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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When you pray…

It’s hard not to get anxious when it involves financial matters.

An incident happened that involved a cheque I sent as a payment. It usually takes a week for that cheque to arrive but for some reason, it took longer this time. I went to the bank to request for a cancellation since I want to secure the money before it gets cashed out. These days, that’s not impossible to happen. However, the bank advised me to wait for another week as it might just be taking longer. The kind of cheque I sent was not that easy to cancel and takes a lot of process according to them. So, I waited another week.

During the second week, I was already starting to feel uneasy thinking what happened to my cheque. I was hoping it would arrive but it didn’t. And then, I have to wait for another week. During these times of waiting, anxiety always tried to crawl in. Indeed, prayer is the only weapon to anxiety. It’s during these times also that I prayed harder. I told God that He owns my finances. I told Him that I need that money either to be returned to me safely or to arrive safely. I told Him that if that will not happen, I will still continue trusting that He will provide. I just claimed who He is, how powerful He is. That if He can create the whole world, He can definitely secure that amount for me. Nothing is too big for Him. It’s not a very big amount but it is an amount that I needed.

Just this week Monday, I was suppose to go to the bank after work to finally cancel the cheque since third week passed and it still did not arrive. However, the whole day was so busy at work that I was so exhausted and decided to just go home and do it the next day. Almost end of the day Tuesday, I got confirmation that the cheque finally arrived! It was a big relief and I was just really in awe how God led me not to go to the bank the previous day. I was exhausted for a purpose! Just imagine the hassle if I cancelled it and then it arrived the next day. Whew! God’s timing is just perfect!

Once again, God showed to me how much He cares not just on the big things but also on the little things like a “lost cheque”. For God, what matters to Him was me. Not my finances. What matters to Him was my heart and my faith on Him. As much as I don’t want this incident to happen again, I am grateful for the rocky roads of my life because these circumstances allow me to experience God in a very personal way. I am reminded that He is for Real and He truly hears our prayers.

” Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6

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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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Pressured to DATE?

When you are surrounded with people who are married or dating, it can’t be helped that they will have that tendency to match you to other single people they know. Since I moved here in Vancouver, I felt like I could not find my own circle. Back home, I have so many single women friends who are of the same age as mine. It somehow felt good knowing that I was not alone in the journey of being single and in waiting. Here, I feel like I’m the only single woman left in the world! Crazy, right?

Not that I get offended and pressured by people, it’s just that sometimes, how people act makes me feel like being single is a disease that needs to be cured. When in fact, being able to maximize the single life is one of the best blessings an individual should be grateful for. Those who married young, those who wasted their single years or those who could not wait and kept dating to think that eventually the right one will come – they will never be able to tell how blessed and amazing it is to live an abundant life of being single.

I’m writing this to encourage all women who are in the journey of waiting and trusting that one day God will bring you to the man that He has prepared for you. There are times that I ask God if I should lower my standard, or if my standard is too high. However, God’s answer is always –  trust in ME, just trust in ME. Just as how God answers my specific prayers for other things in my life, how can He not answer my specific prayers for that person that I’ve been praying for to be my lifetime partner? After all, this is not really about me getting married or about that person whoever he may be, but even this aspect of my life has always been about the Greatest Author of my life, the Heavenly Father. And I hope that person also has the same thing in mind.

Just one of these days, when I was praying to God about this, He reminded me of what I just need to do. God spoke to me through Psalm 37:4 – “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” 

I tried to define “delight” in the manner on how God wants me to delight in Him, here’s how I defined it:

  • embrace God’s presence
  • intimacy with God
  • hunger for God
  • seeking God in every moment
  • love God above anyone or anything
  • obey God
  • follow Jesus
  • be Christ-like

God reminded me that as long as I just keep myself soaked in His presence, He’s gotten my back on everything in my life including that person He has prepared for me. With that, I just told God, “Glorify Yourself through my love life.”

And you know what’s amazing about God as He let me wait on Him, He allowed me to experience a life that I never imagined I would have. That’s how great and amazing God is. He is not cheap, He gives what is best for you and me.

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So if you are waiting for your God’s best, don’t lost hope.

God is at work and His timing is always perfect.

 

Waiting Over

 

Yes, I’m back! I’m an employee again. 🙂

It’s been an amazing journey with the Lord as I entrusted to Him the work that He has prepared for me. I really prayed that I would be able to find a job within the first month that I arrived here in Vancouver. However, I never wanted to settle for just any job. I just had to trust that God would honor my desire to work for a role that I really wanted.

It had been in the third week of June and I still didn’t have possible job offers. All I got were initial interviews and emails. Then, no more follow ups. Until the right time came. I re-connected with a former colleague here in Canada and just mentioned that I was looking for a job. After that conversation, everything happened so fast. He spoke to his manager that I was looking for a BA role which they needed in their team because someone just left. I submitted my resume and went for an interview the next day. Then the week after, I got the job offer. The best part, they gave me a senior role and a pay which was more than I asked for.

However, these things were not really a surprise to me. I always knew that God would always do something amazing. He always does. Even if some people would tell me that a month is too short to find a job, I just trusted that God would provide within the month. As I reflected on this journey, I realized that my faith was much deeper during this time as I waited on God’s provision.  At some point in my life, I became very disobedient and I know that I have missed out a lot of blessings because of that. I’m just grateful that God is so gracious and loving that He gave me so many chances to become better. God showed to me the result of my obedience and that is His best plan for me.  I became more expectant in faith than I was before.  This journey was more of seeing how much I’ve grown in faith as I continue to experience God’s best.

Such faith excites me each day as to what could God possibly do. Experiencing God through obedience may always not be an easy path to take. However, taking a path that is outside of God’s plan for us will be more difficult in the long run. God’s way is always, always, always worth to take.

I’m looking forward to another journey of something that I’ve really been praying for. Waiting is over, another waiting starts.

To God be all the glory!

 

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Standing Still

It’s been more than a week since I moved to Canada.  Even before I came here, I’ve been submitting tons of job applications. I got few responses, some from companies, some from recruitment agencies. It’s been more than 5 months now that I’m unemployed and I’m kinda feeling the pressure to find a job. Not to mention, I have expenses to pay and I’m not in Manila anymore. It’s been quite tough finding the right job here for the skill set that I have. Experiences and skills required are very specific that it’s very difficult to fit in.

I have moments of discouragements and doubts. I desperately want to work immediately before this month ends and I feel like things are not going my way.  But I don’t want to let my fear or anxieties swallow me. I have a big God.

I’ve been reading the Book of Joshua since I arrived here. I just felt I could relate to Joshua’s journey. God was fulfilling His promise of giving the land to the Israelites but the journey was never easy. Joshua and the rest of his army had to defeat a lot of nations before receiving the fullness of the land. I feel I’m in the same battle. I have to defeat other applicants to be able to receive the best that God wants to give me.

But what comforted me was that the victories of the Israelites were all because of what God did. All they did was to attack but it was God who handed to them in defeat their enemies.  It was God who gave them the victory.  And I believe God will do the same for me. All I need to do is to submit the best of my resume, go to interviews – never give up. And, God will take care of the rest. Indeed, only God can give me favor through men. Only God can move the heart of the companies.

This job hunting journey is never about me or the job I’ll have but still and always about God, who He is and what He can do. He deserves the glory.

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In one of my quiet times this week, I told God, “If you can make the sun stand still for a day,  then, you can  give me  the best job.” 

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The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.  There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel! – Joshua 10:13-14

Feeling a bit low…

I feel a bit low today. Sad, I suppose.

I was so excited on something when it became uncertain again.

My heart sank.

But it’s okay. I will continue looking up to God.

He never failed me. He will never start now.

I know He will continue to enable me as I continue to wait.

Feel so uncertain, so unsure, so clueless.

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