“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” ~ Proverbs 16:9 NIV
Jude Agbayani grew up in the 80’s and spent most of her high school life reading pocketbooks. She would spend hours reading Sweet Dreams love stories and imagined that one day her Prince Charming would sweep her off her feet. She was a hopeless romantic. And that desire to be loved and cared for continued until she graduated from college. She was always in search for that One True Love.
She was exposed to Bible studies because of her mother. Weekly Bible studies were held at their home but she did not pay much attention to the teachings. She knew what the Bible teacher was sharing but it never really sank in her heart. Jude only knew about God but never had that intimate relationship with Him.
As she got older, that feeling to be loved was still there. She felt empty. She believed that the answer to this void in her heart was having a partner in life. What she didn’t realize was that even marrying her husband would still leave her wanting for that One True Love. Until she encountered Jesus in a Bible study in 2003. Finally, it all made sense to her. She realized that she doesn’t need a man to complete her. She needed Jesus, the One True Love, to fill that emptiness in her.
Despite having that personal relationship with Jesus, Jude still struggled with letting go and allowing God to take full control of her life. She made decisions based on her feelings and neglected prayer times. It was easy to go with what is practical, sensible, or what the world would dictate.
BUT AS CHRISTIANS, WE ARE CALLED TO A HIGHER STANDARD. SURRENDERING TO GOD ACTUALLY, MAKES LIFE LESS COMPLICATED.
As she continued to grow in her faith, Jude learned to pray and wait for the Lord in the decisions she has to make. She also consulted with her husband in decision making and submitted to his authority as the God-appointed head of the family. It is when she obeyed and trusted God that things fell into place.
Her daily schedule may be busy—she homeschools her kids, maintains Inspirited Mom, her blog, and handles their small family business —but Jude has committed herself to begin each day with a prayer and Bible meditation. She also has an all women and couples’ discipleship group in CCF which serves as her accountability/mentoring group. Jude is also part of Pursuit Manila—a Christian community for creative entrepreneurs. She has expanded her network to help her continually grow in her faith in God, her wisdom and skill as a wife and mother, and her knowledge about business.
Before her small family business, Pickings began, Jude started making cream-cheese based spreads or dips. Her friends approved of her spreads and asked if they could buy from her. Soon, she and her husband started experimenting on other flavors, and tried their hands on jam making. Their Green Mango Jam was an instant hit that she had bulk orders during the holidays.
Pickings is a home-based business that provides an alternative to the regular Pinoy “palaman” or bread filling. Their bestsellers include Garlic and Cheese spread, Tinapa Spread, Tomato Jam, and Mango Jam. They also have Oatmeal Cookies, Red Velvet Choco Chip Cookies, which my kids love, and the super moist Banana Muffin and Carrot Muffin.
For Jude, success in whatever venture cannot be measured with the number of likes, clients, or money in her bank account. She believes that success is fulfilling what the Lord has purposed for us to do. Her biggest lesson in being an entrepreneur is to be dedicated in her business and to work hard. It also matters greatly that she loves what she is doing because it does not feel like work at all.
This once insecure lady has grown into a woman of purpose. This is why her favorite verse is Proverbs 16:9, “In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” She believes that even if we make the best plans or envision a life for our family, the Lord’s purpose will still prevail in the end.
And because she has decided in her heart to trust and obey God in everything, this is exactly what the Lord did—He established her steps.
MS. TM SAYS:
Jude was my batchmate in high school. Honestly, we were not friends and barely talked to each other back then. I saw her as one of the brainy girls in our batch while I was part of the gorgeous “pasaway” group hahaha!
In 2010, Jude and I both served in the organizing committee for our high school batch reunion. I was at the lowest point of my life then. I clearly remember that day—we were seated in an area in Alabang Town Center with our other batchmates Ria and Leila—when I suddenly asked Jude, “What is forgiveness?” “How can I forgive?” I was actually surprised why I asked that. Maybe because I perceived Jude as one of those “Alleluia! Alleluia Praise the Lord!” people. Yet, God used that moment for me to start my journey in knowing God.
Today, Jude is walking with me in my faith journey. She was the one who invited me to attend to BSF, a women’s bible study group, retreats and other activities at Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF) in Alabang. She never failed to follow up on me.
I am thankful that Jude allowed God to use her to accomplish His plans for me. She was a genuine friend and she inspires me in so many ways. Since the time God brought us close to each other, I continuously grew and learned with her and from her.
When I needed a hug, someone to talk to, or a crying shoulder, Jude would always there. She made herself available to minister to me. She did not only cry with me but she also laughed with me as well. We laughed even when we don’t know what we’re laughing about—yes, sometimes we are silly like that hahaha!
She helped me understand that all of us get weak and she demonstrated to me how God strengthens us in our times of weakness. She taught me how to persevere in prayer, depend only on God, and put my full trust in God. And because of this, my life is continuously being transformed by the grace of God.
Dear God, thank you because you are the one who establishes my steps. Forgive me for the times that I have followed my own will instead of Yours. Help me to fully surrender to you all the aspects of my life. Remind me always that if you are not Lord of all that is in my life, You are not Lord at all. Let me yield to You and your holy Word alone. This I pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.