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Scribblory Writers Library

Your virtual library of true stories has come to this site!

Scribblory Writers Library shelters short true-to-life stories written by the memoirists of Scribblory Writers Group. This virtual library started in 2020, at the outset of COVID-19 pandemic. While the world was losing many lives, we held our pens and preserved life stories.

Are the write-ups here too few to quell the thirst of the reader in you? Head out to our old site and read some more.

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Image by Aaron Burden

Fasting and Prayer: A Journey Towards Spiritual Growth

Written by  Alfred Pagunsan Gadayan

April 13, 2024

As a spiritual being, my journey towards fostering a deeper relationship with God has been marked by two significant practices: fasting and prayer. These two practices have not only served as a means of communication with the divine but have also played a pivotal role in enhancing my faith and spiritual growth.

 

Fasting, in its simplest form, is the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. It is a personal act of erasing the focus from the physical world and consciously shifting it towards the spiritual realm. Every time I fast, I am reminded of the transient nature of physical needs and desires. By denying myself the satisfaction of these earthly needs, I find myself more attuned to my spiritual needs, thus creating a space for divine connection.

 

Moreover, fasting has always been a humbling experience for me. It serves as a reminder of the less fortunate ones who might be involuntarily fasting due to a lack of resources. This realization brings a sense of gratitude and empathy in me, making me appreciate the blessings I have, and also encourages me to help those in need.

 

On the other hand, prayer is a spiritual practice that allows me to communicate directly with God. It is a sacred dialogue where I express my gratitude, seek guidance, ask for forgiveness, and pour out my deepest fears and hopes. Prayer is not merely a monologue but a conversation where I also take the time to listen to God's whispers within my heart.

Through prayer, I have learned to surrender my worries and anxieties, entrusting them to a higher power. This act of surrender has brought an immense sense of peace and comfort to my life. It has taught me to be patient, to trust in God's timing, and to believe in the divine plan even when things seem uncertain.

 

Both fasting and prayer have significantly contributed to my spiritual growth. They have helped me develop a sense of discipline, humility, and gratitude. They have made me more compassionate and understanding, and most importantly, deepened my relationship with God.

 

In conclusion, fasting and prayer are not mere religious rituals but powerful spiritual tools that have guided me in my journey of faith. They have helped me understand the essence of being human, the importance of spiritual nourishment, and the profound love and grace of God. I believe that anyone seeking a deeper connection with the divine can significantly benefit from these practices, as they provide a pathway to spiritual growth and a deeper understanding of oneself and God.

 

So, as you embark on your spiritual journey, may you find solace in the practice of fasting and prayer. May they guide you, nourish you, and lead you towards a deeper connection with the divine. And most importantly, may they help you grow in faith and love, for that is the ultimate purpose of our existence.

Image by Alicia Quan

Five Lessons of the Cross: A Holy Week Reflection

Written by  Neng Turingan Madlansacay

April 3, 2024

You prayed for healing, but it did not happen. 

 

You prayed for breakthroughs but met closed doors. 

 

Your heart gets broken repeatedly when all you’re praying for is someone to share your life with. Nothing seems to go right in your life, and you can't help but ask: Does God still care about me? Does He even see me? Why isn't He answering my prayers?

 

For a long while, I carried those thoughts. And even as I knelt in the confessional at church on Good Friday, I uttered the same frustration to the priest. Not only of my sole situation but of my family and the people I care for.

 

While I was praying the Stations of the Cross together with my husband and eight-year-old daughter, some things struck me and led me to reflect on the cross:

 

1. The cross of suffering reveals the true condition of our hearts and the merciful heart of God.

 

God is God with or without us, but we can never exist without God—and this is what we often forget. When things go well, we think it is our doing; but when we are tested with affliction, we feel punished or abandoned. We come to God in many ways. We approach Him impatiently asking, “What's taking Him so long to answer my prayers?” We challenge Him to believe Him. We bargain with Him. We beg Him out of fear. 

 

Our hearts can be so proud and too entitled that it limits our relationship with the Lord to being transactional instead of relational. We come to Him only when we need something. The sad part is that there is little desire on our end to know Him as who He truly is, but only turning to Him for what He can give or what we can get. 

 

God aches for us. He wants to reveal Himself to us in a personal way. Like in any relationship, when we get too fixated on what we can take from the person instead of knowing the person, it hurts the relationship and hinders its growth. God longs to share His great plans for us, and throughout history, it appears that the wilderness of suffering and uncertainty is God's way of drawing our attention to Him.

 

I've learned from Faith Eury Cho that when God brings us into the mystery of suffering, He invites us to dive deeper with Him and experience the vastness of His grace. The depths and silence are the realm of God, but it's where we dare not go because we can't bear silence just as we're too scared of the deep. It takes a whole-hearted, child-like trust to enter that door. And just like a child, we can extend our hands to God and let Him hold us tenderly.

 

2. We are not meant to carry our cross alone, but we are to help carry each other's burden. 

 

We live in a broken world which is why suffering of every kind exists. However, our desire to make sense of it, or find a logical reason for these sufferings, adds more dismay to our lives. However, suffering is something that we need to embrace as part of our reality more than it is to be understood. As John 16:33 clearly says, "In this world, you will have trouble." We are commanded to take up our cross (Matthew 16:24), but we are also instructed to help carry each other's burden (Galatians 6:2). 

 

Even Jesus' cross became too heavy for Him to carry. He must have very little strength left, not to mention in great pain after all the beatings and His first fall that the soldiers had to ask Simon of Cyrene to help Him carry the cross. At some point, our load will be too much for us, and it's okay to accept help as much as we are encouraged to offer help even if we have our own to carry. 

 

Sometimes we are unsure how to help, but standing by the person's side, staying with them, and journeying with them even in silence would mean a lot to let them know they are not alone.

 

3. The cross is proof that God understands us and can identify what we're going through.

 

In our distress, it's easy to conclude that the Lord does not understand our pain, but Jesus knew our pain more than anyone else. He was described as a Man of sorrow and acquainted with grief. He had nowhere to lay his head. He was rejected. He bore insults and humiliation. He was accused of wrongdoing. He got angry in the marketplace. He wept when His best friend, Lazarus, died. He was tempted in every way. He was moved with pity when He saw the crowd like sheep without a shepherd. He was betrayed and denied by His disciples. He experienced deep anguish and sweat drops of blood while praying in the garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion. He felt too weak to carry His cross. And just like you and me, He knew what it was like to call out in prayer and only have silence in return. He, too, felt abandoned by God at the cross. Jesus lived every bit of our humanity. The only difference is that Jesus fully trusted His Heavenly Father which we find difficult to do. 

4. The cross is the ultimate pursuit of love for humankind.

 

The cross is the greatest love story ever told, and the greatest truth there shall be. Sin is so great that communion with God is impossible, and we are bound for eternal separation from Him who is all good. But God loves us so much that He withheld nothing back. The sacrifice of the cross, only by the precious blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, now seals our future being reunited with God. If Jesus didn't care at all, He would not have gone through this whole dying on the cross, and we could all go straight to hell. However, the will of the Lord is for every man to be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-4). 

 

God gave us the free will to make choices. We can choose to turn our back on Him over and over, but His stubborn, persistent love will pursue us wherever we go. He is not the one to give up on us, such is the depth of His love for us. To Jesus, you and I are worth giving up His life so we can spend eternity with Him in heaven. 

 

However, we get so caught up in our pain, cling to our loneliness, hold onto our anger, and dwell in despair. Instead of shutting Him out, why don't we try to open our hearts, let God in, and allow Him to sit with us, comfort us, and love us in all these? 

 

5. The cross is not the end. It is the starting point of grace.

 

Jesus died. It seemed like a dead end. Darkness was everywhere, and for a moment, hope was gone. What now? 

 

Death is not God's doing but a natural consequence of sin. God did not make death, and He does not delight in the death of the living for He created all things so that they might exist (Wisdom 1:13). God wants us to exist. He desires that we may have life and have it to the full. But the thief comes to steal (our joy), kill (our hope), and destroy (our relationship with God) as per John 10:10. And the enemy does this skillfully by planting doubt into our hearts and lies into our minds. 

 

The enemy would do everything to convince us to think that God is not on our side, that our situation is never going to change, to question His very nature, to keep us as far apart from Him, and to be void of hope. That's when we find ourselves covered in immense darkness like Jesus on Good Friday, grappling with uncertainty and fear like the disciples on Black Saturday.

 

However, we can take heart because to God even the darkness is not dark, and the night is as bright as the day (Psalm 139:12). His light can break into your life like the dawn of Easter Sunday.

 

I love how Sr. Mary Grace S.V. put it into words in her talk Jesus Wants to Save You from Your Sins: "The darkest place in your life right now is the destination of His resurrection."

 

Don't be afraid to turn to Jesus nor be ashamed to seek His face for there is no condemnation in Christ. If any, you will be met with love and rejoicing. Jesus is our hope resurrected.

 

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He left a promise that reassures us of His presence, "I am with you always, to the end of the age.” He did not guarantee His presence for a day, a month, a year, or when things are going well...but always—even in our suffering, our waiting, and our wandering. God is with us.

 

#HappyEaster to all! 🙏

Image by Jordan Wozniak

easter sunday special: Remembering Our Maker

Written by Alfred Pagunsan Gadayan

March 31, 2024

The frequency with which people remember their Maker varies greatly depending on individual beliefs, experiences, and circumstances. Some people may remember their Maker every day, while others may only remember them on special occasions or when they are going through difficult times. There is no right or wrong answer to this question, as it is a personal matter.

 

Many people find that they remember their Maker more often when they are actively practicing their faith. This may involve attending religious services, praying, reading religious texts, or meditating. 

 

Additionally, people may find that they remember their Maker more often when they are experiencing gratitude, joy, or love. These positive emotions can naturally lead people to reflect on the source of these feelings and to express appreciation to their Maker.

 

Ultimately, the frequency with which people remember their Maker is a personal matter that is influenced by a variety of factors. There is no right or wrong answer, and what is important is that people find a way to connect with their Maker in a way that is meaningful to them.

Image by Artem Kovalev

Holy Week Special Story: A Story about the Blessed Immaculate Conception

Written by Alfred Pagunsan Gadayan

March 28, 2024

In the calm stillness of a Galilean village, a child named Anna dreamt dreams of celestial light. Visions unfolded before her each night, swirling with colors she could barely name. In these dreams, a radiant woman, cloaked in purity and grace, smiled upon her with eyes filled with love and wisdom.

 

Anna, filled with awe and wonder, confided in her parents, simple folk who toiled the land. Though they listened patiently, they dismissed it as a child's fanciful imagination. Yet, the dreams persisted, becoming clearer, and more profound.

 

One day, while tending her sheep, Anna's vision intensified. The woman, bathed in a celestial aura, spoke in a voice that resonated with the very air, "Anna, I am Immaculata, conceived without sin. I am a vessel of pure grace, chosen to bear the Son of God."

 

Anna, trembling with fear and overwhelming belief, could only nod. Immaculata continued, "You, dear child, have a role to play in this divine plan. Go to the Elders, tell them of my message. Tell them that the time has come for the world to prepare for the coming of the Savior."

 

Anna, though filled with doubt, knew she could not ignore the call. With a heart pounding against her ribs, she went to the Elders, recounting her visions. Laughter and disbelief met her words. "A child's fancy!" they scoffed.

 

But Anna, fortified by her faith, refused to be silenced. Night after night, she returned, her voice growing stronger, her words carrying the conviction of truth. Slowly, like seeds of doubt sown in fertile soil, the Elders began to question their assumptions.

One day, a tremor shook the earth, a celestial light bathed the village in awe, and a dove descended from the heavens, its wings casting a protective shadow over Anna. The Elders, humbled by this divine intervention, finally recognized the truth in her words.

 

News of the vision spread like wildfire across the land. People flocked from far and wide, yearning to hear the message of hope and redemption. Anna, the once-scorned child, became a beacon of faith, her voice echoing the words of Immaculata.

 

Years passed, and the day of the Immaculate Conception arrived. A hush fell over the village as the villagers gathered, hearts brimming with anticipation. Then, in a burst of celestial light, Immaculata descended, her radiant presence filling the air.

 

Anna, tears streaming down her face, fell to her knees. Immaculata, with a gentle smile, placed a hand on her head, "Your faith has paved the way, dear child. You have prepared the world for the coming of my son, the Lamb of God."

 

From that day on, Anna became known as the 'Herald of the Immaculate Conception.' Her story is forever etched in the annals of faith. And so, the belief in the sinless conception of the Virgin Mary, a testament to divine grace and human faith, became a cornerstone of the religion that would change the course of history.

Image by Marc-Olivier Jodoin

Where Is God in My Life?

Written by Alfred Pagunsan Gadayan

January 1, 2024

The question of where God is in our lives is a profound and complex one that has been pondered by philosophers and theologians for centuries. There is no easy answer, as each individual's experience of God is unique. However, there are some general principles that can help us to find God in our lives.

 

God is present in the ordinary.

 

One of the most important things to remember is that God is not just present in the extraordinary moments of our lives, such as times of great joy or deep sorrow. He is also present in the ordinary moments—the everyday routines that make up our lives. We can find God in the beauty of nature, in the kindness of strangers, and in the love of our family and friends.

 

God is present in our relationships.

 

Another way to find God in our lives is through our relationships with others. God is present in the love we share with our family and friends, in the compassion we show to those in need, and in the forgiveness we extend to those who have hurt us.

 

God is present in our struggles.

 

Even in the midst of our struggles, God is present. He is there to comfort us in our pain, to give us strength when we feel weak, and to guide us through the darkness.

God is present in our choices.

 

God is also present in our choices. He gives us the freedom to choose our own path, but He also guides us and directs us towards what is best for us.

How to find God in our lives?

 

Here are a few things we can do to find God in our lives:

 

Pray regularly. Prayer is a way to talk to God and to listen to His voice.

 

Read the Bible. The Bible is God's Word to us, and it can help us to understand His character and His will for our lives.

 

Attend church or other religious services. This is a way to connect with other people who are seeking God.

 

Serve others. This is a way to put our faith into action and to show God's love to the world. 

 

It is important to remember that finding God is a journey, not a destination. There will be times when we feel close to God, and there will be times when we feel distant from Him. But no matter where we are on our journey, God is always there with us.

Sunrise

Finding and Living Your Life Purpose

Written by Abide Julie

August 13, 2020

I am all over the place, a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. At a loss, I remain a wanderer.

Pur·pose. (n) the reason for which something is created, or for which something exists.

To some fortunate souls, finding their path and purpose early on is a breeze. However, to most people, finding their purpose seems forever to realize. If you are one of those, fret not: you are not alone.

Let me briefly share my story.

I grew up to be an indecisive person, relatively without much sense of direction. I was more like a leaf blown here and there by the wind, tossed back and forth by the waves. Not exactly knowing what to do, let alone what I wanted to do with my life, I was all ears to every available advice there was, even the unsolicited. It subconsciously became my compass to somehow help me “navigate” my life, or so I thought.

After I graduated from college, I explored every type of job I could think of. I enlisted in the Reserve Officer Military Training of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), tried out medical transcription, practiced medical technology, became a research and admin assistant, worked in a call center, braved sales, and the list goes on. I was anticipating that somewhere along the way I’ll find my rightful place, but things did not go as I hoped they would.

Believe me, starting all over again and again and ending up nowhere near where you ought to be or to where you at least hope you should be can be very frustrating and exhausting. It could drive you to a point where you would rather abandon the pursuit and dump the whole idea of it.

To make matters worse, as if the universe is giving you a slap in the face, you see people–friends, family, strangers–who have found their niche, who blossom in their chosen field. Their faces beam with pride and joy. You simply can’t help but sigh in exasperation and ask: will I ever find mine?

As for me, the best I can get out of asking such unsettling questions is the challenge that it poses to continuously evaluate myself, hoping for some sort of epiphany.

Fast forward, my life went on while I painstakingly waited for a divine revelation. I resigned from my job, got married, became a housewife, engaged in organizing events with my husband, traveled outside the country, got pregnant, wrote random reflections in between, and at present, a full-time mom to an amazing baby girl.


So, did I find my purpose? I will get to that.


When I was still single, I was chasing career advancement. When I got married I decided to drop everything and be a housewife instead, and eventually a mother. To be honest, there were times when I questioned myself if that was all there was to my life, a stay-at-home wife and mother. Do I actually miss the career that I left behind, or just the lucrative side of it? I looked into my new life and saw how different it is from my old life. No makeup on, no fancy clothes, no rushing off the hallway for an important meeting, etc. Every day I wake up, make sure there’s food to eat, clothes to wear, the house well-kept (this is subjective by the way), and so on. It is a very humble life, and for a while, I felt it to be somewhat belittling, but I was absolutely wrong. 


At the end of each day, before I go to sleep, when I see my baby sound asleep, healthy, happy, and safe it makes me feel good about myself. When I get to cook for my husband, and attend to his needs be it as simple as a scratch on the back, a quick face massage, or waiting for him till the wee hours of the morning, I feel like I’m really doing an awesome job, and it makes me feel proud. What I thought to be “a seemingly menial job” is giving me a deeper sense of satisfaction, a certain meaning to my existence, and a lasting joy in my heart. I realized I needed to change the way I think. The Bible says:


Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Romans 12:2 Living Bible (TLB)


I got so used to how the world looks shallowly at things that I fail to see the true value of who I am. I am not just a wife and a mother, I am a homemaker who, in the real essence of the word, not just manages a home but builds one. So hats off to all the homemakers out there! You rock!


If at this point in your life, you feel like you reached a dead-end, though easier said than done, breathe and look ahead.


If it will give you some ease, know that your path or your purpose is not a fixed destination. It is constantly evolving, beautifully unfolding, and unimaginably fulfilling. You just have to open your eyes to see it, your heart to welcome it, and your arms to embrace it.

 

A line in J.R.R. Tolkien’s poem, All That is Gold Does Not Glitter, holds true in my life. It reads, “Not all those who wander are lost.” I figured out that the chaos and confusion in my head had led me to wander off and caused me to disassociate myself; but I was not, in essence, lost, rather I was in search of truth and discernment. Though I seem to have wandered for eternity, it was not in vain. I was lost and now I’m found.
 

I have learned that as tangled as our life could get, with all the second-guessing and messing up we did, there is always a saving grace being sent our way-someone or something that will help you get through life, one that will keep you sane, one that will make you feel safe, and one that will always remind you of home. To me, it is writing.


Writing is my imaginary friend, my first love, my steady companion, my voice when I’m too timid or afraid to speak up, my secret sanctuary, my piece of contribution to the world, my forgotten path and unrealized purpose.


Emily Dickinson once wrote, “If I can help one fainting robin unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.”


To live one’s purpose is to have that conviction knowing deep down that what you do creates a constructive impact on the world, a positive ripple effect that transcends time and space, making our world a more bearable place even in your own little way.


If my writing ignites a glimmer of hope, brings new understanding, a timely message, a word of affirmation, or just a much-needed comfort or encouragement to the one reading it, I, too, like Emily Dickinson, can say I shall not live in vain. I will have lived my purpose. You see, your life purpose is never too small to be treated as insignificant, no matter how trivial it presents itself to you.


Now epiphany is coming to me like the dawning of day, like raindrops pouring from heaven, both refreshing and reassuring, and it continues to manifest as I am writing this.


Know that your life purpose is God-ordained. It lies in the gifts He has given you. Don’t waste it. It’s about time to do some serious digging. Look for your strengths, acknowledge it, start to harness them, and put it to good use.


God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, then prophesy whenever you can—as often as your faith is strong enough to receive a message from God. If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching. If you are a preacher, see to it that your sermons are strong and helpful. If God has given you money, be generous in helping others with it. If God has given you administrative ability and put you in charge of the work of others, take the responsibility seriously. Those who offer comfort to the sorrowing should do so with Christian cheer. Romans 12:6-9 Living Bible (TLB)


Ask God about it in prayer. Since God has purposed us to come into existence, He knows exactly where to lead us so we can live a meaningful life, which is His utmost pleasure. That is why we need to pray to Him at all times, never tiring but always expecting.


And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a voice behind you say, “No, this is the way; walk here.” Isaiah 30:21 Living Bible (TLB)


If need be, go back to your first love. I know not only of one person but a lot, who once set aside their first love and engaged in something else. After so many years, they felt an unusual longing inside them which made them pursue their first love once more and there they found their purpose. If you see yourself in the same situation, don’t hesitate. Go ahead. Go back to that one thing that brought sparks in your eyes, that made your heart skip and sing giddy up, that made you want to dance without a beat, that brought butterflies in your stomach, that painted you rainbow on your rainy days, that made you scream “Yes!!!” and made you feel there is nothing you cannot do. Sometimes all you need is to be reminded of how good it feels to be alive.


Stay faithful to your purpose. It is never meant to be easy to begin with. There is no other way but to persevere.


Lastly, to live your life purpose is to find joy in what you do. That is God’s will for you. It doesn’t matter whether you are a housekeeper, a homemaker, a house husband, or whatever it is that you do, nothing to be ashamed as long as long as you find joy in doing it and it gives you pride in your work, you are, without a doubt, where God wants you to be.


To enjoy your work and to accept your lot in life—that is indeed a gift from God. The person who does that will not need to look back with sorrow on his past, for God gives him joy. Ecclesiastes 5:20 Living Bible (TLB)


Seeking one’s purpose or finding one’s path is a road less traveled, at the very least, it is a bittersweet ordeal. It’s a big, bold move, and can be very intimidating simply because it requires courage, honesty, sincerity, and humility, not to mention the great deal of patience and persistence you have to master over time. It is not a shallow act but a daunting task that demands your all. It is not for the spineless or the idle ones. However, for those who are determined to chase it, the reward that awaits them is a richer and fuller life.

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