Discipleship, Spiritual Family

Great Faith

It’s prayer and fasting again! Nothing like starting the year right as a family. Using the kids’ manual, we talked about the great faith of Abraham and then Sarah last night.

When asked what could be keeping them from hearing God’s voice, perhaps distracting them during their quiet time, Danae and Noelle gave such honest answers. Funny that Noelle included Gianna in her list. Her little sister really is a distraction because they like to play with each other. 😂When asked what one step she can take to help her hear God better, she said that she would lock herself in the room when it’s time to read her Bible and pray. Great action plan.

Danae’s answer was funny too, but profound. She said that her own thoughts distracted her from hearing God. I found it funny because she does get sidetracked easily with things that pop in her head. Then for her one step, she said that she would focus more and WONDER about God’s word more. I thought at first that was a pretty vague answer, not much of an action plan. But when we started praying, I realized she was on point.

To wonder more means to be more curious, to be more interested. To want to know God more.

Wow. I say amen to that. I pray that wonder, that desire grows as they/we continue to read the Bible. We have also been talking about writing God’s word in the tablet of our heart, so I pray that that growing wonder will translate to unwavering faith, straight paths, and great love for the Lord. ❤️

Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. Romans 4:19-21

Marriage, THE PRODUCTIVE WIFE

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

 

Just My Thoughts

Out of sight, out of mind?

When she’s in the mood to stay put and when she likes her food, Gianna pretty much feeds herself. Obviously, there are spills and messes here and there. When that happens, she calls me to clean it up, or she asks for tissue so she could wipe it. If it’s on the chair (she doesn’t sit on a high chair anymore), she usually waits for me to finish picking up the mess before she sits back down. I noticed that she doesn’t like to SEE the mess in her area. Sometimes she moves her plate or bowl over the spilled rice or what have you, to cover it up.

This happened again recently when some of her milk spilled onto the counter. She called me, but before I wiped it, she was already putting her cup over the spill. I told her that I needed to clean it, because even though she covers it, it’s still messy under there.

Doesn’t that sound so familiar? Out of sight, out of mind? We don’t want to be reminded of our mistakes, our problems, our flaws. And we try so hard to cover it up. We bury ourselves in work, keep ourselves busy. We party to forget. We go on trips to escape. We avoid people who we know are not afraid to ask us how we are. We project a happy front on our social media accounts. Sometimes, we even hide behind ministry or volunteer work. But no matter how hard we try, our issues don’t magically disappear. They’re still there.

I cleaned the countertop and the bottom of Gianna’s cup. Just as she needed me to help her, we need Jesus to help us with our messes. We could go on hiding and covering up our issues, just let it fester deep in our hearts, but is that how we really want to live? We compound our problem, make it harder to get to a solution, and perpetuate more covering up. Not only that, we miss out. We miss out on the beauty of Jesus. He starts with that which no one sees — our heart. He cleans from the inside out. He HEALS from the inside out. With Jesus, we encounter the truth. The truth that we are sinners and that we need Him as our LORD and Savior. That apart from Him, we can do nothing. We learn to surrender to Him. We learn humility. We learn repentance. We seek and receive forgiveness. We experience freedom. We learn obedience and faith. With Jesus we get a new, clean heart. We get a fresh start. We live a FULL life.

Now to be clear, we will still make mistakes. Gianna is a toddler. She will still have accidents. WE are human. We’re still flawed. We still sin. We will have problems. And that is precisely why we need Jesus, not just in the beginning, but every single day of our lives. With Jesus, there’s no more need for hiding or covering up. We just run back to Him each time. TRUTH, REPENTANCE, FAITH. Repeat. With Jesus, we grow with ever-increasing glory. With Jesus, we can face our problems with confidence because we are secure in His love and our hope is in Him.

 

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:7-9

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:28-31

 

Family, My Kids, Parenting

We Can’t Afford It

Before the school year ended, our family was faced with a dilemma. Do we go back to homeschooling for both girls or do we put them both in regular school? Or should we keep one in regular school and keep the other in homeschool?

Our original plan was actually to put both girls in Danae’s school, but we were suddenly apprehensive about the cost due to certain changes that the school made. I told the girls that we may not be able to afford it. But Danae really wanted to stay in her school. She said if she had no choice then she would agree to homeschooling again. Noelle said she was fine with continuing homeschooling. Perhaps I was not convinced of that plan, that I would constantly check the girls about what they thought about it. I would go back and forth, thinking and asking God what would be best for our girls.

I was leaning towards homeschooling them both again (with the help of a teacher), but no matter how hard I tried to convince Danae, she would not budge. Even when she would recall hurtful situations that happened in school and cry while telling me, she still insisted that she wanted to stay. She believes that she learns better there. Noelle started out excited about homeschooling again, but then slowly seemed indifferent. One morning, she quietly told me how she really felt — she wanted to go to Danae’s school! She was willing to homeschool only because we could not afford to put her in regular school.

That broke my heart. I really cried to God and to King. I did not want to put the burden on my daughter about what we can or cannot afford. She should not have to sacrifice for us. That is our job as her parents, to make sacrifices in order to give her and her sisters the best that we can possibly give. That pushed us to rethink and reorganize.

As I was talking to one of my mentors about this, she told me that they never tell their kids that they can’t afford something. That’s where I realized my mistake. Even though I want my children to be aware of the reality of expenses and I don’t want them to grow up feeling entitled, I should never say the words “we can’t afford.” I realized that telling them we can’t afford something tells them that it is useless to dream, that some things are just not possible for them. Telling them that sends the message that we are relying on our own capacity and looking at ourselves as the source. Instead, like what my husband always does, I should encourage them to pray and ask God. I should help them believe that God is able, that God owns all, that God is good, that God knows and gives best to His children.

Though it may be true that we cannot afford all things, I do not have to burden my children with that fact. I must encourage them with the truth that with God, all things are possible. We do our part as parents, and we wait on God and watch Him prove Himself faithful.

This school year, they are both going to The Sycamore woohooo! Not because we can afford it, but because we believe that God will provide. However, they also know that we take it a year at a time. Next year may be different, not because we can’t afford it, but because their needs may be different. We have been pleased with the regular school set up of The Sycamore (formerly 360 Studio) because basically it is homeschool away from home and we have been happy with the character building and the disciplines Danae has learned, but we do not close our doors on homeschooling yet. The Lord knows best and we will submit to His will for our children. 🙂

 

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

 

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Luke 12:24-26

 
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
    for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Psalm 34:8-10

FEATURED, Just My Thoughts

On Courageous Caitie

I don’t personally know this little girl, but her story touches and breaks my heart. I was not able to follow the whole thing and to this day, even after she has passed, I cannot yet bring myself to read her parents’ posts or look at her pictures. The first post I read, when Courageous Caitie came to my attention a few weeks ago, was one where a picture of Caitie’s bruised arms were shown. A picture of her smiling through all the equipment connected to her was also there.

Oh the courage of this little girl indeed! A tiny body enduring so much, and still having the ability to smile through it. And her parents! Their unwavering faith in God. Watching their baby go through, cry through everything she did must have been torture. Being torn between crumbling like children themselves and being strong for their little one. Being torn between trying every possible treatment in the book and letting Caitie’s body rest. But through it all, they remained steadfast. Not knowing whether God was going to heal Caitie or take her, they still trusted God and believed that He is good. How blessed was she to have been loved, cared for, prayed for by such faith-filled parents.

Now that Caitie is resting in God’s arms, I cannot begin to imagine how much they miss their precious princess. They must be at peace knowing that she is safe, no longer suffering, and happy in heaven, but their hearts must be longing to hear her laughter, see her beautiful face, hold her hand, and cuddle her in their arms. I look at my 1 year old baby (who is also Kaitlin) and I think about my two older daughters. I can’t imagine losing any one of them. It would be too painful. I mourn and cry with the Lucas family for their loss. I pray that the Holy Spirit and the love of so many friends and strangers alike would comfort them in this season. And at the same time, I celebrate with them the life of their courageous Caitie. At such a young age, she touched and inspired so many of us.

I believe that God never moves without purpose and Caitie’s death is no exception. What that is exactly may escape us, but I know her death leads me to pray. I pray that all of us parents will never take for granted the time we have with our children. I pray that we will not be consumed by the trivial, but invest in the most important — God, family, people. I pray that we will celebrate our children, love them, appreciate them, teach them, build them up. I pray that when we (or even they) die, there are no regrets because we loved them well, in words, in actions and with our time, while we were alive.

Children are a blessing
    and a gift from the Lord. Psalm 127:3 CEV

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; 

his love endures forever. Psalm 107:1 NIV 

The Lord works out everything to its proper end— Proverbs 16:4a

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 NIV

“When the time comes for you to die, you need not be afraid, because death cannot separate you from God’s love.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon

 

 

 

Marriage, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Eight Years of Learning – Faith and Finance

King and I celebrate our 8th anniversary today! It’s been eight years of highs and lows, successes and failures, joys and sorrows, breakthroughs and struggles. Eight years of LEARNING. We have been to 2 marriage retreats in the past month. We learned a great deal from listening to our leaders’ stories and testimonies.

Bishop Jurray Mora and his wife Dea shared about faith and finances during one of the sessions in our marriage retreat in Bellevue. I love how they each had a side in every story they shared. It showed just how different a husband and a wife deals with certain issues. Their testimony was just so real and so encouraging.

In our marriage, King is the one with more faith in terms of finances while I am the more practical one. There are times when fear hits me, but I was reminded during the session that when faith is replaced by fear, I am not able to see that I am God’s child. I need to remind myself that I am more than a steward, because I am an heir, a son, and I have access to all of God’s riches. Thank God His provision is not dependent on my performance, but on His goodness. And I have tasted and seen that the Lord IS good!

Thank you, Babe, for always being in faith! I am always proven wrong when I doubt. We have made mistakes, but God is always faithful. Thank you for your example of humility, patience and faith. I want to be like you when I grow up hehehe. Happy 8th anniversary! I love you! 🙂

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:15-17

This is post #5 out of 8, for 8 wonderful years! Click here for post #4 and here for post #6! 🙂

My Kids, Parenting

power of a praying child

When Danae was a baby, we noticed that she would cry at dawn for no apparent reason, but we quickly learned that it was because she wanted to pray for something or someone. She would stop after we prayed. She learned to pray even before she could actually talk, putting her hands together and saying “dada” (her amen) after the prayer. When she was 2, she prayed or maybe even prophesied that the baby in my belly was a girl. Now, she and Noelle pray for and prophesy having a baby brother.

For years, King has been telling Danae to pray for parking space each time we have a hard time finding one, and God almost always immediately answers her prayer. Parking isn’t a big deal, I know. But this has been consistent. And even if there will be times that we don’t find a parking space right away, we still believe that Danae has the GIFT OF PRAYING.

Lately, she has been telling me that some of her classmates upset her because they would tease her and keep “secrets” from her. I’d tell her to ignore them and ask help from teacher if they don’t stop. We would pray for it too. There was even a time she got so mad that she ended up scratching her classmate, for which she apologized of course and got the rod at home. One day last week, I asked her how her day was and if her classmates teased her again. She said to me “no, mom. CAUSE I PRAYED.”

Our children’s faith gets built up when THEY pray. When Danae doesn’t feel like praying, we remind her that she has a God-given gift and that she should use it. Praying is a privilege because it is our direct access to God, and it is always a privilege to pray for other people too. It’s up to us parents to encourage our children to keep praying and to rejoice with them when God answers their prayers. 🙂

My Kids, Parenting

GOD VS SATAN 2

“Satan made me do it!” “Si Satan kasi!” Words we used to hear Danae say when we would discipline her.

Yup, we do that sometimes too. We blame others for the things that “happen” to us. Really? It’s his fault? It’s her fault? Really?

We always have a choice. Satan, or anyone else for that matter, can’t make us do anything. We have control over our thoughts and actions. It is a choice WE, consciously or unconsciously, make. We can choose to obey God, and not give the devil a foothold. We can choose to believe God, instead of believing the lies of the enemy. We can choose to fight with the word of God, instead of giving in to Satan’s temptations.

Like I said in my old blog, Danae is only 6 but she is already experiencing this struggle in her heart. She is aware of it and she can articulate it. What she needs to learn now, and not later like me, is to stop pointing fingers at others and to own up to her mistakes. She has the power to fight the enemy. She has the power to resist the power of suggestion, whether from satan himself, or from her sister, cousins or friends. But when she does make a mistake, she also has the power to CHOOSE to RESPOND, to correction or any situation, RIGHT.

In Christ, we hold that power as well. The question is, are we using it?

Family, Just My Thoughts

God of Miracles

Last August, after King’s ordeal with his slipped disc, I got to talk to Danae about MIRACLES. I don’t remember exactly how I explained what a miracle is, except that it is something only God can do of course, but I told her that daddy getting well without surgery was a miracle. I called it DADDY’S MIRACLE. I then told her about HER miracle, that she was born with her umbilical cord wrapped twice, tightly around her neck. I told her that it could have caused her to be disabled to say the least, but praise God that she was spared from that and that her body and mind are functioning properly. That’s actually an understatement. She’s extremely active AND smart!

I didn’t know where the conversation would go, but I was pleasantly surprised by her question. “What’s NOELLE’s miracle?” I didn’t have to think hard because Noelle’s case of bloody poo when she was around 3 months old came to mind. Noelle pooped constantly. No farting, all pooping. And we found blood in her stool. We saw a number of doctors, feared the unknown, feared that she would have to go through an endoscopy to check her stomach at such a young age. But again praise God that it didn’t have to go that far. It was just a case of a really bad allergy to chocolate, which she was getting from me as I breastfed her. When I stopped eating chocolates, she stopped having bloody poo.

Inevitably, Danae’s next question was “What’s YOUR miracle, mom?” This one I had to think about. I was never hospitalized until I gave birth to Danae. I had no sicknesses or any medical issues whatsoever, my entire life. The most truthful answer I could give her was my salvation. My miracle IS my salvation. If Jesus did not save me, I would not be who I am now. I would not be where I am now. If Jesus didn’t save me, who knows what kind of life I’d be leading?

Just the other night, many people witnessed God’s miracle on King. At our church’s Volunteers Appreciation Night, he (a.k.a. Bruno Mars) along with the other pastors danced on stage. If you didn’t hear about his ordeal, you really wouldn’t know that he has a deteriorated, herniated disc, with nerve impinged, on his lower back. He did not break dance of course, but he danced nonetheless!

It just reminds me to NEVER FORGET WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE! REJOICE AND BE GRATEFUL! I am grateful for King, Danae and Noelle — alive, healthy, and happy. I am ETERNALLY GRATEFUL for my miracle. I am SAVED, FORGIVEN, FREE! 🙂

My Kids, Parenting

GOD VS SATAN

Just before Danae went to sleep, I reread the story of Adam and Eve to her. In her THE JESUS STORY BOOK BIBLE, the title of the story is The Terrible Lie. There were many lessons for her which I related to what she sometimes does, and by the end of our discussion, this is what she told me…

“Mom, pretend this is my heart (pointing to her chest and writing on it). SATAN Vs. GOD.”

I was so amazed at her revelation. There IS a struggle in our hearts. A struggle whether to obey God or not. A struggle to please God or do the opposite. God wants to “win” our hearts because He loves us and because we belong to Him. Satan wants to win our hearts to steal, kill and destroy it. He hates God and because we are God’s beloved, he’s after us too. He is so afraid that when we discover our true identity as children of God, he will have no more lasting power over us. That when we discover our God-given purpose, we will do mighty exploits for God.

There are times, after getting the rod and while having a discussion, Danae tells us that Satan tells her to disobey. SIX YEARS OLD and Satan is already after her. He must be shaking in his boots, knowing this girl is going to do great things for the Lord.

We teach Danae to fight. She knows what is pleasing to God. She knows what God says. She can fight Satan with God’s word and with her faith.

Six years old and she is already aware that there is a struggle in her heart. She said she wants God to win her heart. Hopefully, one day soon, she will not just want God to win her heart, but she will CHOOSE to really give her heart to Him.