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.
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 doorsteps 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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.