You Complete Me

These words became so eminent in the 90’s after Jerry Maguire, played by Tom Cruise confesses his true feelings to Dorothy Boyd, the character played by Renee Zellweger. During that time, single women  including myself shudder at the thought of having someone say the exact same words to us. I mean, who wouldn’t? “You complete me” is the ultimate pick-up line!

That line became so endearing to many hopeless romantics, who wished someday their prince would come. Some of these women admittedly believe finding their one true love would complete their being, their life. I also had the same belief, that only the one person can fill the void in my lonely heart.

I may have shared in a previous post that I grew up with parents who fought a lot. They would argue about almost anything and that left me feeling insecure about their love for me and for my brother. As I grew older, unconsciously I was looking for love all the time. I would seek out new friends and hold on to them for as long as I can. I also looked to boys to find the elusive love I was looking for. I had my list of 101 crushes then and had a boyfriend at age 12. I have kept this relationship from my mom because I knew she would not allow it but it made me feel good at that time.

That relationship did not last long as my family moved to another city. In high school, I also sought other relationships until I met my first serious boyfriend during my senior year. The relationship lasted for almost three years and when it ended I was so devastated. I thought of ways of bringing him back but to no avail.  Just a few months after the break-up, he told me he already had a new girlfriend. That was a slap on my face. There was I was trying to win him back but he was so busy “getting to know” someone else already. It took a long time to finally get over this boy. I seriously thought we were going to end up together. I would picture him asking me to marry him and we will live happily ever after. He would be the one to complete me. Sadly, when the relationship ended, I felt incomplete again.

In each relationship that I had after that made me believe that the guy I was with was “the one”. Unfortunately, they were not. Many years had passed before I met “the one” for me. I met my husband in 2001 and got married the following year. It was a sweet and intimate wedding with family and friends to witness us exchange vows to each other. But soon after the wedding, I still felt incomplete. I began to doubt our relationship and thought that I married the wrong person. When our firs child was about 1-2 years of age, that discontent lingered. I asked myself why is there still that hole in my heart. I thought getting married would solve this predicament but I ended up being unhappy still.

I got reconnected with old friends from high school. They had invited me to join them in their game of badminton. Because I was out of shape that time, I excitedly joined them. We played Wednesday nights and after each game we would catch up on things over coffee. One of the persons in the group was an old flame. Little did I know that my old feelings for this person were coming back. That person was still single at that time and we just connected right away. We would exchange text messages or calls daily and that felt good. I knew the relationship was wrong but I thought, “Isn’t my happiness more important than right or wrong?”

I was talking about it to another friend in the group and I was sharing that I would be willing to leave my husband and go with this person. I also mentioned I didn’t care anymore if my parents or the people around me would hate me for it but I was willing to take the risk because being with this person makes me happy. I was surprised to hear her response, “Fix your marriage first”. I didn’t expect that from her since she was also in the same kind of relationship as I was. Not very long after that conversation, the person I was having an emotional relationship with told me that causing problems in  our marriage was not the intention and that I had be let go if it would ruin the marriage. We ended the relationship. I was rejected.

There I was unhappy with my life. Finding wholeness in other people. Finding completeness in being a mom yet none of them did it for me. I felt lonely, desperate and angry. Until a new couple friend of ours invited my husband and I for a bible study in their home. We agreed to join them every Friday and we went through the Purpose Driven Life. My eyes were opened to the reality that I exist in this world not for myself but for a purpose and that is to glorify God in all I do. I exist for his pleasure not mine and that it’s not all about me but about Him alone. We are recipients of His grace and mercy and instruments of his love.

I realized that the void I had in my  heart for a very long time could only be filled by the love of God. No person, position in life, riches or other tangible things can complete me. Only the Creator, the God of the heavens and the earth can do that. Because it was He who created that void in the first place. He put that there so that in His perfect timing, our longing to be reunited with Him goes hand in hand with His call to repentance.  I surrendered my life to Christ in 2004.

It has been 10 years since that couples’ bible study and my husband and I are continuously seeking the Lord in our lives. We don’t have a perfect marriage but God is fixing it supernaturally. I am still a work in progress but I am stepping out in faith to share what Christ has done in my life and my family. Now I can confidently utter the same words by Jerry Maguire to my God… Lord, you complete me!

16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 2 Corinthians 5:16-18

Oh, no! It’s Father’s Day!

Days before Father’s Day, friends from Facebook have already been posting their sweet greetings to their respective fathers. Titles like: Greatest Dad, Forever Hero, King of my Heart, Idol, were but a few of the names they called their dads.

Honestly, I envy these friends of mine who have great relationships with their fathers. Father’s Day is one celebration I’m not that excited about. This was before I got married and had kids, of course.

When I was just a little girl, I had a close relationship with my Papa. I was exposed to music at an early age because he would play his LP’s on our turntable back then. I would always hear Earl Klugh, Crosby Stills and Nash, Paul Williams, BeeGees, Beatles and other jazz artists filling our house. For our local musicians, The Apo Hiking Society would be the first on his list. To this day, I enjoy listening to these artists and it would bring me back to when I was an innocent girl sitting on my Papa’s lap. I also remember every time he arrives from work, I would bring him his slippers and I would see the sock marks on his feet and legs. He used to smoke when I was young and I remember him doing some work around the house with a cigarette pursed on his lips. At times, he would be carrying my brother and I on his arms when it’s time to go home from a family day out.

Growing up, for me, also meant growing apart from him. Every morning he would be busy reading his newspaper during breakfast and soon would be rushing to the office. When he comes home at night, he would be glued to the TV. We never had real conversations as a tween, teen and young adult. He would always be quiet doing his own thing. But he would work hard and make sure we have food on the table, a house to live in, money for school needs etc. He was a good provider and generous too.

Unfortunately, they were not always in good terms with my mother, as I have expressed in my previous post, If OnlyBecause of these years of heartache and pain, I hated my parents. I blamed both of them for having a dysfunctional family. I have harbored that bitterness in my heart for years. Until I realized that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me more than my earthly father.

My perspective have changed and i realized that I needed to forgive both my father and mother. Even though my Papa never asked for forgiveness, I have already forgiven him.

Recently, I have been hurt by him again. I don’t know if it was intentional or not but it hurt really bad. I was at that point that I never wanted to see him again. I even thought of moving far, far away from him. But after the emotions died down and sanity kicked it, I realized I’m only hurting myself. He doesn’t even know how terrible I was feeling. When I confronted him about it days after, he just shrugged it off and said that we should not talk about it anymore.

I don’t want to push the issue anymore nor would I fight that battle. I would choose to still honor him even if I don’t feel like honoring him or even if I think he doesn’t deserve any respect. I have to love him even if at times he is unlovable.

Children obey your parents because you belong to The Lord, for this is the right thing to do. ‘Honor your father and mother.’ This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, ‘things will go well for you and you will have a long life on the earth.’ Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from The Lord. Ephesians 6:1-4

Now that he is alone in his house, he only has a helper with him, I decided to spend Father’s Day with him and my family. We got him a simple cake which was picked out by Jianne. We went to his house for lunch and he thanked us for the cake. We talked about the Father’s Day message in church and we agreed that it was a great message from our pastor. I jokingly told him that he should apply the message he heard 😍 He just smiled.

I don’t know if there would come a time when I could sincerely say that he is the greatest father or my hero. But I’m hoping I would someday

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Gone Too Soon

A Time for Everything Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

1 For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

Today, I lost a dear uncle to liver cancer. He was only 47 years old.

Growing up in the 80’s was fun. I have fond memories of spending our summer vacation at my grandfather’s house. Technically, it was the ancestral house of my mom’s family. It was owned by my great grandparents then when they migrated to the United States my grandfather and his family moved there. Also living in that house were my aunts and uncles. One of them was my Kuya Charlie.

We were still in grade school when I first met him. He was out of high school or in college that time, I couldn’t remember anymore. I recall seeing him every afternoon riding his black BMX bike. If he is not pedaling, he would be running wearing those very short running shorts. I would always tease him then because of his outfit.

There were also times when the kids (me, my younger brother, my young aunt and uncle) would goof around with him. He would let us record our conversations over his portable tape recorder and we would play it over and over and laugh at ourselves. He would also tell ghost stories with a comedic twist. I’ve known him for being a funny person. He would always make me laugh.

I would sometimes go to his room and listen to music or tinker at some of his world war memorabilia. I would also go to his room when I’m in a singing mood and he would let me use his cassette player. After belting my heart out to my favorite songs, he would ask me if my tooth hurts. Puzzled by his concern, I would him why. Then he would say, “Oh, I thought you have a toothache because I thought I heard you crying!” Hahaha

My family also lived in the ancestral home but only for a year. When we left, I never saw him again. Many years had passed and we were reconnected with him. This time he had his own family. I don’t know what happened but we lost communication again. We would often hear about each other through my grandfather but we rarely saw each other. Two years ago, his wife died of a heart attack. I went to visit him and his kids at the wake of his wife. Since that time, we have been communicating a lot. In fact, we would see each other regularly because they came to me for dental treatment of his son, my cousin.

Late last year, he was complaining of migraine and frequent body pains. I told him to consult with the doctor. A month after, I was alarmed by his significant weight loss. He said it was probably because of the stress in his business. Soon after I received a text message from him stating he has a tumor in his liver. He never mentioned the severity of his condition. He didn’t want to let anyone know about his condition because he didn’t want them to worry. Cancer has taken over his liver and his lungs. Until he could no longer bear the pain and passed this afternoon at the hospital with his father, his children, half brothers and sister beside him.

I would like to believe that he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior when we led him to pray the prayer of acceptance or the sinner’s prayer. God’s ways are higher than our ways. He has His own timetable. Though still very young, it was already his time according to his creator.

Time to Needle It

Jianne has been asking me to fix her favorite teddy bear for months now. “Beary” needs some stitching at the back of the head and the leg. Finally, she caught me this morning on a very light schedule, just watching a video online and asked if I could “needle” (meaning to sew) Beary.

So I took out my sewing kit and wore my reading glasses, my eyesight is getting poorer as I age 😦 She made sure I was going to use the correct thread color on her teddy. As I prepared for the “operation”, she gave Beary a quick hug and said, “It’s okay Beary. It’s going to hurt for a while but I will be here. I will hold your hand. Mama will fix just fix you up.”

Awww! What a sweet girl! Are you sure you’re my daughter? 🙂 Anyway, Beary’s ordeal was done in about 5 to 10 minutes because he had one hole in the head and one on his foot.

A thought came to mind while I was sewing Beary. I somehow compared Beary’s surgery to our own emotional and spiritual surgery. As we go continue to follow our Lord Jesus, we get hurt as walk the narrow path. We get emotional bruises, scratches, scrapes, bleeding wounds and even concussions. Why do we get hurt? Because we are by nature sinful, the old self comes to the surface once in a while and we not only end up hurting ourselves we also unintentionally hurt the ones we love. In time, the Lord in his great love for us would reveal to us our sin and calls us to repent and seek His forgiveness. 

There are also times when God is pruning and shaping our character, and that process too is painful. He gets rid of the filth that is in our heart. He uproots the pride, selfishness, envy and other sinful habits that has engulfed our being for the longest time. Being molded to the person He wants us to be is not in any way fun. We question Him. We fight Him. But if we stop fighting it and swallow our pride and allow Him to take control then His purpose in our life will slowly unfold.

One good thing I get from all of this is that He has allowed ALL these things to happen because He knows we can surpass it all with Him walking alongside us in this journey. We just need to trust our heart surgeon. He will always “needle” us back!

Jianne was so happy to see that tears in Beary’s body were fixed. She hugged him again and thanked Dr. Mama for the surgery.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Don’t be scared Beary!

Uh-oh

tear at the back of the head

ouch!

good as new 🙂

 

 

 

 

Marriage Mystery Revealed Part 2

This is the second installment of the entry I posted recently on marriage. Again, these are the highlights of the marriage retreat my husband and I attended recently in a sister church, CCF Las Pinas.

 

Mending the Gaps

A study was conducted regarding the differences between men and women. The study also revealed the differences in the needs of both men and women.

Needs of Men: 

1. Sexual Fulfillment

2. Recreational Companionship

3. A Good-looking Wife (seriously?)

Needs of Women:

1. Affection

2. Conversation

3. Honesty and Openness

At times, unmet needs are the source of conflict in relationships or marriages. These conflicts when not brought out in the open or resolved, could be barriers in communication. What then are the other barriers to communication?

First, it’s not knowing the differences between the needs of your spouse. Men and women are total opposites. Women are organized, talkative, people-oriented, see the details, put things in order while men are disorganized, use few words, goal-oriented, see the big picture and scatter things. These differences are not absolute truths about men and women, there are a lot of women who are clutter-bugs while there are men who TALK a lot!

Second barrier, is having unresolved conflicts. I believe most of the unresolved conflicts arise from unmet needs. For example, because of the natural tendency of men to keep to themselves and not talk about “things” with their wives, they become cold, distant. The wives in turn, would be wondering and bombarding the husband with questions. Soon, conflict would arise only because issues were not resolved right away.

Third is taking each other for granted. The wife could be too focused on the kids that they unintentionally neglect the poor husband. The exciting honeymoon stage fizzles out as soon as kids are born. Somehow the wife gets preoccupied with the new baby that hubby feels left out and unwanted. That’s why it is necessary for the husband and wife to continue to devote their time to each other. Having babies should not be the cause of conflict in the marriage. It should solidify the bond of the husband and wife. Because as the child grows up, he or she would look up to his or her parents as role models when he or she has her own family in the future.

Another barrier to communication is bitterness. It is said that bitterness is a crushing mental attitude which triggers a wide variety of other sins. Bitterness only means unforgiveness and this will rob the marriage of stability. I like what the speaker said about forgivness, that it is a lubricant that reduces the friction between husband and wife. 

The prophet Hosea was given as an example. Hosea was a prophet of God yet his wife became unfaithful, in fact, she became a prostitute. But despite what the wife has done to Hosea, he forgave her and welcomed her back. This kind of love shown by Hosea is the kind of love God shows us. We are unfaithful to God. We are sinners who love our sin. But wherever our sin has led us, God still calls us to come back to Him. He still runs after us. He loves us no matter what we have done. All He wants is for us to come to Him and turn our back on our sin and follow Him. He says in Jeremiah 31:34

No longer will they teach their neighbor,
    or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more. Jeremiah 31:34

So how do we mend the gaps in our marriage?

1. Show genuine interest in your spouse.

2. Build relationships. We should not find time,  but we need to make time for your spouse.

3. Demonstrate a willingness to forgive and ask for forgiveness. As Jesus said in Matthew 18:21-22, our forgiveness knows no limit.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

4. We should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

James 1:19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry