The first time Adele Cordova came by the humble little shop was a few weeks after we first opened last April. She was like an angel bringing good tidings. Kulang na lang gift wrapper and bow because she spoke much encouragement and blessing to me as she walked through the shop appreciating the details, specially the verses. She has a very friendly, loving, humble attitude that is endearing. It would only be much later that I would find out she is an interior decorator.
Late last month, she came two days in a row with her sister, Marnie, and I casually asked her if I could interview her for this blog. It opened up a treasure chest of such timely wisdom which she is happy to share with BITS readers!
The most well-known dermatologist in the country refers to her as “decorator par excellence who has been decorating my house” for the past twenty years. For the past four years and counting, she has been the decorator of the most famous boxer of the Philippines as well as other high-profile clients. She is a pursuer of excellence and also loves Jesus and the bible.
BUTTERFLYINTHESPRING (BITS): How did you end up in Victory (Christian Fellowship)?
ADELE CORDOVA (AC): Back in 1989, I knew that there was something missing in my life. I’d always seek God. When I’d go to church, my prayer was, “Lord, let there be peace in my heart.”
MARNIE CORDOVA, Adele’s sister (MC): Let me interject… She was at the height of her career and success…
AC: I was very compromising. My first desire was worldly ambition and success. At thirty years old, I was with the National Development Corporation. After a few months, I set up my own company… After my thirtieth great big birthday party at the Peninsula and opening my gifts, it felt so empty over these material things. I didn’t feel right. So I heeded Tita Vicky Fabregas’s invitation to go to the then Maranatha Church (now Victory Christian Fellowship). I listened, watched, and saw the people praising and you could see their passion for God. I was sitting in the back [stoic, arms crossed, “Yeah, yeah, yeah] but somehow God’s Word will really cut through your heart and I started crying. I went home so enamored by the Lord that I think I really stayed in the room for days and weeks just reading the Bible wanting to read it from end to end. All of a sudden now I could understand the Bible.
MC: But you weren’t going through problems and trials?
AC: Nothing. I had success at a young age. I had a training office at the State Financing Center. I had guests from New York, Spain… I realized the worldly things that would satisfy me— my biggest alibi then not to surrender completely to God— was not going to fill me. Instead, it was the Word of God that finally touched me and that was the time I surrendered to God. But after that I still compromised.
BITS: By “compromise”, what do you mean?
AC: Partying… I thought God would make me a missionary
BITS: You think partying is not good?
AC: Those were my thoughts at the time. I didn’t have a small group nor discipler. I was isolated. That’s 26 years ago and I can say that I got reborn again. I got renewed about three years ago. Sometimes you’re beset with problems in the valley… everything you had worked and hoped for doesn’t turn out the way you expect. I really clung on to God. I felt the presence of God when not even my family was there for certain issues. I believe that because God loves us, God was not going to give me more than what I can’t bear. Whatever it was that I was going through was for me to be a better person. He was just showing me to trust and surrender to Him completey, to put my faith in Him completely and nobody else.
MC: He had to work in you first before you became a light to the world.
BITS: Through trials?
AC: Absolutely. Initially you asked me, “How can we show love while pursuing excellence?” This is a fallen world. We are in the world but not of the world. Because Christ is in us, God’s love is in us. Through Jesus dying on the cross for us, it’s that role model of what He did for us, died for us. The power of His love is real. When you experience the love of God in your life, you can’t help but to ask and say, “God, what can I do for you?”
I’m overflowing with gratitude. You can feel His shield of protection. He has provided for me. It’s so awesome. There’s nothing you can add to what Jesus has already done to die on the cross but in expressing that gratitude, you can share that love with other people.
BITS: This is not an obligation or to earn brownie points but an overflow?
AC: An expression of your love is to honor Him. How do you do that? Through your life, the things that God has blessed you with … your life, talents, skills, abilities, offering them to Him, co-laboring/ partnering with Him in God’s business to bless others. That spirit of excellence, I ask God with every conscious moment that I have…
In my house, all the walls are in chalkboard, I can write Scriptures. If there’s a particular Scripture that God impresses in my heart in my quiet time, I write it down to remind me. It encourages me because there will be many bumps along the road in this journey. I continue to proclaim the promises of God over my life because out of the abundance of my heart is what my mouth shall speak. I wanna be a blessing to other people because if I’m given the chance to testify and to share—- and I will… because it’s not about me; it’s about giving all the praise and glory to God. I think that is being excellent because that’s what God wants for us…
if you have difficulty, just ask Him. Even when we’re having problems, sometimes you just have to put aside yourself. When the You You You sets in, you fight about your right… you remember what Christ has done for you. You ask, “Lord, is what I’m about to say going to honor you?” That will hold you back before you even utter anything or do anything. It’s about honoring God. That’s an expression of love. It’s also the spirit of excellence.
BITS: Does everyone who works under you have the same spirit of excellence?
AC: When they don’t have that same love for God and spirit of excellence, they will settle for whatever, sometimes it’s hard to instill. It can be misconstrued as being mataray or masyadong perfectionist.
BITS: We have something in common pala Adele!
AC: You have so much love for God but they will take it from a different context. The resistant attitude towards correction. If they were serving the Lord, and we all are serving the Lord…
BITS: Honoring God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength in all you do?
AC: Yes, if they had that mindset, I wouldn’t even have a difficult time explaining to them or asking them to do their job excellently because they themselves would have the fear of the Lord whether I’m in front or away from them.
BITS: They will do it excellently as unto the Lord to please the Lord, not you…
MC: It has to be conveyed with a smile because even if you have the love of the Lord but the look on your face is ferocious, it doesn’t look like salt.
AC, looking at Marnie: This is actually our bonding for the last month.
In Unison; AC and MC: We haven’t spoken for the last five years.
BITS: No kidding!! I’m so blessed. And I’m documenting it! …
Backtracking just a few days ago, I was so frustrated because my staff probably thinks quality is a whim whereas it is our lifeline to survival.
AC: We understand. We know and acknowledge the talents, the skills that God has given us. It’s become part of our ministry. This is where God put us. We have to do it excellently as well. I’m here specifically as a decorator. God has put strategically people of influence in my sphere of influence for a reason and you have to do that continuously with those things about being a leader, there would be moments when the people who work for you will fail to fall within that standard that you expect them to do. Nobody is perfect, that’s why we have grace. Because we strive to be perfect but we know we’re not but it’s still also about living by grace. The Holy Spirit will give us a conviction… Oops! Lumabas na naman ang katarayan ko…which is good, that’s conscience that the Holy Spirit deposited in us.
BITS: It’s acceptable to the world but we don’t feel good…
AC: Those are convictions; those are healthy. That’s why there’s sincere repentance that you do something about it.
MC: There’s this conscious thing that you have to be Christ-like. We have to, e. The fruit of the Holy Spirit of love joy peace patience… self-control…
BITS: I have to marinate myself in the Holy Spirit. Ang haba haba ng confession ko sa umaga hanggang sa nakatulog ako ulit.
AC: We all need to. It’s a continuous daily process and repent. Sometimes we try so hard to be perfect for our Father but just like a father, every daughter is different; each with her own shortcomings. “No matter what it is, you’ll still be My daughter, I will still love you”…that’s grace. That’s why we have to be thankful for the grace that abounds in our lives and His new tender mercies every morning.
BITS: In that process, I’m thinking of what’s the most important goal… that the sandwich is done excellently or that I’m showing this employee about what Christ is like that God is good, God can change me.
MC: The second, and then the first will follow. When you show that person that God is good, it will follow that he will produce good work…..
BITS: If the person gets to a point of loving God with all heart, soul, mind, strength, it will matter to this person the quality of work produced. (S)he can’t pretend that (s)he can’t see the bulok ingredient… The Holy Spirit convicted me so I pulled the person aside.
AC: I’m glad you were still aware and got convicted about it because those are barometers because we will really undergo this process. Aren’t we just so blessed that we have grace and we can be sharing about this?
I can’t imagine my life apart from Him. There’s nothing like being with God. He’s just so totally totally awesome. I love You Lord so much. I hope that I’ve been able to share to you this little testimony of a part of me. I pray that it be a blessing and encouragement to those who read it. All praise and glory to God who has shown and expressed His love and affirmation once again!
This is a prayer shared by Adele: