FEATURED

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.

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#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.

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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.

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

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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. ❤

 

FEATURED, Spiritual Family

Ladies’ Night

This July, I got to work with a group of wonderful women in planning for and teaching in one of our church events for single women called Ladies’ Night. What a blast! Not only did I learn from their wisdom, their convictions, their life stories, but I believe our bonds were forged in an even greater way. I had so much fun talking, coming up with and exchanging ideas, laughing, and EATING (hahaha) with them. What an honor to be co-laboring with these women to teach, to encourage, to connect with the single ladies of our church. I’m so grateful that I am surrounded by women who are real — imperfect and humble enough to admit that they need God every second of their daily lives, just like everyone else. Women who are strong — not immune to huge trials but endure through them because they love & trust God and because they surround themselves with people who love God as well, who encourage, support and pray for them. Women who are secure — vulnerable but unafraid to stand for their convictions because they know who they truly are. Women who are wise — know much but also know that they don’t know everything. Women who are grateful — “old” christians but are still overwhelmed by God’s love for them and by how He is continually making them new.

As we teach, others learn. But as we teach, WE also learn. These women never claimed to be experts on womanhood, in honoring their families, on finances, on relationships. But they do claim, we do claim….we testify that God has worked miracles in our lives that are worth sharing to anybody who would listen. Kudos to these ladies who made a great impact on many lives for 2 consecutive Thursdays! Kudos to Ptr John and the leaders heading this event. Kudos to all the staff and volunteers who helped us. I honor YOU, my dear friends! 🙂

Parenting

EN2010 (pre-con): Discipleship@Home

There were quite a number of sessions before EN2010, and King wanted me to attend the international staff meeting Wednesday morning, the day before the conference. I had to wait for Danae’s class to finish, pick her up, get the kids and everything ready, then proceed to ENLI building in the Fort. In other words, I missed the staff meeting. But King relayed Ptr Jim Laffoon’s message to me and I couldn’t agree with him more when he said that we need to be careful with technology, be careful that it does not take over our personal life, our priorities. It’s so easy to be so absorbed in the internet, facebook, our phones, etc. That convicted me and made me decide to turn on my computer for blogging & stuff, as much as possible, when the kids are asleep or when I know it will not interfere with my priorities. I don’t like that often Noelle has to literally pull me away from the computer when she wants me to just sit with her. She and the rest of my family should come first.

Anyway, we were able to drop the kids off at my in-laws’, and I attended the afternoon break-away session of my choice: Discipleship@Home. Who’s Discipling Your Kids? I picked up a lot, listening to Ptr David Houston, his wife Sandy, our Ninong Ptr Paolo Punzalan, and his wife Jenn. Awesome, witty, funny, real people who are imperfect parents just like us, who know what we’re dealing with, and who make a whole lot of sense. Our Alabang senior pastor, Ptr Ariel hosted it, and he and his wife Shirley are also one of the couples we look up to especially with regards to parenting. Some of the things shared, I already knew. On one hand, it encouraged me all the more to keep doing what we’re doing, and on the other, it reminded me of the things that we have forgotten and that we should be doing. Still some were somewhat new, and it’s always great to learn from people who are wiser and more experienced than myself. Let me share the points that struck me the most.

Life is in the power of the tongue, and it is especially powerful when the father speaks it to his children. Dads! Your kids need verbal affirmation from you, just like how God affirms His children. Even if it’s uncomfortable for you, do it anyway. Your kids will not even know that you’re feeling awkward, and they will definitely appreciate it, whether they express it to you or not.  And dads! Don’t give all your energy at work. Save the best for your family, so that when you get home, you won’t be too tired to engage with your wife and with your children. Pray for your kids and speak destiny to their lives. Be the one to put them to sleep. The quality time you spend with them will have a great impact on them. King is an expressive dad who makes time for our kids, but I still immediately downloaded these to him. Fathers have such a critical role in the lives of children, and we want to do right by ours.

We need to say our instruction ONE TIME and back it up with consequence when disobeyed. This is of course based on Biblical discipline and our instructions are those that are best for our children, not those that harm them. Many times we wait to get angry before we take action in disciplining our kids. I’ve experienced this a lot. We need to discipline them right away the first time they disobey. That way, we’re still moving patiently, IN LOVE, and NOT OUT OF ANGER. We need to be consistent, no matter how tiring and taxing, and believe that discipline will bear the peaceable fruit of righteousness. I say amen to that and I believe we are improving. It’s very timely too, because Noelle is also a force to be reckoned with hahaha.

Discipleship happens at the dinner table. Let’s eat with our kids! It can be stressful especially in my case, I have a 1-year old who won’t stop calling me until I look at her and acknowledge what she’s doing or take care of what she needs, a talkative 4-year old, and then a husband who wants to tell me about his day. Trust me, it can get crazy! But if we let other people feed them so we can eat in peace (which I do sometimes for valid reasons, but not usually), how can we teach them table manners? More importantly, how can we teach them to pray, or not to waste, or to share? There are many teaching moments at the dinner table, from etiquette to prayer, to being thankful, to generosity, to quality time, to family, to God’s Word and so on. Let us teach and disciple our own kids.

If we fail to point them to God, we are missing what really matters. Ms Jenn shared this story about a mom who gives demerits to her son whenever he does not get a perfect score in his quizzes or tests. That’s a bit extreme, but I know I too have a tendency to over-emphasize the importance of grades, of answering tests correctly. I realized that when Danae had her first set of long tests this week. I felt bad because I felt like I pressured her about knowing the right answers to her test, since we already went through them. I saw her face when I showed my disappointment that she wasn’t able to answer me when I was reviewing her. Thank God it didn’t stick! I really do not want her to be pressured to do really well in school just because she wants to please me. My kid is smart. I want to trust in her abilities. I want her to enjoy test days as she enjoys ordinary school days, and not dread them. But what really matters is she learns to do the work, learns to ask God for guidance & wisdom, and eventually she learns to be excellent — to be excellent not in fear of Mommy’s wrath, but to be excellent as an overflow of her desire to please God.

We need to let little boys be little boys. Let them be active! The first thought that popped in my head was, “What if my little girl is LIKE a little boy?” Haha. Danae is super active and she can definitely run with the boys, but I guess the answer to my question is the same. Let her be her. As long as we give her boundaries, guide and discipline her, I believe it’s right to let her be herself, be who God made her to be and not make her conform to what society thinks a girl should be.

Two other points that Ptr Paolo & Ms Jenn gave were that the relationship is more important than the rules and that it has to be in you before it can be in them. Click here and here for their blogs that beautifully capture these points.

I really enjoyed this pre-conference session because it is a serious subject, one that is very close to my heart, but the speakers made it light and fun. I did not feel condemned for my mistakes, but convicted to correct them and encouraged to keep at it. I love what Ptr David said about restoration after the painful discipline. We embrace our kids, we wipe away their tears, we forgive them, we assure them of our love, because that is how our Father deals with us when we repent of our sins as well. Thank God He forgives me for all the mistakes I make, that He loves me unconditionally, that He gives me hope and grace to be a better mother. 🙂