Everyone I knew was scrambling to get out Manila and be in the beach for Labor Day. For some big reason – the place most talked about was Boracay. I just imagined how crazy it must have been to be in Boracay, shoulder to shoulder with thousands of people and the parties never stopped at night.

Five years ago, we already did our own LaBoracay. It was not as noisy as it was today… but it was very special. We flew in quietly without telling a soul that we were going down to the Island to do our civil wedding. John proposed that December and we were preparing for our Beach wedding in July… but we felt moved and God impressed in our hearts to do a quiet ceremony to seal our union with the Lord. With just a minister, 2 witnesses, John and me – we made our vows to the Lord in a quiet spot of the Island and got married. There were no loud parties, no fireworks. What I got was even better a celebration with approval from heaven.

Now after 5 years… I still treasure in my heart that special day. I look back to the verse that God had spoken to me when Jong proposed to me that December. It was God’s way of telling me that He is faithful to fulfill his promises. He also showed me that no matter how messed up Ive made my life, He could still turn it around and make it a masterpiece.

Don’t be afraid—you’re not going to be embarrassed. Don’t hold back—you’re not going to come up short.You’ll forget all about the humiliations of your youth, and the indignities of being a widow will fade from memory.

For your Maker is your bridegroom, his name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!

Your Redeemer is The Holy of Israel, known as God of the whole earth.

You were like an abandoned wife, devastated with grief, and God welcomed you back, Like a woman married young and then left,” says your God.

Isaiah 54:4-6

This year because of unavoidable circumstances, John and I could not celebrate it together. But Jong instead offered a better gift – words of encouragement that were doing the right thing and that is having Jesus in our relationship. Here is what my husband wrote:

Met you 14 years ago… 5 years ago on this day we did our civil wedding in Boracay. Life has been a roller coaster ride. You found me at my worst, but you brought out the best in me. It’s amazing when you have Jesus in the center of your relationship. Happy anniversary Monique Lopez Ong. I love you! Looking forward to a lifetime of memories.