Blessed and Beautiful

A guest post by Alma Alvarez.

KAIROS — this is the special time appointed by God. It is the Lord’s IN-THE-MEANTIME, pansamantalang panahon kung saan kahit hindi natin nakikita, may ginagawa Sya sa buhay natin. That is where I am right now.

from the internet (CTTO)
 

I believe that my present state of life is where the Lord wants me to be. I thought I was going to get married and have children after I finished college. But the Lord had other plans. My boyfriend died unexpectedly in 1992, in his sleep. I asked God, “Lord, paano na yan? Binigyan mo naman ako ng malaking problema! Saan naman ako hahanap ngayon ng kasing bait nya?

I had other relationships, but none compared. I thought, perhaps there was no one out there who could love me as I am. I was wrong. I didn’t realize that there is One who truly loves me unconditionally. Our “love affair” started in December 1997 when I joined the CFC Singles for Christ. That was also the beginning of my Kairos — the time I need to wait on the Lord — hindi yung waiting na walang patutunguhan kundi yung waiting expectantly for God to reveal His plans for me. And my kairos has led me to grow in 4 ways: HOLINESS, WHOLENESS, HAPPINESS, and WELLNESS.

HOLINESS

When I came to know Jesus personally through my prayer community, I fell in love with Him. Eto yung love na katulad ng kapag nakikita mo yung crush mo, yung may kilig. Ganun ang love affair namin ni God. Kinikilig ako sa mga blessings na binibigay Nya sa akin. Kinakausap ko Sya maski ano man ang kalagayan ko sa buhay — masaya man ako o malungkot, natatakot o matapang, galit o mahinahon. Maski anong nararamdaman ko, isinusumbong ko sa Kanya. This personal relationship with Jesus pushes me to strive for holiness. Praying, reading Scripture and spiritual books, learning more and more about my faith, relating with everyone in love, caring for the environment which God also created, having a devotion to the Blessed Mother and my favorite saints — these are just some of the things I have learned to do and hold very dear to my heart. And I try to do all these every day because my one desire is to go to heaven and see Jesus face to face. This is what we call the eternal perspective. Kasi hindi naman tayo permanenteng maninirahan sa mundong ginagalawan natin eh.

 

This is my ‘fidget spinner’. It doesn’t just take my mind away from my worries. Using it allows me to offer them to God through Mama Mary. 

Naniniwala tayo na may buhay na walang hanggan, ipinangako ng Kristo yan! Dahil dito, kinakailangang bawa’t isa sa atin ay magsumikap na makarating doon, upang makapiling natin S’ya.

WHOLENESS

WHOLE means healed from injury, complete, unbroken, restored. As I fall more and more in love with God, He continues to reveal areas in my life that need “repair” in order to restore me, to make me whole again.

I have had many experiences of being broken. Isa sa mga brokenness ko noon is kapag mag-a-attend ng international conference ng prayer community ko. Kasi ang tanong lagi ng emcee, “Sino dito ang gustong magkaroon ng GG (God’s gift or boyfriend/ girlfriend)?” During my 30’s, s’yempre ‘yun ang desire ng halos lahat ng single.

Pero paano kung hindi dumating? Or hindi dumating agad?

There came a point in my life when I asked God, “Lord, is there anything wrong with me? Pangit ba ako?”

But the Lord has been truly faithful in restoring me to wholeness. Sometimes, the restoration can be painful, but I learned to welcome the pain. Some restoration processes are emotional, some are spiritual, others physical. But no matter what they are, I always remember what my friend Ansel Beluso told me after I underwent surgery: “Baka may ipapagawa si Lord sa iyo, that is why He is fixing your body.” (Note: True enough, a few months later, we were called to serve during the Papal Visit of Pope Francis a couple of years ago.)

HAPPINESS

Sometimes, people ask me if I am happy in my state of life. Honestly, I am. And that happiness has transcended into something more — JOY. It’s my choice to be happy, to be joyful. The bible says we should be joyful always and thankful in all circumstances. Why? For this is God’s will for us who belong to Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:16).

 

I wish I could make you experience the cool mid-morning breeze… (ganyan kababaw ang kaligayahan ko!) 

There are so many simple things that can give us joy: the beauty of nature, the sunset, the patterns on the wings of butterflies, random acts of kindness, even the wind blowing across my face when I ride my bike is a source of joy. It also helps when we extend our hands and hearts to help others. Sabi nga ni Fr. Felloni in his Almusalita, “The more that you look around and help, the more gumagaan ang pakiramdam mo (that’s joy). The more na nakatutok ka sa problema mo, mas bumibigat.” So happiness is actually a choice.

I can choose to be masungit or I can choose to be joyful in my state of life. I can choose to be anxious about my growing old alone, or I can rest in the assurance that I have a God who will never leave me and will always take care of my needs, even when I grow old single. Guess which one I chose?

WELLNESS

They say that when a woman hits her 40’s that’s when health issues will slowly appear. Andyan ang menopause, hypertension, arthritis, back pains, name it, they appear, almost at the same time! But we can never be young forever. Kung gusto mong maging forever young, kumain ka ng lechon, crispy pata, chicharon. Mga pampabata yan… They won’t make you grow old, kasi maaga kang mamamatay.

Typical brunch for me at SIDCOR Sunday Market. Yes, you can still eat healthy when you eat out! 

Kidding aside… That’s why I believe the Lord prepared me, my physical body included, for this eventuality. Five years ago, I learned to appreciate eating brown rice. Then, I slowly graduated to black rice. And I praise God for that because now, my blood sugar is normal. While my peers are taking maintenance medicine for hypertension and diabetes, I do not have that unnecessary medical expense because I have become conscious of what I eat and drink.

I was also reintroduced to biking by a friend 2 years ago. I thank that friend so much as I can now ride for 30 kms! And I challenge myself more and more each time I ride.

One of my dream rides: Cubao to Rizal Park, Manila! (with Kapadyak Kuya Mimmon) 

Bakit natin kailangan maging malusog? Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus resides in our hearts. Lalagyan mo ba ng basura ang isang sacred vessel? Hindi lang pagkain ang pinag-uusapan natin dito ha? We have a saying na GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT. Whatever we fill our bodies with — the magazines and books we read, the music we listen to, the movies and TV programs we watch, the friends we keep — will manifest externally. They can influence the way we speak, think, and act. So naturally, if we fill our bodies with trash, guess what happens?

Hahayaan ba natin na ang bibig na kumakanta ng papuri sa Panginoon ay may lalabas na tsismis, pagmumura, o pang-aaway? O kaya ginagamit natin ang ating katawan sa pag-animate, pero bumigay tayo sa tukso at ibinigay natin ang sarili natin sa boyfriend natin in the name of love…

And so here I am — WHOLE, HOLY (at least, striving to be), HAPPY and HEALTHY. And I wouldn’t exchange all these for anything! I can go where the Lord leads me. I am able to learn new skills. I meet many kinds of people when I go on short-term mission, so kahit wala akong sariling family, I have a community that has become my bigger family.

Sometimes, people ask me, “Mag-aasawa ka pa ba?” Honestly, I don’t know. But I won’t lie to you, sometimes I still ask God that same question myself. But one thing I learned in my being single is to be open to God’s surprises every single day. So allow the Lord to surprise you… beginning today.


Originally published on Grip of Grace. Republished with permission.

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