In the Philippines, we have sari-sari stores — small shops usually attached to a person’s home, selling different sorts of goods. As a child, I dreamt of having my own, but I guess this is the closest I’m ever going to come to it. Sharing different stories — sari-sari stories — most especially from my experiences and learnings as a daughter of the King of Kings, as wife of my husband King, and as mom to our three princesses. 😊
I appreciate the devotions that our church puts out daily, and though I don’t get to join them regularly, there’s so much to gain from it. There’s the Word, the encouraging stories, the sense of community, the prayer time. Then there are also gems from the sharers.
Yesterday the focus was Psalm 90:12 —Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. What struck me was one of the things that Ptr Carlo said. At the end of the day, he would ask himself if he spent quality time with his son, if he had their heart to heart talk.
What wisdom. How many of us actually think about how we spent our day, before we go to bed? How many of us actually recount the events of the day in terms of quality time spent with our family, especially in this pandemic where everyone is home all. the. time.?
It’s quite easy to think that since we are all home, we are spending quantity AND quality time with one another. On the contrary, we become less intentional about doing things together because we feel we are in close proximity to each other. We become complacent. We talk less. Or we settle for small talk. We fill our days with activities, work so we can feel productive, connect with others online, but we miss out on our personal connections at home.
We must know that one can still feel alone, despite the presence of family around. We must know that our physical presence is good, but it is not enough. We must be emotionally and mentally present. Parents to children, children to parents, siblings to siblings, spouse to spouse. We must engage. Be interested. Eye contact. Listen with our hearts.
At the end of each day, let’s not just look at what we have accomplished. Let’s ask ourselves the more important questions. Did I really spend time with my loved one/s today? Did I have meaningful conversations with them? Did I laugh with them? Did I help them when they needed me? Did I make them feel loved? Did I speak life? Did I listen? Did I pray for or with them?
Lord, teach us to number our days. Teach us to be wise with the use of our time everyday. Help us not to neglect our families. We feel the stress that this pandemic brings, but grant us the extra extra extra grace we need to nurture our most precious relationships, while also caring for our own needs and fulfilling our duties at home, at work, and in ministry. 🙏❤️
Tito Panser. I dont know anyone else named Panser, or Fruspambliser for that matter. So when people say his name, I automatically know who they mean. He was someone everyone knew and someone everybody was fond of. Maybe it was his charisma, maybe his consistent smile. Maybe it was his gusto, or his singing, or his ahoo! He was always the life of the party. Danae said this as well when she learned that Wowo Panser was heading to heaven soon. She said our family parties won’t be the same. How painfully true. He brought that joy and light to all our gatherings, and it isn’t a surprise that he was the same in church and everywhere else.
To me though, he was Tito Panser who loved me. You see, I grew up with his daughters. I’m the only girl in my family and I’m so blessed to have my cousins, Ate Sol, Mai, and Dee, as my sisters. I would sleep over in their home often, and he, and Tita Monette of course, always welcomed me. It was like I wasn’t a visitor, as I was privy to some things, like his hair hehehe. And in the times that I could not sleep and had to go home in the middle of the night, I did not hear any complaint or reprimand, only laughter. Like it wasn’t new. Because it happened a few times hahaha. A tad inconvenient, but no biggie since we live only a couple of blocks away.
As a kid, I didn’t really like going to church, much less wake up early for it, but I knew that if I slept over on a Saturday in their home, Sunday morning would mean church. That was a non-negotiable. They were consistent. They were the family I respected and looked up to when it came to Christianity. Not perfect, but consistent and committed in serving the Lord. And when I reached a phase in my life that wasn’t ideal or pleasant (to put it mildly), they remained loving and accepting towards me. They let me stay an entire summer, the ultimate sleepover, in their home, to help my parents deal with me. They never made me feel like I was a bad seed. Now I understand how Jesus enabled them to do that, despite my being….me. I am certain they prayed for me and my family, and that they believed in the power of the Lord to change what needed to be changed….which was of course, me. 😂
Fast forward to my twenties when I started following Christ, I got engaged, and it was a no brainer to ask him and tita to be one of our prinicipal sponsors. I’d seen plenty of them as a married couple — they loved God, they served in church together. I love what Kuya Nando said in his eulogy, that wisdom was in Tito Panser’s counsel. In his and tita Monette’s. They helped many people in their marriages, in their family life, and in their walk with God. I also saw how they took care of each other, and how tito Panser pampered tita Monette and the girls. I knew him as a man who was strict with the budget, but always included pampering in the budget! He loooooved his family. He was a sweet husband, and also a super sweet dad to the girls — as in the kissing, hugging and the hand-holding kind of dad even to his adult daughters. ❤️
When the grandchildren came, he was the loving grandpa to Ate Sol’s boys and wowo Panser to my girls. He showered us with hugs and kisses when we saw each other. My childhood friends, the Tumangans included of course, and I hold a Happy Birthday Jesus Party for our kids every December. There was this one year that we could not have it at home because I’d just given birth and my mom was recovering from a stroke, so the next best venue was the Tumangans’! And tito Panser was never one to just sit back. He got involved. He and tita welcomed us all in their home, ate with us, laughed with us, watched us play games. He even shared about Jesus and our value as God’s children that evening.
And of course, he did his usual — he made all the kids line up so he could give them Christmas money. Another thing that was consistent about him. He did this every Christmas since I was young. It only stopped I think when I started having kids hahaha. The Christmas money started going to them.
Noelle said that Wowo Panser lived a good life, and that he was generous. Isn’t that the truth. I remember last Christmas, when the church staff held a party for our EGSI team (our helpers in church), Tito Panser showed up. Of course he did! And he made all of them line up with their kids, to give them their Christmas love gifts. I was a bit surprised but also not that surprised. That’s just how he was. He blessed people and was always ready to help. His generosity extended to others, not just to family.
But like I said, he was a man who always worked with a budget. Which means he was always intentional about his generosity. He did not do it on a whim, but he joyfully and lovingly planned and set aside finances for it. I love what Ptr A said about him being a kingdom-minded guy. I believe the way he gave truly showed that. The way he lived showed it too — always to the glory of the Lord.
The Word shared in the memorial service was very comforting and just plain beautiful. Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints (or faithful servants, in another version). Indeed, tito Panser was one of God’s faithful servants. He lived fully here on earth, worshipping God and telling everyone he could about Jesus, and God gladly, giddily, happily welcomed him home. This gives me much joy, especially when Mai told me that the vision she received was of her dad dancing before the Lord. What an awesome picture! ❤️
You will always be remembered, our beloved Tito Panser! Even Gianna asked me for your photos so she won’t forget. I have many, old and new. From our yearly vacations together in Batangas and in Baguio, to family parties, and church events. She still prays that you will be safe in heaven, which of course you are. 😂 It just goes to show the impact you made even in a young child. Since my dad, their wowo, passed away before Danae turned two, you were the wowo (here in the South) who was a consistent figure in the girls’ lives. Thank you for your love and generosity, and your example of faith. We love you! We love your whole family! ❤️
We started school two weeks ago and I’ve been on standby for whatever the kids need. One will ask for her hydro flask or a bowl or some alcohol. Another will ask for anolyte or her hydro. But mostly it’s the little one who asks for anything and everything — “mooooom, I need my so and so book or so and so notebook or water or fita or my headphones.” But the best one is “mooooom, stay with me.” I’m not the driver anymore. I’m the personal assistant. 🤦🏻♀️
A few days ago, their teacher sent a Bible verse for homeroom and I read it to Gianna that morning. Whoever has patience has great understanding. Prov 14:29. And then they had a lesson on the fruit of the Spirit that afternoon. So when Gianna was getting angry about something that evening, I reminded her of the verse and the fruit of the Spirit. She suddenly calmed down and said “Yeah, self-control. I need an apple.” 😂😂😂
It’s been raining hard lately and the other day, their teacher was talking about it and reminding the kids to stay inside and stay dry. I heard Gianna suddenly interrupt her teacher, unmuting herself without anyone telling her to or asking her for a comment, and say “but teacher, we had a leak yesterday….in our living room.” I giggled because it was such an overshare! I was a few meters away so I didn’t see faces, but I heard the awkwardness in her teacher’s voice. What made it worse was when teacher asked her if everything is okay now, she said “yeah, we had buckets.” Hahahahha. It was only one plastic container catching one leak, not one bucket or multiple buckets. I wanted to explain and defend myself to her class!!! Hahaha. But c’est la vie. At least I have another story for Funny Fridays. 😂
We had our couples victory group meeting last week, online of course, and King asked us, as a warm-up for our discussion, about our favorite memory before the pandemic. Funny that I didn’t know he would ask that question and that he would give his answer. But he was absolutely right. Our favorite memory before the pandemic was our trip to Baguio!!!
In February, a childhood friend of my mom’s based in the US came to visit, and we planned to bring her somewhere special. We needed to work around everybody’s schedules, including hers, so plans could not be finalized right away. Barely three weeks before her flight back home, I read an article about nice vacation homes in Baguio. One of the homes belonged to an old friend of ours, and the pictures were lovely!!! I thought it perfect for a short get-away. I immediately ran this by King and my mom. With their approval and having pinpointed the only dates good for all of us (kids had important school activities, and ballet rehearsals and their recital), I checked the available dates on airbnb. Would you believe that all the dates in the first half of March were booked solid, except for the dates that we needed??? I tried booking online, and I tried bugging King at work so he could book ASAP, but King was busy and I, having limited tech skills, could not successfully do it. I had to directly contact our friend! Hahaha. He was so kind and gracious. We got the booking!
It was my mom’s first time to go back to Baguio since 2006, when my dad was still with us. My mom’s friend’s last time there was probably way back in the 80s. Fortunately for us, we’d visited in 2018 with friends, but that was also our first since 2006.
There were news reports about the Corona Virus in Manila already, there was shortage of alcohol in stores in Manila, they cancelled the Panagbenga festival in Baguio, but for some reason we were not fazed. We were already pretty vigilant (well I was, at least) with washing hands and making sure the kids did too, and trigger-spraying alchohol on our hands after each time we touched anything. We just made sure we did the same while in Baguio. We also bought our stock of alcohol bottles, since there seemed to be no shortage there. Masks were not yet compulsory then, but we spent most of our time outdoors anyway. There were few people out, we thought it was great! Even Burnham Park wasn’t that crowded. It was either there weren’t a lot of tourists or people were opting to stay indoors because of the virus. We didn’t really know for sure.
One of our kids, to be honest, was concerned about school clearance week, so when they announced that classes were suspended, I think on Tuesday, March 10th, I saw it as a favor. She didn’t have to worry about not completing her clearance, though in my opinion, she really had nothing to worry about. Little did we know that Community Quarantine would be announced shortly after.
We got back to Manila late Wednesday evening. That was the last time the kids were out of the house because minors and seniors were instructed to stay home. Well, you know the story. We are still in quarantine today, after 4 long months.
Which is why I really thank the Lord that He allowed us to have that 3-day, 2-night trip to Baguio. Perhaps we were wishful thinking that the virus would not spread as much as it has in the Philippines or in denial that the problem would last as long as it has in the whole world. But who knew?! Who knew how much impact it would make in our lives? Who knew that it would usher us into a new normal? Who knew that it would challenge our habits and way of living?
Who knew that three Sundays before our trip was the last time we’d attend an actual Sunday service as a family because the two Sundays before our trip were spent on the girls’ ballet general rehearsal and recital? Who knew that Noelle’s birthday in January was our last time to go up to Tagaytay (due to Taal’s activity AND the quarantine)? Who knew that our trip to Baguio would be the last time we’d go out, eat out as a family? Last time to explore new places? Last time to sit at Jollibee and enjoy some chicken joy and burger steak? Last time to ride the car as a family??? Who knew that that would be the last vacation we’d be taking this year? It’s only half the year, I know, but Covid is too close and too real. No trips for the rest of 2020.
But I saw the providence of God. The timing of it all — our available dates, our accommodations, home the day covid was declared a pandemic, home before the quarantine. We got to build precious memories with the family, precious memories in a beautiful house in a beautiful city, and everybody stayed healthy. My tita even got to fly back home to the US, days later, without a hitch. (Well, almost. There’s a funny story attached to that, but one that might be better kept among ourselves.) All by the hand of God, I truly believe.
This week, I and a bunch of friends were supposed to go on a trip outside the country — my very first without family. While it is sad that it didn’t push through (I’d already bought my tickets), it was wise to cancel it even months before we knew we would still be in quarantine (modified enhanced community quarantine at that) today. Once again, the providence of God.
In a season of tremendous uncertainty, unexpected happenings, difficult transitions, and heavy losses, it’s good to remember the better times, our better times. To listen to other people’s stories and see God’s faithfulness in their lives too. To look back at what God has done before, so we can endure, remain grateful and trust in what He is doing now, and look forward to what He will do again. Remembering keeps our hope alive.
I imagine all of us around a bonfire, sharing stories, singing songs, lifting each other up, being there for one another. My prayer is that each one of us receive and recognize the abundant grace of God at work in our day-to-day. He is in the details, as well as in the big picture. My prayer is that we carry each other through prayer and encouragement, and rejoice together when we overcome. God is never not in control and He always takes care of His children. ❤️
The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. Psalm 145:17
It’s been more than a hundred days of quarantine! How have you been? King asked us the other night what we were thankful for, being home now for more than 3 months. Common answers from the kids were bonding and food. I guess they know their priorities. 😂 Thought I’d share my answers too.
First, I’m grateful that we have not gone crazy and killed each other, being home together 24/7 all this time. We had a good laugh about this, but all agreed. I believe it helps that everyone has his or her own space to retreat to. Well, except maybe me, because Gianna seems to have a homing device set to always find mommy. I guess it’s a good thing she’s not sick of me yet. Unless of course I go outside and do my weeding. When I ask her to help, she does the opposite and stays away 😂. I should go do that again this week 😉. A space in the back to see some green, gaze up at the sky, and to get some fresh air, is very much a blessing as well.
I also believe that our connection to the outside world helps keep us all sane. Thank God for technology and a techie husband! The kids are able to talk to their friends online. King and I are able to talk to (and laugh with) our friends. We may be stuck in one place physically, but we are able to enjoy staying home, and somewhat enjoy our friends. The older girls even watch shows or movies online with their friends. So gen z, don’t you think?
But it also goes to show we genuinely enjoy one another. There are disagreements and certain issues, needless to say, but we are a close knit family. King and I are deliberate in bringing our family together, but I think we gravitate to one another anyway. It’s either I bug them in their room to give/get hugs or just goof around, or they come into my room to snuggle or tell me random stuff. About anime or a favorite band or a favorite character or whatever. I joke that my new name is Momluk, because everyday, one or two or all three call me to look at whatever they want to show me. “Mom, look!!!” Yes, at the same time sometimes. And sometimes, “Mom, look! Mom, look! Mom, look!” I keep telling them that it’s torture what they do to me. 😂😂😂
Second, I’m grateful to be living a less hurried life. No rush to get out the door and bring the kids wherever, or get to a meeting, or juggle my schedule to accomodate their needs and mine.I’m able to rest. I’m able to spend more time reading my Bible, praying and journaling, without as much distraction as before. I’m able to cook dishes, read, draw and make art with Gianna, hang with the girls, watch some shows (though I’ve only finished one and a half seasons of one show on netflix), have devotions with the family, continue decluttering, play, dance, write.
Less hurried but still having busy days. In May, I had Mom Talk, where I shared, along with 2 other moms, about Faith and Journaling online. It was my first time to do something like that ever. Another faith-stretching, character-building experience for me. Noelle continued ballet classes online. King also had Me and My Dad Camp (at home) that month with Gianna. It was her first time to participate. We all also spent some days recording and editing stuff for Vacation Bible Camp. The girls had an online math enhancement program provided by their school for two weeks last month, and we got a taste of what it will be like in the coming school year. It will be another adjustment for all of us, but hey, we were built to adapt. God’s grace is abundant. 🙏
Third, I’m grateful that church and discipleship did not stop. It’s amazing how the church quickly adapted to the change. Livestreaming for Sunday services and daily devotions were set up. Leadership convergences and trainings, marriage talks, youth services and others were put up online. Our church community is alive! Our meetings with our leaders continue via zoom. Our meetings with our own couples discipleship group continue via zoom. In fact, the young professionals group I was supposed to start with two ladies in April pushed through in June, but now with five ladies.
Even Kids Church could not be stopped. There is kids church online every Sunday. Me and My Dad Camp, which is usually held in camping grounds in Tagaytay or Rizal, was held in the participants’ homes. And there were at least 70 families who signed up and joined! And VBC! We started meeting for this in January, and the praise dance team started meeting for practices in February. We thought that because we were unable to gather due to the lockdown, VBC would be pushed to next year. But the Kids Ministry team and volunteers made a way for this to happen online! What a privilege for the praise dance team to still be part of it. And would you believe we had nearly 200 participants??? Gianna was a first time participant too! Amazing what God has been doing. ❤️
Opportunity. This is what was presented to us in the last 3 months. Did we find it? Have we used it? I hope that instead of complaining about how the quarantine is limiting us, we find the opportunities in our situation. The opportunity to spend time with our loved ones. The opportunity to bless our frontliners. The opportunity to contribute to the livelihood of others by buying local and buying from our friends. The opportunity to connect with people, whether at home or online with people we haven’t spoken to for some time. The opportunity to mend relationships. The opportunity to read. To learn something new. To be creative. To teach somebody. To hone our skill by sharing it to others. To start a business. To write music or poetry. To slow down, refocus, realign, recalibrate. To serve. To pray. To use our platform to encourage and to impart faith.
There is always opportunity to be grateful. I pray most of all that this is what we have learned in quarantine — to find the silver lining and make the choice to be grateful. ❤️🙏❤️
I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1
Everyone seems to be cooking more during this pandemic, and I am no exception. I’ve been inspired to cook more times in the last 3 months than the entire year of 2019 😂. Some firsts for me to try were bibimbap and kimchi rice, and some pastas. I don’t always have the complete list of ingredients, so I like to improvise. I like to use left overs, and I get inspired to make dishes out of them.
I was inspired to make lasagna last week because my lasagna noodles were about to expire. I was going to use my newly purchased italian sausage along with my ground beef, but then I saw pepperoni in the freezer and mechado (beef stew in tomato sauce) in the fridge. I decided to chop them up and mix them in with the ground beef to make the meat sauce. It was a hit!
But my meat mixture was just enough for half the box of noodles, so there were some left. My mistake cooking the whole box! Anyway, I think the following night was taco night, and of course there were leftovers from that too. And so in the next few days, I looked up some recipes so that my cooked lasagna noodles wouldn’t go to waste. I decided to make lasagna roll ups! I made meat sauce using left over taco meat filling and tomato sauce. And then I filled the lasagna noodles with my improvised bechamel (left over from the lasagna), and vivo gourmet’s fresh, delicious pesto sauce before rolling them up. I placed the sauce in the bowl first, then the rolled up lasagna, then I put more pesto and cheese on top, and then baked it. It was pretty good!
To finish off all the left over noodles and use more of the yummy pesto, I made roll ups again. I filled the noodles with cheesier bechamel sauce and chunks of mozzarella, and placed the roll ups on pesto sauce. Everyone liked it too, but I think I’ll make it with slices of cooked chicken next time. If only I had leftover chicken! 😂
I really believe that we get creative when we are left in a tight spot. We have all experienced pay cuts, job cuts, halts in the business. So we have been more mindful to make do with what we have. We have been getting more creative, stretching our ingredients to make more meals, to stretch our budgets. Now more than ever, we reuse and recycle, to minimize waste. More and more people are growing their own food too.
I salute every Filipino who has cried his/her eyes out and who has lost sleep over the effects of this pandemic, and yet has chosen to get up on his/her feet and keep moving forward! You create opportunities for yourself to help your family! I salute you for rolling with the punches, for being willing to sacrifice just a little bit more, to tighten your belts just a little bit longer. I salute you for making the most out of a terrible situation, even extending help to those in need while you are also in need. I salute you for smiling, laughing through all the uncertainty, and encouraging others to keep praying. I salute you for believing still that God is good, that He is in control, and He will save us from this crisis.
May the Lord bless us and sustain us, and may His peace that transcends all understanding guard our hearts from worry. And as we grow in creativity and resilience, may joy and gratitude in our hearts grow as well. ❤️
In our home, King and I always remind our daughters that the tongue has the power of life and death. God knows we struggle with this too, but it’s easier to point it out when we hear our kids saying negative words. Story of our parenting lives right? Practice what you preach. Preach what you practice. Note to self! 😂
Anyway, a few days ago, Danae had a stomach ache and even after treating it (with water, fruits, veggies, erce flora, and prayers) she still kept complaining about the pain. Every time she’d come out of her room or come into our room, she’d say “ow my tummy hurts.” I felt bad for her, but declaring that her tummy hurt over and over again didn’t seem to help (her OR me 😂). “How about say I am healed in Jesus’ name?” She did, every time I reminded her.
I believe there is a shift in our mind set when there is a shift in our declarations. Of course it works the other way around too — change mind set first, then declarations/words/actions change. But sometimes our minds are clouded, by our emotions, or when our senses are disturbed and we experience pain. Instead of giving in to it, we fight by moving in the opposite spirit. Instead of focusing on the pain or the problem, we declare faith. We declare healing. We declare the goodness and power of God.
Speak life to your own situation. Speak life to yourself.
The next day, Danae came to me and said she felt better!
Little did I know that the littlest one would pick this up as well. I was feeling down the other day. The humid weather triggered my allergies and despite meds, I was sneezy, teary, and my head was heavy all day. At bedtime, while I already had my eyes closed, Gianna spoke. “Are you healed, mommy?” Always so compassionate towards me. I didn’t want to sound negative or faithless, so I told her “almost.” That apparently was not good enough because she told me, “Say I am healed, mommy.” She made me smile. I did as she asked and I thanked her. Touché my dear! 😂
Amazing how our kids use our own words on us. It really keeps us parents on our toes. It keeps us accountable. It keeps us humble.
When one daughter complains about the other’s attitude and behavior, I always tease (and remind) them that they are the same. “Mirror, mirror” or “have you met yourself?” or “speck, meet plank.”
But really, God always reminds and rebukes me — my children are a reflection of me. I am the same too. He’s just more compassionate and less sarcastic than I am. Lord help me! 😂 ❤️
From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:20-21
I don’t know if it’s because she is the youngest or because it’s just really her personality, but Gianna is majorly clingy to me. She really loves me and even though we are constantly together, she still tells me that she misses me and wants me….. to do everything with her, even though there are other members of the family. 😂 She also has so much compassion for me. She’s happy when I’m happy, cries with me when I’m sad.
A few months ago I learned that, for some reason, she has this fear of me dying. She has told me quite a number of times already, most often out of the blue and when it’s quiet and we’re about to sleep. With a sad face, she would say “I don’t want you to die, Mommy.”
At first I thought it was ridiculous. Clinginess overload. But I couldn’t tell her that that would never happen. That would be cruel and dishonest. So instead, I told her that I won’t die yet. That I will die when I’m old, when she is already an adult, married with kids. But then she told me that she doesn’t want me to grow old so I won’t die haha. I just hugged her and assured her that I’m still here. She has told me enough times for me to take it seriously and not laugh it off.
A few days ago, she said it to me again, but my response was different. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it sooner, since we always teach our girls to pray to thank God, to declare God’s promises, to ask for help, to ask for healing (even for the smallest owi), to ask for forgiveness, to help others too. But I told her to pray. Pray that God would take care of Mommy and Daddy, that we will be healthy and strong, and live a long life. I prayed first, and then she followed. And you know, since then, she has blurted out prayers or announcements that she will pray, when in bed, while she’s watching tv, and once while I was in the bathroom! She came in, told me she needed to pray for me, and prayed that God would take care of me. When I wasn’t feeling so well the other day, she prayed for me. I thanked her, and she proudly told me that it was what I taught her. I don’t hear her say she doesn’t want me to die anymore. I just hear her pray. When she is reminded of her fear, she now knows how to respond!
Wow. That is the power of prayer! My words were never enough to give her the assurance that she needed. There was always a follow-up to her worries. But prayer brought the peace of God into her heart, and continues to do so each time she fights her fears with it. Miraculous work that the Lord is doing in my little girl’s heart. Gianna does not know it yet, but she is already practicing Philippians 4:6-7. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ❤️
May we learn from the example of a young child, to trust the Lord and receive His peace, despite the enormity of our fears and the vastness of our uncertainties.
Thirteen years ago. April 8. Easter Sunday. But instead of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, we were mourning the death of my dad. He passed away on Easter Sunday of the year 2007. His death surprised us. His death saddened us. His death hurt us. But there was grace and there was hope. And it is exactly the resurrection of Jesus that gave me that hope.
The hope that my dad’s death is not the end. The hope of my dad enjoying eternal life with Jesus in heaven. The hope of reuniting with him when it is our time to go.
I am assured of this because he grew up with parents who loved Jesus and prayed for their children (and grandchildren — I believe I am a fruit of their prayers). They were faithful and active church-goers. And big Bible readers. My lola would make it a point to grab one of her apos to share bible verses with us while she sat in her rocking chair. I honestly disliked the interruption to our playtime. I dreaded being ’chosen’ haha. I believe she was the one who taught us and got us to memorize Psalm 23. So if she sowed prayers for me and seeds of faith in me, that are, by the grace of God, bearing fruit to this day, she definitely sowed the same seeds in my dad. I know this too because some time between his passing and Gianna’s birth, I found a certificate saying he led the youth of Church of the Risen Lord for a year or two. Faith in action right there.
I am also assured because though my dad seemed to have lost his way, he told me during one of what would have been our last visits in the hospital, that he needed to keep his faith up. I don’t remember praying with him, but I know King and some of our friends did, and I made sure to let him know that we, including his one and only favorite grandchild at that time, Danae, were constantly praying for him. I know he was seeking, praying, and going back to God at that time. And I believe the Lord showed up and led him back. He and my mom experienced the love of Jesus through family who donated their platelets, but also through the church — people they did not know personally and who did not know them personally, but gave of themselves to help my dad. They knew as well that so many were praying for his healing.
My dad is gone. That Easter Sunday was not such a happy one. But that does not at all diminish the true meaning and significance of Easter or my gratitude for it. Thank you Jesus for taking our place on the cross and, being the only One qualified, dying to pay for all our sins once and for all…to redeem us, so we can have a way back to the Father. Thank you Jesus for conquering death, and rising again on the third day. Because of your resurrection, we too can enjoy life after death, with You in heaven. Thank You for giving that gift to my dad. Thank You for offering that gift to each one of us as well.
I pray that whoever reads this, receives this gift of salvation. By faith, which the Lord Himself will supply you with. Especially in this current health crisis, with so much uncertainty about the future.
Would you pray with me?
Heavenly Father…. I am tired. I am sick. I am worn down. I am burnt out. I feel lost. I feel empty. I feel hopeless. I feel alone. I feel rejected and unloved. I am overwhelmed. I am confused. I am afraid. I don’t know what to do anymore. I acknowledge that I need You. I acknowledge that I don’t have the answers. You know better than I. I don’t have the power or the control. You do. I acknowledge that it is my sin that has caused my separation from You. I thank You that though I am a sinner, You love me anyway, so much so that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for my sin. I believe that He died on the cross for me. I believe that You raised Him from the dead. I am sorry for my sins. Please forgive and cleanse me. I surrender. I want to turn away from everything that is not right in Your eyes, and I receive Jesus as my Lord, Master, and Savior. I receive the gift of salvation. Thank You for taking my burden from me and setting me free! Help me to love, serve, and obey You, for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen. ❤️
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:6-11
Please feel free to message me or email me if you have prayed this prayer and want to talk about this more. Or you may get connected to our leaders at the Victory Alabang Facebook Page. God bless you!
My husband likes to pull out the weeds in our lawn, and a few days ago, I decided for the first time 😬, to help him. I am sure I had a chance to do this growing up. I had forgotten how fun and satisfying it is, especially when you’re able to pull them out from the roots. One of my kids mentioned that it’s like pulling out daddy’s white hair 😂. It was a good use of my time during quarantine. Nice opportunity to be out in the sun. Good bonding activity with the hubby and kids. Good source of inspiration as well.
I actually learned something from it! There are different kinds of weeds invading our frog grass, the majority of which is one particular kind (judging only from appearance of course, I am no expert). I found that some were easy for me to pull from the roots, while others were pretty hard. Some were also pretty obvious because of their height and size, but there were many that blended right in with the grass especially when wet. You would notice them only when they’re dry and up close.
Weeds are not healthy for our lawns or gardens. They compete for the nutrients and the water that are meant for our grass and plants. Much like some of our habits, our attitudes, our life choices, our beliefs. They take up space in our life that push God out of our hearts. They compete with our time and devotion to God. Some of them are so noticeable that others make us aware (whether intentionally or unintentionally) of them, and we ourselves desire to change them. There are those we are able to easily pull, so to speak, out of our lives. Sometimes effortlessly. Why? Because the roots aren’t deep. The roots are young and shallow. Maybe that habit or attitude or choice or belief doesn’t have much of a hold on us. Maybe a meaningless thing that was quickly picked up, one that could also quickly be given up. Maybe removing it from our life does not cause much pain or discomfort.
Then there are those that we are able to get rid off only superficially. In terms of weeds, you successfully pull out the blades above ground, but leave the root intact. Its root has gone so deep that simply pulling it out does not work. It requires much more time and effort, and pain, to remove. (Some roots have thorns. And I pulled so many weeds that my fingers were already sore and greenish in color. In frustration, I honestly just left those I could not pull from the roots. I stopped caring after a while and just moved on to the next ones. 😬) So from the outside, it may seem like the bad habits or attitudes, former choices, or old beliefs have been removed from your life, but really, it’s only the appearance, perhaps the behavior or words, that has changed. The root of the issue is still intact and could rear its ugly head anytime it is triggered. The root is still deep, its hold still strong, that whatever progress you make is eradicated when you are tested. The “weeds” continue to grow, while your own growth is stunted. Or worse, the “weeds” choke out everything that is growing in you. Not only do you stop growing, you go backward, regress, backslide.
It’s funny that as lazy and indifferent as I was to work on the roots left in the soil, my husband took a spoon from our kitchen to dig out the roots. That determination, the willingness to put in the work, that belief that freedom from weeds is possible, the humility to recognize that he cannot do it on his own are the very things needed to get to the root. Now let’s be honest. We are human and we live in a broken world. There will always be a battle against our own undesirable attitudes and habits, and we will constantly need readjustments in our choices and beliefs. But how should we respond? Like me, who cared for a while but then gave up on those that were just too hard to deal with? Who settled to just let the “weeds” keep growing? Or like King, who put in the time and effort, and upon realizing that he could not rely on his own will and strength, got help? Who cared enough to keep his “lawn” healthy?
In this time of Corona, this season of ECQ, weeding is a worthwhile pursuit. Let’s take a good look at ourselves, with humility and honesty. What are these things that we do, these activities we participate in, these ideas and people we allow ourselves to be influenced by, these emotions we allow to take over, these words we speak to ourselves, these beliefs we have embraced — what are these that take precedence over things that God has called us to be and do? What are these that, if we are not mindful, slowly push God out of our families, our decision-making, our parenting, our work and finances, our government and business dealings, our relationships, even our ministry? Let’s ask the Lord to expose our weeds, and let’s enlist the help of trustworthy people that God has sent us, to walk with us and help us through the weeding process. We can’t do it alone. We can’t do it just once. This is a life long process of surrendering to the Lord, dying to ourselves, to keep Jesus enthroned in our hearts.
That, however, is not the way of life you learnedwhen you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;to be made new in the attitude of your minds;and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:20-24
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules[c] of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. Psalm 119:9-16