Lord please teach me to be humble and enable me to live a life consistent with Your character in what I think, say, and do. Help me to love whom and what You love and hate what You hate. Help me to get rid of pride. Help me to decrease that You may increase and be glorified in Jesus’s name amen.
The recent small business expansion has been a testing ground for my spiritual walk. As the pressure to recoup the expenses mounts and it seems that there is a shortage of people who understand the urgency of the situation, as I realize the scope of works necessary and the breadth of new things I have to learn and do, it’s new territory where I need to conquer my responses to situations with grace and love even as I keep in mind to be a good steward of resources and time.
On one occasion, a supplier lied to me repeatedly even after I made my payment. Situation still hasn’t been corrected after two weeks. Another is dragging the feet and the reassuring words are not matching what’s being done. Another, taking sweet time. A government agency is giving us the runaround. I’m being told that we’re about to get the last of several permits yet the requirements for this one keeps evolving and we’re getting introduced to new requirements to submit when we’re about to pick up the permit.
It’s been four months of one-direction flow of money—outwards. And I need money to flow back—inwards. Yet everyone expects to be paid their share.
I asked one of my disciplers to pray for me. I didn’t want to be walking around maligning the name of Jesus because I need to get things done. I wanted to know how I could accomplish my goals while being a good testimony?
As usual, she didn’t just reply with what first came to her mind. She prayed first for me and how to respond. I so appreciate that she regards with reverence her counsel that it not be of her but of God. After a day, she sent me these appropriate verses:
I saw how I was becoming a Martha, doing doing doing, worried and upset about many things, fretting that her sister Mary left her to do the work herself and asking that Jesus tell Mary to help her. Jesus replied “only one thing is needed” and Mary has chosen better. That “better” was to “sit at Jesus’s feet listening to what He said” (verse 39).
Even in the need to accomplish many things, keeping the focus on Jesus will enable me to know His will in a given situation so I do not go ahead of Him and bring back my old ways but make Him a filter for my words and actions.
My discipler also gave me Revelation 2:2-5, aptly reminding me that I may have done good and worked hard but I am forgetting my first love, Jesus… that He is my reason for being. Investment recoup is not; it is a mere temporary calling, a stewardship of this season’s time and resources towards accomplishing God’s purpose in my life.
Lord, am I loving You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? Out of the overflow of my heart from which my mouth speaks shows a need for heart circumcision from unnecessary flesh. Is my motivation for the glory of Christ or for the glory of me? I know the fruit of the Spirit is from You and when I’m manifesting this fruit, I am aligned with You, abiding in The Vine; when I’m not, I am going opposite from You.
My reactions may have been natural for a go-getter, for a “good businesswoman” but You are reminding me that You are more concerned that I am behaving as Your child, representing You properly. Oh what a challenge.
No wonder Your Word says, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich. Do not trust in your own cleverness.“; “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” There is that pull towards the work, towards results, towards profit.
As I see things more clearly now, yet again, I fall on my face in worship of You, in thanksgiving to You, in awe of You, in love with You, my Treasure, my Goal, my Reason for Being who loved me first, who died for me, who are with me through every mountain and valley, whose plan is to prosper me and give me a hope and future.
Thank You Lord for Your reminders. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for my discipler. Thank You for balancing my perspective. Help me, dear Lord, by Your supernatural power to do an excellent job at being a businesswoman… while being a good testimony as Your child in Jesus’s name amen. But Lord, You do see everything. I surrender all those who are not doing their share to You. Thank You that You are able to do all things that are beyond my control. Help me to conquer victoriously what is within my control in Your name, amen.
Thank you to Malou for this:
Beloved, you are gifted. Have you identified what gift have you received? How can you use it serve others?
Of course, we should speak the truth with Love as the motivation behind the communication. But in the several days earlier, I was noticing that my old self was resurfacing with my point-blank talk.
On one of those occasions, we had applied to transfer our (familiar to our customers) telephone lines from our old office to the new office we moved to. That took calls and documentation so we could keep our number but when the PLDT team came to install the telephone lines, they were giving us new numbers.
Another, we had paid P9000+ for a boom truck to move our heavy equipment from our old location to the new location. On that move day, several uniformed barangay officers with radios surrounded my new shop and said that I was in violation for not having a permit for the truck to enter our small street.
I can’t remember exactly what I said but when I recall it, they come across to me not to have been spoken in love. “Why in the world would we apply for a transfer of telephone line if we just wanted a new number? We could have asked for a termination of old and application of new.” “We want to obey the rules but you need to give us the rules. When we applied for Barangay permit, we were not informed that we should also secure a permit for the moving truck to enter our street. I’m in the business of cake and we secure all necessary permits, pay our right taxes, abide by all the laws we know. I’m not in the trucking business. It should be the truck you ask to get permits because it’s they who take the truck to the streets they need to go. They’re the ones who know the rules. Why do you surround me with uniformed men in black with radios like I’m some criminal. We are partners in community building, nation building… small negosyantes like I help create jobs. Why do you make it hard for us, shouldn’t you be partnering with us and help us. There are hundreds of people who do business without registering or paying taxes or paying the right wages and statutory benefits, all proceeds go to their pockets yet it is we you are going after.”
Ranting and venting…
A few days after, I was asked to sing “Testify to Love” at an event and the words to the song convicted me that I need to wash my heart, mind, and heart in order to speak the truth in love. It’s easier to speak the truth in love to difficult people that I’ve conditioned myself to love when I’ve prayed for the right heart, when I’ve prayed for the person, when I’ve prayed for the situation. But in the spur of the moment specially with fatigue, frustration, and flurry of activities, love could fly out from the equation. Though valid perhaps, what kind of testimony did I give? I don’t think they would suspect Jesus was in me giving me full life and that they could have that full life too if they had Jesus.
I am thankful for the Lord’s conviction to put thought in what I do and say.
The other day, I attended the True Love Matters Most talk about speaking the truth in love. What impacted me most about Jojo Chan’s talk was the formula:
Timing + Truth+ Tact = Transformation
It’s a good reminder for me to keep in mind.
The prior week’s lesson on 1Corinthians 13 was: If I don’t love, I am speak nothing, I am nothing, and I gain nothing. (Here’s the link to that topic: “Am I A True Lover?“)
Without the Word and the Spirit of God, I would have just forgotten about the point-blank talk without thought to the imprint I leave behind. It would have just passed as another day in the life of a businesswoman who had to get a job done.
Lord, thank You that You use Your rod and staff of discipline and guidance to teach me Your way. You do not leave me alone to proceed as I please whenever I please however I please. You are shaping me to be mindful of being Your daughter. I love because You first loved me. Help me to reflect Your love not just to the people I have deliberately taken up with You but also to everyone I meet. Everyone needs You. Please cleanse me of my unloving ways. Thank You that You are a God of Grace and upon Your grace I hang. Thank You that You are making me a new creation daily so I can let go of the old and be new in Your name and for Your glory Amen!
The more I get to know God through His Word, the more I see how far and vastly I fall short of His standard, the more I see His grace at work as He enables me to stand amidst challenges. Lord, thank You for my flaws and failures, for my trials which you turn into platforms for Your grace and light to shine through. I am but a jar of clay and I praise You that it is not through human strength and perfection that You are glorified but through cracks, brokenness, and flaws. Truly all the glory belongs only to You. You are my Treasure.
Please help me to be a good steward of the things that You have entrusted me with. It’s so easy and natural to be self-seeking. Please give me Your wisdom through Your Holy Spirit to see the truth that everything belongs to You. Help me to treat everything as Yours. The people You have entrusted me with are Yours. Help me see and love them the way You do. Everything that I regard as my possession belongs to You. Help me to handle these in ways that would please and glorify You in Jesus’s name amen.
Lord You alone are the one who gives the ability to produce wealth. Help me to focus on You. And keep my focus on You, not to wear myself out to get rich nor trust in my own cleverness. Apart from You I can do nothing. Thank You for Your Spirit who will help me to be aligned with You so I can be a good steward of what You give me. May You be glorified in Jesus’s name Amen.
Spotted on Instagram and sharing with permission from Mons Romulo:
To say that Luisa’s life had just fallen apart that fateful day (when she got left alone with only P5,000 to start a new life for herself and her two girls) is an understatement. That was close to twenty years ago. Fast forward to 2015, Luisa Reyes-Ampil is author of her first OMF-published book, What Women Can Do When Life Falls Apart. From a woman who has been healed, whose life has been rebuilt and restored, her story is something to look forward to.
Luisa Reyes-Ampil is Assistant International Director of Guidelines, the over-fifty-year ministry of Dr. Harold and Darlene Sala. The Guidelines website describes her as “a multi-tasking marvel. While keeping Dr. Sala on track around the world, she coordinates Guidelines’ office and ministry in the Philippines and is responsible for audio engineering of the daily commentaries.”
Butterflyinthespring interviewed Luisa on her recent visit to Manila for the Journey Into Grace event with Darlene Sala and Bonnie Sala-Craddick.
BUTTERFLYINTHESPRING (BITS): What is the main message of your book?
LUISA REYES AMPIL (LRA): You can have struggles in life but if you have God in your life, the struggles will be there but you wouldn’t feel that you’re helpless and unable to get through them.
BITS: Who is this book addressed to?
LRA: This book is for believers and non-believers because we share the same problems. The only difference is we have Jesus Christ. We know He has power and He’s not going to leave us. In the end, I outlined my own brokenness and I offered salvation through Jesus Christ so that anyone who’s willing to accept it can enjoy the same relationship I have.
BITS: Can you share how God worked in your life?
LRA: I came to a point where I surrendered myself to God. I said, “Lord, I have nothing else to lose, I want to know You as my personal Lord and Savior.” My personality changed. Instead of questioning authority and not showing due respect for another person, I became submissive to God and therefore considerate of others.
At that time, our sister Teresa was Dr. Harold Sala’s assistant. When I went to the US to attend our sister Bernadette’s wedding, Dr. Sala met me. After that, when the Guidelines team would travel to Manila, he would always ask my help to show the missionaries around or book a hotel or the board meetings. I did it as a volunteer. Then when Teresa got pregnant, she told him that she wouldn’t be able to work after her upcoming childbirth.
In 1998, Dr. Sala met with me and he offered me my sister’s job. I started crying because I knew God was in it. I told him, “Here you are offering me this job like God’s opening it up for me.” But I had so many questions — how I will take care of my kids, the financial stuff. Dr. Sala started naming all the blessings. He said, “I want to show you green lights. Luisa, you’re like a trapeze artist. On one end is you and on the other end is Jesus. You’re swinging but you have to let go so Jesus can catch you. You want to trust Him that He’s going to take care of you so I said, “Ok I’m going to trust Jesus Christ, I will take this job and move to the US and start a brand new life. It’s been 17 years since.
BITS: Jesus took care of everything?
LRA: Yes! In the beginning, I lived with my mom and stepdad. But my goal was not to live with them permanently but be on my own. I started a prayer journal. I told God, “You need to prove to me that You will take care of me.” I thought “a reconciliation with my ex-husband.” I don’t know what God’s will is but I want to put it in my prayer book. After that, I thought I need my own car. I saw a vision of myself driving a burgundy 1997 Nissan Altima. So I wrote on my prayer book “1997 Nissan Altima, burgundy.” Then I needed to find a new place to move into. How much can I afford? USD750/month. It’s not really much. But I needed a two-bedroom place close to my parents and the girls’ school.
First thing that God provided for me was the rental. I looked at $750 rentals. All the options I found did not fit what I needed so I was ready to get whatever. Then I said, “Fine, I’m going to open this newspaper one last time.” I saw a small ad. I called the manager and she asked me to come down to see the place. I had driven by that place everyday but I didn’t know what was there. It has two bedrooms, walkable distance to my parents and my girls’ school. She said she had to do a credit check on me. I had to tell her that I had just moved to the US and I didn’t know what kind of credit history I would have if at all. Then she saw that I worked for Guidelines International and she saw the name of my employer (Dr. Harold Sala). She asked if it’s the same person on KWVE [radio station] for Guidelines. She said, “I am going to sign you up. You will be our tenant.” She added, “We listen to him all the time and we have been praying for a Christian tenant. God sent you to us.” So my girls and I moved there and I checked that off.
The following year, I needed a car because the car I was using was about to die. I looked at the Penny Saver. Our office is near Laguna Woods which is a retirement area. I saw an ad for a “Nissan 1997 Altima, burgundy, low miles.” I thought, that’s like really strange, right? I asked Dr. Sala if I could look at the car on my lunch break. He agreed.
So I went and I said, “My gosh! This is the car!” I test drove the car. The price was something I could afford. I said, “I’m going to come back tomorrow and pay you in full.”
The old man said, “Do you want to make a deposit?”
I said, “No, I don’t want to make a deposit because this car is mine.”
He said, “I just want you to know that other people are going to come and take a look at this car.”
I told him, “Yes, I know people will come take a look at your car but they’re not going to take it.’ He probably thought I was a strange woman. When I went back to work, Dr. Sala asked if I got the car. I said I would go back the next day because I didn’t have my money then. He asked me if I made a deposit. I said, “No.”
He went, “Luisa, here’s $100. Go back and make a deposit because you might lose that car.”
I said, “No, I’m not going to take your money because I know that that’s my car. It’s in my book.”
The next day I went back to pay the owner and we drove together to DMV [Dept. of Motor Vehicles] where we could do the transfer of ownership.
I write a lot of stuff in my prayer book and everything has been answered. The only one that didn’t get answered is the reconciliation with my husband. God has been so faithful with the big and small things.
There are challenges raising kids, them becoming teenagers and now adults, issues about dating, a lot of different things. It’s still ongoing but I have learned to walk away from something instead of reacting in anger right away. I always tell my mom, “I just need to let the Lord take care of issues that I know I cannot fix. When I have struggles with my girls, I just tell them, “I want you to know that I love you even if it doesn’t show because we may be making this communication a little difficult at this time. I always want you to know that I love you and that I’m always going to be be here for you.
BITS: For many years, God has been your husband?
LRA: Oh, yeah!
BITS: How would you describe Him as a Husband?
LRA: He loves me unconditionally. He’s been a great provider for me. I know that He has brought so many people to take care of our needs in so many ways. I wasn’t raised with little. I have people giving me… There’s this person in church who tells me, “I want to give you this gift. I’ve used it.” It’s a Coach purse. They always think of me. I have so many designer stuff because people think, “I’m going to give it to her [Luisa referring to herself].” People wonder how I get to shop when I’m a single mom. God brings me people who just want to give me all these things, even a haircut, it’s $25 per haircut so it would be $75 for me and my girls so we sometimes didn’t get our hair cut. But there’s a nurse in our church who went to Vidal Sassoon and cut our hair for free for years. Then she would say, “So you don’t have to cook, here’s food for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…”
BITS: How did working for Guidelines influence you?
LRA: It’s really wonderful to be able to work for Guidelines. I was a young Christian. God put me in ministry work. Dr. Sala is like my father. He’s really been a spiritual mentor for me. Being around Christians, we pray for one another. We start our day with prayers at work. We’re not only praying for other people, we’re praying for one another for our struggles, for illness and any need. We’re like a support team for one another. We’re very transparent.
I was a Department Head when I left my job at a prestigious hotel here in Manila and people sometimes tell me I ended up just a secretary. But I don’t care if I’m “just” a secretary. I LOVE my job. God is so exacto. When my kids were in college in 2009, my life started to change too. I started traveling for mission work. Dr. Sala would take me when he would take a group to Israel, Jordan, Turkey. I’m so amazed that my work is not limited to my desk and four walls. And I have a very beautiful office. I have my own room. I wanted a Kenya African theme and they would refer to it as “our showcase” in the whole office. They’ve all been really good to me. It’s very hard to even think about a different career.
BITS: What are your prayers for yourself?
That God will continue to be my inspiration and I would be able to do the work He has for me. I can see that I’ve had an increase in work in ministry here in the Philippines; that gets me excited. I pray that my girls will be able to really love the Lord. I’m dating someone right now so we’re praying about what the Lord has for us in the future.