Friday, December 27, 2013

A Beautiful Year

With the One Tree Hill obelisk behind me (Auckland)
This was a beautiful year for me. Imperfect, but beautiful. Take, for example, this photo of my smiling face in Auckland, New Zealand. This would not have been shot if I had not opened myself to new opportunities, or had I not walked into open doors, leaving all my inhibitions and worries behind. (Well, not all of them.)

You know what I mean.

I would probably write more about my travels in my other blog. This blog right here is about my faith journey, and I what I share here (mostly) are my discoveries in my interior life.

When I decided to follow my heart and take a year off, I did not have the whole year mapped out. I was not sure if things would work out. I did not know if I had the endurance to pull it off. I was sure I lacked faith. I just took the leap anyway.

I climbed Jacob's Ladder! (Auckland, NZ)

Looking back now, I am grateful that I went through this journey. I climbed new mountains and built new dreams in the process. I saw clearly that the Lord was working completely in my life. It was not so much that I was assured that everything would be all right. In fact, I had more tears than cheers the past few months. I had, however, the certainty and conviction that I was not alone,and  that God had my back.

Embracing life at somebody's shipwreck island, Great Ocean Road, Victoria

During this beautiful year, I saw many beautiful places and met many beautiful people. They welcomed me with open arms and I embraced them, sometimes happily, other times tearfully. It was amazing how much blessings and grace (so much grace) poured in when I surrendered myself to the Lord's provision. When it ceased to be about what I could accomplish with my skills, wit, or charm, and more about reaching a point of helplessness and despair so that I would pray for a miracle, the miracle happened.

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia

Along the way, I made many mistakes. It was inevitable as I am human. But when (or if) I grow old, I will look back at those mistakes as the spices that made the year even more colorful and eventful. I have no regrets.

The next year is not certain. Where I shall live, or work, or stay - all these are under reconsideration. I am full of fear as usual. But there is courage. And strength. And hope. My heart has expanded. My faith, many times tested, has grown. I walk on no longer asking the Lord if He will be there, for now I know. He is with me everywhere. He is my home.

At last I can say that for me there is God, and God alone. Do you know this song?

God Alone
by John Keating

God alone, God alone
In Your courts, O my Lord, is my home
You are my treasure, my portion delight of my soul
My life, my salvation, my fortress, my God, and my all
O my soul, claim nothing as Your own
For You there is God and God alone

I started singing "God Alone" in 1993. It took me 20 years to fulfill it. Incidentally, I only realized it now (!), last October 2013, I had been following the Lord in a personal way for 20 years.

I am right now a soul claiming nothing as my own. It was a beautiful year. It has been a beautiful 20 years.