Wake Me Up When September Ends

I’ve always hated September because every single year, something bad happens to me or a loved one. It’s not an exaggeration but my dad had a stroke on the month of September six years ago and died on a September too, last year.

Do I want to tell you what happened to me the past Septembers? No. There’s no point in reliving them because they’re too painful. Just those two things about my dad. And think 9-11 Bombing, Milenyo, and Ondoy happened on September.

But this year, it’s different. It almost started bad, quite giving me a scare but God immediately made everything all right. So I decided to embrace this month with joy and gladness. After all, unfortunate things happening to my life always lead to better promises. My God is that GOOOOOD!

So no more singing, “Wake me up when September ends…”

As my friend Joni said the phrase is “laos na”. At least in my life. No longer will I dread September because my God is BIGGER.

I tell myself: Fear is the enemy’s way to capturing power and steering you away from victory. You don’t need to be feeling this way every September, every time you see a person who has given you only bad memories, or every situation that calls you to just lose hope in God.

Matthew 6:34 is a good reminder:

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. ” The Message (MSG)

So far, my September has been very good–blessed. I am learning to simply let go of things and the people that I know won’t do me good. It’s not that I’m giving up, I’m only trying to choose only those that are beneficial to me, my family, and my faith. I never imagined it would be possible but God’s grace again, enables me.

Nothing super grand or life changing has happened yet. Most of the time we’re at home and we only go out during weekends. Boring for some but I’m just happy and content being with my husband and son.

My only problem now is how to stop shopping online. Hahaha! (Biglang ganun?) My justification is that it’s Dad’s 1st Year Anniversary and I NEED something to make me smile more. I think it’s my husband’s turn to say “Wake me up when September ends”. By then, he won’t have to get up, and open the gate to receive the packages, and see all the “trash” for me. :))

IMG: websitetemplates.bz

Faith Like a Child

faith like a child“Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”Matthew 19:14 (NLT)

What does it mean to have faith like a child? We hear this phrase often but we don’t really think about what it means. I just know that to have faith like a child is to become like them–helpless, weak, and needy of older people. Like children, we need to be humble and accept the truth that we can’t do things on our own. We are nothing without the Father.

A child needs to be taken care of. He needs parents to take good care of him and teach him how to live. For me, the verse is suggesting that we ought to become like the young ones who totally depend on their parents— we need to learn to become dependent on our God.

Faith like a child makes me think of the word “innocence”. I no longer have that. I am 29 years old and those almost three decades of living in this world have taught me a lot. I’ve become wise of the mistakes I and others made. I’ve become wiser because of the people who truly love me.

I’m no longer innocent but my child is. He may be “makulit” more often than not but he is an innocent child. The other night while I was about to have dinner, I called him to eat. He went to my side and sat down. I wasn’t expecting him to eat because he was busy watching on the iPad. But as soon as he settled, he folded his hands and started to pray, “Thank you God. Amen.” I was surprised and ashamed at the same time. I forgot to pray on my own but my child didn’t. What a sweet reminder from him! I was shocked that he voiced out a complete sentence as he still speaks gibberish. He may not understand what that means but because he sees his family doing it frequently, he has to do it too. I have no idea though where he learned to say “Thank you God” because my husband and I, we usually say “Dear Lord, Thank you po sa pagkain (Thank you for the food.)” And that’s another reason why I got surprised.

We bring Noah to our home church every Sunday. He still stays at the Toddlers Room but we’re praying he’d be ready to go up and join the Beginners class by next year. It’s been a challenge disciplining him but I know this is what God wants us to do. Just as our parents brought us to church and introduced us to Christ, Joshua and I will bring Noah up in the knowledge of the Lord.

Husband and I grew up and went to Sunday School together. We were childhood friends and met at our home church so you know how important it is to bring our son to that same place where we met the Lord and each other. Noah may not understand the songs we’re singing and teaching him or the Bible stories we’re reading to him but the Lord calls us to leave a legacy of faith to our son. More than the riches we are still planning to build by God’s grace, our faith passed on to him would be the best heritage. So if you see me pushing him to play a toy guitar during Praise and Worship time, it’s just me exposing him to some of the things we do for God.  Joshua plays the guitar on Sundays so it’s the best way to learn from his daddy.

Faith like a child. Faith like Noah–our son and that of his namesake. By faith, Noah built an ark, moved with godly fear, and left (Hebrews 11:7). It is my prayer that we’ll be able to raise him up in the fear of the Lord.

Honestly, it’s been quite a challenge lately. We’re still figuring out how to discipline him and learning what method will work. By God’s grace, we will be the kind of parents He wants us to be for our son.

Child-like faith. I want that too. To not doubt of His Word and to not question His will.

_____________

Here’s a One Shot Sample recording of the popular Christian song “Cast All My Cares Upon You” we did during our Habagat Staycation:

This made me teary-eyed at the end. It was so touching to see and hear your own child sing about God. Looking forward to more of this.

Finding Treasures in Trials

Life’s game plan includes some changes you can anticipate and plan on. But it will also be filled with sneaky speed bumps, strange detours, frustrating dead ends, sudden lane changes, and unscheduled exits. If you anticipate both the major “expected” changes as well as probable unexpected changes, you’ll stand a better chance of reaching your destination…together. – crosswalk.com

 

What a timely reminder. I had to read this paragraph over and over again so I could the digest what it meant for me until I was reminded of God’s goodness in my life.

I’ve been through many changes. I’ve made a number of major decisions in my life that brought a lot of challenges and sorrows but the joy and rewards far outweigh them. Some of them expected while some, the most hurtful ones, were totally unexpected. It was easy to embrace the changes I expected but those sneaky ones I didn’t expect, were the most difficult to accept. Dealing with the latter was just too hard. But when I think about what the Lord has done, His promises, and what He’s going to do, I am comforted.

Worry used to get the best and worst out of me. I remember one time having a panic attack, thinking about the future life with my then-boyfriend a few weeks before our wedding. I had no regular job as my project recently ended. Fiance was only earning a quarter of what I was earning. But God, in His usual goodness and grace, reminded me not to worry. He used a friend in Christ to remind me that worry will bring me nothing. That being worried and anxious about the future meant I was belittling my God.

He was right. It was God who brought my man and I together. For years He has guided us. He provided for us and our parents too. Surely, the same God who blessed our parents will be the same God who will bless us and our union.

I stopped worrying about the bigger picture—our future as husband and wife. Oh yes, I did still worry but only about the wedding details and the preparations. Small time worries. They really were…small.

Worrying about the marriage was one thing. It was something to be left at the altar.

Worrying about the wedding was another. It was something to be left up to the Lord by asking Him to help you through.

I found treasures since then.

I am still finding what new things God has in stored for me as a woman. This time though I’m not just a woman. I’m now a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, and a friend.

I’ve picked up a great number of treasures along the way as I work on those roles. The best so far is being a wife. I can’t honestly say as a mother because I have yet to experience raising a child. Right now, I am my child’s mother in the sense that I take care of him. Raising him up with me as his mother is going to be a totally different thing. I hope and pray to God that I become that mother he wants me to be. It’s only by His grace that I will.

Treasures in trials. Trust me, there are many.

You only need to anticipate that life isn’t perfect. You may stumble and fall. You may commit the gravest sin, put yourself to shame, or expose your soul to the world. You may experience being hurt, disowned, or hated. Privileges may be taken away from you or relationships may be broken. But remember that God allowed those things to happen for a reason. All those trials are ways for you to embrace change: that you need to change and that some things are about to change for the better.

Treasures in trials. I dare you now to turn problems into victories and find the good in challenges. You cannot do it alone but thank God there is His grace.

 

Psalm 37:4

Do what the LORD wants, and he will give you your heart’s desire.  CEV

So easy to say but one of the most difficult to follow. We pray for so many things but when our requests are unanswered, we often ask God, “Why?”. But instead of questioning God, why not question yourself if you’ve done what He’s been asking you to do lately. It’s unfair for you to wonder why God hasn’t been listening when you’ve given Him a deaf ear.

I’ve proven many times in my life that following God and considering Him in every decision brings about blessings. God has blessed me so much. Most, if not all, of my heart’s desires have been granted.

I still wonder though. I still ask “Why?” and “Why not?” –oftentimes, the latter. But I know in my heart that God’s plan is always sovereign.

One of His many wills for my life and yours  is to serve Him. Do what pleases your Master and this I guarantee you, the reward will be much more than what you’ve asked or imagined.

Honoring God…

Learning what your spouse needs and looking for creative ways to meet those needs unlocks the door of serving. Genuine fulfillment comes through knowing and loving God first, and then through serving others in response to His love. – LA

Harvest Time

So many people I know are getting engaged, married, giving birth, or pregnant this year. I guess it’s safe to declare that 2011 is ‘Harvest Time’. You know, that time when mature crops are being gathered from the fields. I see this as the year for some people to finally show they are mature enough to make a decision, become man and wife, or ready to become parents.

Congratulations to those friends and family! You know who you are. ♥♥♥

“As you can see, I’m about to go the way we all end up going. Know this with all your heart, with everything in you, that not one detail has failed of all the good things God, your God, promised you. It has all happened. Nothing’s left undone—not so much as a word.” – Joshua 23:14 (The Message)

God is Good!

And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. ~ Romans 8:28

We should have been enjoying summer in Ottawa by now but God had other plans. By other plans I mean a promotion and four other employees will go there for training with the husband soon. God is really good! I’ve been preparing for the trip for weeks now (read: shopping) but I had to endure the pain once more of a cancelled trip. My best friend Cecille promised to fly to Canada from the US. I also thought of flying to Winnipeg to meet family and friends. I already made a schedule of our day-to-day activities while there: park and play with the little tot, cook, work, walk, explore, shop, pick up the husband, cook dinner, then work again. On weekends we would hit the tourist spots. On Sundays we’d go to a nearby Assemblies of God church.

All those and more won’t be happening anytime soon. Noah and I were denied our visas. Believe it or not, I wasn’t saddened by the news. I was pissed off! Majorly pissed off because of the fact that we were from a third world country. And you know how it’s never easy to get a visa to a first world country simply because of the previous fellow countrymen who went there and never came back. My son and I weren’t able to overcome the presumption that we will be coming back to the country or so the Canada embassy says. Fine. That, despite the official invitation from my husband’s boss, their sponsorship, the funds, documents, and more.

I cried. I asked God “Why?” For a moment, I took self-pity and hated the fact that I’m just a homemaker and a freelancer. “Maybe I should get a job”, I told my husband. “I could be earning more than you do”, I boasted. But he answered, “No, you are great. We don’t need to change that. I don’t want you to work again because I want us to be together all time and I prefer that you take care of our son.”

I cried again. I’ve been taking care of my husband and my son, running a household, all the while working full-time. Yes, I still work full-time for my boss of three years but on flexi schedule now. I’d get crazy juggling all the things I need to. I sleep late, 3 AM being the earliest, to finish my job. I’m the one doing the admin tasks for my other boss (the husband). I was the one who prepared all the requirements for the embassy and dealing with the agency—only to be refused a visa! I asked God, “Why?”. And you know what He answered during my quiet time the next day? STAY PUT.

God told me to stay put. Relax. And wait.

It’s not time for us to experience those things yet. He reminded me that my reward will come someday. It’s Joshua’s time to shine. His current job, I believe, is his breakthrough. What homebased job brings an employee to the US, Canada, and other countries for more work and training? It’s a blessing. We are blessed! Who am I to complain? I have been working at home since I left the corporate world four years ago. I get my husband’s full salary and manage our finances. I’ve got a great husband who is very supportive, loving, and one who is very hands-on with our child. We’ve got a good place to stay albeit still renting. I’ve got my family and friends. I have my husband. I have my sweet baby Noah. I have my God.

So I finally accepted. God comforted me right away by giving my husband a promotion. Hallelujah! That’s enough for me now. With promotion comes great responsibility. I know he’d be busier and that it would also mean more work for me being his Executive Assistant but I’m not complaining. God is really good!

You may not understand why things are happening in your life now. You may be hurting, suffering, or maybe even too overwhelmed with the feeling of success, remember that God has a purpose even when you can’t see it. My husband and I now understand God’s humor. We’ve seen firsthand how hurtful situations can lead to something better. We’ve finally understood how and why He’d taken us out of our comfort zones to bring us to a place where we could have a better life…to a place where we can be better utilized for His glory.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “God will not use a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.” Psalm 34:18 also says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted”. It is the means that He uses mightily His people. He works more deeply within our hearts when we are hurting.

What used to be broken vessels are best for His service. I’d like to think we (my husband and I) were broken vessels made whole. We are works in Progress or “WIPs.” As WIPs, we are always inclined to come to Him always. In that sense, all of us are works in progress until the day we meet our Savior. Then, we will be complete works–Masterpieces.

I am Pregnant

I am pregnant. Pregnant with gratefulness, dreams, thoughts, and burdens.

Gratefulness. Thankful to the Father for He has blessed me with so much in this world. I was chosen to become part of His Kingdom. I am blessed to have been given then privilege of knowing Christ for who He really is.That I was born to a family who loves me very much. I have a boyfriend who is the man God created Him to be. Friends who are true. Church who cares. Work that gives me all the freedom in the world. Provisions. Good health. Sound mind. Faith. And more.

Dreams. I dream a lot.I dream of giving my family the best. Get married. Have beautiful, smart, and talented children and raise them well. Have a business. Travel. Buy my own car. Buy an LV bag. Spend full time in ministry. Help the church. Or be known as a woman after God’s own heart.

Thoughts. They’re thoughts so I’d like to keep them exactly where they are…in my mind.

Burdens. My heart carries burdens for the youth. For the young people I know to be wiser in their ways. I am burdened to make them understand that no, it is not okay to have relationships with someone of different faith. That no, it is not okay to disobey your parents. Not to involve your family in your choice of a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Not to be intimate with persons of the opposite sex unless you’re ready for marriage. Not to hide. Not to commit fornication. Not to be promiscuous. Not to get pregnant or get someone pregnant outside the bounds of marriage. I long for them to understand that love is a wonderful experience when you allow God to author it. That love approved by God, family, friends, and the church is best. But more on their relationships, I long for them…for us….for us to glorify God with our hearts, mind, and souls.

I am pregnant. With all these things….I wish to give birth soon…to see them come to life.