Yesterday morning when I checked my phone for any messages that were sent through the night, there was one message sitting there from one of the youth leaders that I have mentored.  His text said “thanks for prayers. Now I can buy a laptop.”

I smiled at the thought because I have told him a couple of times that I had been praying for a laptop to help him with his seminary studies.  At a Board meeting last month, he even suggested that I need to upgrade this laptop I am using and then simply hand this to him.  I thought it would be feasible, but these hard times call on us to be more frugal.  But I kept praying that God would give him the means to buy his own.

And God did.  He will be buying a similar laptop ( Dell, of course.)

Then yesterday afternoon, I checked my email and there was another encouraging email for me from another young man whom I had taken in as my younger brother.

I was really encouraged by what he wrote as a response to a quick email I sent through my cellphone last week. I was walking in Megamall and chanced to see the place where we had our conversation.  This younger brother was at that time, out of work and I was trying to be helpful when I said “why don’t you try working in a cruise ship?”

Well, he has been working on a cruise ship for more than a year now and I have not heard from him in recent months, and last week at that mall, I suddenly remembered how he was when we last talked.

Over a cup of coffee at Seattles Best in Caltex along SLEX, this young man poured out his heart.  The store was about to close but the manager sensing the sensitivity of our conversation, politely told us that we can stay for a couple of minutes more.

But this email I received yesterday was very different from how he felt as we talked last.  He was full of hope and he was beginning to understand how God has been patiently working in his life. He has grown amazed at the love of Jesus and how in his surrender, the Lord is beginning to transform him especially since he is outside his comfort zone.

He even attached several pictures and one of them showed him practicing with a worship band.  He attends Bible Studies and regular worship services.

I had to smile when he said that he would like to help out at our youth camp as soon as he gets home next year.  And he quickly added “we need to talk right away when I get back…”

It was awesome. His email made me smile and made me teary-eyed at the same time.  I was really grateful that God had not given up on him and how God had allowed him to go through some difficult times (like being mugged and beaten on his birthday last year!)

Thank you Lord for keeping him safe as they travel through the different ports.

Thank you Lord for looking after him and allowing him to benefit from the work of his hands.

Lead him away from any temptations and walk with him God through the discouraging times.

When loneliness sets in because of him being away, surround him with people who will affirm your love toward him.

Thank you for allowing us to have a small part in his life. It is a privilege to have shared a part of his journey with him and we look forward to sharing many more with him.

He ended his email with the usual “gotta go but will keep in touch…”

The last line of his email made my heart swell with joy and pride…

” I love you Kuya…”

Thank you Lord for allowing us to invest our lives on others, and in doing so, you have enriched ours a thousand times over.

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The image you have of yourself will determine the level of intimacy in which you walk – p.21 Experiencing the Father’s Embrace, Finding Acceptance in the arms of a loving God : Jack Frost

I read this several months ago but did not realize the depth of its significance until a couple of weeks ago. In my quiet meditations, I came to realize that a lot of things that kept me from fully experiencing the love of the Father expressed toward me, came from my perception of who I was in His eyes. The way I viewed myself was so different from how God viewed me as His son.

It was also very similar to human interpersonal relationships. When we feel that we do not deserve to be loved, we act in ways that sabotage any relationship we have with others. This morning when we woke up, I started telling my wife about some of my family backgrounds and experiences that shaped me and to some extent still influence me to this day. These things create a certain groove in our memories and our present and future (if we are not healed) will always pass through these grooves. Things are processed according to the pathways used.

If I walk in a distorted image of self, my intimacy and the depth of it will also be affected significantly. I will run away from God, run away from my spouse and my friends. More importantly, if our self image is based on our perfomances, we will always be walking through the minefields. Someone said that the worst formula to live by is this:

My self- esteem = how I perform and how others look at me.

Our self-perception will always make us believe that we need to perform to get someone’s approval. Or better yet, earn God’s approval

What is the image of yourself that you carry deep inside your heart? May God transform the images we carry inside of us so that we may experience to the deepest depths God’s love and give it to the next person we meet.