me on a pedestal! I would say that our marriage became a lot happier than it already was!


Last Tuesday night was one of the happiest nights of my life! Out of nowhere, Mike spoke to me just before we went to sleep and he said:

"I am so proud to have you as my wife. The more na na-ggrow ka sa relationship mo kay Lord, the more na mas napapamahal ako sa'yo at na-iinspire ako na gawin ang roles ko as a husband. Ito na ang pinaka masayang pakiramdam ko bilang husband sa 3yrs na magkasama tayo. I am proud of you and I love you."  (English Translation: "The more that you're growing with your relationship with the Lord, the more I fall in love with you and you inspire me to do my role as a husband. This is my happiest moment as a husband in 3 years that we've been together. I am proud of you and I love you.")

I just can't help but burst into tears after hearing those words! The joy I felt cannot be compared to any of my past achievements, dreams for the future or anything that I had to give up along the process. I just felt that it was the Lord's way of affirming me and telling me, "Misce, I know it has not been easy for you. But I want you to know that I am pleased with your obedience... I am with you! Keep it up! I am proud of you and I love you my Princess." 

Thank you Jesus! This is what I could have had missed if I did not obey!  I know that I am still a work in progress... still far from being the wife, the daughter, and the woman of God that He wants me to be, but I know that  He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it! (Philippians 1:6) TO GOD BE ALL THE HONOR, GLORY AND PRAISE!




Conceived in Grace

I'm so excited to write this entry as this is my first post as I officially face 2013! I had a week of solitude moment with God just last week, and it was an INCREDIBLE, INCOMPARABLE EXPERIENCE! For the first time in my 26 years of existence, I started the year knowing exactly what God wants me to do. It's such an amazing feeling to hear from Him! It makes me feel secure knowing that as long as I continue to obey His leading, He will bring me to where He wants me to be. I know those places are far beyond what I can imagine and dream of! I am so excited for this journey with Him! I am excited to watch Him move in SUPERNATURAL WAYS this year!

My miscarriage last year made a huge impact on my faith. In my previous entry, I wrote about my struggles in understanding these circumstances in my life, especially when I found out that I have an immune system condition that needs medical attention before I can conceive again. But this experience helped me gain a whole new perspective in life, and the best thing that happened to me was that God revealed Himself to me in a very special way. Psalm 34:18 says, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." In some moments when He was silent, I learned to trust His character and wait for Him. He is a kind, loving, good, gracious Father who delights in granting the heart's desires of His children (Psalms 145). I held on to those things that I know about God during that moment when He was silent and I didn't understand. And indeed, God is faithful to His promises. He spoke words of comfort in my heart and made me feel that everything's going to be okay. He gave me joy and peace, knowing that He is in control of my life, and that even if I didn't see it at the moment, I trusted that He allowed these things for my good.

I had my first check up with my Immunologist yesterday. According to him, my lab results doesn't look that bad, we just need to help my body produce good antibodies so that it won't reject my next pregnancy again.  He suggested a possible course of treatment that we can do called Lymphocyte Immunization Therapy (LIT) which would help my immune system develop immunologic tolerance to the genetically foreign pregnancy tissues. I also started taking Aspirin because I have a viscous blood which we also need to control before the next pregnancy.

As my doctor explained to us the course of treatment and the procedures that I have to go through before and during my next pregnancy, I realized that  my pregnancy might not be as simple or as easy as other woman's pregnancy. It might be physically, emotionally, and financially draining to us. At first, I felt like it was a bit complicated, but this time I am not worried. I remember God's response to Paul when he asked Him three times to take away the "thorn in his flesh", his adversities, God's response was:

"My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." - 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)
.

I feel in my heart that God is telling me exactly the same Words. He could have made my pregnancy simple or easy, but I realized that maybe God wants me to understand the deeper meaning of the word "Surrender" ... total surrender to Him moment by moment. Maybe God wants me to experience weakness so that I can see His Glory, His Work, His Power in this season of my life. In response, I prayed and I told Him that if I have to go through all of these in order to know Him and to experience Him deeper in my life, The Lover of my Soul, Healer of my Scars... with all my heart I am willing to take this journey step by step with Him.

One day, when Mike and I finally hold our precious baby in our hands, we will know and we will always remember that our child was conceived in the Grace of our Lord, and we will have the fullness of joy and peace in our hearts knowing that it is the same Grace which will guide our child throughout his/her life.