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September 28, 2016 by by Fiona Mae Alvero

August did not start very well for me this year.

We had just concluded a big conference on July 30 with a bang, putting a period to four fruitful months of conference season.

I was on a high, but deep inside I was also spent and exhausted more than I’d ever care to admit.

The day after the conference, while everyone’s taking a well-deserved time off, I was hustling my way to Tagaytay for a wedding I committed to coordinate right next day.

Truthfully, I was not really the superwoman they said I was in that wedding. I was a zombie trying hard to be a superwoman. I haven’t gotten much sleep in weeks, and I was just running on the adrenaline rush of it all.

When I drove up to Tagaytay late that night, it was pouring rain.

The road was slippery and as fate would have it, I met a car accident—minor enough to leave no serious casualties, major enough for me to finally reach my breaking point.

I was thinking of it lately, why I felt so miserable about that collision more than I should, and I realized it wasn’t just the fact that I met an accident, but more so because it was the thing that finally toppled me over—the last thing to fill my cup of accumulated stress, pain, challenges, struggles; of my life basically going in all sorts of direction.

When we finally managed to get to our hotel that horror of a night and settled in our room, my friend, Hannah, who was with me when the collision happened and who became my pillar of strength that night, asked me what she can do for me to make me feel better – if I want her to sit with me so we could process everything that happened, or if I want her to leave me and give me space so I could cry it out.

Those were two helpful choices for me on bad days but that night I told Hannah I want sleep.

Forget the calls I needed to make, or the damage I had to still figure out. That night, all I wanted was to set everything aside first and let my body crash the bed, close my eyes, and sleep through the night.

We tucked ourselves in bed, turned off the lights, and I prayed under my breath,

“Tomorrow’s a big day. But I don’t need anything but just one promise from You tomorrow. Dear God, would You please make sure Your mercies will be new?”

I don’t know what helps you cope up best on hard days, if you’re the kind who likes to binge eat or the kind who loses your appetite. Or if you’re the kind who needs friends around you or the kind who needs some solace.

But I’ve noticed for myself, and maybe for most of us, sleep has seem to be the best balm for the weary souls.

We crave for it. We want to sleep it out. We want to stay in bed and close our eyes.

I don’t have a biblical or scientific reference to this so don’t quote me, but I was thinking that maybe the reason why we crave for sleep on hard days is because our bodies – created by God and for God – they know it. They know the word of God that says,

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness”

Maybe our bodies know it well that come next day, once we open our eyes, His mercies are new again.

We climb our beds with mercy and grace all used up for the day, blinking red, and we wake up to it with absolute guarantee that it is full tank again. New mercies enough for a brand new day.

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I was recently reading an essay that Sheryl Sandberg wrote a month after a major crisis hit her life as she unexpectedly lost her husband. Many people out of their good intentions but not knowing what to say to someone with a need would ask her the question of how she’s been doing after the loss. A question to which she’d stop herself from shouting, “My husband died a month ago, how do you think I am?”

But what helps her most would be people asking her, “How are you today?”

She said, “When I hear ‘How are you today?’ I realize the person knows that the best I can do right now is to get through each day.”

I love that concept. I love the concept of today. And I love that God is sovereign enough to see the beginning and the end of our lives and yet He is also personal enough to take care of us on the daily, meeting us where we are as we open our eyes each day, and supplying new mercies at our door without fail every time the sun rises.

His mercies are new every morning. On days when it’s tough. On days when it’s not.

His mercies are new for you every morning. So go ahead and don’t even bother if today requires for you to use up all of it cause there’s enough of it for you today.

Don’t even bother worrying about tomorrow, too. Just do today. Later at night, knock yourself down in bed, say it under your breath, and open your eyes again the next day ready to receive His mercies anew.

The days following the night of my breaking point, they didn’t get better immediately. Some days even went worse. The days and weeks were tough. August was tough.

But I got through them one day at a time because Someone up there is faithful with a promise.

Each day, new mercies I see.

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September 12, 2016 by by Fiona Mae Alvero

I celebrated the day that marked my fourth year at work pulling a prank on Joe for April Fools.

For you to appreciate how serious we were about this, this happened in the middle of a busy season at work brought by a campus conference we were organizing. In the midst of all that, it still took the whole of our office to connive and plan for the prank.

We all came in agreement that we wanted it to come out really good (or bad?), so we took the day before that as an opportunity to set him up for this prank and plant traps around our beloved boss so to make sure we really got him when we drop the final bomb.

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This was the event we were organizing during that time of the prank. We didn’t really have much to do. We’ve got a lot of time to spare. HAHA.

I could just only shake my head in sheer laughter now remembering the silliness of this idea.

The game plan was simple.

I was gonna set a meeting with him to discuss my impending resignation then hand him my resignation letter in the end. When he opens the resignation letter, he gets a paper with “Happy April Fool’s Day” and then that’s the time the whole team joins me in the room, video recording and all, to reveal everything.

When the big day arrived, everyone was on the ball. And then at 3:30pm, everyone dropped whatever they were doing, and that meeting happened.

I sat with Joe in the conference room while the rest of the team gathered in another room to listen to our conversation via phone patch. I told you, we were ready.

Everything was doing quite well but our plan suffered a little setback when Joe didn’t want to open my resignation letter.

Instead, he grilled me with questions I didn’t expect he’d ask while I kept convincing him I’m sure of my decision of leaving so *hint, hint* it’s time for him to open the letter.

At this point, I wasn’t sure who was at the losing end: me having to answer all his questions for nothing or him prolonging his own agony.

Few more minutes and finally I made him open it… TA-DAH! “HAPPY APRIL FOOL’S DAY!” 

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The “resignation letter.” Sorry, Joe. Please forgive us already.

Didn’t need to tell you but yeah, it was crazy after that. We had too many crying laughters for sure.

Til to this very day, I am still not quite sure if I am already fully forgiven for what I did. That’s the reason why I can’t still bring myself to trust anyone once a year. LOL.

We like to tell and re-tell this story whenever we want to have a good laugh, or whenever there’s a new member joining our team who we need to brief about the kind of people he/she is ending up working with.

But what people don’t usually know is that there is a part of my conversation with Joe in that conference room that I like to remember on days when the laughter dies down and things get real—the kind of days especially when it’s harder to fight for my calling.

Remember the part when he started grilling me with questions?

I don’t remember anymore so much of what he said, honestly, because at that time I wasn’t really paying attention, haha.

But I do remember that there was a part there when he said something about my calling—that he was asking me if quitting the ministry is really what God wants me to do. That he was reminding me that this is beyond leaving a job but what is at stake is my calling.

I sat there looking at him as he talked more and I started thinking,

“This guy, he’s about to lose a staff. He’s got a whole campus ministry to run and I’m sure there’s a lot of amazing people out there who would wanna sign up to be part of his team and who he could get to replace me. And yet here he is, not thinking of any of that, and all he cares about now is my calling.”

I went home that day thanking God more than ever for bringing me to a workplace with people who don’t just think work, but think calling. 

For surrounding me with not just amazing colleagues who make excellent results or great friends who play silly pranks on each other, but most of all, people who are there to guard my calling.

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Every Nation Campus National Team 2016

I realize that’s what all of us have been doing—to be guardians of each other’s calling. To be each other’s reminder that beyond workload or meeting a deadline, this is a calling.

That we are not after skills or talents but character.

That we walk side by side, well, no—we march locked-arms and willingly fight bloody battles together when the enemy tries to steal us away from where God wants us to be.

We pray for and with each other asking God that in everything we go through, it will cause us to be more like Him. And that we will live a pure and holy life because it is our calling.

I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful that this team, the relationships we get to build, and the work we get to do, is not just of here on earth but something we do with eternity in mind.

What a privilege to battle with these men and women and fight for the calling that God has placed in our lives.

August 31, 2016 by by Fiona Mae Alvero

Last week, I had an amazing opportunity to be sent to China with a team of missionaries to preach and teach at our campus ministry’s youth summer camp and campus staff training there.

Most of you know me to be that admin office girl. I don’t really preach or teach on a normal basis.

But when you are part of a campus ministry team with leaders who are always empowering and encouraging, and who believes that you can do more than what you think you could do, you get to be sent to China to minister—good flaws and all.

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China at night.

With me on this trip were four of our veteran speakers who have been doing this since who knows when. More than feeling pressured about that fact, I actually felt more secured. I thought that with them around me, I will be in a very good and safe place to mess up. HAHA.

We arrived in China on a hot and humid Monday afternoon and went straight to the summer camp that kicked off that evening and culminated on Friday afternoon that week. I was assigned to do the Tuesday and Friday morning devotions (which was at 6am, btw) and the women’s meeting on Thursday.

Or so we thought.

By Thursday afternoon, we had to do a major regrouping.

Let’s just say that the stories we heard from pastors and missionaries who had to hide and run away from the cops because of their faith were actually TRUE and REAL stories. And again, let’s just say that for some reason, God wanted us to have our share of that story too.

And so that afternoon, while we were supposed to be on stage speaking, we found ourselves driving around the countryside and later on that day packing our stuff to flee altogether. (Hi mom and dad, sorry I *forgot* to tell you about this part lol)

The summer camp pushed through without us, with all our remaining sessions being done by the locals instead. It was powerful. 

Whatever the enemy meant for evil that week, it did not succeed. Because God turned it to good. And since we are on His side, the victory is always, always ours. Even for this camp.

Hallelujah, You have won the victory / Hallelujah, You have won it all for me || This was one of the paintings hanging on the wall in church.

“Hallelujah, You have won the victory /Hallelujah, You have won it all for me.” One of the paintings hanging on the wall in church.

What I saw and learned from this experience – the boldness, courage, and zeal of our brothers and sisters in Christ in China; the beauty of our spiritual family there; the level of faith they have to a point of great sacrifice – they were all phenomenal and will be for another blog.

But what couldn’t escape my mind that day, when we were driving away from the summer camp venue and never to return again, was if I was able to give my best to preach the word of God and give justice to it as it deserves when I did the morning devotions the day before.

If only I knew it will be my last. 

Followed by that thought were flashes of faces of people who I was really meaning to come up to and say, “Hey, great worship leading,” or “I am encouraged to see your passion for Jesus” but I stalled it because I thought, “Oh, could still do that tomorrow,” or “It can wait till the last day of the camp.”

Wrong.

I wonder what would we all be pressed to do if we operate on the thought that this could be the last time and the only time we’ll have the chance to say our words, to minister to people, to preach the Gospel.

I wonder what would be the difference it makes when we consider in our heads that there will be no more next Sunday or next youth service to stand on the pulpit to to preach His word. Or if we will not fall into the trap of our own routines and try to slack this day because we think we still have our chance tomorrow.

Cause really, what if we don’t?

Here’s a lesson learned from the most rookie, occasional preacher in town to all of you, veteran preachers and non-preachers alike:

When you get the chance to preach the word of God, preach as if it’s your last.

Always and at all times, be faithful in giving the best you could give.

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Praying hard that this won’t be the last time I’ll get to visit this beautiful nation.

Here’s a video that I put together recapping my China trip.

And here’s my favorite Chinese worship song as of the moment. This has been on repeat!

 

China is a creative access nation and though I really wish I could show you more photos of our church and campus ministry there and the faces of all the beautiful people I’m forever grateful to have known and met through this trip, I’d rather leave it out to be sure nothing is compromised.

August 15, 2016 by by Fiona Mae Alvero

This blog was written on October 1, 2015. It’s one of the many blogs that stayed as a draft and didn’t make it because I never felt it was finished but today I’m deciding to stop being a chicken and post it here anyway. 

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There was once a man who I had the privilege to work with as my leader.

This man has taught me a lot of things, most of it he taught by example.

Today I think about this man as I am starting to feel the heavy weight of the new role given to me at work—his role. And in case you still haven’t guessed, I have very big shoes to fill in.

These days, facing new challenges that I have no idea how to deal with has been my new normal in the office.

This afternoon was the most overwhelming so far.

I was trying to navigate through a situation that looked so intimidating. When I felt I’ve already lost all my confidence to handle it, I began to think and wonder what he would do with the situation at hand if he’s still the one in charge.

I chucked alone while thinking about that as I couldn’t help but have flashbacks of my former boss and how he’s usually like in the office (something we truly miss about).

I realized I barely have a memory of him making to-do lists like what an obsessed admin person like me would do as if my whole life depends on it. Barely saw him sit at his desk (he didn’t have a proper one and he didn’t mind) or be on his laptop (he didn’t have one either, and still he didn’t mind).

But he made things done. Oh did he make things done.

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All gathered up at the guest relations room last Ignite 2015, right after the conference ended. This was one of the big projects that we got to do together. This might be one of my favorite Ignite 2015 photos too because look — it’s so multigenerational!

We like to also remember him as the man who likes to barge in the office, good angst and all, as if everyday is a war day, “Remember, guys! You are changing the world!”

He’s like that, known for making few unforgettable remarks that sound so hilarious at first but you’ll realize are actually full of truth once it sinks in.

One of my favorites would be him saying in true Dan Monterde fashion,

“Basta, guys, trabaho lang. Ang taong maraming hidden agenda, madaling ma-offend.”

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At the School of Campus Ministry Graduation where he received the Most Outstanding Alumnus Award.

It’s his way of reminding us to always check our hearts and our motives behind why we do what we do.

Sometimes we put too much of ourselves in the work that we do that it becomes about us. And so when someone criticizes or corrects our work, we have the tendency to take it personally against the other person and harbor offense from that.

Other times, the tendency is to perform. To please people.

But once our motive towards work becomes just simply to give God our best—to work as if working for the Lord and not for men; to serve Him and His people with all that we have without expecting anything in return, work becomes lighter.

Not because it did really get light, but because this time your focus now is not on yourself but on Jesus.

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At Ignite 2015 where Dan served as our conference director.

This afternoon, I was looking for a method, a structure, a process to pattern what my next steps are (which are great and are also equally important), but in the end I was reminded of the right response.

It’s the response that says, “It’s not about me,” “This is for Jesus,” or “I’m doing this for the next generation.”

When I remembered that lesson from Dan, I just had to smile and shake my head this afternoon  coming to a conclusion,

“He’s gonna keep his eyes focused on Jesus, not on himself. That’s what he’ll do.”

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This was during the offsite TDR of Ignite 2015. We were testing our games for the half time show and he stood in as a mock player. Not gonna forget how we all hysterically laughed at his buzzer beater win!

July 11, 2016 by by Fiona Mae Alvero

Our church had just gone through a three-day mid-year prayer and fasting last week.

I honestly love it when I get to pray and fast with my spiritual family. It’s like Christmas to me, only this one with the absence of food on the table.

I also love the idea of doing one in the middle of the year because I sure could use some recalibrating and refocusing.

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One of the reasons why I love prayer and fasting is because I get to do it with these girls who I truly treasure and that we get to witness together God’s faithfulness in our lives. :)

Few days before we started the fasting, I woke up one morning thinking of the faith goals that I wrote in January and how I thought I need to revisit it once again.

Lazy to get up, I tried to see if I could briefly recall by memory what I had written down in my journal and while going through it in my head, it dawned on me that the opportunity I had just lost a week ago was actually one of the faith goals I wanted to believe God to come through for me this year.

I stared blankly at the ceiling upon that realization, shocked at how six months ago, when I wrote that faith goal down, I was full of reason to believe it’s gonna come to pass. And then six months later, all the chances I knew were no more and the only word I could come up with to describe my situation would be the word impossible.

And you know, for me, if that’s what it is, I’m totally fine with that.

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This year, as a church, we’re gonna dare to believe. :) If you wanna check out more information about the prayer and fasting, you may visit www.victory.org.ph/fasting2016. :)

It’s just that lying on my bed that morning, I had no clue what to do next. Is it still gonna be a faith goal then? Or should I just cross it out? Besides, it’s already gonna be impossible to happen.

I was thinking of that and then asked God about it, but I felt He only asked me back, “Do you still have faith for that? Do you still want to be in faith?”

Do I still want to be in faith? What.

I was waiting to hear a yes or a no from Him that morning but what I got was a fresh invitation to see faith simply for what it is.

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and being certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)

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The answer is yes. It is a yes because today it looks impossible to happen. It is illogical, crazy, and not to mention pathetic in my own terms. It is a yes because everything around me shouts no. It is a yes because it’s not gonna be based on circumstance but rather on who God is.

I don’t know what faith looks like for you this year. But for some of us, faith looks like waking up one morning in the face of impossibility, seeing nothing. And the moment you saw it’s impossible, all the more it makes sense for you now to believe because you realize that’s the essence of faith anyway – it’s believing for things we have yet to see.

And so you say Yes to His voice inviting you, “Do you still want to be in faith?”

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“Like a stunt man adding one more car to the pile, one more hurdle to jump so that the feat is even more miraculous than what we had at first hoped and imagined, God is making our situation just a bit more impossible right now. And while we doubt and scratch our heads and ask how, He says two words: Watch Me.”

– Nicole Baart

July 4, 2016 by by Fiona Mae Alvero

I learned to eat and appreciate Greek food because of my best friend Mariel.

It all started few years ago when we picked a Greek restaurant for my birthday.

Over a generous helping of grilled lamb and watermelon salad and a huge portion of angus beef burger we decided to half, Mariel and I took the time to enjoy the flavors of our glorious food while dreaming about our future and talking about our big plans in life.

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April of 2014 when I first tried Greek food and completely fell in love with it!

Mariel is that one friend who I feel very safe to tell my biggest dreams and biggest failures to. Maybe because we’ve already seen each other in almost everything for having to go through college years together (she went to Ateneo while I went to Miriam College) and entering the single professional life together. We’ve sat in the same boat many times that I feel I am most understood when I’m with her.

I love Greek food because I remember it for that – for that conversation we had on my birthday, for being understood, for the liberty to dream big without being questioned for it, for the freedom to know there’s beauty in all of my failures, and for the comfort it gives to know someone else is also sitting in the same boat with me.

It’s the reason I sat quietly for a brief moment the other day at another Greek restaurant we tried for the first time. We had our staple lamb and watermelon salad on the table, partnered with a hearty skewer of beef souvlaki and a siding of moussaka. We went on and talked about our dreams and plans in life as usual (and how Sheryl Sandberg rocks). And again, I felt it was a safe place.

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Our meal at Greeka. It was super yum but TBH, I like Cyma’s lamb and watermelon salad more.

I told Mariel that evening how I’ve been praying to God for clarity and direction for a certain dream I want to pursue next in this chapter of my life, and how I’ve been so blown away at how faithful He is for answering that prayer.

Some of you might have found yourselves needing to say that prayer too. When the roads split into two different directions and you’re not sure which one to take, “Lord, I pray for direction.”

Or when both of the opportunities in front of you are equally good and yet you need to choose, “Lord, please make it clear which is one You want me to pursue.”

The last time I prayed for clarity and direction, the answer came in a form of a door of opportunity that God swung wide open, while in the process also gently closing some doors that are not for me. One of which is the one door I was hoping He’d keep open.

And right before my very eyes, there it was—clarity. A crystal clear one.

I was telling Mariel all of that, of how I’m grateful to God for answering my prayer, and then in the same breath I said something I couldn’t place to admit for the longest time until we were at that table eating Greek food.

“You know, the thing with clarity sometimes,” I said while I struggled to find the most diplomatic word to express what I think.

But then with Mariel, I realized, I didn’t need a diplomatic word. I could be all straight out honest and true and so I finally let it out unfiltered,

“Just sometimes, clarity is painful.”

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It’s that one conversation I’ve been pondering on lately, why there could be pain in the midst of clarity.

What I’ve learned is that when God brings clarity, He illuminates His plans for us.

We see it and while that is good, part of us pains for the truth that it is different from what we thought we already beautifully planned and figured out for ourselves.

I learned the pain comes from being human, broken and wanting to be in control. Now I realize that it is totally ridiculous of us to sometimes wish we know everything because if we do, I don’t really think we can handle that. I remember a friend telling me once that if we will see at once the totality of God’s great plans for us here on earth, we will only either get proud because it looks too great, or we will get disappointed because it’s not what we imagined.

Maybe it’s the reason we only know in part, why we only know what we have to know right now.

Clarity is painful because it exposes our hearts, where it is really yielded to. Is it yielded to our own dreams and plans? Or is it yielded to God?

I hope we will all walk this life yielded to a Person and not a plan.

The good part is, no matter what God illuminates to us as His plan when we ask Him for clarity, we are assured to know that it is the best for us.

And that there’s a promise that always stands true in moments it gets a little painful to understand (you all know this): “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

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Just in case you find yourself still needing a little more comfort, I hope you find it from knowing that you are not alone and someone else is also sitting in the same boat with you. You’ll find me there with maybe a good helping of moussaka to share. :)

June 27, 2016 by by Fiona Mae Alvero

This week, I have finally gotten myself to take driving lessons.

After years of trying to make it a goal only to be beaten by my laziness and lack of vision for it and after all the arguing with my mom because she paid for me to get enrolled but I kept postponing it and making it my least priority, now I’m driving.

Tonight was the most number of kilometres I’ve driven. I asked my instructor to rate my driving today from 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest and he said that I’m at seven. Pretty sure the three points he withheld was because I keep hitting the brakes too hard it drives him crazy (and dizzy).

We spent a good amount of time practicing my parking tonight too which, to my surprise, was easier than I thought it would be.

On my first attempt to reverse park, I was able to get it right on my first take.

Right at that parking slot, my instructor asked me to pull the hand break up while he searched for a paper and a pen. He wanted me to learn not just the practical but also the reason why we park a certain way. In our case tonight, a reverse one.

It’s the least thing I like about my driving lessons. It’s when we stop and I get a short lecture on this and that. I’m the student who wants to just drive and do it already (aka impatient).

And so my instructor was lecturing me about the different kinds of parking and somewhere in his lecture he said something that got my attention.

You are where you are right now,” he said and then pointed to where I stopped before I went reverse,

Because of your position a while ago.”

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I looked at where he pointed and felt I heard something profound.

I know he was only talking about my parking but somehow, at some point, those words sounded so personal. As if he’s talking about my life. As if he knows what’s going on.

Maybe because I’ve been just so desperate to know something.

Having to face unexpected shifts and turns in my life lately, I’ve been wondering a lot about where I’m going. I’d spend so much time in prayer thinking and asking God if I’m still doing it right, if I’m going the right direction. Am I still on the right track, God? Is this the way that leads me to where I should be?

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And then right in those words of my driving instructor, I felt I found an answer I needed for now to keep me going.

“Just be in the right position before God, Fiona. As long as you are in the right position, you’re sure gonna end up in the right place. Just right where you should be.”

The position we choose to make today will determine the place we’ll end up going. And when we choose to be in the right position with God, we find the right places. Just right where each of us should be. :)

February 12, 2016 by by Fiona Mae Alvero

This blog was originally posted on Facebook on January 29, 1:21pm.

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I am at the hospital for check up as I am writing this.

Few weeks ago, I was at the ER hoping to finally find out the reason for the constant arm pain that I’ve been feeling since November.

I chose ER for this one because when you are a single young professional living independently, you thought you could use some privileges like say a free trip to the ER using your health card.

I sat at the ER for hours waiting for the results of X-ray and blood test that the doctor ordered. Results came and I was told I have a neck muscle spasm as the cause of the pain I’ve been feeling.

“Your muscles are so tense because you are stressed. You’ve been sleeping in wrong position, too. Take these meds and you are not allowed to go to work for two days. You need bed rest,” the doctor said.

I found his diagnosis rather funny especially the part where he told me I’m stressed. My initial thoughts were that except for the arm pain that’s been concerning me for months now, there was really nothing that I am stressed about. Not from work. Or even my family. Or love life cause I don’t even have one to begin with. :P

Few weeks later, I still feel a tinge of pain in my arm but definitely not as bad as before and when I see the doctor later, I’m hoping to hear we’ve made some progress.

But for now, as I wait, I start to process again the thoughts that were running in my mind the night I sat at the ER waiting for my results. For me today, it’s still the same,

Longevity.

I decided that night that no matter how serious or light the results would be, I’m gonna start to take care of my body and make health as a non-negotiable priority.

I decided that night that in all aspects of my life and not just my health, I will be intentional in thinking long term and investing long term.

I don’t want to lose office hours from feeling under the weather because I stayed up late for no important reason or ate fast food for days because it’s convenient.

I want to stay long in the ministry and run many more conferences alongside young people because I still can physically even if one day I’m old and boring for them already.

I want to be able to cradle all my future kids in my arms without any hesitation because my neck is strong and my muscles are healthy.

I want to be able to travel anytime, be asked by my friends to coordinate their weddings and say yes to it, disciple more girls and meet them for small group weekly, do sports and other extreme activities because I’m fit and full of energy.

I want to listen to my body better and give enough rest it needs and be able to identify if I’m physically stressed already especially when I’m being workaholic or overly engrossed and passionate at work because no one said I can’t rest and it’s perfectly okay to do that anyway.

Guess what I’m saying is, I wanna live long and actually live and I can’t do that if I’m always sick.

I want to live long for Jesus and be available for Him and do many great things for Him and be maximized by Him and be ready to be used by Him anytime, any day.

Because I’m fit and healthy and I can physically.

And because He is a good God who still has many great plans for me waiting to be unfold for His glory.

And, darn, what would I give to not miss any of it.

PS. I’d post this as a blog on my website but I’m too lazy to fix the technical glitches I still need to attend to which is something I’ve been putting off for weeks now.

PSS. I’m now walking back to the office and I’m feeling and doing really fine so there’s no need to worry about me.

December 9, 2015 by by Fiona Mae Alvero

A conversation with a friend over creamy muesli and green salad has kept me awake thinking last night.

I came home from that dinner appointment feeling nothing less like what we ate: good and light.

Sometimes, in moments like that, I count it a blessing to sit across a friend and find out in the course of conversations said and stories shared that you are not alone. That you are not the only one going through what you’re going through.

At that dinner table, we tackled some of the challenges and struggles we go through when dealing with our emotions and the things we learned along the way.

There were three things that became solid to me last night. Three things I still try to chew and process and ponder and I thought it helps to write it.

Also, please note that nothing of what I’m writing here comes from some expert girl who knows how to handle her emotions well cause clearly I’m not but I’m writing it from a perspective of someone who is just also learning her way through it.

Here we go.

It is okay to acknowledge your emotions. You need it.

I didn’t appreciate until recently the fact that I grew up in a home where we are free to express our feelings and emotions – where it is valid to feel hurt or upset or sad; where you are welcome to laugh your lungs out; where family gatherings are not complete without a relative or two tearing up over a memory reminisced or sight of kids growing up.

I realize that being in an environment where emotions are acknowledged and not suppressed has taught me growing up to welcome my emotions as they come and be honest with it.

I like what my friend once told me when I was too prideful to admit the way I feel towards a certain situation. I was concealing my feelings and having struggles dealing with the situation.

She asked me once and for all how I honestly feel and once I gave in she said, “There you go. Just admit it. You need to admit it so you stop struggling. Admitting how you feel allows the grace of God to work in that area of your life.”

I thought that was liberating.

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So you’ve seen the movie Inside Out, right?

Don’t give your emotions the control. Be the one in control.

While acknowledging our emotions helps, allowing ourselves to sulk into our emotions is a different story.

Cry when you’re sad. Hurt if you’re hurting. Grieve if you need to. But don’t stay there.

It is a choice we make for ourselves. We can either let our emotions have control over us or give ourselves the authority to have control over our emotions.

I am a very emotional person, you see. Many times in the past I have allowed my emotions to cloud my decisions and I can say those weren’t the best and the most sound decisions I’ve made in my life.

Also, I thought I might side note this. The more I am trying to understand what emotions really are, the more I’m also understanding what love is NOT.

Emotions feel. Love decides.
Emotions are selfish. Love is not.
Emotions think about yourself. Love thinks about others.
Emotions go away. Love stays.

Be careful to distinguish if you are doing something out of emotions or out of love.

Always do it based on love. It’s harder. But better.

Love-is-patient

What love is.

You can submit your emotions to God. He is the Lord over it.

This truth became so real to me few weeks ago when I had a day with a roller coaster kind of emotions. What does a roller coaster kind of emotions look like? Don’t ask a girl. She also doesn’t know.

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On the way home that day, I got off the cab considerably far from my doorstep so I could take some time to walk. Walking always helps me clear my mind.

I won’t forget that walk because that was the time I realized that this is the area of my life where I am still ashamed to come to God for because I feel like it’s such a petty thing to talk to God about compared to other cares of this world.

“It’s just my emotions, God. I JUST feel this way. Nothing so important.”

But in that moment of me trying to downplay my emotions, I felt God wanting to be involved.

I realized that even in this seemingly shallow concern I have that which is my feelings and emotions, He is still the Lord over it.

And because He is the Lord even in this area of my life, I can submit my emotions to Him. Make it obedient to Him.

It could be sadness because of a failed exam.
Grief over a lost loved one.
Excitement for a new season of your life.
Or that nice growing feelings for a guy.

It’s okay. He understands.

Come to Him with those and receive His grace for you.

July 25, 2015 by by Fiona Mae Alvero

Lazy Saturday afternoons are made for sticking your nose in a book or watching a feel good movie.

Books are easily my default any day but today I went for the latter.

And you know, it’s not everyday I get to chance upon a movie that I “like.” My friends know that too well about me. But today I’m glad about my choice of watching the DreamWorks animated movie, “Home.”

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Oh and Tip. (photo from the web)

I’ll tell you straight up now. I bawled at the end of the movie. It wasn’t because of the story though it was superb let alone (fair that I mention I’d cry at any slightest reason really!). But this one was more of what it reminded me that made me tear up.

Home is a movie about a group of purple aliens called the Boov who are on the run from their enemy the Gorg. Searching for a safe place to nest in the entire galaxy, they found Earth to be their next home. When they got to the planet Earth and met humans, that’s when things started to get interesting.

And of course, it took only a matter of time for the Gorg to locate them.

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One of my favorite scenes from the movie, when they were in the middle of the ocean under the stars. It must have been spectacular on 3D! (photo from the web)

In the end, one of the main characters who happen to be the least liked Boov, Oh, became the hero of the story and hailed to be the captain of the Boov for doing something brave to save the aliens from the Gorg, ousting their former leader.

Oh then eventually found out the reason why the Gorg were so angry at them. It was because their former leader stole something important from them – a rock. And the Gorg wanted it back so badly they lived their lives tracking the purple aliens down to take back what is rightfully theirs.

And this was the conversation of Oh with his human friends when they successfully returned the rock to the Gorg:

Oh: “It turns out Gorg was not here because of my invitation. Though Gorg would have been happy to attend. Gorg was here because Gorg was tracking the rock.”

Mom: “What was in that thing?”

Oh: “Gorg family. It is entire next generation.”

Tip: “All of them?”

Oh: “All of them.”

Tip: “No wonder they have been chasing you.”

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This was the scene when Oh was returning back the stone from the Gorg.

Cue the ugly cry.

Made me tear up because right when Oh said “It is entire next generation,” it was almost automatic for me to see the resemblance of that in my life and I began to think of our own entire next generation.

And the gripping question of, like the Gorg, I wonder how far we are willing to go and inconvenience ourselves to fight for them. 

Cause for the record, going all the way to the “Milky Way, turn right to the Big Deeper, third planet from the sun?” It’s a lot to go through.

But I’m sure for the Gorg, every light year was worth it if it only for the sake of the next generation.

I know that nothing about the movie was created and meant to tell you about campus ministry. But I guess when something so important is rooted down deep in your heart they have the tendency to surface and remind you of it even when it’s just a cute alien movie.

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Tip, Oh and MyMom (you gotta watch the movie and find out why “MyMom :D).

I hope we never give up on fighting for our “entire next generation.” I hope whatever it is that steals them away from their true purpose – from where they should be and who they should be – would make us so angry we chase em down.

I hope we never ever stop discipling them and walking alongside them and opening our doors for them and telling them about that one Guy who originally went from heaven to planet Earth to show them how valuable and loved and precious they are. To rescue them, really.

I hope we never get tired of believing in them.

And I hope whenever we get to be reminded of them, like say from a movie, our hearts will still be gripped once in a while to a point of crying like the first time it did, or whatever, because we still haven’t lost the poetry of it all. And we get to see it’s still there, very strong, “Hmm-mm, yes. Yes. Heart still passionate for the next generation.”

PS. Also, the full soundtrack of this movie? For the win!!!

07.25.15 07:46PM

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