“Thankful” by Jill Duco-Miller

This is a note that my sister, Jill, wrote just recently. I wish to share it with you, as it talks about the brevity of life, reality, having a grateful heart, and the importance of living according to God’s purpose. I hope it moves your heart, like how it moved mine.

To my dear sister, we love you so much. I’m so glad that you are all well. Everyday, I thank the Lord for His faithfulness and the love He pours out to our family. Indeed, all praises belong to Him and Him alone!

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“On the morning of April 2, I was reading on a family life devotional and it said ‘…we should speak our words of love and gratitude to family members when they are alive. No regrets.’ It also reminded me of the verse Romans 13:8 – ‘Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another.’

A few hours after that at around 1:05PM, I had a car accident. I praise the Lord for His protection and just overwhelmed by His goodness. Soon after I got hit, my car got dragged to the side of the feeder where I could have hit a fire hydrant, a post, or a tree. But God protected me and the other driver from that. No one was hurt and I have been pain-free since the accident.

Despite the circumstance, I know that I can trust in God’s plan and hold on to His Truth. I thank Him that He has kept me and the other driver safe, and that He has blessed me with a loving family and husband. That evening Edwin took me to Chick-Fil-A for what he called our “Thank YOU dinner” (that God kept me safe).

Psalm 16:11 has been encouraging – ‘You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.’
I don’t know what will happen to me today, but I know that I have an all-knowing and all-powerful God whom I can trust. And to Him, I am very,very thankful!”

Written by Jill Duco-Miller

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Mentored people mentor. Discipled people disciple.

This afternoon, I got to spend quality time with my mentor (or discipler) at a coffee shop in Alabang. His name’s Allan Santos, our youth and young professionals pastor at Greenhills Christian Fellowship South Metro. It was only until this September that we started meeting in a “discipleship/mentoring” setting. I have had two other mentors in the past, namely, BJ Villanueva and Don Guico. They, too, are faithful pastors. Let me clarify at this point that it was not my intention at all to look for pastors as my mentors. (Haha!) They’re God’s blessings to my life, and forever will I be grateful for these men.

I am not writing to lead you to a conclusion that I will be a pastor in the future. (Though, like I’d always say, I’m quite open to that if God wills it to happen.) I’m neither writing to narrate their faith stories, for that may take countless hours to formulate. But my desire’s to impart my joy of having a solid few to stand with me, be it in my “Golden Age” or in my darkest hour.

In having such people, I learned what transparency, accountability, and what disciple-making meant. The guys I mentioned above (plus, my other friends who have influenced me in the most profound ways) are like living epistles unfolding before my very eyes. The written Word of God becomes more real, alive when you see people take their faith into action. And, I am overwhelmed by the presence of these inspiring faith-walkers.

(I literally got goosebumps as I wrote that part. I simply am amazed by God’s work!)

Now, forgive me for suddenly taking my writing’s intensity a notch higher, but I want you to face these two facts of life.

Point A: It’s easy to brag about what we have achieved, what we own, and everything else that’s positive.

Yet, Point B: It was never easy to expose our brokenness and our rottenness.

Would you agree?

But, you see, my mentors took the extra mile to hear me out… as I am. They embraced my life’s points A and B. They were never perfect people (nor they will ever be), but they stood firmly with me no matter what. These guys prayed hard. They likewise counseled… listened… rebuked… rejoiced… provided… affirmed… challenged… laughed…. pushed…celebrated… pushed some more… corrected… and loved me regardless who I am. Regardless who I was. It did not stop there, however.

They loved me too much they just could not leave me stagnant in my life-faith journey. They helped me correct my failures and encouraged me to leverage on my strengths. Above all, my mentors intentionally pointed me back to the Cross whatever the circumstances at hand be.

Call me “cheesy.” But, truth is, I never meant to sugar-coat all these stuff. Again, I’m just here to honestly impart my joy through writing.

In one of Bill Hybels’ books, I remember him sharing that people hardly change (for the better) because of living unexamined lives. I believe that’s true. And, I believe we need mentors who can help us in the processes of examination and of being transformed in conformity to the likeness of our Maker.

I thank the Lord for I have a mentor now. In fact, my heart’s desire is that I would always have one even if I’m way beyond the retirement age. And at present, I am also mentoring a chosen few whom I pray would do the same for others. (In fact, by the Lord’s grace, some of them already are mentoring/discipling other people!)

So, let me ask you just a few more questions and throw in a couple of challenges before I end. Have you been praying for a person to mentor/disciple you? Or, have you been praying for somebody that you could be so honest with? If none, then I urge you to pray and seek one.

For those currently being mentored, I challenge you to step out in faith and begin making disciples. Seek the Lord’s direction and boldly live out His Great Commission. Maybe it’s time to pass the baton.

To be a disciple (mentee) and a disciple-maker (mentor) must be two of the most important decisions I made in my life. Never will I regret these decisions; and eternally will they remain my joy.