December 29, 2005

why i will name my future daughter after a nonliving bad girl!

why i will name my future daughter after Emma Frost, and not after Jean nor Rachel Grey

Background: for the comics illiterate =)

Jean Grey – “the heart of the X-Men”; the one with utmost compassion, often their spokesperson, has more than once sacrificed her very life for her teammates and for Prof. Charles Xavier’s dream of peaceful coexistence between humans and mutants. MY favorite character, i consciously and unconsciously followed in her footsteps; yet in my self-righteous judgmental state (which incidentally are also her weaknesses), i did not know that i was actually becoming an Emma Frost.

Emma Frost – a formidable enemy of the X-Men until the 1990s, where after the death of some of her dear students (?) she was recruited by Xavier to teach the new generation of mutants. Though the circumstances were awkward to say the least, it wasn’t until her transfer to the X-Mansion (the team’s main headquarters) that sparks really flew – between her and Jean’s husband, Scott Summers, and as a result, between her and Jean. With Jean’s death, her position is now fixed in Scott’s heart, and beside him as co-headmaster of the Xavier Institute. After realizing my sinfulness and powerlessness to do right even if i wanted to (which interestingly came about through refraining from X-Men comics and websites for a few months – during the Phoenix Endsong limited series run, no less!). i now have a deep fondness for Emma; in fact my only wish for the comics is to see Emma repent and made new, as I have. Although, this transformed life is only possible ith God’s unfailing love and grace, which against the odds i’m hoping will be shown in the comic books. =)

Rachel Grey – the daughter of Scott Summers and Jean Grey in an alternate reality, she was so glad when this ‘reality’’s counterparts of her parents got married as well. However, soon she had to disappear, making the ultimate sacrifice not unlike her ‘mother’, for the sake of a friend. Curiously reappearing soon after Jean’s recent death, she openly showed her resentment towards Scott and Emma, and took on her mother’s first codename, first costume, and significantly, even Jean’s maiden name. Rachel’s fans say she’s much more than simply “the daughter of so-and-so”. True, but having been an avid fan of Scott and Jean’s love story for so long (i am so embarrassed now upon typing this, hehehe…), Ray oftentimes was my voice, what i myself would say if i was face-to-face with my favorite characters. Back then i would say, “They should be together,” Period. Now Ray and i are both growing in understanding: learning to accept that people change, that goodbyes are sometimes the best option (or, the lesser evil), that anyone, even the most outwardly annoying, despicable person (that would be Emma in this story) has a heart and good intentions and is often just misunderstood, like you and me and everyone else.

Now regarding my very long title --- actually i don’t plan on naming my future daughter after the most outwardly annoying, despicable person in the X-Men (again, that’s Emma). But i really really want to see Emma find grace, find salvation, just as i have. The one who previously was just “the irritating character” for me, is now the only one i want to give a hug. She really, badly needs it.

A very dear friend of mine had a Friendster testimonial for me, saying i (was) one of the most misunderstood people she knew. Just like Em! And Em went out of her way to be nice to Rachel (who understandably was acting like a bratty baby), and even extend a gracious hand after defeating Ray in a telepathic fight, and teach her a few tricks.

But what really touched me was during Christmas/Thanksgiving, when Em invited Ray’s grandparents --- the parents of Jean, not Scott. Wow. i’ve heard many accounts of noble acts, but i truly consider that a big thing. Emma may be manipulative, scheming, and selfish, but with regard to Rachel i could really sense a sincere and good heart. *sniff* (aww.)

Characters i read about --- in the Bible, in comics, and anywhere else --- i want to relate to, to appreciate them and the story more…or inversely, if i appreciate them, i look for areas where i can relate to them. Having been recently convicted of my sinful past, at around the same time that i've learned to appreciate Em, I wanted --- want --- to see goodness overcome evil in her life. Oops! All this time i’m talking as if these characters are real! =) but i do want to see that --- even if they’re not really flesh and blood, i still want to see the triumph of good.

Because ultimately in learning about their lives i've found a standard against which to measure my own. But all the comic books i've read operate implicitly under the concept that there is no God --- or, at least, is not present in their lives anyway.

Now i've found a new standard --- God’s standard, which is nothing short of perfection.

Be perfect, therefore, as My Father in heaven is perfect.
-- Jesus, Matthew 5:48

For My thoughts are higher than your thoughts,
and My ways are higher than your ways.
-- God the Father, Isaiah 55:9

For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
-- Paul, Romans 3:23

God’s standard is the highest standard possible. Don’t we all want that? Even if our expectations are “realistic”, “expecting” that we cannot ever achieve perfection, all of us aim higher, not lower, than what we can achieve.

Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.
-- Paul, Philippians 3:13-14

We want to be the best; and to do what is right.

Oh what a wretched man I am!...I do not do what I want to do, and what I do not want to do I do…
-- Paul, Romans 7:24,15

We cannot appreciate the good news before first receiving the bad news. The bad news is, we cannot be perfect --- we cannot live sinless, guilt-free, blessed and fulfilled lives out of our own ability.

The good news is that it is possible with and only with the One who created us in the first place ---GOD.

i have always seen Jean Grey as the ‘best’ X-man --- loving, giving, ‘good’. And yet my intentions do not often translate to real life --- try as i might, and i've been trying for over a decade, i could not be the good person i want to be. Heck, Jean cannot sustain that “goodness” herself: she has fallen many times, and even has a holier-than-thou attitude that surfaces oh-so-subtly.

Are we not, on so many levels, like Emma Frosts? That was a big revelation for me. And reminds me of Jesus’ words:

  • For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 18:14)
  • It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. (Matthew 9:12, Luke 5:31, Mark 2:17)
  • Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little. (Luke 7:47)

i want to see Emma find grace, find salvation, just as i have. Not because the other X-Men are “well” and do not need Jesus anymore, but because Emma’s sins are so (relatively) blatant and obvious, and her need for her Savior so much more glaring, that she will more readily, easily, accept Him. Or so i hope.

The bad news, too, is that our sins, our falling short of perfection, deserves punishment. Our evil deeds, from telling a lie to committing murder, deserve a life and an eternity away from the just and righteous God of all.

But MORE good news: Jesus Christ already took that punishment for our sins. God in human form, who was tempted and yet never did any evil, deliberately endured the most humiliating, excruciating anguish ever known, for crimes against God that He did not commit. Blatantly unfair, so that we through His poverty might become rich.
-- 2 Corinthians 8:9

God’s love is unconditional, and yet there is something like a condition to the Good News. Even if Christ already took your punishment so that you can go free, you still have to accept that truth. You still have to accept that He is your Savior. You still have to confess; it is the Truth, but you still have to recognize it as true in your own life.

If a prisoner facing the death penalty were to be given an unconditional presidential pardon, he would still remain in bondage unless he accepted that pardon.

With the jail doors practically opening wide for him to leave, unless the prisoner believes that he is forgiven, unless the prisoner accepts that he can be and is set free, unless the prisoner takes that step of faith to freedom, then the pardon is of no use in the life of the prisoner. The prisoner has but one power, the power of choice, but that makes all the difference.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
-- Ephesians 2:8-9

Taking the prisoner analogy further, if Prisoner were sentenced to death, what if it was the President himself --- who has no criminal record and has a spotless character --- asks to be put to death instead of Prisoner? What if President loves his friend Prisoner so much that President wants to exchange records, unfair though it is?

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
-- 2 Corinthians 8:9

Justice must still be served. Someone has to pay. But what if Prisoner was so popular that he’s also buddies with a fellow death row inmate, Pal? What if Pal loves Prisoner so much that Pal, like Pres, wants to exchange records with Prisoner? But what’s the use? Prisoner and Pal will still both die! Only President has the authority to grant Prisoner a pardon and the ability to grant him a clean slate.

Only Jesus can save us. And He already did. All we have to do is receive Him:
as Savior for our past life of sin and evil and bondage;
as Lord for our new life of goodness and power, the power to do what is right.

With God, all things are possible, but He’s waiting for each one of us because He honors our free will.

Before knowing Christ i was able to read two books about God-centered romantic relationships, written by Joshua Harris. i was so blessed and enlightened by his writing, all of which sought to glorify God by following Him over personal inclinations, yet i fully agreed with him because in my heart and mind there was (i thought!) no struggle.

Back then, in avidly following the adventures of comic book characters, i thought i was ok, even better than ok!! Yet it wasn’t until i fell, fell really hard, as i aped the acts of those who do not know or obey God, that i realized how much i need Him. i want His goodness, i want to reach His standards…but i cannot until i realized and acknowledged my need for Him, my welcoming Him into my life as my Savior, and seeking and following Him as my Lord.

Shortly after accepting Jesus i got to read Joshua Harris’ third book, dedicated to his two children, one being named Emma Grace.

#1. The book was about guarding our hearts against lust.

#2. In my past struggles against lust, and in one time in particular, Josh Harris fought head-to-head against the X-Men. (The truth is embarrassing, but it needs to be told! =) …) You know the familiar scene in cartoons where the angel whispers in one ear and the devil shouts in the other? Don’t laugh, it’s true and it happened to me. The angel was quoting Josh; the devil was holding one panel of one page of one comic book. Just one image.

i could not even use the excuse that i did not know any better, because i did know better. In my weak state, far from God’s presence, guidance and strength, i went with the devil. The sad thing was i never got to hear from my conscience --- my angel, God’s still small voice --- for a long time after that. As if i'd listen anyway! =(

But God’s love and grace really are deeper than the deepest sea. So here i am now, talking about overcoming our weaknesses by putting our trust solely in Him.

#3. A few months after reading that third book, i started appreciating Emma to the point that i wished she would repent. Over and over i wanted to see that. i wanted to see Emma find grace, find salvation, just as i have. That’s my personal wish for the comics, short of giving that fictional character a great big hug. i couldn’t pinpoint an accurate phrase for it, the thought just always sprang up: “repentant Emma”.

Just this week i once again came across the page where Josh dedicates his book to Emma Grace and her brother. Awww.

That was it. Anybody could repent, and acknowledge their need for help, but the extension of that was it is God who gives grace --- goodness and love that are entirely undeserved.

i want to see Emma find grace, find salvation, just as i have. To me, “Emma Grace” is not just a phrase for a girl’s name, but the story of my life so far.

Wait, i take back my title. i don’t want to name my future daughter after a notorious woman…or any comic book character, for that matter.

No, in fact, i'll just call myself Emma Grace. =) Hihi.

As one other French-speaking X-Man might say, c’ez moi. =)

(written December 10, 2005)


  1. i see...^_^ pero di ko pa din gusto c emma eh...hehe pish tayo!

  2. hi megoy... :)

    pwede ba kitang maging accountability partner paglabas ng x3? v ^__^ v


  3. aba oo naman ^_^ anytime, gurl!