MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, YOUTH MINISTRY

WHY WE LOVE THE YOUTH

Before we even met, King and I had already been serving in the youth ministry, and within those years in the kids ministry as well, though he became a Christian and started way before I did. When we got engaged and got married (a whirlwind, I must say), we also helped out with the singles. I think I let go of the kids ministry when I started having my own kids (a ministry in itself). So the youth and the singles were the only two groups in church then that I had the desire to minister to. And though King was already open to ministering to young married couples, I really wasn’t until just late of last year. King also “switched” jobs last year, from youth pastor to worship services pastor. Nevertheless, neither of us let go of our involvement with young people.

I realize that there is very good reason why, besides the fact that it is where I grew up and matured — ironic since I started in the youth ministry in my early twenties. With the youth, there is always a sense of newness, maybe much like our own beginning as a christian. There is that undeniable passion for God and to reach out to those who do not yet know God. There is that fire that we know we once had and we always want to have again. As we serve, help, teach, disciple, minister to them, we become privileged witnesses of their growth, of their faith. And we become inspired again and again. Our flames are fanned again and again.

I want to always go back to being like the youth. I want to be on fire, passionate, enthusiastic like they are. I want to always be in awe of God’s goodness, no matter how seemingly small the victory or breakthrough. I do not want to be too “Christian” for my own good, that I do not appreciate daily miracles anymore. I do not want to get tired of hearing God’s work in people’s lives, even if it’s as small as God answering prayers for parking or as basic as God teaching them to trust Him.

I don’t want to “know it all” already. I don’t want to be set in my ways. I want to remain eager to listen and learn, open to new exciting ideas. In other words, I don’t want to grow “old” haha! So to Grounded, our church’s youth group, thank you for keeping us young! And to our children, thank you for your example of child-like faith! 🙂

Motherhood, My Kids, Parenting

Ten Times Better Already

We named Danae after Daniel of the Bible. He’s one of our favorite people, along with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They had great faith and courage, and were ten times better than their counterparts. But before I continue, this blog is in NO WAY AIMED TO MAKE YOU COMPARE YOUR KIDS or other kids to ours. We are not claiming that our kids are ten times better than their friends or other kids. We are, however, claiming that they ARE ten times better….than their parents!

For one thing, Danae is so much more mature than I or King ever were when we were her age (5 and a half). Noelle’s vocabulary is more extensive than mine or King’s when we were her age (2 years & 5 months). They are both articulate, smart and very confident.

I know I performed in school quite often (a pre-school play, field demonstrations and the like), but I was never comfortable in front of many people. I wasn’t comfortable with even a few. In grade school, they would get me to join declamation contests, and maybe because I was pushed, I’d agree. But I never won anything because I really am not much of a performer. Sure, I can speak. But that’s it. Now that I’m older, I am way more confident than I was, but Danae was BORN confident and fearless. Unafraid of almost anything. Adventurous too! I thought at first that Noelle was timid, but she’s pretty fearless too. I saw that when she almost jumped from the boat to join King in the water (Coron) and when she danced with us on stage in front of hundreds of people (Victory Alabang Leaders’ Night). I guess it just took a while for her confidence and fearlessness to come out.

I’m amazed at how expressive Danae is. I thank God that she trusts me and can freely share things with me, without any fears of being judged or being reprimanded (though there are times that I do reprimand of course). I guess that attributes to her confidence and fearlessness too. It doesn’t take much to draw things out of her and she can articulate her feelings well. That’s God’s grace right there. I’m so grateful that she and Noelle need not be caged because of insecurities and fear of rejection, like I was when I was young.

I’m amazed at how my girls take on food. Well, Noelle eats almost anything so it’s no surprise that she eats almost any vegetable. But I was surprised at how receptive she was to the idea when I introduced malunggay capsules in their diet. She doesn’t care if her food turns green. She’s the one who reminds me and is excited to put the green powder on her food! Eeew right? haha. Danae is a bit like me, somewhat picky when it comes to food, though she eats most vegetables and is eating those that I only started eating a few years ago. I still don’t eat onions to this day and Danae, if she sees them, doesn’t eat them either. She does eat them unknowingly when I feed her (hehe). I wasn’t planning to give her malunggay capsules since she drinks milk (Noelle doesn’t but needs calcium), but she was also interested. I knew putting it on her food wouldn’t work but I was surprised that she wanted to try swallowing the capsule. I thought she’d have a hard time, it being her first time. She didn’t! No struggle at all. While 33 year old me, still struggles with tablets sometimes!

I’m tempted to say that I know these things are so shallow, but they’re really not. They mean a great deal to me. I am grateful that as early as now, their communication skills and eating habits are already good. As early as now, they are already confident and fearless. As early as now, they are getting to know and learning to love the Lord. My girls are a handful and are very strong-willed. I see so much of me in them, which makes me fearful of who they will become. But seeing that as early as now, they are already ten times better than me, gives me the hope that they need not make as many mistakes as I did and that THEY WILL DISCOVER THEIR GOD-GIVEN PURPOSE & DESTINY EARLY, and FLING THEIR LIVES TO IT.

Parenting

God’s Word to a Child

Attending the 8am service today and hearing Ptr Jun’s preaching about the authority of God’s word in our lives reinforced my plan to share about what our daughter Danae has been learning these days. As much as possible, King and I read the Bible to our girls (though Noelle doesn’t really sit and listen yet and Danae gets distracted a lot still) before bedtime. We believe that we are sowing God’s word into the hearts and minds of our daughters whether they understand it already or not, whether they listen attentively or not, whether they stay awake for the whole thing, including processing and prayer, or not.

But teaching them about God does not begin or end at Bible time. Every situation is a teaching opportunity. An ordinary moment like a ride in the car can turn into a teaching moment when we teach our kids to be thankful for what we have as they see other kids selling sampaguita or begging for money in the street, when we teach them to pray even for a mere parking space, or when we teach them about helping others as we bring friends to the bus/fx station or straight to their homes. A hilarious instance like when Danae did not listen to me during Family Camp, kept walking on mud and fell like I said she would, became a teaching moment on listening and obeying right away. There are countless opportunities to teach our children.

When Danae says that she does not love someone, either a friend or family member because they’re not being nice to her, we always remind her that the Bible says that Jesus wants us to love others (John 13:34). When we hear her complain because she wants something that a friend has even though she already has one that’s a different version, we remind her of what she learned in Kids Church — “Do not compare. Be happy. (Exodus 20:17)” When we discipline her and she says that she will obey, we remind her to let her “yes” be “yes” and let her “no” be “no” (Matt 5:37). Let’s just hope and pray that she never says “no” to obeying haha.

We’ve taught her the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), but for some reason, only the first 5 has stuck with her. Before, every time she would see a statue or a bust, she’d point it out, say that it’s an idol, and remind us that God said to not make idols. She says “Oh my gosh” a lot but months ago, she heard someone say “Oh my god” and started copying it, jokingly even, knowing that we disapproved. Now she knows not to take God’s name in vain (or disrespect His name). We also have the R word, which is respect. All we need to say is “remember the R word?” and she immediately quotes the 5th commandment, “Respect your parents.” Though of course sometimes, it takes her getting the rod before she actually does it.

I find that it’s easier to go to the Bible to explain to Danae why something she is doing is wrong, because she accepts it as the truth. It actually matters to her what God says, and she actually wants to obey God and make Him happy. In other words, God’s word already has authority in my little girl’s life! I’m so amazed because I was nowhere near her maturity when I was her age. Of course she’s only 4 & 1/2 and acts like it a lot, but we can see that the Word of God is already at work in her life. Wow. 🙂

Family, My Kids, Parenting

WISDOM FROM MY CHILDREN

Danae was watching tv one day, waiting for the next show on Playhouse Disney. She looked at me and said, “I hope it’s Chloe’s Closet.” It just amazed me to hear Danae use that word. She uses “wish” a lot, saying she wishes she could ride a tricycle, or have some toy or whatever, but not “hope.” She wasn’t hoping for anything deep like world peace or justice either, but as little as she is, she already knows how to hope. Her first written sentence is also about hope. “I HOP I COD WISH FOR MI SCOTR.” What about us? As old as we are, do we still know how to hope? Or have we lost all of it? Who do we put our hope in?

May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 39:7

A few weeks ago, Danae didn’t want to read her Bible before going to bed. When we asked her if she didn’t want to know God more, she said, “I already know God.” Hahaha. Sound familiar? Do we think we already know everything there is to know about God? More importantly, do we think we’re so close to God that we can’t get any closer? Do we already know God’s next move, His plan?

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! 1 Chronicles 16:11

Danae is a lot like me in terms of personality, where she can make a big deal out ofsomething so small. She doesn’t know yet how to pick her battles, while I am still learning hehehe. Noelle is the one more like King, who is easy going and is fine with almost anything. They get into arguments (well, Noelle expresses herself physically, while Danae does it verbally and physically), and Danae is the one who easily gets upset. When Noelle grabs from Danae, you’re sure to hear a protest from Danae. When Danae grabs from Noelle, unless it’s something that she really really likes, Noelle doesn’t complain and finds another thing to play with or use. Danae is an active kid (probably an understatement), and can be rough many-a-time. She gets excited and “gigil” with Noelle, and we’re the ones fearful that they both might get hurt. Noelle most often just giggles away. When Noelle hurts Danae, whether deliberately or accidentally, Danae pretty much gets annoyed easily. We often remind her to take a look at her sister. Even though Noelle is younger, she could learn a thing or two from her.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12