Family, Just My Thoughts

(not so) Happy Easter

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 dads 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 Giannas 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 Jesusname, 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!

FEATURED

What I Learned From Captain Marvel

So I posted something on Facebook but it turned out to be a spoiler 😂 I took it down and decided to write it (and more) here instead. Consider this your warning!

I didn’t know about the bad rap Captain Marvel or Brie Larson was getting so it did not influence me at all as I watched the movie. I know nothing about the comic book stories, and no one spoiled the movie for me 😬. I enjoyed it! The story, the characters, the action, the heart, and the MUSIC! I don’t normally watch movies more than once in the theater, but I would totally see this one again because of the music. High five to all who love 90s music (save for most boy bands 😬) like I do!

Awwww and the opening…the tribute… THANK YOU STAN! I’m so glad to learn that he was able to finish his scene for this one. I thought they just CGIed him into it. Even our girls, also pseudo daughters who watched with us, were almost teary remembering Stan Lee. It’s bittersweet to see his cameos in the Marvel movies.

So what did I learn from Captain Marvel? Quite a few actually.

THE POWER OF MANIPULATION.

Self-serving motive under the guise of friendship and mentorship.

Yon-Rogg (Jude Law’s character apparently 😂 thank you Google 😂) was fully aware of his goals, his intentions, and his actions. To Vers aka Carol Danvers/Capt Marvel, he was a trusted friend and mentor. Because of the trust and friendship that was built, she not only believed in their cause, she fought alongside them. She was aware of (some of) her power, her gift, but she was not aware that she was being used as a pawn in an unjust war.

Imagine the power Yon-Rogg held over Vers. He had her in the palm of his hands, and she had no clue. He appeared so good and trust worthy. He seemed to genuinely care about her. I mean didn’t you love him at first? I did. And Vers was all in, believing she was one of the good guys. For 6 years. Amazing how deception could last that long. How sad that the person she looked up to was not who she thought he was. Proximity and love can create blind spots.

But I believe that truth is more powerful than lies.

THE POWER OF TRUTH.

The truth always has a way of coming out. In this case, the key was Carol giving Talos the benefit of the doubt and giving ear to his story. She gave him a chance, and she listened!

The truth freed her from the lies that she once completely believed. The truth gave her the freedom to choose for herself — not dictated to her or because she was manipulated — to make her own decision about whose cause she would fight for. To choose to use her powers for what was right and for what was truly good.

The truth freed her from the power of Yon Rogg. Oh how I loved when she blasted him and told him that she had nothing to prove to him! Yessss! It’s like when we overcome our past, our old patterns, our sin. The lies of the enemy are given no more power in our lives because of the Truth!!! The truth of who Jesus is and what He did for us to be forgiven and to be new. We break free and we break through!

And she discovered that she had been fighting with one hand tied behind her back, because they constantly told her to control her powers and told her that her powers could be taken away from her. I would generally agree with that because it takes great character to use great power responsibly, IF they were training her to use her powers wisely. But their intention was to keep her at bay, keep her controlled, so they could continually manipulate her to do what they wanted her to do. What greater powers were unleashed when she refused to be controlled by that chip and by the Supreme Intelligence’s words!

What greater power we have when we refuse to believe the lies of the enemy. What greater power we have, to do all things, because of Christ in us!

THE POWER OF IDENTITY.

But even when Carol already knew about the lies fed to her, she was still lost. She still did not understand what she was supposed to do, until her best friend Maria reminded her of who she is. It was then that she regained her confidence and made the decision to continue Lawson/Mar-vell’s fight to end the war.

All the great stories have this element. Losing one’s identity, consumed by whatever in the world consumes them (hate, love, greed, career, relationship, fame, drugs, ambition, and so many more), and then remembering, going back to who they are, regaining their identity. This one’s no different.

We are no different. Once lost, now found. Once blind, but now able to see. Loved, valued, saved, forgiven, redeemed, accepted, secure. Identity anchored in Jesus alone.

How powerful it is to know exactly who you are in Christ and be 💯 committed to Him and His purpose for your life!

Sometimes what we know and believe are actually not the truth. Sometimes who we think and believe we are, or who others think or say we are, is not true. Sometimes, we get lost. May we be open, and learn to be sensitive, to the leading of the Holy Spirit, who guides us into all truth. May we find our way back to Jesus.

Just My Thoughts, Parenting

What did you learn from the movie?

Every time we watch a movie, we ask the girls what they learn. We did the same after watching The Greatest Showman. One of them said that we shouldn’t care about what other people think about us, only what we think about ourselves. My immediate response was, “What if you think you’re ugly?”

I think this is a common mistake that we make. We may not allow other people to define us, which is good, but we choose to define ourselves. What’s wrong with that? Well, in the movie, the oddities believed that they were ugly and worthless all their lives, and they operated according to those beliefs. They hid. They were ashamed. They kept to themselves. It took a PT Barnum to awaken them. It was like Barnum gave them their worth and their identity, when he called them out to be part of one great show. He was the only one who saw them for more than just “freaks,” more than the labels people put on them. They started believing and living according to what Barnum believed about them — that they are useful, talented, that they have a purpose in life and they can bring joy to people.

We too need to anchor our identity onto Someone. But not just anyone. Not even ourselves, for we are flawed. Our views of ourselves vary and fluctuate, depending on mood or circumstance. We need to anchor our identity to One who is constant. Perfect. All-powerful and all-knowing. The One who created us, the One who created us for a purpose. The One who knows all, who knows every minute detail about us and cares for us. Infinitely good, infinitely wise. Limitless. Trustworthy. The One whose ways are higher than ours. The One whose love for us isn’t and cannot be changed. We believe what and who He says we are, and live accordingly — His child — valued, loved, accepted, blessed, forgiven, safe, secure, significant, useful for all kinds of good work. FREE.

Anchor yourself to Jesus. Build a relationship with Him. He will set you free from the shame and the fear. He will teach you and mold you into the best you can possibly be. ❤

 

Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3

 

But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8 

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Cor 5:17

 

Just My Thoughts

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

Just My Thoughts

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

Just My Thoughts

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

 

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

 

Marriage, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY

Vow

 

Okay, so we Filipinos seem to have all been affected by the Jollibee valentine ads. I am talking particularly about “Vow.” It’s a brilliant ad, telling us that no matter what happens, Jollibee will always be there for us, to make us feel loved and happy each time we visit their stores. But really, were you affected by the video saying, “awwww Jollibee, thanks so much for the love and sacrifice…”? Haha. No, I think we were affected by the love story. As a friend of mine said, it’s La La Land all over again!

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image from cdn.ibtimes.ph
I tweeted the other day that I don’t believe in guy-girl best friends unless guy and girl are married, with the hashtags #jollibee #onealwayscrossestheline (which I’ve changed to #oneortheothermaycrosstheline) #wrongvow #usewisdom. I know, some agree and some do not. I don’t mean to step on anyone’s toes. I respect everyone’s opinions and life choices, whether I agree with them or not. But let me try to explain. My tweet was prompted by the ad, but I have been subscribing to this belief ever since I learned about boundaries and healthy, mature boy-girl relationships. Of course, this was already when I was an adult hehehe.

Anyway, that said, I believe there is a danger in a man and a woman, a boy and a girl becoming best of friends. There are so many stories of hearts being broken this way. There is always that very thin line that one could cross, maybe at different points of their relationship. One could be oblivious to it, the other could be deeply longing and believing for them to be together in the end. One could be over it, and the other starts developing feelings. Or both feel the same way but are too young (or whatever other reason) to do anything about it. Or both feel the same way, do something about it, and then end up ruining their friendship. The thought will almost always cross one or the other’s mind. Sorry, but not many women or men have the character and maturity to be able to keep that line clear and distinct. So why put yourself in that position? It’s not wise.

Case in point, the Jollibee ad, which is inspired by a true story. The guy invested so much of his time, energy, money and emotions on his best friend, only to lose her to another man. That would have been fine (maybe, minus the emotions) if they were truly, purely just friends, but the guy obviously had deep feelings for the girl. He was so heartbroken. So for me, that kind of investment should really be reserved for your spouse. That kind of best friendship, between husband and wife, is worth that kind of investment. Husband and wife mutually invest in each other and in their marriage.

To be honest, I didn’t expect the ad to have that twist. I’m one of those who wants the best friends in the story, to end up together. I enjoy those kinds of happy endings. Reality Bites and Some Kind of Wonderful come to mind. ❤ And don’t get me wrong. I believe that God is the best author of love stories and each story He writes is unique. He knows all, knows best. His will is good, pleasing and perfect. He can choose to write a love story between guy-girl best friends. Those stories are wonderful too. But sadly, or many times thankfully, not all guy-girl relationships are meant to turn out that way.

And then there’s that vow, those promises the guy made to the girl. Not to his bride, but to his best friend? What?! I mean, it was great for the drama and all, but who does that? (Well apparently one guy did). Be the replacement/the dummy when hubby is not available? Be the crying shoulder when she and hubby have a disagreement? I don’t think so. And when he marries, what then? A part of him will always be with his best friend. How can he cling to and be loyal to his own wife?

It’s cool to shift our loyalty from one fast food chain to another (I myself have no loyalty to any), but we can’t do that between our spouse and our best friend. A wife’s husband and guy best friend should be one and the same person. A husband’s wife and girl best friend should be one and the same person as well. It’s about unity of husband and wife. Being ONE. It’s difficult to achieve that if King had to compete with “my guy best friend” for my time, priorities, loyalty, affection. If I had “him” to run to and I’m sure at times compare King with, it would become easy for me to run away from issues instead of facing them and working on them with King. If I had “him” to give me my boosts, I might eventually learn to cling to him instead of to King. Let’s not fool ourselves in thinking that we are above such kind of behavior, or that our marriages are strong enough. Our own pride will set us up for a fall. We must never be complacent.

I don’t mean we can’t have close friends of the opposite sex when we’re married. Sure we can. That’s something we discuss and agree on with our spouse. Because they are our priority and they have our loyalty, we respect our spouse’s opinion. We respect their position on the matter, or on any matter. We get on the same page. Not always easy, but that’s part of being married. We continually discover and live out what it is to think outside of ourselves, to give of ourselves. To think not only of “me, my rights and what’s rightfully mine,” but to think of “us, what is best for our marriage, and what will honor God.” It will hurt at times because we are all wired to think about our needs and push our agenda first, but by the grace and love of God, we learn to be selfless. By the grace and love of God, we fulfill the vows that we said before God and men the day we got married. To quote the vows said as bride and groom exchange rings, “As you wear this ring, you acknowledge that you are no longer your own, but MINE.”

It’s easy to say “Marry your best friend.” True, that would be ideal. But like I said, it doesn’t always work out that way. I, for one, didn’t marry my best friend. King and I barely knew each other when we got engaged! But we were both sure that it was God’s will and His timing. 🙂 I didn’t have a guy best friend. King, being the popular guy that he is, had many close girl friends. But we chose to be each other’s best friend. We learned to set our priorities straight and to respect the boundaries we mutually (some spoken, some unspoken) set for ourselves. We learned to be deliberate in spending time and doing enjoyable things together. We learned to forgive each other and make the effort to be better. We learned to stand by each other. We learned to be each other’s home.  

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The true key to a happy, God-honoring marriage, however, is Jesus. Without Him, even the strongest friendship between a husband and wife can still be broken. Loving, giving, sharing, honoring, supporting, encouraging, waiting, understanding, forgiving, learning, healing is possible only through Jesus. None of us can do this successfully without Him.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! #valentineseveryday #loveeveryday May every reader know and experience the love of Jesus, and choose to never live without Him. 🙂

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:22-33

 

My Kids, Parenting

Undeserved 2

Last night, a discussion suddenly became an argument. The intention was to motivate and hopefully produce obedience, but the result unfortunately was the opposite.

Noelle: Mom, I’ll just give Ate (big sister) my prize.

Me: But love, do you think she deserves your prize?

Noelle: (with a smile on her face) Then grace mom. Grace.

 
Wow. The compassion of this one has always been extraordinary. Sometimes her loyalty is misplaced, but her compassion always reminds me of Jesus — willing to give grace, to be generous even after being pained and saddened.

That is something we parents must be willing to do for our children as well. We must love them through the pain. We must teach them through the disappointments. We must discipline them through the heartache, despite the difficulty. We must give whether or not they are capable of giving back, whether or not they are willing to give back. We must initiate even when they do not reciprocate. We must keep encouraging them even when they’ve already given up. We must keep hoping and praying even when we see little or no fruit. Our parenting must always be with wisdom and discernment and many times with godly counsel, and our love must always be without conditions. Lord, help us. ❤

 

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

In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old. Isaiah 63:9

Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36

Marriage, Relationships

Statement 1 or Statement 2?

I posted this question on my Facebook page almost 2 months ago. I was starting to share my answer too, but then it became too long to be a comment. I decided to post it here instead.

On girl-boy relationships.
Which statement is more true for you, and why?

1. It’s worth it because this is forever.
2. Even if it’s not forever, it will be worth it.

I received quite a few answers and different explanations, so thank you. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for opening my mind to your perspective. I know that your answers were personal, and I respect all your opinions. Allow me to share my personal beliefs as well, based on my past experiences, my current situation, and my hopes for the future.

First, I want to clarify that when I say forever, I mean “till death do us part.” I know that there is no such thing as forever (here on earth anyway) because we all die. When I posted the question, I was thinking about relationships and marriage. 🙂

I choose statement number 1.

Boy-girl relationships should not be taken lightly, should never be entered without the future in mind. If I were my immature, delusional, romantic young self, I would choose statement number 2, not thinking about the future but merely ENJOYING THE MOMENT. And God knows that’s what I did before. I convinced myself that it was worth it because I was “happy.” I would also always convince myself that we had a future together, as if that made our relationship justifiable (so maybe I would’ve also chosen statement number 1, having this mindset). But did I consider the consequences? Nope. All I cared about was me and what I wanted. Hind sight is clearest in this matter because it’s done, already in my past. I had no relationship with Christ. I exercised no restraint, no wisdom.

Was it worth dishonoring my parents? Was it worth adding further damage to an already faulty family relationship? Was it worth all the heartache and the drama of being deceived, two-timed, used, neglected, ignored, or unvalued?  And not only heartache from the BOYS I was in relationships with, but the heartache of feeling so alone in my family because I pushed them farther away? Was choosing a boy, any boy over my family worth it? Was it worth doubting my own self-worth and losing my true identity? Was it worth the unnecessary pain I caused my husband as he discovered my past? Is it worth the fear I sometimes feel, dreading the possibility that my children will reap all that I have sown?

I say NOT. Those temporary relationships were not worth it. I learned much from my experiences, and I now clearly see the goodness of God because of them, but, no disrespect to the people involved, they were not at all worth it. It’s true what they say — experience is not the best teacher, the Word of God is.

I became a Christian at 24 years old, quite fresh from a devastating breakup. Through discipleship, I learned to see myself the way Jesus does — someone of great value and worth, someone unconditionally loved and accepted. I learned that it is Jesus who completes me, no one else. I learned to forgive. I learned to repent. I learned to humble myself and allow God to restore my relationship with my family. I learned to stop obsessing about marriage or romantic relationships, and focus on my relationship with God. I learned to enjoy my friendships, and to exercise the right boundaries. I learned to guard my heart, and keep myself from entering relationships that I was not sure were from the Lord. I learned to seek His will for my life and wait for His timing. I learned to allow Him to write my love story.

Now that my waiting is done and I am married to the man God created for me (yes, I really believe that, albeit sounding still delusional haha), I believe that everything is and will be worth it because this is it. God orchestrated this and I chose to participate. I made this commitment to my husband and to God, that I will do whatever it takes on my part to make our marriage work. All sacrifices, hardships, even heartaches will be worth it because it is the will of God that I am here in this marriage. I choose to obey God — to honor Him, to honor my husband, to honor our marriage. King is worth it. We are worth it. God is worth it.

All things between us are well at the moment, but nothing is perfect. Anything can happen in the future. Though there are situations, deal breakers in my book, that I have seen first hand among people I know and love, I cannot live my life in doubt and in dread. I choose to hope in God, to hope for the best in King. My hope is that King and I will remain in God, so that we can continue to be faithful to each other. My hope is that we remain vigilant in taking care of each other, in protecting each other and our marriage. My hope is that when we make mistakes, we will always choose to forgive each other and choose to continue to love each other as we do now. My hope is that he and I will constantly be on the same page about our family and our marriage as the seasons of our lives change — that we will both hold each other with such high regard, with such value, importance, and priority, and continually honor each other as husband and wife.

All the time, energy, effort, diligence, forgiveness, love and commitment I give today, despite conflicts and challenges, are worth it. Worth it now and worth it in the long run, because I believe in US. I believe that King and I are forever, and I believe that it is worth investing in forever.