Shine Bright

It’s certainly has been a while since I blogged. But here I am again, trying to lean in and trust in God’s plan for this little blog. I wrote the following for a CRHP fellowship meeting, and I wanted to share it here as well.

Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid.  No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Light, we take it for granted. We can flip a switch and a dark room is illuminated. Yet, in our lives, the light that only comes from God gets so easily dimmed by this world. We are bombarded with images, social media, advertising, tv shows and movies that show a world that looks glamorous but leaves us with a God-shaped hole. These are the same influences that play that negative soundtrack in our minds, you know the one, “I not worthy, I am not loved, I’m not pretty enough, that we simply aren’t enough.” But that’s not the life that God wants for us. He loves us with such an intensity that our human brains will never be able to understand. The same God who allowed His Son to die for our sins also gives us the Sacraments that give us ammunition to fight back against the darkness. We can sit in front of the true Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ and feel his peace. We can participate in the most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that gives us a glimpse of Heaven and allows us to be one with our Lord. And he gives us forgiveness over and over again in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He truly overwhelms the darkness when we allow him into our lives and surrender to his everlasting love.

In my own life God shined a light on my heart to allow me to heal brokenness I didn’t truly realize I had. Three years ago I left teaching. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I left after much prayer and consideration and I was happy, and I still am. What I didn’t realize is that leaving teaching left me with a loss of my sense of identity. When asked what I do for a living a can no longer say that I am a teacher. In our culture, we’re asked from a very young age, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Not having an answer to this question, had allowed a darkness to live inside my heart and has kept me from growing as a daughter of Christ. God has been teaching me is that my identity is not rooted in anything the world can provide me or any title I can be given. I am worthy and loved by my Heavenly Father. I am the daughter of the one true King. That He is my light, my hope and my salvation and nothing can separate me from his love.

The challenge is to learn how to continue to put oil in our lamps so that we can burn brightly. In our day to day life, we can remember to do small things with great love, as St. Therese of Lisieux and Mother Teresa did. Everything we do from driving to dishes, to laundry, to putting the kids to bed are all ways we can glorify God in every moment and live in the light of Christ.

Secondly, we need to remember that we are not alone.

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.”

The Saints can be a source of encouragement and intercede for us to God (such as when we ask family and friends to pray for us) and through the Saints, we learn that God uses every vessel to build his kingdom

St. Ignatius was a womanizer, St. Therese of Lisieux fell asleep while praying the Rosary, and “St. Augustine of Hippo is the patron of brewers because of his conversion from a former life of loose living, which included parties, entertainment, and worldly ambitions”, before he gave his life to God.

Just as we can ask for the intercession of Saints, we are blessed with the people around us to aid us in our journey.  Within our communities, God provides us with here on Earth and the Saints in Heaven, we are never without someone we can share our struggles with. In turn, we are provided with encouragement and prayer.

Let us wait upon the Lord in the day to day struggles of laundry, dishes, crazy kids, and traffic. Let us see His glory and love in everyone. May these moments be used to renew our faith and allow us to see Christ in every person and in every situation. Let us turn to God when we have moments of darkness because his light will conquer the darkness in our own hearts and minds and all of the darkness in the world.

“It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness. He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the mask of a false life; it is He who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving your selves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.” Saint Pope John Paul II.

Beloved – Jordan Feliz

 

In You I’m Found

Nature PhotographyPoetry used to leap from my pencil onto the papers. I still have journals filled with poems from middle and high school. I have to admit that it’s something I’d lost touch with since “growing up.” But yesterday as I was spending some quiet time reading scripture and playing the ukulele, poetry started flowing once again. Though it could be a song/verse cause I wrote it to a tune in my head, and keep singing it on my ukulele.

Here’s something I worked on today:

In You I’m Found

I’ve been searching in all the wrong places.
I’ve been hoping in all the wrong things.
I’ve been longing in all the worldly things.
I’ve been hiding from all the things I know.

We go down this road together,
Oh so many times.
And even when I’m lost,
You’re still right by my side.

I go round and round in circles,
searching for the truth.
But it’s only in you I’m found.
Jesus in you I’m found.
Jesus in you I’m found.

And you’re patiently waiting,
For me to come right back home to you.
No matter how far I stray,
Your arms are open wide.

And you fill me with your love,
Fill me with your joy,
Fill me with laughter,
Fill me with a hope,
That only comes from you.

© 2016 Stacy Agcaoili. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Do Not Be Afraid

In Matthew 1:20, an angel of the Lord tells Joseph “do not be afraid,” as he was betrothed to Mary who was found with child through the Holy Spirit.

I can’t even image how afraid both Mary and Joseph were after an angel of God came to them and told them that Mary would give birth to the Son of God, but still they both said YES to God’s plan for their lives. They knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy journey, yet they trusted in God’s plan. Even Joseph and Mary needed to hear those four words, “Do not be afraid.”

Today those four words was exactly what I needed to hear: “Do not be afraid.” 

Happy Birthday Mary!

IMG_4116

God’s Got Our Six

“God has huge plans for you – and before you can fulfill one of them, you have to believe that you were made for greatness.” Mark Hart

“Embrace this one solitary truth- you were born to become the-best-verison-of-yourself- and it will change your life more than anything you have ever learned.” ~ Matthew Kelly

Both of these quotes appeared on my On This Day news feed on Facebook today, and yesterday I wrote these words on my blog post: “I still have a lot to figure out, but I do know that God has amazing plans for my life. I just need to rest in the love of Christ.”Yesterday also marked the three month anniversary since my knee surgery.

These past few months have been difficult facing recovery and the unknown future that lay ahead of me. There are times in our lives that we need to be reminded of the plans God has in store for us and that we are meant to be the “best-version-of-yourself.” God is patient with us. He reminds us over and over again that he’s got our six. (NCIS reference, which is one awesome TV show! 😛 For those aren’t familiar with the term, God’s got our back!)

I don’t know what God’s plan is for my writing, all I know is that for know I’ll take it a day at a time. Starting with these daily reflections.

8498814456_e23d580a02_o

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Peace in the Darkness

Today I was reminded of the simple fact of Christ’s love for us.

I sat in my parish Chapel in front of Christ in Eucharistic Adoration riddled with questions. It didn’t take long for peace to settle in my heart. I didn’t magically have to answers to the many questions on my mind but sitting in that quiet Chapel I was at peace.
I was reminded of:

Romans 8:35, 37

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

I realized that I can conquer all things: doubts, fears, distresses, and anxieties, through the love of Christ who died for my sins. I still have a lot to figure out, but I do know that God has amazing plans for my life. I just need to rest in the love of Christ. Through Christ, we can have peace in the darkness.

Prepare the Way

As the season of  Advent concludes today, I take time to reflect on what Advent means to me.

Advent is defined as the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. Advent is a time to prepare the way of the Lord.

While reading Malachi 3:1-4,23-24, I was struck by the words “Prepare the way.” On this Christmas Eve, we are reminded to “prepare the way of the Lord.” In Malachi Chapter 3 reading God was sending Elijah, the prophet to prepare the way before God.

smartphone-570507_1280

Tonight we may already have family celebrating with us or we’re preparing for the celebration.  We have much preparing to do for the celebration. Laundry, cleaning, cooking, shopping, gift wrapping, packing, traveling . Despite the busyness of the Christmas season, we must stop and ready our hearts to welcome our Savior.

Have I welcomed Jesus with a joyful heart?

Have I stopped to ponder the true reason we celebrate Christmas?

My heart is full with great joy knowing that my God sent his only son Jesus Christ to earth, and the gift of salvation that is born with him.

God loves us. He loves us in our strengths and in our failures.

This Christmas may our hearts be wrapped in the love of Jesus, the true reason for the season.

May you have a blessed Christmas season!

"Gerard van Honthorst 001" by Gerard van Honthorst - The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gerard_van_Honthorst_001.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Gerard_van_Honthorst_001.jpg

Big Blue Box

I’m not talking about the TARDIS, as cool as that would be.

Doctor_Who_Experience_(8105520673)

I’m talking about this big blue and yellow box, IKEA.Ikea_shin-misatoToday M and I took a short trip to our local IKEA with the intention to look for ideas for our new apartments. When we first got there it felt like we were walking around without a clue of how we wanted our apartment to look like, or at least that’s how I felt.

Once I had M sketch out his vision for our living room, I finally had insight into M’s vision for our new place. I was no longer walking aimlessly. I had a clear picture of what we wanted our apartment to look like.

Here’s his rough sketch:

IMG_0012I love where this is heading. It’s amazing how much clearer I was able to see things with a simple sketch to see what was going on in M’s head.

After we got home, I made a connection between IKEA and our lives.

IKEA is like life, without a vision, purpose, or desire you walk around aimlessly through the chaos.

In our own lives, we frequently loose sight of our needs, purpose, and desires that lead us to the best-version-of-ourselves. We fail to step back, to take stock on what we want from our lives. It is in these moments that we fall into despair, depression, and anxiety. We need to understand our purpose, needs, and desires in order to create the best-version-of-ourselves. When we understand our true purpose and we have the strength to follow God’s plan for our lives we can find true happiness.

The TARDIS may be fiction, but what is true is that our lives are truly bigger on the inside.