Refiner’s Fire (The Whitest Crucible At Highest Temperature)

The higher the temperature, the whiter the crucible gets.

As I sniffed my freshly sterilized laboratory gown, I knew I was up for another tiring day of chemical analysis. I don it and headed down to that big silent room of chemicals and equipment of where only running water and occasional ringing of the phone can be heard.I thought I have graduated to this kind of work when I assumed the review and release of raw materials job of a chemist. But when my company started to cut down manpower which started a year ago and management learned that I have the background and expertise of chemical testing, with a heavy heart I said “yes” to the request of the management for what they said that it was a temporary dual role for me. It was a painful “yes” because I have never wanted to go back to laboratory analysis simply because it’s physically exhausting.This day I silently said “Hello” to Loss on Ignition and Acid Insoluble Substances Tests. I scheduled these tests together as both use one equipment. Funny, but I can never dispel this observation that testing echoes real life. In real life, I tend to remember people on things they like to do and group them according to their likes in my heart and that’s how I scheduled work accordingly.I started everything in a manner just like in the normal secondary science project. I turned on the furnace, then, set the temperature at 610 degrees. I placed inside the room-temperature crucible. The crucible that I used is heavily stained with black specks, as a result of frequent use. It is supposed to be white as it is made of porcelain.As I opened the furnace, the glaring red heat of 610 degrees blew me away! I have encountered this kind of set-up before, but, back then it all seemed a regular and plain analysis to me. Not until today.My crucible mightly remained intact at 610º even after 2 hours of heating, without a crack and and undeniably, it has somehow regained it’s whiteness.The same crucible was re-heated at 825º in the same furnace. When I opened the furnace after an hour, the image was even glorious! Lo and behold, the light emitted from the wall of furnace can serve as the light of that dark box of fumehood. But my eyes got hooked on the image I saw in between the walls of furnace. That black little specks left from 610 degrees-heating were nowhere to be found. My crucible intact and whiter! It has regained it’s original color of white. Wow, here’s the light that melts the black specs and turned my powder to a white ash! What a physical and chemical transformation!The high intensity of heating made it even cleaner and whiter….finer….shiner and now looks new without it breaking!Chemical testing echoes real life.All those high points in my life were preceeded with pain. The heat of pain has been a part of my life and it refined me. The time of rejections made me know myself and cling to the Lord, that one day I would see an open door, too. The time of loss made me value life and the people around me. The time of sickness made me think that life is temporary and short and make the most out of it. There are times when the heart gets overused that it begins to gain black specs just like my crucible but His fire regained its original color. His fire restores life.My Master Chemist never promised an easy life but He promised He will take me through the pain. He was there in the fire but He was out for a refiner, cleaner and stronger me without my spirit breaking._________“I have told you all this, so that in me you may have peace. You will have trouble in the world; but, courage! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

I Am Not Praying for A Spouse But to Find A New Grace This Year

Report says that only 2% of the entire population of the wholewide world has the chance to keep their childhood friends until they reach their death beds. I am one of that 2%. And that is one of my greatest blessings.

I lost Grace, my friend since the time I can not read nor write, last year after a 5-year battle with breast cancer. She was both a source of influence and surprises to me. She even in her last moments did not fail to surprise me. During the last night of the wake, I asked her brothers to take a nap while I volunteered to keep watch through out the early morning.

Before I continue my story, let me share a another story first.
In my seventeen years of membership of the charismatic community, my first ever ministry that I joined was to pray for the dead family members of fellow singles. So, almost every week during the first two years, I had free meals because of wake events where we prayed and sung “Till the end of my days..” One of my leaders even said that if ever we were paid, then, we could have earned at least our transport allowance for the whole month because our group was always called for that kind of event.

But, it was far more different and I must say, difficult for Grace’s time. When I was praying the Prayer for the Dead and singing “Till the end of my days, Oh Lord. I will bless Your name. Sing You praise. Give You thanks. All my days…” in a soft voice, I was wholeheartedly accepting the end of our friendship.
After praying, I placed my phone on a table to take a selfie and her coffin at the background. I set the timer to 5 seconds but before it reached 5, I thought I heard someone called “Benia”. There was no one else in the room and I know that was Grace sending her surprise, maybe her last surprise and accepting wholeheartedly the end of our friendship.

The last time that I visited her, she promised that we will meet outside and not anymore in her house. While her coffin was lowered to the ground, I realized that she kept her promise.

And life continues.

2019 Plans and A New Grace, A New Bestfriend

On my 2019 plans, I did not write down a dream that has been in my annual plans, first time for many years. This year, I did not write, “To be a Bride.” Instead, I wrote a new dream, a new prayer, “Be blessed with a new Grace, another best friend.”
I know that there would be no one like Grace. Her memories will always have a special spot in my heart. But, I also know that it’s never late to find and keep a new grace, a new best friend. A best friend who stays and decides to stay a friend despite all odds. A best friend who brings your soul closer to the Lord. A bestfriend who enriches your life and makes life easier and happier to live in. A best friend who is also a God’s gift.
So, this year I am not praying for a spouse for the first time in many years but I am praying for a new bestfriend.
Or, who knows the Lord will send me a bachelor version of Grace.
❤️

Dear Lord, thank You for your endless grace. I received one through Grace. Please hug Grace today for me. I know if she was to tell me a new dream, she would tell me this again, “Benia, find a new bestfriend, someone like me but unlike me in many ways. Someone, maybe who can also be your spouse.”

_____

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We Still Have Two Months, Lord (Pushing for 2018 Goals)

“But bless the Lord Christ in your hearts, Always have an answer ready when you are called upon to account for your hope, but give it simply and with respect.” 1 Peter 3:15

Hello, November.

My 2018 plans is posted in my study area, an area located at the foot-side of my bed. So, every single morning, or more appropriately, since I work in a shift pattern, every single waking-up and sleeping – time morning, I get to see my 2018 Goals hanging there.

Seeing without looking is seeing without the other senses. You physically see that thing is there without giving full attention. And that’s how I treat my 2018 Goals these past few months.

Until today.

Today is November 2. As I remember the souls of my dearly departed, I gave – in to the temptation to see with full attention to my 2018 Goals. I look to it.

The Origin of My Planning
(Ang Alamat ng Pagtatakda)
I need to translate in Tagalog because its more fun. Because the rest of what I will write are seriously true.

Having gone under-the-knife for five surgeries already, 3 minor and 2 major and faced cancer scare in my life, I, (with long pause and deep breath) Benia, do solemnly swear that life is short and that only the Lord can give and take from us His greatest loan to us – the gift of life. In the same way, He determines our death, He alone can determine life (pregnancy/birth)… the covenant of marriage. (Makes beautiful eyes with the thought of marriage).

OK. Here’s the more serious part.

Life is short.

So, the greatest and most valuable thing that can go to waste is T-I-M-E.

I pray and I try with all my best and ask the Lord’s guidance so I can spend this life that He has given me and extended with intentionality.

I consider it a blessing that the Lord allowed me to feel to be facing a possibly imminent death (2-hour inside an MRI machine) and not having completed a mission in this life. It was tragic! It was not the possibility of imminent death (it was heartbreaking, yes!) that is tragic but the thought that I will be dying and has NOT completed my mission (my desires) is! It felt like that dying with out a completed mission is just going through life like a passing wind.

So, I begged for His mercy that He grants me healing and extend my life. This year I am pronounced Cancer – survivor. (Thank you, God, my Lord!)

It’s November. Two months to 2019.
We still have two months, Lord, to erase – off another item or two from this year’s plan. It is still a long period of time.

Let me not be another dose of a passing wind.
____

How are doing in your yearly plan? Thank you for reading.

_______

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Bible and Me (Compassion of Jesus)

Thinking that two years had already gone by, I revisted an album of photos of our house, of how it looked after that night of July.

It was a wrong move.

A move that will shake again the peace that I and family have been picking up and putting back together in place.

It brought back everything. Including the tears.

So, I went back to where I once found comfort, to where I find an ally…always. 0

Jesus, must have cried with him at that moment.

Jesus was not part of his accusers.

Oh Lord, Your word never fails to comfort. You are my strength. You are my refuge.

#StoriesOfTokhang

#tokhang

Opening Hands

This is a prayer shared by Father Pat Fitzpatrick C.S.Sp in his homily on 30 October 2018 at Daily TV Mass.

Before anyone can move forward from injustice, injury, failure, loss, rejection; acceptance is needed.

Finding it difficult to accept things? Reflect and pray this.

OPENING HANDS

I see, Lord, in my tight hands the representation of my self.

I held on to myself, my cares, my possessions, my pride.

I shut you out, lest, you will change me.

And I shut other people, lest, they know me and maybe hurt me.

 

With closed fist I could strike – out against those who threaten me.

But, I see in the tight knuckles and tensed forearms what is this doing to me.

I’m opt tight, tense, lonely and I’m probably destroying myself.

And so I slowly open my hands and release myself to You, Lord.

 

Take me as I am, my guilt, my burdens, my cares, my emptiness and maybe my loneliness.

With open hands and out-stretched arms, my arms no longer hurt.

My knuckles are no longer tight.

 

Thank you, Lord, for release, for peace, for freedom.

With open hands, I no longer shut You out or strike – out against others.

Open hands are for helping. Fill them with Your love, O God.

Show them what to do, how to give, how to serve.

 

And now, I’m aware of the hurts and needs of others.

I placed them in these hands.

I gather them into my hands.

And I lift them to You, for Your sustaining grace and healing touch.

 

No longer alone, I reached out to grasp the hands of brothers or sisters.

I thank You Lord for him and for her.

Shape us together sister, brother, everyone.

Shape us together into the body of Christ.

Amen.

 

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Thank you for reading and God bless.