Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Rejoicing with Mary

I've been meaning and trying very hard to find time to write my reflections during the Advent and Christmas Season but our schedule has been truly hectic.  I thank God that finally I am able to sit down now in the peace and quiet of our bedroom while my boys and my husband are asleep.   
Today, as we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, I choose to look back on the year that was and be grateful for all that God has blessed me with and allowed me to experience in 2012.  The verse below from today's Gospel is my main inspiration on this first day of the New Year.
"And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart." Luke 2:19
It's now the eight (8th) day of Christmas but let me begin my sharing with our experience on the First Sunday of Advent.  It has been a memorable one for me and my husband for we were privileged again (for the second time) to be guests in DZME’s Ang Kristiyanong Pamilya (The ChristianFamily) Radio Program that Sunday.  We praise and thank God for opening up this opportunity to us as a couple.  We brought our sons with us the first time that we were guests in their program.  It was a weeknight so the kids and I met up with my husband, George, near his office before going to the radio station.  Last December 2, our call time was at 6:30 AM.  Our kids were still asleep so we left them to the care of my parents and our helper.  We found out later when we got back home that the kids woke up just in time to listen to us in the radio. 

I mentioned earlier that we had been busy during the Advent and Christmas Seasons.  Actually, we had been very busy since the month of November.  That month, we moved out of one of our condo units after it was sold; then, we moved out of our remaining condo while renovations were being done.   
It was extra challenging to meditate and reflect on God’s Word and messages to us while we were busy with so many things.  But by God’s grace, my husband and I received wonderful insights and inspiration on the Gospel reading for that Sunday. 
Below are the readings for that Sunday, including the Gospel, taken from Kerygma Family’s Daily Readings.
Jeremiah 33:14-16
14 The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah. 15 In those days, in that time, I will raise up for David a just shoot; he shall do what is right and just in the land. 16 In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure; this is what they shall call her: “The Lord our justice.”
Psalm 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
R: To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
4 Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths, 5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior, and for you I wait all the day. (R) 8 Good and upright is the Lord; thus he shows sinners the way. 9 He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way. (R) 10 All the paths of the Lord are kindness and constancy toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees. 14 The friendship of the Lord is with those who fear him, and his covenant, for their instruction. (R)
1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
12 Brothers and sisters: May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, 13 so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen. 4: 1 Finally, brothers and sisters, we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that, as you received from us how you should conduct yourselves to please God — and as you are conducting yourselves — you do so even more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
Show us, Lord, your love; and grant us your salvation.

Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
25 Jesus said to his disciples: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26 People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” 34 “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise 35 like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. 36 Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

I did not know right away what to share when I first read the readings for our radio guesting.  I just knew and claimed in my heart that whatever were the readings that day are perfect for our situation and experiences.  True enough, a couple of days before our scheduled radio guesting, God provided me with (much) inspiration.  Let me share some of them here in this post.  I'm still asking my husband to find a way to post the audio of our radio guesting so those of you who are interested to listen to our discussions in the program can listen to it.  I promise to update this post as soon as we find out how. :)
So, what were my first thoughts days before our radio guesting?
Our new L-shaped kitchen.
Verse 14 of Jeremiah 33 caught my attention then.  "The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah."  I felt that God was speaking to me about the promise that He made to our household.  If you had been following my blog and reading my previous posts, you would know that we had been in an adventure with God this year and part of that adventure is our family home.  By the time that we were a few days away from our radio guesting for the First Sunday of Advent, we have already sold one of our condo units and the other one was already under renovation.  We were still waiting for the remaining unit to be renovated and sold; so we can use the proceeds to pay for our new house and eventually move in to it.  I felt God was giving me much hope, encouragement and assurance as I read and reflected on the verse.  It's like He was telling me that we would be able to sell the remaining condo unit soon and He will help us pay for the remaining balance in our townhouse so we can already move to our new home.


The dining area in our newly renovated condo unit.
The Gospel that Sunday affirmed the inspiration I got from the First Reading.  These lines struck me the most: "But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand. Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from... the anxieties of daily life... Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man."  I felt that God was comforting me and warning me not to be absorbed in the inconveniences and current problems we are facing.  One of these inconveniences and concerns is our smaller condo unit.  Since we were used to living in a 60 square meter condo, now we need to make do with a 30 square meter condo unit after selling the adjoining unit.  He was also teaching me and my family on what posture to take at this time as these challenging things happen to us.  He tells us to stand erect and wait for our redemtion.  I felt God telling me to just keep on watching and waiting for His help and deliverance from our current concerns/troubles and inconveniences because soon He will give us what He has promised.  We will receive our reward.  The temporal reward we are currently looking forward to receive from God is our new home.  The eternal reward we look forward to receive from Him of course is eternal life with Him in heaven.

We shared in the radio program that we think that our current challenges and problems are God's ways of preparing us for His return, which we cannot predict exactly when. Thus, we shared that one way of preparing for the Lord's second coming is that we use His Words to guide our steps and life decisions.  We prepare our hearts to receive Jesus every day so that whatever day he would choose to come again, we would be ready and we would not panic; for we have been used to obeying Him and following Him and living out His Word.  We have much more in our radio guesting but I will leave you in suspense until we are able to add the link to that episode. :)
George and I with anchors Brother Bobot and Sister Leah.
I would like to share also that our next radio guesting in Ang Kristiyanong Pamilya or Christian Family Program will be on February 3, Sunday at 7 am.  You may tune in to DZME 1530KHz Ang Radyo Uno or click www.dzme1530.com for live radio streaming.  If you are interested to support this ministry of proclaiming the Word of God as lived out and shared by Christian families, feel free to send a message to the Ang Kristiyanong Pamilya Facebook Page and coordinate with Brother Bobot and Sister Leah Ocampo.  I'm looking forward to our next radio guesting because I know that God will use me and my husband again to share about God's faithfulness to us aside from our love story.  I believe that God ordained that we be guests in February because it could be that we would be sharing our upcoming move to our new home. :) 

(Author's note: Our February 3 radio guesting has been moved. Still waiting for new schedule. Please click here to read the miracle behind this change of schedule.)

Let me now proceed with my next reflections in the days that followed.
The next strong inspiration I got was inspired by the December 20  Didache reflection entitled Mary and Me.  We have finished cleaning and furnishing our remaining condo unit by this time to make it ready for viewing of interested buyers.  This moved me to reflect on the experiences of Mary as well as my own personal experiences in the past months.
I could very much relate with Mary because just like her, I didn't know how God's Word would be fulfilled in my life.  I didn't know how to purchase that house that God promised to give to my family because we didn't have the money to purchase it at the time that God led me and my husband to it.  But by God's amazing grace and powerful hand, He has made a way even "in the wilderness" as one popular song goes.  God has provided for me and my family the financial means to put up the required reservation fee and equity in the past months.  He even mysteriously moved the hearts of our developer, agent, broker and other people in our developer's office to allow us to experience His graciousness.  I knew deep in my heart that only God can make all those seemingly impossible things possible.  Like Mary, I chose to hold on to God's Word and and I waited for God to fulfill it.  Last November, God has fulfilled it in part.  We are now standing erect and waiting for our "redemption."  We are waiting for God to grant us in full the answer to our prayers so that we could occupy the land that He promised to give to our family.

The built-in closets in the bedroom with the queen-sized bed
and computer table reflected in it.
As we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary as Mother of God today, I look back to all these miracles which I have pondered again and again in my heart.  I step out into the new year with much hope, courage and peace because I know that anytime soon, God would provide for us what we need so that His promise will be fulfilled.  I continue to tap into His graces, too; for on my own I know that sheer positive thinking would not sustain me in the wait.  I tap into the power of His Holy Spirit to enable me to endure the wait and recognize God's answer when it comes.
May God be glorified even more when this dream/vision that God has given me and my family unfold before our eyes!
Let me end this New year's Day post by thanking you, my dear readers, for being God's instruments in encouraging me to develop and use more frequently my gift of writing.  Thank you for journeying with me and reading my blog.  My prayer for all of us this year 2013 is that God would keep us and bless us abundantly with His graces every single day of this new year and that we would always experience Jesus' loving presence in our lives throughout the year, not only at Christmas time.

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