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Months later, P’s son came crying (literally) to her.  “You prayers are certainly powerful, Mom! My girlfriend and I just broke up!”

P replied, “Oh, no, dear, my prayers have no power—none whatsoever. Only God has the power to do or change things.”

Like P’s son, I am sometimes deluded by the thought that my prayers are powerful (especially when hordes of my friends are helping me pray for the same thing all at the same time) and can goad God to action and do my bidding.

True, in the Bible, God might have changed the course of some events as a result of someone’s prayers, but in the end, it is He alone who makes the decision based on what He wants for us. Whether he gives us exactly what we want done, it is His will alone, not ours.

– grace chong

read more… in Leaves of Grace

How did I feel? Amused. Relieved. Blessed.

Early that morning, I sent text messages to four of my prayer partners, asking them to pray for my talk. One texted back, “It will be excellent.”

They must have prayed so hard that the only way I could be excellent was to speak not.

Hours later, I was at the 62nd Palanca Awards Night, where 46 other winners—fellow nondescript literary writers whose names will never be on neon lights—milled about. Bud Gardner might have been right when he said, “When you speak, your words echo only across the room. But when you write, your words echo down the ages.”

– grace chong

read  more … in Leaves of Grace

Judging (or misjudging) people by their outward appearance is cross-cultural!

Today, I can morph from Mommy to Nanay quite easily, depending on my get-up. And although this labeling is a sad state of affairs, it is a hard fact of life.

I thank our gracious God for not judging me by how I look on the outside. He calls all those who believe in and follow him—youngster or oldie, a clothes horse or fashion victim, wrinkled or unlined—the same endearing tag, “My child.”

– grace chong

read more… in Leaves of Grace

On many Sundays, I’d sing anthems with the choir up in the balcony. At vespers, I’d help put up stage productions—one that comes to mind right now is dramatizing and reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s letters from prison.

Solemn and serene, this church was my haven of safety, a constant silent witness to my growing up—from a scared little girl to an adult whose moral fiber remained woven in the tapestry of God’s love.

– grace chong

read more… in Leaves of  Grace

Now it’s all a mystery to me why this idiom ever came about. Could it be the dog’s penchant for running and chasing fast moving objects—and cats are one of them? Maybe.

But from today, I will erase that idiom from my list. Both animals come into our homes and reward our lives with the warmth of grace and unconditional love.

– grace chong

read more… in Leaves of Grace

Sons are the sunshine—and God’s gift—on a cold, dark, and dreary day of steady rainfall. How can a mother complain?

grace chong

read more… in  Leaves of Grace

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