On Deeper Faith

Two Sundays ago, I had the privilege to share one of my faith journeys during the worship service. I know I’ve blogged already about this 3 years ago, but I just thought it would be good to share again. I hope that this will encourage you to entrust your life to Jesus Christ so that you can walk in deeper faith. Blessed reading!

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Before I came to know Jesus I was a very independent person.  I am logical and thorough in my decision-making that I barely asked for counsel or advice from others. I would always want things done my way and was the type of person who would never make a decision until I was sure it would work out.  I was even awarded Most Self-Reliant in grade school.  Before I became a Christian, I did not know that God is not just an idea but a real person whom I can depend on and lead me. It took me a long time in my Christian walk to be in a place of surrender and dependence on God.  This is one the stories of the how the Lord shook my faith and brought me to that place of surrender and dependence.

It happened in the late part of 2013. My theme verse for that year was Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” — As I wrote in my journal, Jan. 20, 2013, “At this time of my life, I can sense God testing my faith. I can feel His hands pushing my faith beyond what I am used to.” End of writing– This was a time in my life when I had been praying if I should quit my corporate job and work fulltime in ministry.  By faith, I was ready to say yes to God and was ready to give up my career, my opportunities, my dreams – including my dream of immigrating to Canada.

In October 2013, there was an open position for Online Evangelism which I was very interested in. I submitted my application and went through the process. I said to myself that the result of my application will be my confirmation if I should stay or leave my corporate work. Of course I had to make sure, right? However, God had a different plan.  I sensed He wanted me to walk in faith and not by sight. So despite not being sure if my ministry application would be approved, and even with a chance of a promotion at work, I decided to resign. It was not an easy decision to make but God gave me a peace that “transcends understanding”.  November 23, 2013 –I wrote in my journal, “Many would say that I should not quit unless I have a new work to move to. However, that wasn’t what God is telling me. Every decision I made has been a step of faith and I’ve been grateful that God has been enabling me. I never thought I could make such decisions on my own. Without God, there would only be fear and doubts and lots of anxieties. And as I decided, it is with great faith and trust that God holds my future and it is for the best, it is for His glory. Whatever it will be, I know that He has prepared it and He will be with me as I journey towards it. End of writing —

Dec 27, 2013 was my last day in the company that I’ve worked for almost 9 years.  That was a day I will never forget. Do you believe in God’s perfect timing? That same day, I checked my personal email and saw a message from CCF HR. My application for the ministry was not accepted. Great timing, right? Of all the days I could’ve received that message, it was on my last day when there was no backing out of resigning.  I thought that when God asked me to walk in faith, it was about my willingness to give up my career and work full time. But His thoughts were different. He wanted me to walk in faith by bringing me to a place of uncertainty, to a great unknown.

In 2014 while everyone was looking forward to new beginnings, I was facing a new year of uncertainty. I got confused and lost. Walking in faith was getting harder. God asked me to quit my corporate job but it seemed He did not want me to do a ministry either.  Also, I prayed that when I quit my job I hoped there wouldn’t be any unplanned expenses for my family because I would no longer have health coverage but just 2 weeks after my last day my dad got into an accident. Talk about timing! God was really testing my faith. But despite the circumstances, He also enabled me to keep trusting Him. His peace did not allow fear and worries to overpower me. He showed to me in a very personal way that He had my back. All I needed to do was to depend on Him because I was reminded that He is the one who provided for my family and not me. He had the power to bless them without my help.

My journey into the great unknown continued. I kept seeking God on what He wanted me to do but the waiting was getting more difficult.  A GLC position in CCF became available and I thought, maybe this was what God wanted me to do and not the Online Evangelism job. I went to CCF to meet the GLC director and I was told that they really wanted me however there was no definite timeframe on when they would hire. It was very clear that God was once again saying, “No.”  That was another day I will never forget.  I was discouraged and everything just overwhelmed me. I felt like I gave up my career for nothing!  On my way home that day, I cried and got a bit annoyed with God. I asked Him, “Why don’t you want me to work fulltime for you when I already gave up my career and my dreams so that I can fully serve you? It just doesn’t make sense.” At the end of that day, I just gave up and surrendered to God. I stopped rationalizing. I decided to stop asking what, how, why, when. He wanted me to stay still and wait. And the only thing I can really do was to obey. And, so I did.

After four days, God gave me an answer. Feb. 22, 2014 – I got an email from Canada Immigration requesting my passport. My PR application for Canada was approved! I honestly thought it would not happen anymore because I already gave up on that dream.

That day, God once again showed to me how sovereign and gracious He is. Everything started making sense beginning that day.  For example leaving my job allowed me spend quality time with my family and friends before I left for Canada. Because I had a lot of free days, I was able to volunteer and be part of the Ravi Zacharias Conference in CCF.  And while I had financial challenges for my move to Canada, God was faithful and He provided for all my needs. He even prepared the way for me when I learned that just 1 month before arriving in Canada, CCF Vancouver launched and I had a home church to go to! I realized God did not really say, “No” to my desire to serve Him fulltime. It’s just that what He had in mind was different with what I had in mind. He allowed me to serve and be a part of this church-planting movement and meet such a loving family of God.  He also gave back to me what I surrendered to Him – my dreams, my career. Obedience is truly hard and it is only through the help of the Holy Spirit that we can take that step to keep trusting God amidst uncertainties. There were so many blessings that came with walking in faith and obedience. Indeed, He is an awesome and faithful God!

And while I am grateful for all those blessings, I honestly consider them as bonuses. The greatest reward I received was experiencing God in a very personal and intimate way as He led me on a journey that resulted in deeper faith and dependence on Him. Those moments will always remind me of the amazing love of God and how real Jesus is. Because of Jesus, who is my Lord, my Savior, my Source of peace and the Author of my faith, I was able to walk in faith and get out of the boat of comfort, self-reliance, fears and worries. Apart from Jesus, I will never be able to walk in faith towards the unknowns in my life.

My name is Stifany Araneta, I was self-reliant and I feared uncertainties in life but now by the grace of God through Jesus Christ and with the help of the Holy Spirit, I continue to learn to depend on God and not on myself. I continue to learn to walk in faith and not by sight.  On times of waiting and uncertainty, Hebrews 12:2 says, let us fix our eyes on Jesus always, the author and perfecter of our faith.

Praise and Glory be to God!Sunset chaser

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#GoogleGoals

As a Computer Engineer graduate in a third world country, my only dream before was to be able to work in a company where I can use my degree. I got blessed with an entry position and eventually grew in my career in IT. A lot of opportunities happened and one of which was to work abroad at our client site. Such experience allowed me to explore things outside my comfort zone.

Then, I ran into this movie in Netflix – “The Internship”. If I’m not an IT person, I might not be interested on this movie. Who would have thought that this movie would trigger me to dream to work at Google? Working at Google never crossed my mind until this movie. I’m in a good place right now but I’ve been learning to challenge myself to dream bigger. When I saw this movie, it somehow opened my eyes to a different, more interesting, more innovative world out there. I don’t know even know if I will ever be qualified for any position they have. But I will never know unless I prepare and try. It’s a good challenge. 🙂

Last year, I had the chance to check Googleplex in Mountain View. It’s a vibrant place out there. The colors speak for itself. 🙂

Let’s see what will happen in the next 6 months? 1 year?

Never stop dreaming!

Past, Present, Future

I just finished cooking one of my favorite dishes, “escabeche” that my mom is really good in making and I can’t really nail the taste I was looking for. It’s not like this was my first time making it. So, I’m just hoping there will be a miracle when I eat it for lunch tomorrow that the taste would turn out the way it should be. Lol.

Just trying to write something (while FRIENDS playing in the background)  for my first blog entry for 2016. I haven’t really done a lot of writing last year and I’m hoping I can do more this year. My 2015 really passed by so fast (yeah, cliche) and all I can think every time I look back is work was just crazy busy. Well, it was good crazy busy. I’ve learned so much at work and there were a lot of character-molding that happened. It was good. 🙂 (Now, I remember I need to do my self-performance assessment! Later on that…)

Anyway, so how was your 2015? I hope it was awesome for you too. I remembered I also did some hiking during summer. I believe that was one of the highlights of my 2015. I was able to push myself for more physical activities, the most memorable one was the 20km (up&down) hike to Garibaldi Lake. It was so tiring but the view on the top was just so worth it! It was breathtaking! But it might take awhile for me to go back. Going down just killed our knees! I can’t wait for our hiking adventures this year! My church friends and I have been starting to plan for it already.

Speaking of church, it’s been an amazing journey as well for the church planting movement of CCF Vancouver that I am so privileged to be a part of. A lot of relationship building, ministries slowly growing and the most exciting is we are moving finally to a new venue!!! Just thinking about how this started last 2014 and now things are slowly happening, it’s such a privilege to see how God is just working. Indeed, God wants a partnership with us, the followers of Jesus to do this amazing work of transforming lives.

Life is great, right?! It’s never a smooth one. But we still choose to continue living and hoping that it will get better each day. Not sure if you can speak the same, but for me, as long as I have Jesus in my life, no matter how big or small the giants I am facing, I just know that He will carry me through. And He always does. Because that’s who Jesus is. He keeps His promises. He never fails.

I have so many things that I look forward to this 2016. But I don’t know if those things will happen this year. I’m just letting God work it out for me if He allows it. If not, then, I’ll just have to trust that He has better plans than mine. After all, God sees the future. I don’t. So, He knows best.

How about you? What are you looking forward this 2016? I hope that you will also be able to entrust God of whatever plans you have for this year. We can only do much by our own strength, but God can make the impossible things for us if He wants to. I have big plans this year and I don’t even know if I’ll be able to sustain it. But, I’m taking a leap of faith that if God allows this, He will be there every step of the way. I hope you will also be able to take a leap of faith when God asks you to and obey when God doesn’t want you to. After all, as I say, He knows best.

I hope you will have a life changing 2016!! And, I hope that you will make God not just be part of it, but the Author of your 2016.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

God bless friends! God loves you!

With love ❤ ❤ ❤ ,

Princess Pepay

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A PORTION of my 2015

Don’t trust what you see. Behind those nice, happy memories are also the painful, sad ones that we just don’t share through photos. 🙂

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Job Well Done – Not Mine.

The past months at work had been truly a tough one. But good tough, I must say. I felt like this year passed by so fast with so many things that had happened for the past 11 months. And in every project, there is always an ending. Finally!

I must say it was tough, but I felt like I’ve grown so much for those months. I remember, before that project happened, I had doubts about myself and my ability to perform my role. Not to mention, being in a totally different culture.  Yes, I struggled (I wrote a blog about it).

For me, each day was like going to a battle. And what kept me going is the assurance that God will not let me do something I am not capable of. That whatever is given to me, He will enable me. The past months had made me more dependent on God. It had made me more prayerful not just for myself but even for the people I work with.

A lot of prayers. An increasing faith.

As the project is closing, feedbacks were just amazing. I’m just overwhelmed with God’s favor in my workplace. As I look back on the days I was struggling and to now, I’m just in awe on how God has enabled and sustained me. I can never take credit for anything because I know that apart from God, I can only do much, but I can never be at my best. I had my own lapses with my work and with my character as well, but God made me come through.

It’s all because of Him. For all the good jobs and appreciation I received, all credit goes to God and God alone. God did a good job in me!

DON’T let your BUSYNESS STEAL your AUTUMN

Just few days ago, I had this sort of epiphany while I was walking. When I looked up and saw the leaves were turning red, I was like – “Since when did this start to happen?”

I had a sudden realization that it was already autumn. I totally didn’t notice it.

And, that’s when I had to take a pause.

I realize I was starting to miss out the little things that I used to appreciate and be grateful for even just when I walk home.

Things have been very busy at work that I can’t help but think about the things I need to do even in my sleep. Just too much.

And so, I told myself that I can’t change the busyness at work but I can change how I deal with it.

With that, I made a choice not to allow busyness steal the things that I value.

  1. Never allow busyness steal your good working relationship with your co-workers. If you are busy, everyone else must also be. It’s really tough when you want certain things done but you can’t have it right away. I’m learning a lot these past days on how to just relax and trust that the people you work with will make it happen. And also, don’t forget simple manners like saying thank you and please.
  2. Never allow busyness steal your meal. Eat wherever you are, whatever you are doing, whatever time it is. Our brain needs nutrients to function. It’s plain common sense. I’ve learned to carry with me my lunch bag anywhere I go now. Never go hungry. And, bring extra for the team!
  3. Never allow busyness steal your time to rest. Less activity during weekdays after work or no activity at all really helps. It allows you to just enjoy a good evening by reading a book, watching a movie or doing something creative.  The next day, you are recharged again for your work. Being busy at work and after work will just kill you physically and mentally.
  4. Never allow busyness steal your time for family. I’ve been guilty on this for the past weeks. I just felt so tired that I could not even make time to talk to my family. And that’s because I was also going out somewhere after work. At the end of the day, go home and spend time with your family. See your friends on weekends.
  5. Never allow busyness steal your quiet time. This is a very important time of the day for me. This is the time that I get to spend with God in prayer and reading the Bible. This is what I need to be able to go to work with full of encouragement and strength. Apart from God, I could become the worst co-worker ever.
  6. Never allow busyness steal the opportunity to be a blessing. It’s tough to look after another person’s interest when you have so much on your plate to do. I believe a little encouragement is already a blessing. Just imagine a workplace with bunch of people who encourages one another? One thing I need to keep on learning is to appreciate hard work of people, and say it out loud.
  7. Never allow busyness steal your laughter. We all need to be serious with what we do at work. But a good laugh is sometimes not bad. Need I say more? 😀
  8. Never allow busyness steal your hope. When we see a long list of to do’s, we feel like there is no end to everything. Also, we get so clouded with so many things happening at the same time that we feel like things might not work as they should be. One thing I just keep reminding myself these days, “Never give up!” Just keep doing your best! It will work out!
  9. Never allow busyness steal your growth. Just because you want things done, doesn’t mean that you just do them without really learning. Tasks must also help us grow and improve. We are not just merely doers, but we are also learners.
  10. Lastly, never allow busyness steal your autumn. Never lose a grateful heart. Appreciate the little things around you. Thank God for your accomplished day. Enjoy your way home by not just thinking about work but also enjoying the autumn breeze and clear sunny afternoon. Live.

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There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven. – Ecclesiastes 3:1

Life of a Programmer

I just finished watching the movie, “The Internship” in Netflix and as much I want to go to sleep now because it is past my bedtime, I just need to write this down.

Anyway, the movie is about two friends who are sales people and are very good with what they do but lost their jobs because their company shut down. Not knowing what to do next, they ran into the browser “Google” and just googled about it. They saw the internship program and decided to apply for it, faking their resumes. And yes,  at the end of the movie, they got accepted in Google.

While watching the movie and listening to their lines talking about programming stuff, they sounded so normal to me. It’s not something new or strange. It’s just the lingo that I’ve been so used to since I enrolled into a computer course in college. When they were asked about C++ and Bill (one of the characters) said that it’s just a C+ and the other + is about attitude, it made me laugh. If I wasn’t a programmer, I will not get it. It made me miss the life of being a programmer.

You see, I’ve made a choice of getting away from being a technical person doing programming because I wanted to pursue something I believe I can be better of than being a programmer. But then I realize, I can never get away with it. Because the moment I see something wrong on just a simple site I access, my programmer instinct immediately kicks in. The movie reminded me that being a programmer is more than just sitting at your desk, facing your computer and coding thousands and thousands of lines. Not that I will go back to all those coding and stuff. It just made me appreciate more the life I chose to leave.

If you are a programmer reading this and you think that you are not making a difference, I hope you realize that your craft is not just about going to work 8 hours a day or sometimes more, debugging your code, making the system run and meeting deadlines of your deliverable. What you are doing, just like a doctor or a teacher also affects lives. Regardless how small or big the company you are working for, remember that you being a programmer gives A “service”. Everything you do is about serving. Not to a system or a program, but to PEOPLE. Just imagine if the health system of a hospital is not running properly, how will they keep the records of the patients? Just imagine if the banking system was not properly coded, how would the banks track all transactions?

You may feel like what you are doing is not that much compared to other programmers, but truth is, small and big task have the same importance in the world of IT. A simple bug like a missing letter to a variable may be a simple fix but that fix made the whole store system ran smoothly, thus allowed stores to process the purchases of their customers. It is a simple code change that made a huge difference.

And if you are one of those aspiring to work for an IT company someday, like Google, perhaps, but, you are doubting yourself about it. Always remember that programming can be learned by anyone. Not that it is easy, but because it does not limit you to just one thing that you can learn and do. Just by looking at the applications you have downloaded in your phone, you would know what I mean.

I may not be a programmer anymore based on my current job description but I’m glad that I still get to work with a lot of them. And, importantly, being a programmer will never be erased from my resume.

P.S. I’m so thrilled for my Google campus visit, not sure if I can get in though, but regardless!!!

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I must say tonight is my “Appreciation Night” to all programmers

in the world who make the online space a better click away. 

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Losing Confidence (At Work)

It’s been almost 5 months now since I started working as an IT business analyst (BA) for a retail company. I’ve been in the IT industry for more than 8 years but my BA experience is just really a small portion of it, less than a year, I must say. And before I joined this company, I wasn’t working for 6 months since I left my company of more than 8 years. Getting back to the corporate world after 6 months of really good rest was a bit of a challenge in the beginning. From being so relaxed to going back to multitasking and meeting deadlines, it was a big jump again. But anyway, I am grateful.

The past days though were really a struggle for me. Not really with the tasks at hand but with my capacity of doing things. I just lost confidence in doing things. People at work may not see this but I’m trying to cope as much as I can to get things done. Deep inside, I’m really struggling in believing that I can accomplish the future tasks that will be assigned to me. I feel incompetent and lacking in a lot of areas. I feel like I’m not doing a great job with the role that I have. I feel like I’m not capable of the things that are expected of me. I’m not sure if choosing this career path was a mistake after all. Right now, I’m starting to ask myself and even asking God if this is really what I should be doing.

I want to see God working in me and through me as I press on with my work. As of now, I don’t hear God telling me to quit. He doesn’t want me to quit and give up at all. What I’m hearing is that I should believe and have confidence in Him that He will enable me to accomplish things. Not that I may please people but that He may be pleased and glorified.

As I get to work with different people, I see different personalities and different ways of doing things. And there is a tendency that I could adapt those which are not pleasing to God if I won’t be careful and if I won’t guard my thoughts and words. I pray that as I do my work, I will always remember that character is the most important more than anything else. I can be good with what I do but without good character, I will not be able to please God and make Him known to others.

I was reading Colossians 3 tonight and I’m grateful to be reminded of what really matters. No matter what I do, my goal should always be able to do things in the name of Jesus (Colossians 3:17).

These are the things I pray I will be able to remember and live out not just in my work but in my day to day.

– Set your heart and mind on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God (v. 1-2)

– Clothe yourselves with: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and over all these LOVE. (v.12-14)

– Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart. And be thankful (v.15)

– Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly (v. 16)

I’m excited how God will continue to let me experience Him through my workplace. Until He asks me to leave, I will just keep doing my best and leave everything to Him. Just as how God granted great wisdom to Solomon, I know that God will enable me as well to do my job well. Not for me but for Him to be glorified.

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