What you need to know about living a great story

The “-ber” months are just around the corner! I was feeling a little nostalgic lately, so I was prompted to look back at my blog archives (on both LiveJournal and WordPress) to see what happened at this time (last week of August to 1st week of September) in the past years. I found two things that I wrote about that seemed pretty cool and interesting back then, but now that I’m able to see how the stories played out, I can really say, “WOW!”

I’m sharing them here because I’m hoping that these stories will encourage you too.

What went on this week in 2007:

1) After lots of planning, persevering, and praying, my friend, Jorel Corpus, passed his auditions for Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music. That was great news, but it was also just the beginning, because he still had to think about tuition, airfare, board & lodging, living expenses, and living apart from his family, friends, and bands (Kjwan, Happy Meals, Brigada), etc.

That's Jorel (in the pink shirt). The other guy is the friendly neighborhood fishball vendor!

2) The same week, one of the Philippines’ most popular bands, Rivermaya, started their search for a new singer. These guys are good friends of mine, and I was privileged to be a witness to what was happening behind the scenes–from the auditions, to the challenges, to the Finals Night. I was also able to meet and spend time with the last two finalists, and that’s how I met the simple and humble 18-year old Bicolano, Jayson Fernandez.

I took this photo of Jayson during one of the challenges

Now let’s look at 2010:

  • Jorel is living in the beautiful city of Boston and learning awesome stuff everyday at Berklee.

Jorel in Boston (May 2010)

The cool news is that Jorel isn’t just enjoying the experience–he’s maximizing it too.

He's a consistent Dean's Lister!

He’s also blessing others by coaching other musicians, and maximizing his network and his resources to help others.

  • After winning the competition back in 2007, Jayson has come into his own as the lead singer of Rivermaya. This young man is living his dream of being a member of his favorite band, plus he gets to travel all over the Philippines and Asia. But what’s so amazing for me is that I’ve seen how he has grown and evolved–not just in his craft but also in his faith and love for God. Today, I am blown away as I see him share joy, hope, love, and so much of his faith–with full confidence–wherever he goes. He SHINES.

This is one of the music videos that Rivermaya made early this year.
The song, “Lipad”, means “To fly”.

I look at all of this (and if you missed the video telling the story of Jojo and Tin Ibaretta, you must see it too) and I’m amazed. God has been so faithful and so good.

But here’s the other reality that we face: it takes a while before we can appreciate some of our stories. Sometimes, we look at someone’s story (like Jorel’s or Jayson’s), and we think it was just a smooth process of moving from point A to point B. We don’t always get to see what happens in between. Take these two stories, for instance. Most people don’t get to see the struggles that Jorel and Jayson had to go through.

But the truth is that we do have an idea of what happens in between, because the journey is similar for all of us! Whether it’s in the beginning or somewhere in the middle, we come across a challenge, roadblock, struggle, or problem. Or sometimes, something happens that causes excruciating pain. We reach that point where it’s just easier to just turn around and walk away. It’s easier to just run away and hide.

If you watch a movie, you wouldn’t leave right after the opening sequence, and I’d like to think that you wouldn’t walk out when the lead character starts getting into trouble. Where’s the fun in that? No, you sit in your seat, expectant and eager to see how the story plays out. You stay because you want to know what happens next. And you stick around because you want to see how it all ends.

Our lives can be made up of great stories, our lives can even tell great stories, but most importantly, our lives are also part of God’s great story. But we only get to appreciate these truths when we embrace this fact: GREAT STORIES NEED TIME.

In time…

  • disappointments will be redeemed
  • difficult situations will evolve into good stories
  • good stories will turn into great stories
  • great stories will get even better
  • some prayers will be answered
  • better plans will be unveiled
  • hearts will be transformed
  • lives will be changed
  • promises will be fulfilled
  • enduring blessings will be revealed

Great stories need time, and some may need more time than others. That’s just how it is, because every story is different. But in the meantime, we pray for the grace to be patient, to endure, to persevere, and to be faithful through all the challenges, hurts, and difficulties. And we pray for open hearts, minds, and eyes to see and embrace what God has done and what He is doing. It isn’t always going to be easy, but I’m clinging on to this promise:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

If you have the time, watch this talk given by our senior pastor, Joey Bonifacio, when he was a guest speaker at Citipointe Church in Brisbane, Australia. It gave me the perspective and the hope that I needed.

Do you have a way of looking back on what has happened in you, through you, and around you? Do you have an encouraging story to share? Tell us about it!

* * *

If you liked this, you might be interested in these related posts:

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4 responses to “What you need to know about living a great story

  1. awesome blog liz!

  2. Great testimony. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Christie! Thanks for dropping by the blog. I’m happy to have stories to tell! One day you should tell yours! :) Hi to Ricky and the kids!

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