Strength to Strength - Day 3

Nobody escapes

being wounded.

We are all wounded

people, whether

physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not, 'How can we hide our wounds?' so we don't have to be embarassed, but

'How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?' When our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing, we

have become wounded healers.

- Henri Nouwen


"Surely he took up our pain

and bore our suffering,

yet we considered him punished

by God, stricken by him,

and afflicted. But he was pierced

for our transgressions, he was

crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought

us peace was on him,

AND BY HIS WOUNDS WE ARE HEALED"

Isaiah 53:4-5

For Good - Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth

[Elphaba:]

I'm limited.

Just look at me.

I'm limited.

And just look at you.

You can do all I couldn't do.

Glinda...

So now it's up to you,

For both of us.

Now it's up to you.


[Glinda:]

I've heard it said,

That people come into our lives for a reason

Bringing something we must learn.


And we are led to those

Who help us most to grow if we let them.

And we help them in return.


Well, I don't know if I believe that's true

But I know I'm who I am today

Because I knew you.


Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes the sun,

Like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the wood.


Who can say if I've been changed for the better

But because I knew you

I have been changed for good.


[Elphaba:]

It well may be

That we will never meet again in this lifetime.

So, let me say before we part:


So much of me

Is made of what I learned from you.

You'll be with me like a handprint on my heart.


And now whatever way our stories end

I know you have rewritten mine by being my friend.


Like a ship blown from its mooring by a wind off the sea.

Like a seed dropped by a sky bird in a distant wood.


Who can say if I've been changed for the better

But because I knew you...


[Glinda:]

Because I knew you...


[Both:]

I have been changed for good.


[Elphaba:]

And just to clear the air

I ask forgiveness

For the things I've done,

You blame me for.


[Glinda:]

But then I guess,

We know there's blame to share.


[Both:]

And none of it seems to matter anymore.


Like a comet pulled from orbit

(Like a ship blown from its mooring)

As it passes the sun.

(By a wind off the sea)

Like a stream that meets a boulder

(Like a seed dropped by a bird)

Halfway through the wood.

(In the wood)


Who can say if I've been changed for the better.

I do believe I have been changed for the better.


[Glinda:]

And because I knew you...


[Elphaba:]

Because I knew you...


[Both:]

Because I knew you

I have been changed...

For good.

From Strength to Strength Episode 4: Fruits of a Strong Life

When we think about it, you can tell a lot about a person not by what one says, but by what one does. A tree is known by its fruit, so to speak. For our last video, we take a look at the tell-tale signs of a truly strong life, and walk you through some practical steps so you can consistently exhibit these fruits in your own life.

This is an extended video for you to reflect on Episode 4: Fruits of a Strong Life

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Reflection by Pia Acevedo

Activator. Connectedness. Belief. Woo. Communication

My painful past, put me on a path of constantly searching for meaning - consciously or unconsciously I was anchored on a constant nudge from the Lord - life is too short, so focus on what matters Pia...

Early on in my life I had experienced the love of the Lord so intently and so intimately - spending time in front of the blessed sacrament during recess and/or lunch as young as grade 2 and grade 3. Looking back now, that was likely my subconscious mind's way of dealing with the buried trauma of my past (shared in yesterday's reflection). I sought out the intimate love and protection of the Lord in prayer at such a young age. I may have experienced being abandoned and abused by others, but I always knew that someone out there was protecting my heart and my soul and keeping me safe...

This deep intimacy with my God at such a young age, led me directly to take up philosophy and then after a masters in theological studies. Gifts of the Spirit led me to know him more deeply... faithfulness, joy, gentleness and peace naturally followed.

I was a philosophy major who went to a masters in Theology. When asked why philosophy… then why a masters in theology? I could only say: that if I ever had to learn about anything else in my life… I would like to learn more about my God.

I experienced these gifts exactly as they have been labeled... gifts... not for me to share but for me to humbly receive from my God. The greatest temptations have been to offer these gifts for others - not embracing nor allowing to be embraced by these gifts but to provide the fruits of these gifts in service of others...

As an Activator it has not been easy for me to be still and be loved by the Lord... but the experience of God's faithfulness, gentleness and the peace become clues to each new step I take in my life...

I got my first job teaching second year college theology at the Ateneo. But after 4 years, I felt called to share His faithfulness, gentleness peace and love to the corporate world and took a leap of faith...

What would a theologian have to contribute to the noise and chaos of the marketplace? I prayed and prayed... and in the year 2000 - stumbled upon a new profession called coaching, took my studies abroad that led me to strengths coaching 15 years later.

January 2015. The beginning of what would turn out to become one of the greatest adventures of my soul. I was to take a course in Singapore in completion of my certification as a coach - this course called the Accelerated Strengths Coaching Certification program would cost me almost half a million pesos (because of course fees, flights board and lodging). Despite the cost, I felt called to take the leap.

The Saturday before the first day of the ASCC, I hadn’t completed any of my pre-work, still hadn’t finalized my flight or hotel, I hadn’t even paid for the course! But the contact at Gallup assured me that I could still join the class. Looking back now, my Connectedness and Belief talents assured me that, despite the challenges it was meant to be. And when my Activator gets going, it really gets going…hahaha!!!

That week in January 2015 was to change my life forever. Spending almost half a million pesos for a 4.5 day certification course, I had never heard about strengths and what strengths was about. I got to the ASCC venue, sat down, saw my name on the table tent, opened my folder and for the first time read these odd sounding terms called, Activator, Connectedness, Belief, Woo, Communication… and said to myself – what is this??? Who is this??? I could not identify with any of the terms in my report. But 4 days after (yes it took me until the afternoon of day 4) to be convinced that what seemed gibberish to me in the beginning was actually magical, amazing, astonishing, interesting and I would even say… a sacredness that unfolded as I could see the value in each and every person discovering their own unique natural talents.

The weeks ahead were to go by quite fast. I flew back to Manila still on a high wondering what those 4.5 days meant to me… and how my Connectedness and Belief began to stir me to bringing this magical instrument to my country in order to transform the lives of my fellowmen. A seed was planted and the dream was formed… a dream for each and every Filipino (despite any economic challenges and struggles) to discover what their natural talents are. I imagined a world wherein our "kababayan" would live without any doubt. I imagined a Filipino proud to contribute wherever they would go, that each Filipino hold their head high – speak, collaborate, build relationships, contribute strategically without any hesitation whenever and wherever they would go.

Two weeks after, there was an ASCC alumni gathering in Singapore – and I felt a pull to fly back and meet with other ASCC strengths champions – it was on that same trip that I approached then head of region Chee Tung Leong, who to this day, is one of my closest friends of all time. We started a collaboration that validated the use of my natural talents. I trusted that the Lord led me to Singapore for a reason and I knew that I had the talents and strengths to get strengths moving in Manila. So, the case for bringing the ASCC to Manila was validated… I was to prove to Gallup head office that I could fill a class, I negotiated for a better rate for Manila and was given a discount of 50% off the ASCC course price in Singapore… it was given on condition that I could fill a class and generate interest on strengths. My Activator, Connectedness, Belief, Woo and Communication were up for the challenge. November 2015 came – Danny Lee and Saurav Atri flew in for Batch 1 and the rest is history…today there are over 270 coaches who have taken the ASCC in Manila and I am proud to say that we are family.

And this April 2020, we celebrate out joint mission through the first online strengths-based retreat.

Nothing happens by chance everything happens for a reason...

“Fruits of a Strong Life” - Guide Questions for Reflection

  1. If others will evaluate your life, how do you think will they describe it?

  2. On a scale of 1-10, how are you in terms of remaining and abiding in the Source of your strengths?

  3. How will you use your strengths in order to exhibit the Fruits of the Spirit?

  4. After reading the scripture passages related to your Top 5 Themes, how is your Maker speaking to your strengths? Spend some time in silence soaking in His Word and listening for His affirmations on your strengths.

Join in the final prayer at the end of the video. Invite the Lord into your heart and life. He will enable you to live a truly fruitful and strong life.

Before you begin again...

We are called. Our God who invites us to draw strength from Him, is also our God who sends us back to be His strength for others.

As we grow in deeper awareness and consciousness of our own uniqueness and giftedness, created in His image and likeness, we get to know more the generosity of our loving and compassionate God. The genuine sense of this blessedness leads us to grow in gratitude, and a growing desire to share these gifts to others. As we turn our gaze to those around us, a pure heart cleansed by the encounter of the Real, begins to recognize the uniqueness and giftedness of others, that they too, are created in His image and likeness.

Perhaps a genuine sense of the call may be recognized through the nature of the One who calls - it comes from a place of generosity and compassion. A call for a loving exchange of gifts.