Marriage Tip from Designated Survivor

I’ve recently watched the entire first season of Designated Survivor and it’s awesome! I keep hoping for Tom Kirkman to go Jack Bauer mode haha. I monopolized netflix, told Gianna that it’s mommy’s turn to watch. She obliged. She calls it my show and calls it “Mr. President” haha.

Anyway, there is this one episode where Tom Kirkman goes overseas to attend the NATO summit. But because a story comes out in the US regarding the government’s cover up of who really bombed the Capitol, the other world leaders decide to remove his time from the summit agenda. Nearly everybody questions his capability to be the US president, and just when things are looking up for his leadership, the truth that they are still getting to the bottom of, leaks. The pressure and the stress. The not knowing who to trust. His integrity and his love for his country. The politics. The weight on his shoulders as the new president of the United States, after the entire government is erased. Overwhelming.

Tom gets a call from his wife while he is still in Canada. She asks him how he is, and asks how she can help. Tom’s answer:

“Don’t lose faith in me.”

Wow. So simple yet so powerful. When your husband is at his lowest and you have no capacity to help, this is the greatest help you can give. DO NOT LOSE FAITH IN HIM. Believe in him. Believe in his abilities and in his heart. Stand by him through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Win or lose, you are a team. It’s not always going to be bad, and you have to be able to weather the storms together. Remind him that even through failure, you are proud of him for getting up and wanting to be a better man. Commend him for the great things he does and encourage him to keep giving his best.

COMMITMENT. LOYALTY. UNITY. Big words. But we have a bigger God who supplies us the strength, the wisdom, the grace, the joy, the love we need. ❤

 

Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. Ephesians 5:22 MSG

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:1-4

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:13-14

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16

 

The Comfort of Sin

King’s preaching about the tower of Babel the other day got me thinking about sin and comfort zones. Do we realize that sin can be comfortable?

Do it long enough, consistently enough, and SIN BECOMES OUR COMFORT ZONE. At first we feel guilty. We are aware it is wrong. We struggle to stay away from the wrong thing. We struggle to do the right thing. We hear the Holy Spirit. There is no peace in our hearts. We repent. We ask for more grace.

If we don’t make the necessary changes and we let it keep going, after a while, we become used to the sin. We become desensitized. We feel no remorse. Sin becomes normal. Sin becomes comfortable. AND SO WE SETTLE. We stick to what has become familiar and “safe.”

“It feels good. It feels right.”

“I’m happy.”

“We’re in love.”

“The money is good.”

“I’m okay being the other man/woman. I get what I want anyway.”

“It’s been this way for so long. Change will be so difficult.”

“I’ve given everything to God, but this one, I want for me.”

“I repent naman and God forgives me.”

“It was just a fib.”

“It’s just 2 pesos (kickback). It’s okay.”

“We don’t go all the way. ”

“It’s okay. We’re married and we watch it together.”

“I only take a small percentage. Others take double or more.”

“That’s how it goes around here. We’re used to it.”

“I can do this on my own. I don’t need them.”

“People around me are used to my sharp tongue. It’s okay.”

“I really don’t care.”

Ungodly relationships. Infidelity. Greed. Addictions. Obsessions. Self-centeredness. Anger. Murder. Gossip. Lying. Cheating. Stealing. Fornication. Pornography. Corruption. Unforgiveness. Pride. Passivity. Indifference. And many more.

If we are not careful, our seemingly small acts of disobedience in the beginning, our small compromises will grow into greater acts of disobedience, coupled with and worsened by UNREPENTANT, HARD HEARTS.

Let’s pay attention to our actions. Question our own motives. Go back to our purpose. Go back to the basic questions. What does God want me to do? What does God’s Word say about this? Will this honor God?

I believe by the grace of God and by the help of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome. We don’t have to settle for a sinful life, with God on the side (or God out of the picture). We don’t have to settle for less than God’s best for us. We can GO! STEP OUT OF THE COMFORT OF SIN. Break free. In fact, we don’t have to wait till we are trapped. We can CHOOSE TO WALK AWAY NOW. Turn away from sin and turn towards Jesus. It will take a lot out of us. It will be extremely uncomfortable. It will cost us time, effort, maybe even money, and cause us pain.

But TO FOLLOW JESUS, though it costs us much, whether you believe me or not (yet), whether you realize it or not (yet), is ALWAYS WORTH IT.

Make that choice. Talk to someone you trust, someone you know can point you to Jesus and help you in your walk with Him. Message me privately. I would love to pray with you too.

 

You too have done evil, even more than your forefathers; for behold, you are each one walking according to the stubbornness of his own evil heart, without listening to Me. Jeremiah 16:12

For this people’s heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’ Matthew 13:15

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Cor 10:13

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. Luke 9:23

The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; Psalm 37:23

He replied, Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:28

Me or You?

Forgiveness is a matter of Lordship. You forgive not because your offender deserves it. You forgive not because what your offender did is okay. You forgive not because you are the bigger person. You forgive not because it’s easy or comfortable. You choose to forgive because, by the grace of God, you choose Jesus over yourself. You choose to obey Jesus, rather than to obey your emotions.

There’s a song I love by Group 1 Crew, called Wake Me Up (Amnesia). Listen to it. It’s a cool song. One of my favorite lines is:

“So who will I choose? Me or You?”

This is the choice we must face each time we are angry or hurt, needing to forgive another. Many times it’s not because we can’t, but because we don’t want to let go. We want to keep holding on to the anger, maybe because we don’t want our offender to get away with hurting us. We want justice. We want to be understood. We want to be proven right. (More on forgiveness here.)

But we must always go back to the question, Who is Lord of my life? Do I continue to sit on the throne of my heart, do what I want, when I want? Or do I rightfully give up the throne and let Jesus rule my heart? Who will I choose — ME and my emotions? or the HONOR of JESUS?

Most of the time difficult. But by the grace of God, never impossible.

 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Eph 4:32

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

What’s the goal?

Years ago, I was asked by some single ladies what they were supposed to do while they waited. Most singles hope to be married one day, let’s be real. I was the same. Since they were doing well in terms of their spiritual life, their careers and finances were in order, they served in church, their family life was healthy, what else should they do to prepare? What’s next? In other words, they were ready. Ready for the future. I don’t remember my exact answer but I guess I encouraged them to just be faithful in their season. To enjoy it. To learn and grow as they waited.

But maybe, just maybe, we had the wrong perception then. Including me. Maybe we were looking at marriage as a goal. Sure, we always said that every season is a gift. We said that being single is a blessing too. But, I think we also subconsciously believed that being married is better. And subconsciously sent the wrong message that marriage is the goal.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being married. I love hearing love stories. I love seeing couples getting married. There is rejoicing when God brings two people together for His glory and His purpose. BUT EXACTLY. It’s for God’s glory. It’s for God’s purpose. Being single is also for God’s glory, His purpose. The same goes for being a child, being a sibling, being a student. It’s not for our happiness or our enjoyment, though that is a huge bonus coming from a generous and loving God.

Marriage is the means. Christ is the goal. Singleness is the means. Christ is still the goal. Every season in our life is the means. CHRIST IS FOREVER THE GOAL. An intimate relationship with Christ, us growing in Christlikeness, us honoring Christ in everything we do, and us bringing people to Christ.

 

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowingChrist Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:7-11

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

 

Our Words Have Power

Wife, do you tell your husband you are proud of him? When was the last time you did?

Husband, do you tell your wife she is beautiful? When was the last time you did?

The tongue has the power of life and death, the Bible says. Let’s lift each other up with our words.

Wife, your husband will feel secure and significant, knowing that you are proud of him. Let him know that you are proud of him not only during successes, but most especially in failures. Hold the criticism, the “I told you so”s. I know sometimes this is hard, since apparently we wives are always right (hahaha), but this will teach you to trust in the Lord more. To pray. To be silent when your husband needs you to be. Hug him. You standing by him, being his number one fan no matter what, will encourage him to get back on his feet and keep going. Your support means the world. It will encourage him to keep giving his best.

Husband, your wife will feel loved and secure when you tell her she is beautiful. Mean it. Focus on a particular detail about her beauty, whether physical or internal. Change it up. Be creative. Find new beautiful things about her. Discover her. Tell her. This will teach you to step out of your comfort zone, to pause and reflect, and to be grateful for God’s goodness in your life. It doesn’t have to be cheesy. Trust me, I’m not cheesy either, though King often is (hahaha). Just tell her sincerely. Details help. So she doesn’t have to ask you why, and you don’t have to explain further either. Right? She will appreciate your appreciation of her, and you will put a smile in her heart all day.

 

The tongue can bring death or life;
    those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:21 NLT

Gentle words are a tree of life;
    a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4 NLT 

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
    keep watch over the door of my lips. Proverbs 141:3 NIV 

 

 

Gianna turned “free”

Ever since Mother’s Day this year, Gianna likes to greet us. She greeted my mom and I everyday for the whole month of May practically. She would greet King too haha! And then she learned to greet him Happy Father’s Day in June. When we’d have get-togethers or attend birthday parties, she would always be excited to sing and blow the candle. I think she even requested to blow the candle one time (maybe more), saying “For me, for me.” My birthday is exactly a month before hers, so she was happy greeting me everyday, even after we told her that it was almost her birthday. She did learn to say that her birthday is on “Ogwest twewv.”

She’d also known for a while that she was turning three. One time in June maybe, she told me that she’s “turning free.” I said, “oh you’re turning free…yeah.” She smiled, looked at me and said, “I’m not Free-ya.” She remembered her friend and VBC dance teammate Fria, hahaha. She still says Free today.

August 11th, we told her that her birthday is tomorrow. So on the day of, when we greeted her happy birthday, she told me “My birthday is tomorrow.” Haha. It didn’t take much convincing. She was happy to be the birthday girl. We did pass by another baby’s 1st birthday party in the morning, but she had no problem “sharing” her day. Not a diva, my girl. 🙂

The girls are always excited to spend time with their cousins, and Gianna is no different. Oh the screams, when the family (both sides) arrived. She was so hyper that evening! Like extra extra hyper. She was also so excited to wear her princess dress. Two weeks before, she planned to wear her Minnie Mouse costume for her birthday party. But since she already wore it that week (just at home, no occasion), and I saw that she didn’t match her birthday set-up, I brought out 2 old flower girl gowns (Danae’s) and made her choose. When I went into the bathroom, she told me that she picked the Cinderella one, which is the blue one. I asked one of her sisters to help her out, while I prepared outside. She came out wearing the Belle dress! So adorable. ❤ And so like her. Sometimes she says no, but she actually means yes. She says one thing, but actually means another.

Thinking about the family get-together 2 weeks before, I asked Gianna what she wanted to eat on her birthday. Her immediate and consistent answer was “CAKE.” Later on she also said pasta. And then as I asked her what kind of pasta she wanted, or if she also wanted chicken, she mentioned “HOPIA.” Hahaha. There was indeed cake and hopia on her birthday. 🙂

20708198_1776898862324801_5410191435831637905_n

that’s hopia in the cupcake stand. and that’s the closest to the pink cake she wanted. she wanted a strawberry flavored one, but i doubt she’d enjoy eating it. she just really wanted a pink cake. hehehe 🙂

Eeeew….

One time last month, Noelle and I were eating breakfast together, while the two other girls were still asleep (I love one-on-one moments with my girls).

Noelle: How come I’m the only one in the family who doesn’t like sauce?

Me: Yeah, there are people who like it, there are people who don’t. Remember my old blog about our preferences in eating our hotdog? We’re all different. You ate yours without bread, nothing on it. Danae ate hers with bread and just mayo. I ate mine with bread and just ketchup, since they didn’t have mustard (and I would have much preferred tomato ketchup). Daddy ate his with bread, ketchup and mayo, but he likes everything.

Noelle: What do you mean he likes everything?

Me: Like if there was pickle relish, he would be okay with putting pickle relish.

Noelle: Eeeew.

Me: Haha. But that’s what makes Daddy a good missionary. He can do those things. He can eat anything.

Noelle: I can’t do that. I’m picky.

Me: Hehehe yeah. But, Noelle, what if God tells you to go on missions?

Noelle: (smiling and without batting an eyelash) I’ll bring lots of food.

Hahahaha. We got a laugh out of that one. But more so, I was blessed hearing that she is still willing to obey God despite her unwillingness to eat certain food. Ready to go for God, despite her reluctance to try the unfamiliar. God bless her heart. ❤

Lord, help us!

So many sad, scary, maddening, unbelievable things happening in the world lately. I just saw a video of what happened in Charlottesville and I am appalled. The hate. The anger. The mob. The exhilaration, the adrenalin of them coming together as a group. The unbelievably strong conviction they have that what they’re doing is right. The self-righteousness. The pride. Armed and ready to kill, yet according to one of them, they “showed incredible restraint.” Except for one who ran over some people with his car and killed one person, which they believe was a justifiable act. I just couldn’t believe it.

And here in my own country! The killing of a 17-year old boy. Does it matter if he was guilty of using and/or selling drugs? Innocent until proven guilty. And then when proven guilty, let the judge give him a sentence. He shouldn’t have been killed based on suspicion! He shouldn’t be killed even if found guilty! I know so many things are messed up in our justice system, corruption in the prison facilities and all. But I’d rather hope for restoration, reformation, rehabilitation, than believe that people are hopeless. Who are we to judge that they will never change? The Lord can change even the hardest of hearts. And this kid may have been innocent! Too many “Nanlaban” (resisted) stories in the news for me to think that it was not as witnesses said. Staged to look like a “justified killing.” It’s so scary to think that this could happen to any of us. I’ve watched enough (or too many) crime shows that depict real life to know that corrupt police officers can indeed plant evidence, twist facts, manipulate the system. Abusive of their power. Corrupted by greed. Empowered by their leader/s. Not all police, thank God, but some really are unworthy of trust.

And then about two weeks ago, my husband and I “survived” a shooting. We were two restaurants away from where the crime was committed. We did not see anything outside, but we heard gunshots, followed by screaming, then we saw people running inside and then towards us. At that time we had no clue what exactly was happening. But we immediately stood up and started moving. I grabbed my friend by the arm and pulled him. In my mind, I was panicking, wondering if it was a bomber or some guy going on a shooting spree, in which case I could get shot from behind. The danger was real. The fear was real. But I thank God for His grace and protection. First, my kids and my mom were not with me when I met with our friend. Second, King followed, so I felt safer that he was around. Third, King came 30 minutes before it happened (he came into the mall passing through the area of the crime scene). Fourth, I parked where I don’t normally park — on the other side. Fifth, we were able to walk away quickly, exit the building, and get home unharmed.

Call me sheltered, but this was the first time something like this happened so near me. I cannot believe that somebody was shot in quite literally our backyard! It was apparently a hit, an assassination. How easy it is for some people to take a life is beyond me. Some say justice was served because the man was a corrupt government official. I’m not so sure I agree that murder is justice. And I can’t believe that the perpetrators did it in such a public place! A wholesome, peaceful, public place! My kids, and many other kids, hang out by the fountain to play. Imagine the horror of parents who were actually there at that time. Traumatic and terrifying, I’m sure. I mean, it was traumatic for those who saw none of it, but were locked up inside a restaurant or caught in the stampede of people running out. My kids or any of us could have been caught in the crossfire, since reports said the guy’s bodyguards fired back. Too real. Too scary. Too crazy. Thank God no one else got killed, or was severely injured.

 

Lord, help us! We want to live in safety and in peace. We do not understand everything that is going on or why, but we trust in Your goodness and love for us. We hold on to your word that You go with us, that You will never leave us or forsake us. We trust that through trouble, we can draw strength from You, we can take refuge in You, and You will protect and save us. Help us do our part, not only in keeping our families safe, but by example, teaching our children to be God-fearing, law-abiding, Philippines-loving citizens. To be accepting and respectful of others, yet unafraid to use our influence to share the Gospel, to bring glory and honor to You. To fight, not with arms, but with our hands clasped and our knees bent. We declare You Lord of the Philippines, and we claim that blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Psalm 91

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
    and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
    nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
    though ten thousand are dying around you,
    these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
    and see how the wicked are punished.

If you make the Lord your refuge,
    if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
    no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
    to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
    you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.”

 

 

Conversations with Gianna 2

My dad used to call Danae his pretty rosebud.

My mom started calling Gianna the same a few months ago. She would say “Good morning, pretty rosebud!” Gianna barely replies. One evening, Gianna poured out my mom’s medicines onto the floor. My mom got angry and scolded her. She cried, I came home, that was that (she apologized late the next day). The next morning, Gianna went into her room….

Wowa: (being stern — she hadn’t apologized yet) Who are you?

Gianna: Pretty Rosebud.

Wowa: (to me, when she was telling me about it that day) Ano na lang gagawin ko? Marunong sumagot.

Hahahah. Many times she does not respond to “pretty rosebud.”. But this time, she used it to her advantage.

 

These days, when my mom asks her…..

Wowa: You’re my pretty?

Gianna: Gianna. Pretty Gianna.

She told me that she’s just Gianna, not Rosebud. Haha.

 

One time in my in-laws’ house….

Gianna: Ssssh…he’s sleeping. (pertaining to King’s brother-in-law, while moving quietly)

Kuya Larry: (Shifts position)

Gianna: (gets scared and scurries away) He’s moving, he’s moving!

This was just relayed to me, but it cracked me up so much. I could imagine her face, haha.

 

Gianna loves my friend’s dogs, friendly Shih Tzus named Sky and OB.

At a party in their house, she was beside their food bowls, encouraging the dogs to eat and drink. She left that area when I told her to. But she continually played with them. At one point, while Mommy was busy chatting with the ladies, she asked the Yayas (also her favorite, maybe because they accommodated her so much hahaha) for some cereal.

Yaya: You want this cereal? The chocolate one? (because she chose the cheerios)

Gianna: No. (I was surprised by her answer when my friend was telling me this story, because she likes chocolate cereal.) THAT’S DOG FOOD.

Hahahaha. The chocolate cereal did resemble dog food.

 

One time in Kids Church….

Gianna: Mommy, I want that.

Me: Which one, love?

Gianna: I want a skirt just like that, mommy.

She was pointing at a tutu worn by another little girl. She impressed me with her complete sentence. She’s into “princess dresses” these days, even just in the house.

 

One time, while we drove away from the house….

Gianna: Is that Raerae’s house?

Me: No.

Gianna: Whose is it?

Me: Somebody else’s.

Gianna: How bout our house?

Me: That’s not our house. Remember? What’s the color of our house?

Gianna: Orange!

Me: No, it’s brown and white.

Gianna: I want our house a pink color.

Me: No love. Our house will never be pink.

Gianna: I can’t?

Me: Yeah, you can’t.

Gianna: Awww.

She loves pink, haha.

 

Gianna can be demanding.

Gianna: I want to watch your laptop, mommy.

Me: You have to ask me nicely.

Gianna: Get your laptop, mommy.

Me: What’s the magic word?

Gianna: Laptop.

She would say the subject of her sentence every time I asked for the magic word — whether it was milk, the tablet, water. Thank God she now knows that PLEASE is the magic word.

 

They like to watch this Filipina girl singing on a talent show.

Me: (singing due to LSS) This girl is on fiyerrr….

Gianna: No, it’s FAYA mommy.

That’s how the girl sings it on the video.

 

Some of her funny words…..

“Marco Folo.”

“Des-pa-si-to lalalala Falito.” (we stopped listening to the song when we found out what the song meant, promise!)

Baby suits. “Mommy, can I wear my baby suits?”

“It’s taking forever, mom.”

When I tell her to sit down, she says “I am,” even when she’s sitting where she’s not supposed to.

“Ba-toh, ba-toh tink! Papell, ba-toh, tink!”

 

While we were having lunch last week…

Gianna was playing beside me, and she was kind of laughing and looking at the table behind us. She said to me, “Love love pipol, mommy.”

Awww, she has said that a few other times. She may have a heart for people. ❤

 

Gianna is indeed a delight to everyone around her. We don’t want her to grow up, but she is turning 3 tomorrow! Happy birthday, bingky boo. We love you! ❤

 

She shines like GOLD!

Before we get farther and farther away from July (I started writing this July 31st), I want to honor a friend of mine who recently celebrated her birthday. This woman shines like GOLD.

 

G – generous! She takes every opportunity to be generous. She shows her love through generosity. She welcomes us into her home. She loves to bless us with food! She’s an excellent cook and baker. She makes our birthdays and meetings extra special with her goodies. She is so thoughtful with gifts as well (she just gave me one the other day!). She’s generous with her children! She entrusts her young kids to me. Me, who often times feels like a kid, amidst the many wise women around me. I’m so thankful for this, not only that I can teach and minister to them, but that my kids and I can hang out with them. Heehee.

20245398_1754271231254231_2703908267104671583_n

#squad ❤

She’s generous with her wisdom and her talents. She teaches us, imparts to us, not only her love for the Lord and His people, but her love for her family. She sets the example of a servant leader, a loving and faithful wife, a hands-on and supportive mother, a creative and joyful home maker. She’s a blesser. In big ways and in small. Whether seen or unseen. Her heart is to be a blessing to others.

1000722_676107399070625_1035444811_n

We are all July celebrants. She made us each a “cookie cake” that year. It was her famous to-die-for chocolate chip cookie recipe. ❤ 

 

O – outstanding! She is an outstanding individual. She exudes excellence. She does not settle for “okay na yan” (though she is also not too uptight to say “okay lang yan” when necessary). She is a learner, a reader, and a writer — she loves wisdom. She is firm with her beliefs and strong in her convictions. She has a standard for what she does. In fact, it shows in the ingredients she chooses when she bakes. She does not compromise the quality of her work. Whatever she puts out there – teaching, training, tablescapes, food, writing, even pictures – she makes sure of quality. She is an excellent planner and she always comes prepared. But she is willing to learn, get ideas from others, in order to improve herself and/or her creations. She is also always so put together. One look at her eyebrows and you’ll agree with me, haha. Her home is always pristine, whether there are people coming to visit or not. Everything she does, she does with excellence. And not because she is haughty or proud, or because she is a “pastor’s wife,” but because she believes in giving her best to the Lord. Take out that title, and I believe she would still be the same person, loving and honoring God with everything she is and has. She does this out of the overflow of her heart, grateful for God’s love and His grace in her life.

IMG_4629

Our lovely hostess. She joyfully cooks and bakes EVERYTHING for her guests. ❤ 

2013 Wives Party - 73

Like a mom, she enjoys seeing us enjoy. ❤ Look at the haaaaam. 🙂

L – loving leader. She genuinely loves us and cares for us. She shares in both our happy moments and sad. In our successes and in our struggles. She cares about our families, how we honor our husbands, how we raise our children. She encourages us and believes in us. She pushes us to be excellent, not in an overbearing or forceful way, but by example, in a way where we want to learn and follow. She has taught us so much about character and integrity, with the way she and Pastor Ariel live and lead. She is not perfect and she is not afraid to share her flaws. She is humble. She can laugh at herself. She can admit her faults. Because she understands the grace of the Lord and believes in the power of God to transform her. That’s where her compassion for people comes from as well.

We really look up to her and we want to learn from her. When she calls for a meeting, we go. Even when we know she’d understand if we couldn’t make it, we do our best to work our schedules so we can be there. But there are also times she “strongly encourages” us to be there, which means “be there,” haha. I think that’s testament to her kind of leadership. She has “earned” our respect and our loyalty because of her genuine love for us and for the church. Because of her passion to obey the Lord. Whatever it takes, for the sake of the call. She takes her platform as a pastor’s wife with humility, and she uses it with great respect and responsibility.

20476316_1761058190575535_94009417522007236_n

This was during our recent training, which she led and organized for us pastors’ wives and campus missionaries. She baked for us too. ❤ 

D – designer. She has an eye for beauty. I believe anything she gets her hands on, she can make into something beautiful. She is an artist. Cakes, cookies, party set-ups, table settings, flowers, event set-ups. Give her leaves and she can make them pretty on a table! Give her a small room or an entire facility to design, and she’ll make it absolutely breathtaking. She pays heed to the little details AND the overall effect. She is just beyond creative. She has great taste. And I get so encouraged when she tells me that I’m creative. I’m nowhere near her talent, but I’ll take it, haha. Coming from her, wow. She inspired me in so many ways, Christmas most especially. So now I’m always on the lookout for Christmas stuff haha. Decorating our home and doing our Christmas traditions. Making it memorable and Jesus-centered every year. My family loves it.

 

 

Get wisdom; develop good judgment.
    Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.
    Love her, and she will guard you.
Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
    And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. Proverbs 4:5-7

Oh, the joys of those who do not
    follow the advice of the wicked,
    or stand around with sinners,
    or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
    meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
    bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
    and they prosper in all they do. Psalm 1:1-3

10 “But he knows where I am going.
    And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.
11 For I have stayed on God’s paths;
    I have followed his ways and not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from his commands,
    but have treasured his words more than daily food. Job 23:10-12

Thank you, Shirley, for being you. Belated happy birthday! Stay ageless. Stay secure in your identity in Christ. Stay passionate about God and His call for your life. Stay passionate about your family. May the Lord grant you the deepest, secret desires of your heart. And may you grow more and more like Christ. I love and appreciate you. ❤