Marriage, YOUTH MINISTRY

FRANTIC and FRUITFUL FEBRUARY 3

After my speaking engagement in Marillac, I joined King in speaking at the youth service the same day. It was the final installment of the Love series, wherein we shared about marriage. As usual, we started by sharing our amazing love story. This might be a long read, but I’m sure for all the romantics out there, it will be well worth it.

The year was 2003. There was talk of LA Mumar and a certain King Lucero of Talents InC moving to VCF- Alabang to eventually plant the Sta Rosa church. I knew LA by name and face of course since he used to be an actor. I had no clue who King Lucero was. When they finally came to church in September, I didn’t get to meet them right away. It was Macy, LA’s wife (they were newly married then), whom I introduced myself to after one service. Things just rolled from there. We would hang out a lot, even in the Mumars’ Mamplasan home at times….me, Ayessa, Sharon, Haidee, Macy, LA and King.

The church was growing and we were moving from WestGate to Festival Mall in December. King got some youth and singles to dance for our first service in the mall. Being a “dancer” too, I was excited to watch their first rehearsal. Then Sharon asked me to join them. After a while, I agreed as long as it was okay with King, since he was the choreographer and leader of the whole thing. King accommodated me (though later on he told me that he didn’t plan on getting any more dancers…he was just being polite…hehehe). That’s how we became a bit more friends. I even brought him food the night before the dance because I felt sorry for him that he had already finished editing his video but it somehow disappeared from the computer. He stayed in Westgate that night, and slept very little.

And so we danced in front of the whole congregation the next day. I remember somebody saying we (King and I) looked good together on stage. Come to think of it, I remember saying to myself when they first introduced King during service at Westgate that I don’t want to be impressed by his dancing abilities. Good thing I was with him on stage as opposed to just watching him. Just to remind you though, this was before any kind of attraction began between us. We both had “other interests”.

Victory Night was a week or so after that and as I entered the center, I noticed myself scanning the room for King. LA eventually told me, when I asked, that he was in Myanmar for missions. I was disappointed that he wasn’t there, but a different kind of respect for him grew inside of me. Though I still did not like him like him yet.

Anyway, to make the short story even shorter, by prayer and fasting in January 2004, King asked for and received a vision from God. It was me, waving at him. He actually saw it happen later on that week when I was waving for him to call Jose (Quest). I, on the other hand, for the first time, did not include marriage in my faith goals that year. He didn’t act on his feelings right away, but waited to see if it would grow even without constant communication. We weren’t text mates. We would only hang out when La and Macy were there, maybe once a week or even less. During this time, I would always ask myself (as other people would ask me too), if I was open to King “if ever”. And I was. But there came many points in our interactions that made me think that we don’t jive because we had different wavelengths.

It was on the first week of March that I was so distracted by thoughts of him. As in I would cry to God because I didn’t want to be distracted. I did everything I could to escape, but it was that week that God spoke to me about King.

On March 6, my friend and victory group leader Michelle, after I admitted to her and to myself for the first time that I liked liked King, encouraged me and prayed for me, saying that it’s a new season that I should be excited for. Indescribable and undeniable peace rested in my heart, and I just knew that King was the one. I wondered when it was all going to unfold, but I didn’t even have time to get impatient because King laid down his intentions for me the next day! His plan was actually to do it Monday, but Pastor Neil said “why not tonight?” It was a Sunday. And the timing was just perfectly orchestrated by God. I was busy with Kids’ church (though my ministry involvement then was Junior Kids) the whole day because Jun Calalang asked for help about a month prior. Apparently, Macy, Ayessa and Sharon were out the whole afternoon because they got their hair done. Kay, another good friend, was supposed to come back to church to accompany a friend but that friend couldn’t come anymore, so she didn’t come back either. I attended the last service, saw Michelle and we sat together. Before the service ended, Michelle disappeared for a while. By end of the service, King approached me and asked if I wanted to eat (which was usual for our group after service, except I didn’t know that there was nobody else there that night but LA), and I said “yes, tara, I’m hungry.” I even asked LA and he acted as if he was also coming. Little did I know that everyone knew! Pastor Neil and King spoke to Michelle that evening. LA and the other pastors knew what was happening while I was clueless. Some even said congratulations, which I didnt’ “get” thank God, else it would have been ruined because I would have run away haha. But I did notice that only the two of us walked out of the center, and so I asked where everyone else was. King couldn’t answer me straight. I texted Michelle and she said she knew. Man!!!! I was cornered! Happy to be, though nervous. So we ate at Almon Marina….. actually, i ate (steak) and King could barely touch his soup. He made his spiel and he asked me if i was okay with that. I agreed of course, though at first I was planning to say no just to mess with his head. In short, courtship began…..and ended on April 14 because he proposed in a beautiful home in Bataan, overlooking the ocean, and we got engaged. Seven months later, a little over a year after we first met, on November 15, 2004, past 3pm, we got married at Taal Vista Hotel, Tagaytay.

Today, we’re on our way to our 7th anniversary, and we have two beautiful daughters. If not for the Lord, His grace and mercy, who knows where our family would be headed? But because of His presence in our lives, we are what we are — together, blessed, and happy. 🙂

Parenting

VISUAL, are you?

I believe I am a visual person. When I see something that catches my attention, I most probably will remember it for a long time. So you can bet that some of the obscene things I’d seen in the past are still in my memory, though I choose not to actually picture them in my head. I wish I did not get exposed to such things and have to go through that, but I did. I guess in this case, my memory loss or the slowing down of my brain (which I totally blame on giving birth and epidural hahaha) is a good thing.

And that is why guarding what our children watch is so important to me and to King. We want to protect our kids from things they see that could harm them. We do our best to monitor what they watch on TV and in the movies. At home, they can watch most of the shows on Playhouse Disney unless the content is about Halloween or anything scary, and very few shows on Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. They are not allowed to switch channels by themselves because of the possibility of accidentally switching to a channel that is totally not safe for any kid, such as channels that carry shows with violent or sexual content. We choose the movies that they watch in the theater, making sure beforehand as much as possible, that it’s safe, meaning no kissing scenes, no witchcraft, no foul language, no violence and anything we deem too mature for our children. If not, we’re ready to cover their eyes.

When Shrek came out, we watched it with the kids. We didn’t realize they’d be showing a lot of trailers of movies that aren’t kid-friendly! During the first trailer, King’s hand was over Pablo’s eyes, mine were on Danae’s and Noelle’s. Imagine how tiring that was! Danae was on my left on her own seat, while Noelle was on my right in her stroller. It was practically 2 minutes long. Only 2 minutes, but it seemed like forever for my unfit arms! After that first one, I asked King to bring Pablo and Danae out while the movie wasn’t starting yet. That was a good 10 minutes. After the movie, we also realized that it was funnier for the adults and too mature for the kids.

Recently, Danae came to the knowledge of a certain Justin Bieber and since has claimed that she loves him. She told me that she saw the video on YouTube and that there’s no kissing, only Justin’s face very close to a girl’s face. She even showed me, putting her forehead to mine. A few weeks ago, King left his laptop on at home while we were out on a date. When we came back, Danae told us about this new Justin Bieber song that she learned. After a while, I asked her where she got it coz I’d never even heard of it. She said she saw it on Dad’s laptop, and then King told me that he saw on his Google search the word “Jasten”. She did that by herself! We already told her that it’s not safe to just click away on the computer, and that not all shows on YouTube are okay for kids. Not all shows or videos are okay for adults, for that matter. She was disciplined for that, and since then has not been allowed to watch anything on YouTube unsupervised.

I know my daughter. She’s very perceptive and impressionable. And her memory is exceptional. But she’s only 4, for crying out loud!!! I don’t want her mind to be filled with unnecessary thoughts of boys and such. She’s already very curious about weddings and marriage, and we’ve recently been hearing the word “boyfriend” in her monologues. As you can see, we cannot shield her from EVERYTHING she hears or sees from people around and in places we go. But we still want to do what we can to protect her. It doesn’t matter to me if people think I’m overreacting or that I’m too strict. I don’t buy into the “it’s okay, they’re too young to understand it anyway” thing. I am a firm believer of NOT UNDERESTIMATING A CHILD’S INTELLIGENCE, even a child Noelle’s age or younger. Having said that, I am also a firm believer of NOT OVERESTIMATING A CHILD’S EMOTIONAL MATURITY. There are things we think our children are ready for, but they may really not be, even if we properly explain it to them or even if they seem to respond the right way. I choose to not expose my kids to certain things because I know what I went through — the impure desires that got stirred up from watching romantic shows, movies, videos, and reading romantic stories, also the foul language and bad attitude I picked up from all sorts of movies. I do not want my children to suffer from the same mistakes I made, whether from neglect on my parents’ part or from my own unwise decisions. It is just unnecessary to allow them to be subjected to that kind of torture. Torture???? Yes, TORTURE. You see something, it plays over and over in your head, you don’t know what to do with it, you can’t get it out of your mind, it affects your thoughts, your speech, your dreams, your behavior. Adult minds are not immune to this, more so young minds.

We are teaching our children to protect their minds and hearts by being careful with what they watch, what they read and what they hear. I only learned to do this at age 24 when I gave my life to the Lord, and am still doing it now at age 33. We want them to form this HABIT as early as now, so that it will, sooner than later, become a strong CONVICTION and a consistent LIFESTYLE. We pray that our girls will live pure and holy lives before God. That’s why we named them Katina Danae and Katrin Noelle. Katina and Katrin mean PURE. We claimed it then, we claim it now, and we claim it tomorrow and each day after that. 🙂