Chronicles of Benia

STORIES.REFLECTIONS.PRAYERS

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.”

_____

Praying for another best friend this year?

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03/01/2019

Recently, I talked to a friend who is fairly new at her workplace. She spent a decade in her first job and took a higher role on her second job in a new company. She relayed to me this exact line after I asked her how she is doing,” You know, I can fight whatever …

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(Leading Prayer Group Meetings)

It was at that time when I said “Yes” to be a group prayer head in a Catholic charismatic community for singles. This Catholic charismatic community has small units of prayer group. This prayer group is called “Household” which is normally consists of 4-5 single ladies, so, that makes me a Household head.
Being friends mainly with girls is something very familiar for me, as growing up and during teen years, I was part of all girls big group of friends. During my first years as a young professional, I still was part of all ladies group in the company where I worked. We regularly went to night – outs wearing our Tok-Toks (our own secret code for high – heeled shoes because of the sound that it makes when we walk with it on). Basically, what I am saying here, I know generally how girls operate, unite, celebrate, love and fight together ever since I was young. Girl power, how ancient the concept may it sound, has always been in me… until I joined the Catholic community for singles .

As I write this, I can’t help but be filled once again with gratitude. This is the posture of my heart each time I get to remember my first few days as an S-F-C, of becoming, that is, Someone for Christ.

Heading the Household prayer group for sisters is also like leading a girl power group in fun and activities except that with this task, I am leading them to Christ and not to the “domination” (lol) of the world. Leading them to Christ means making myself available for them without any cost. Unlike the girl power friendship, this task required me sacrifices. So, I later replaced the term “task” to “service” and me not a “leader” but a “mother”, as I always associate sacrifices to motherhood.

During my first year as a Household head, I was faced with struggles to prepare the discussion topics, my parents’ house and foods.

The difficulty on preparing the discussion topic was not so much because my default topic was the scripture reading for the day, compared to preparing and clearing the food to be served. The latter task was more daunting for me. Food preparation required me time and other resources.

Burdened I may seemed with the differences of building friendship with new sisters (new members) in the community, however, just like in my all-girls friendship, I find joy and love whenever I am with them during household prayer meetings.

All my efforts are somewhat reciprocated specially whenever there was a well-attended household prayer meeting. But I enjoyed, too, even only a member shows up. It is a chance for a heart – to – heart talk.

So, after each and every prayer meeting when all the members are gone and I am left alone washing used glasses, plates, spoons and forks, clearing the table and floors. There in that last task that I find silence without the rush, but, a happy silence with the Lord. It is in this moment that my mind starts to process what just transpired in the prayer meeting. It is in this moment that I realize the Lord is making everything possible. It is in this moment that I say, “Thank You, Lord. Mission accomplished.” It is in this act of washing the dishes, clearing the table and rubbish bin that I find most fulfilling of becoming a head.

Matthew 20:16
So the last will be first, and the first will be last.


Thank you for reading.

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25/10/2018

Thoughts On Long Night Shift Duty (Embracing A Restless Mind)

30/09/2018


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For more than a year, in my hope to shift my career from a demanding job in laboratory quality control to healthy and safety, I took a job with a shifting work pattern. The occasions for night shift work required me to keep awake throughout the whole night. I felt like I am stationed in a lighthouse, keeping watch throughout the night, literally.

Keeping watch in a lighthouse is like seeing things in a higher perspective while feeling the gush of wind and finally things are making sense. In these times, that my heart befriended my restless mind.

Here are few of those thoughts:

  1. In my church community of singles I belong, we call boyfriends/girlfriends as God’s gift or GG.

My mind asks: What if this person broke up with you? Does this person is now called a God’s Curse?

My heart says: The Lord is filled with grace and compassion, of course, He will not turn a person to be a curse because of a break-up. The ex-God’s gift became a God’s Teacher

My mind agreed.

  1. My mind asks: Boss used to be very decisive. Now, he kept on changing his plans. He is losing money with these white elephants.

My heart says: It’s because Boss lost his backbone that he became indecisive

My mind: Oh Yeah….. his wife.

My heart says: Wife (woman) strengthens a husband’s decision.

This is also true even church service led by man and a woman.

No wonder in the bible it says, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives a favor from the Lord.”

  1. Loneliness is a God-given emotion. It is OK to be lonely because just like any other emotions, it is only momentary. If people can only learn to embrace it fully then there is no need to escape through addiction, alcoholism, gambling, sex or shopping.
  2. If only people can learn to embrace their restless minds, they will learn to tame it also.
  3. When you post in the social media for yourself, you would not care for the number of likes and hearts. When you post that way, whoever sends a “like” is your friend who agrees with your post.

I wanted to address more inquiries but it’s already 3am, I must update now the system.

So, I sleep here at this point.

 

Becoming A Mary In A World Plenty of Marthas (Then Watch The Coffee Intake Gets Lesser)

29/09/2018


Recently, I have been brushing my teeth with baking powder after toothpaste. I had the need to do this extra step after brushing and before gargling because of the tint of brown color left after I drink coffee.

I have never been a coffee fan until a few weeks ago when a colleague brought me a coffee from her hometown. The coffee intake is getting to be a habit! I am feeling that it is making me focused and calms my worries. Coffee takes-over as the call of urgency gets stronger? Is this case happening to me?

I was led to reflect on Martha and Mary.

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Sisters In A Prayer Group

Jesus Visits Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42)

38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; 42 one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.”

It’s Not The Absence of Coffee. It’s The Lack of His Presence

Martha choosing the less-good portion does not make her love the Lord less. But she, like most of the women, I included, have the tendency to NOT choose the right way to show our love for the Lord. Most of us women choose to step-in to what is urgent more than what is needful, causing us to be anxious. Even in the church services, sisters get more anxious even to the slightest details more than the brothers. And, this does not stop here. Sometimes, even how we show our love to our loved-ones is dictated by the urgency and not by importance. Have you heard the conversation of a mother and child? Here how it went:

Child: Mom, why do you always come late?

Mom: Because I need to work hard?

Child: Why do you have to work hard?

Mom: So we can have money to feed you.

Child: But I’m not hungry.

Mom: You will be when I lost my job.

Child: If that happens Mom, I will help you find one. But for now, I’m not hungry.

To becoming a Mary, I have 2 points. It is (1) to be choosing the good portion in every situation and (2) that good portion is something that will lead us closer to the Lord.

A heart that belongs to God is A HEART filled with peace, silencing the reasons to be anxious.

In this world plenty of Marthas, how to be a Mary? Then, let us NOT be another Martha.

Who Are Marthas?

  1. She is distracted with the call of urgency and does not spend time to reflect on what is needful.
  2. She compares.
  3. She challenges and doubts God (“Lord, do you not care…?”)
  4. She is always busy.
  5. She commands God (“Tell her then to help me.”)
I had the last point laughing me hard. I can point-out because I can relate. I had many times in the past told the Lord in prayer, “Tell that brother to act fast and guide him, please. “

So, if those are Marthas, who is a Mary?

Who are Marys?

  1. She is focused and spends time on prayer and reflection.
  2. She looks at her ways and her decisions.
  3. She trusts God’s provisions.
  4. She finds time for her presence.
  5. She submits to God.

Even in everyday life, we are posed with life and death, with good and evil. We need to choose the good portion, just like Mary of Bethany did because it won the heart of the Lord.

Dear Father in Heaven,
Guide our ways and thoughts so we can always choose the good portion, as according to Your will.
Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

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