A Wise State of Mind, Part 3: Her Tongue

(1 min read)

Lifted right out of Nancy Wolgemuth’s “Adorned,” here are some of her practical examples of a wise and unwise woman, specifically her tongue.

UNWISEWISE
Says whatever comes to mind without hesitatingSlow to speak, words are measured, thinks first
Talks too much Good listener
Quick to vent anger/frustrationQuick to praise/give thanks
Wounds/belittles/tears downWords minister grace/blessing/encouragement
ExaggeratesCareful with the truth
Speaks roughlyGracious, pure words
ArgumentativeHumble/yields the right to be right
Excessive shyness/fearful to talkBlesses others by speaking good words in due season

I realize these are true of us at one time or another, thus the importance of saying sorry unto the Lord and then unto others (especially our husband and kids!)

Now this takes a bit of intentionality. But definitely, bridling our tongue, and being a blessing by way of words isn’t accomplished by more self-will & determination, but rather a dependence on God and His Spirit’s enabling grace.

Lord, may we call on to You for bridling our tongue, blessing people with our words, in season and out of season, may You enable us to continue building people up, bring healing with our words to all around us, and especially spread kindness and loving discipline to our kids too, in Jesus name, Amen!

“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Proverbs 12:18

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Ephesians 4:29

Prayer Series: Coming Up Short

(5 min. read)

Everyone has shortcomings. Hardly anyone would admit they don’t have shortcomings, and if we see one not admitting to any, then that there would be his/her shortcoming. If we honestly can’t see any, we just simply have to ask the people closest to us proximally and relationally: “Do I have any shortcoming?”. And if they will be honest with their answers, we’ll discover at least one, for our good, hurtful to accept it may be.

Here are prayers from The Valley of Vision, my favorite prayer book and prayer coach next to the Psalms. In reading and praying them, may we have a heart that receives and repents, and along the way, find freedom in the grace and mercy of the Lord in light of our shortcomings. 🙂

O living God, I bless you that I see the worst of my heart as well as the best of it, that I can sorrow for those sins that carry me from you.

I praise you that it is your deep and dear mercy to threaten punishment so that I may return, pray, and live.

I fall short of your glory everyday by spending hours unprofitably, by thinking that the things I do are good, when they are not done to your end, nor spring from the rules of your Word.

My sin is to look on my faults and be discouraged, or to look on my good and be puffed up.

The best thing I love about occasionally praying using The Valley of Vision is that it trains me to pray in ways I never would do and in words I never would say on my own! In my sinful nature, I normally would not debase myself to admit I’m wrong. But I’m wrong more than once in any given day and I’m thankful for the opportunity to see and acknowledge this brutal truth in these Scriptural prayers by the Puritans.

By and large, people usually balk at the thought of being corrected. But the Word of God is a mirror, and when we look at it, we see ourselves for who we truly are, and thankfully, who we are to be too in Christ, by the grace of God.

With my wrongs, I really do get discouraged at times, and with my rights, I do get puffed up! Even in times I do something good, if I look inside my heart, they can still turn out to be with motives not really aligned with God’s Word. And that makes them nevertheless wrong.

But Scripture teaches me that your active will reveals a steadfast purpose on my behalf, this quiets my soul, and makes me love you.

Keep me always in the understanding that believers mourn for sin than other men, for when they see how great is your wrath against sin, and how Christ’s death alone pacifies that wrath, that makes them mourn the more.

Although we are on this earth, in the already-but-not-yet state, it is indeed not all briars and barrenness, I do indeed have bread from heaven and streams from the rock. I have light by day and fire by night.

Even in this pandemic, we have the delight of food and drink, warmth and comfort of home, God’s presence, and daily mercies by way of continuous relationship! That in itself more than suffices!

I am sometimes discouraged by the way, but though winding and trying it is safe and short.

Death dismays me, but my great high priest stands in its waters, and will open me a passage, and beyond is a better country.

While I live let my life be exemplary, when I die may my end be peace.

More than anything, a lifestyle of prayer characterizes a believer’s apparent need for the Lord. As Bishop Manny Carlos of Every Nation Philippines taught us regarding the benefits of a life of prayer: Self-reliance is at the core of man’s determination, to live on his own terms and in rebellion to God; however, conversion and Lordship lays an axe at the root of that tree of self-reliance left in us.

“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

1 Corinthians 1: 4-9

Meaning in the Mundane?

(4 minute read)

For the homemaker, it seems as if the days go by all the same. You may ask, “Where’s the fun in that? I need to ‘slay’ today!” The homemaker’s routine seems redundant. She might keep telling herself, what is it she’s doing it all for?

When my two kids were smaller, like newborn and two years old ‘smaller’ (no time for blogging at all!), I remember being so frustrated with everything I needed and wanted to do, not having enough time & stamina to get it all done before the next breastfeeding session!

Why is my personal quiet time only 5 minutes long?

Why hasn’t she learned to toilet train yet? We’ve been at it for months!

When will she learn to read? Will I be able to empty the sink anytime soon?

The thickness of my frustrations over myself not being able to accomplish what I want to accomplish would’ve gone through the roof! My expectations from them and even myself were too much anyway. But I don’t think I’m alone in thinking and asking:

“Is this the only thing I‘ll be doing all day everyday? Is this all?”

Well Nancy Wilson of the podcast Femina would respond with a resounding, “YES, it is! But do it with a smile on your face!” 😊

Our culture’s drive—the message it sends—is that we always have to be doing something special, something new and exciting and fun and glittery “out there” in social media.

Social media nowadays seem to apply a tagline which we in the nursing profession always say “If it’s not written, it’s not done.” Inarguably, it just cannot be that way.

It seems that, today, there’s no room for the monotonous, repetitive, mundane tasks. It seems as if the extraordinary is better than the mundane. We may invent new ways to do extraordinary things like get a new hobby, or a new business endeavor, or build new relationships, but eventually it becomes mundane too.

Eve was provided everything in the garden, yet she wanted to be more than what God created and commanded her to be. She wanted to be like God.

The Gospel gives us a better idea though. Jesus’ life was quite the paradox; He was born in an ordinary place, grew up with regular parents and siblings, and even worked a regular job, before He began His public ministry. Yes, He worked extraordinary miracles, but it was alongside time ordinarily spent talking with His disciples. Even His death was by a common criminal’s punishment, and yet, in all of that ordinariness, He accomplished His most extraordinary mission of redemption.

“God works in both the ugly and the mundane, to bring new life, redemption, and His sovereign plan to fruition, and such is the same for those indwelled with the Holy Spirit. With the Spirit as our Helper, we can now reframe, appreciate, and utilize our most mundane moments as a means of grace for others and ourselves.”

Emily Jensen, Risen Motherhood

We could never fully know what God is doing through us. Even the people in the Bible did not fully know how God used them extraordinarily for His purposes! Enoch simply walked with the Lord for hundreds of years, Moses merely obeyed God one step at a time, the woman who washed Jesus’ feet did just that (though shocking, still pretty much an ordinary act those days)—I can go all day. We even read about them thousands of years later, today.

Perhaps the Lord is doing something in me—as I faithfully breastfeed, change diapers, prepare meals, do the dishes, put clean clothes in the drawers, pick up toys for the nth time, and prepare another meal (even if they are very picky!)—to bring about His will for my life, for His glory.

I could be mirroring Jesus as I rally on in another discipline moment over the same old sin issue with my kids, as I walk into my homeschooling tasks happily, as I bathe a child calmly, as I participate in our daily family devos delightfully, and as I respond well to my husband as he leads the family.

As we moms wipe another messy table, fix another bed, follow through in another homeschool read-aloud, supervise our workers—as we faithfully manage our homes—we image God as we bring order to our respective little corner of Creation.

“I trust that there is no mundane moment too small for God’s glory to shine through it.”

Emily Jensen, Risen Motherhood

The ordinary tasks of making a home a place that the family loves to be in and come home to might be dauntingly neverending, moreso, for the mother of kids 0-5; but it is precisely the fertile ground of honoring the Lord in the little things.

Being productive and thoughtful with our time is great, but our deepest longing for purpose, meaning, and glory is only to be found in Christ.

Being productive and thoughtful with our time is great, but our deepest longing for purpose, meaning, and glory is only to be found in Christ.

It may seem routinary for one to fill the kitchen with groceries and good food, but it is truly extraordinary to praise God knowing He is the One never failing to provide these things. It may seem routinary for one to keep on disciplining the wayward child, but it is extraordinary to show kindness, and mercy, to an undeserving sinner in that ‘routine’.

“Being united to Christ, our identity is extraordinary, our calling is magnificent, remember we are part of an epic story with a glorious ending. We are really not that special, but Christ in us is spectacular. He is our hope for glory.”

Emily Jensen, Risen Motherhood

Moms, take heart, we can honor the Lord and mirror His love to those around us simply by doing our everyday mothering tasks excellently, patiently, with a spirit of joy and a heart of love. The meaning of the mundane is in how we honor God with it—in how we reflect our spectacular Savior by displaying the fruit of His extraordinary Spirit.

A Wise State of Mind: Her Mindset and Attitudes

2 minute read

Titus 2: 3-5,10

They are to teach what is good, so train the young women to love their husbands and children, and to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

…so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

Previously I’ve posted about the wise woman’s state of mind, specifically emotions. To continue on the series of the wise state of mind, the next segment is: mindset and attitudes.

Lifted from Nancy Wolgemuth’s amazing and beautiful book Adorned, which talks about the Titus 2 woman, these are a few of the hundred examples she has outlined on what a wise woman’s mindset ought to be.

UNWISEWISE
Self-centered:
How does this affect me?
Others-centered:
“How does my behavior affect others?”
Discontented;
entitlement mindset:
“I deserve better”
Contented, humble, grateful,
gives thanks in all circumstances
Seeks escape from pressures and problemsWilling to endure hardship for the sake of ultimate gain/reward
Lacks discernment, not careful about what influences her; lets anything inCareful, discerning regarding what she reads, watches, listens to
Feeds the flesh, flesh controls the spiritFeeds the spirit, restrains the flesh, spiritually, morally, mentally vigilant – heart and mind are grounded and guarded
Impulsive, impetuousExercises restraint and self-government
Victim of her circumstances and pastUses her past as stepping stone to greater fruitfulness
Has good intentions but doesn’t follow through; commitments are short-lived Follows through on commitments, develops godly disciplines
A Sophron woman’s mindset and attitudes

Couldn’t they be more polar opposites? How did you fare? 🙂

Well, this was written before the pandemic! It certainly has been a roller coaster of a year and a half! A ton of man’s plans has changed, but then again the Word is unchanging and eternal!

I’m again thrilled that there is encouragement for those of us painfully aware of our failings amidst our sin nature and circumstances.

Most gratefully, the book continues: “God has never left us to His will on our own, not by our sheer willpower and determination.”

Paul made it clear in this letter to Titus as he was left in Cretan church, that “the wise woman’s state of mind is initiated, produced, and enabled by His Spirit and grace.”

My prayer for us is that we become Titus 2 women, as enabled by His Spirit and grace!

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

Titus 2:3-5

A Wise State of Mind

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age…”

Titus 2:11-12

One of my leisure reads now is Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s book Adorned, and it is indeed a beautiful take on how a Titus 2 woman ought to be, by God’s grace. JD bought it for me 3 years ago! The author stresses there that “to be a wise woman does require effort and vigilance on our part, and we tap into the enabling grace of God as we take advantage of the means He has provided for our transformation and growth.”

Now let’s take a look at some (there’s more than a 100) of Nancy’s examples specifically about emotions:

Unwise WomanWise Woman
Emotions controlled by circumstances; lives on emotional roller coasterEmotionally stable, remains calm/doesn’t lose it under pressure
Choices driven by feelings, external pressure, circumstancesChoices driven by the Word of God
Falls apart in a crisisHeart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord; has presence of mind and knows what to do in a crisis
Easily provoked/irritated; flies off the handle quicklySlow to get angry; not easily provoked
Moody, sullen, temperamentalPeaceful, joyful; the joy of the Lord is her strength
When life doesn’t work, becomes angry, resentful, depressed, loses hopeHopes in the Lord; trusts Him, waits on Him to right all wrongs
Fretful, anxiousPrayerful, trusting
A Sophron woman’s emotions

Now I’m positive this was written before the pandemic! O what a year and a half it has been! But then again the Word is unchanging and eternal!

Well, I’m certainly thrilled there’s encouragement for those of us who are painfully aware of our failings amidst our sin nature and circumstances.

Most gratefully, the book continues: “God has never left us to His will on our own, not by our sheer willpower and determination.” Paul made it clear in this letter to Titus as he was left in Cretan church, that “the wise woman’s state of mind is initiated, produced, and enabled by His Spirit and grace.”

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

Titus 2:3-5

Routines! Until the Day I’m Old and Gray

“Your routines have to be in order because from there rides the other things you need to learn.” I can’t remember how many times I’ve repeated this to my kids.

There are a ton of things we do everyday that need careful routinary mindfulness, or faithfulness. Waking up and self-care, having 3 meals a day, daily discipline of Bible reading and prayer, brushing teeth, and in recent years, checking your preferred messenger and Zoom meeting list.

Pandemic living necessitates mindfulness of soul care & for some, mental health. That could mean therapeutic and calming music, playing or learning to play an instrument, (or getting back to it!), control of social media and news input, a few minutes of exercise, and certainly catching up and checking in on friends and relatives.

Why does God give us one day at a time? Maybe He knows in our finite nature we need small manageable chunks of time.

In our parenting we surely have had to work on many habits these past few years. A large chunk of the early years is geared towards habit training: sleep 10 hours AND in your bed, finish your plate, daily bible and prayer time at breakfast, 10-15 minutes of Phonics and numbers, and tidy up your toys at night.

Some months we do them all, and some days we botch them all! Consistency is the thing that requires the most effort!

As the elementary years dawned on us, there was added the habit of attention and homeschool manners. In marriage, it is about cultivating the relationship, dating, and intentionality. It is indeed a work in progress, well, aren’t we all?!

A helpful one for us adults would be what Apostle Paul says, “follow me as I follow Christ.” Until the day I’m old & gray may I continue getting to know the Lord through the Bible! In 1 Thessalonians 3 it is proven that we never graduate from growing in our faith. What an exciting journey this is!

With this I thoroughly admire my mother-in-law. It is one thing to be with the Lord for a decade, but totally another to be walking the straight and narrow for more than 4 decades!

Certainly I am a fan of Nancy Wilson’s Femina podcast. In one of the episodes she highlights sanctification – New City Catechism defines this as a gradual growing righteousness. Nancy would say, I’m paraphrasing here, that no sooner had you grown in some area or aspect than you see another creep up on you. Sanctification is a constant reliance on the grace of God.

I’m imagining that decades from now on our empty nest, I will still need to keep some form of routine, such as daily quiet time, keeping the home, exercise, accompanying Jd in a fishing trip, & maybe I’ll have more time to cook elaborate and dreamy vegan meals.

I’m pretty sure I’m still being sanctified by then!

Myriad Stories About Vaccines & The Good They Bring

Quick History

Why is vaccine called vaccine? Its root is vaccus, Latin for cow. Cows were widely used since the 1700s as test subjects for early variolation science. British Edward Jenner was a pioneer in early vaccine science, as well as French scientist Louis Pasteur. We know it today as a live, attenuated version of a disease, used to equip our immune systems to fight a disease.

During their time though, the 1880s, vaccination only meant administering cowpox pus into a human being in order to prevent him from contracting smallpox. Smallpox was the dreaded killer, as has been for centuries, it eventually was used as a bioweapon, and decided the wars between the French, British, and early American colonies in the late 1800 to 1900s.

The Chinese, as almost always, did vaccination earlier. The earliest recorded use of variolation, as it was formerly called, was in 1000 BC, by the Emperor K’ang Hsi, who got smallpox as a child, and got his children inoculated.

Early Chinese vaccinations involved scratching dried pustules into the nose, as early as 200 BC to 1000 BC. (photo from historyofvaccines.org)

Cotton Mather, an influential 15th century minister, one who’s had a lifelong interest in medicine, and convinced by his African servant Onesimus, advocated for smallpox inoculation during his time, a move that incurred him popular disapproval.

Vaccines generally help the immune system of our body make antibodies for any bacterial or viral threat. Yes, I am an nurse, and I am pro vaccines. No, it doesn’t turn one into a zombie, nor is it the mark of the beast. I can understand the hesitation owing to the fact that it’s an ongoing study; but the conspiracies can be quite ridiculous.

Modern Dilemma

Fast forward 2020 and 2021, our global dilemma is Covid-19 and it seems here to stay until global immunity is achieved. There have been reports here and there about vaccine apartheid, as gross as it can be, it is not so surprising. Sin is prevalent and endemic, pandemic, and its tale is old as time. There is indeed hope in eradicating a disease, as proved by the eradication of smallpox in 1980. Consequently, it is not a required vaccine in birth anymore.

World Health Organization banner

In reality, the finished Covid19 vaccine’s patents are actually what give ‘big pharma’ their revenue, and sadly, it is what holds back the faster distribution of the successful vaccines globally.

Nevertheless the Bible tells us in Romans, to submit to authorities, within reasonable bounds in that they don’t make us disobey the Lord. The Christians in the biblical Roman era certainly had their fair share of persecution, and they were told by Apostle Paul to submit to them. Jesus even said to bring Caesar what is due him.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Romans 13:1

As of August, in a horrific and tragic twist, the country India remains to be the world’s largest Covid19 vaccine producer, with their Serum Institute of India, based in in Hyderabad; and yet it is facing a major internal shortage of it.

The arrival of the Covid19 vaccine here in the Philippines is what I consider to be a modern day miracle. What a blessing indeed!

Containers of the Sinovac Biotech Ltd. Covid-19 vaccine arrive on a Chinese military aircraft in Manila, on Feb. 28. Photographer: Veejay Villafranca/Bloomberg

Our country’s vaccination drive has to be lauded as well, as the vaccination percentage is 13.5% of the whole country’s population. To compare the latest counts in other countries, India has just 4%, Iran 5%, Pakistan 9%, Australia 23%, Hong Kong 41%, and US 51% vaccination rate. The vaccine Czar Sec. Carlito Galvez certainly has his work cut out for him.

Vaccination campaign banner of the Department of Health

Like any responsible citizen, I love a good Department of Health FAQ sheet!

Granted, securing these vaccines, and all Covid19 related spending, has put our country into more debt, but it’s certainly worth it, and it’s something that the GDP could possibly handle. I’m no economist, but a simple search revealed that the ballooning debt, all the same, amazingly puts us at a positive debt-to-GDP ratio of 51% (coming from 49%; the bad ratios are 60-70% onwards).

My sisters are in the corporate world. They simply walked in on their scheduled jab (country-Hong Kong), they were in and out in 10 minutes, how efficient! #sanaol

A friend walked in on the vaccination drive here in a local college, and got blessed with a J&J shot; I tried that too, and it didn’t work even if I renewed my Nursing license for that possibility. Nonetheless it was a thrilling chase indeed!

I had to try options too, I went in to the health center to get listed, quite a few times, inquiring here and there on my errand days. I mostly got ignored in one specific Barangay Hall, owing to the fact my scheduled voter’s ID appointment didn’t suit their tastes.

Another friend successfully purchased Moderna for their own family and friends’ shots, it proved pretty effective for them.

In one of my Reformed Homeschooling Facebook groups, a woman commented in one of the threads that it indeed separated their family. Her father didn’t tell them the location of their grandmother’s funeral, because she is not vaccinated.

In the end I got the chance to have a Moderna shot in a vaccination drive last Wednesday, thankfully, and finally! JD, my husband got a Pfizer shot last Thursday. Then we will be back a month later for our second doses. It was an certainly answered prayer! It was definitely not my own merit. I’m an unemployed nurse, housewife, and homeschooling mom, all of which ain’t on the priority list!

A friend funnily quipped about Moderna being sosyal or elitist, haha but I certainly didn’t know and care what I was going to get, I was just gleeful I was getting vaccinated!

Photo by Ian Hutchinson on Unsplash

I actually rested 2 days from homeschool routine; and watched too much Downton Abbey than good for me, JD says I’m addicted, but I question that, haha!

Downton Abbey’s setting, Highclere Castle, UK (Photo by Greg Willson on Unsplash)

All things considered, one thing I find remarkably unfair is the hulabaloo on choosing of brands, seeing as this health crisis has put the world in almost like a war-time state, choosing brands definitely seemed like a trifle.

In Perspective

Even so, I’m blessed to be living in Bohol and to be in a way, stuck in Bohol. I mean, not going out of Bohol for a couple of years or so isn’t so bad. Not bad at all. We are blessed with pristine(now) beaches, falls, hills, and “Marlborough country” rolling landscapes, countless resorts for staycations, all within reach, depending on one’s risk appetite.

With all the daily hubbub in media nowadays, I’ve been longing to put the Covid-19 pandemic death toll in perspective:

  • Smallpox = est. 500 million people died, only in its last 100 years of existence! (Surprising!)
  • Spanish Flu of 1918 = 50 million people
  • World War 1 = 40 million people
  • World War 2 = 75 million people (Hope these wars never happen again! What a lesson!)
  • Covid 19 = 4.4 million people

These are all horrid numbers. Nevertheless, I am a firm believer of the sovereignty and providence of God. Nothing gets past Him, He is doing something purposeful in all of this mess, if only to soften the hearts of people for the gospel.

Nevertheless, I am a firm believer of the sovereignty and providence of God. Nothing gets past Him, He is doing something purposeful in all of this mess, if only to soften the hearts of people for the gospel.

I can totally list a myriad good things that happened during this pandemic! Like:

  • Unprecedented speed at which a vaccine was created
  • Softened hearts for the gospel, that indeed churchplant efforts have sped up instead of slowed down.
  • A global rethinking or prioritization of what matters most
  • Resurgence of new innovations and businesses
  • New and creative ways of meeting even if afar (certainly there’s more that can be added to this list!)

In the end it matters little what I think about the Covid-19 pandemic, economics, vaccines and all. God’s Word stands and it will remain forever.

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

John 6:68

Close In.

Last Sunday we closed in on a week full of fun ministry opportunities, it seemed like one of our busiest since the pandemic, still, I recall how much pleasure we derive from ministry and how blessed we are to get to do what we do.

Being part of building the church here on earth is a small picture of an eternity with the Lord, and right around the corner is an eternity of unhindered fellowship with Him!

Obedience to God’s call may have a cost, but in it is an unspeakable reward that none in this world can compare.

On one of our women’s leadership group meetings, we talked about John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, chapter 5 and 6. It’s comforting to have conversations with them that all of us need God’s grace, all of us battle the sinful nature, all of us lie at the foot of the cross.

Cross by Neal E. Johnson

As Christians, we are all in a spiritual battle, and we “haven’t yet resisted up to the point of death,” as Evangelist would say to Christian and Faithful before they cross Vanity Fair.

The road to the Celestial City passes through Vanity Fair.

Three things that stand out for me as Christian and Faithful walk across the severely evil Vanity Fair (and many evils offered to them) is that:

  1. They have a different raiment – they are wearing the armor of God, which is certainly unrecognizable to the Fair’s residents.
  2. They have different speech – they speak the words of the Lord.
  3. They will “only buy Truth” – they will purchase and have interest on nothing of the lusts offered in the Fair.

We certainly had a great discussion on this, us Christians could definitely be considered an “oddity” in this world. When others would tell you to seek revenge, we would forgive; others would succumb to worry and panic, we do have a lasting and unshakeable peace; when others would be stingy in trying times, we would be generous.

In my short military career, one of the cooler options (for me atleast) would be a close in security or medical team of the president.

I was too junior of an officer to get into that, but now, I have a better close in, I have Jesus in me, His presence is always felt and keeps me safe. He would envelope me in his embrace.

With that I take comfort in all challenges, specifically now, as I prepare myself mentally, physically, and emotionally for another homeschool year.

Recently, we’ve deemed it productive and soul-satisfying for us to go to Alona beach once a week or so, to spend about an hour or two just walking and playing. It’s cleaner, less crowded, and swimmable now, certainly one of the blessings of a halt in mass tourism.

Jd and I thought that it can be good exercise for all 4 of us too! We certainly hit our 5000 steps goal and more!

I’m reminded of the differences of the beach each week, one day its sunny & perfect, one day its super windy and almost stormy, on another, its closed for water testing by the Department of Natural Resources.

Just when I let them wear swimsuits, they don’t swim, but just run around and build sand art instead. Just when I let them wear casual clothes for “only” feet dipping, they end up swimming and frolicking their hearts out! What unexpected joy & adventure parenting brings.

All in all I’m grateful, and my heart is full. Praise God!

Putting Marriage and Family before God

Idolatry in marriage and family? Is it possible?! Yes, it can be, and it is possible to fall into this temptation; for we do value the opinion of those we love the most.

Idolatry is defined as excessive devotion to or worship of something other than God. An idol is anything that replaces the one true God. It is wrong and it’s a thing we need to say sorry to God for, and fight against.

What if husband and wife do not see eye to eye on some things yet? What if, as you lead, homeschool and discipline your kids, they hate you? Would it still be possible to honor God still, to make marriage and family life work? YES!

Jan 25, 2021; Intimate dinner at a Thai restaurant for our 8th wedding anniversary

Persevere in the work despite pain

Pastor Steve Murrell, in addressing Every Nation NA leaders, said that “If we let our pain, rather than our purpose become the center, we will quit the ministry.” Isn’t our marriage our first ministry as Christians?

To what do we persevere in? For us wives and mothers, it can be all things – even the simplest ones. Is it the office work lying on your desk? Is it the lunch or dinner that needs to be cooked and served? It can be the pile of dishes waiting in the sink, or the floor-full of toys waiting to be tidied up, in prayer and in surrendering to the Lord the things we can’t control, we can persevere.

Nancy Wolgemuth would differentiate a wise woman’s emotions and habits from an unwise one, calling it a “sophron state of mind.” I have been chewing on this list of 100+ qualities and its mighty helpful.

UNWISEWISE
Impetuous, impulsiveExercises restraint and self-government
Self-centered – “How does this affect me?”Others-centered – “How does my behavior affect others?”
Choices driven by feelings, external pressure, circumstancesChoices driven by the Word of God
Fearful Trusts in the Lord
Wounds, belittles, tears down others with her wordsWords minister grace, blessing, encouragement to the hearer
Argumentative Humble, yields the right to be right
Struggles to maintain consistent disciplines and routinesDevelops and maintains healthy, consistent disciplines and habits
Easily distracted – flits from one thing to another, inability to focus, concentrate, or finish a task Focuses on what God has given her to do at the moment, and brings tasks to completion
some examples of Nancy Wolgemuth’s list of “A Sophron State of Mind”

The bible does call us to act in wisdom by persevering in various trials, I’ve had this verse plastered on my clothes cabinet growing up, it has helped me a lot!

“Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

James 1:12

Your identity is still true in Christ despite what others may think

Today’s most erroneous value source is in social media likes, comments, subscriptions and repost/retweets; but not so in the gospel. Ultimately this rings true even in the disagreement of those closest to us.

Victory Morning Devotions has been a constant source of encouragement during this pandemic for many Filipinos, including me, and the July 14 devotion on Ephesians 1:18, is about us believers being God’s treasured possession or inheritance. I learned that the three qualities an inheritance has to have is:

  • a recognized or perceived value,
  • defined ownership, and
  • a paid price.

All of those Jesus has already purchased and declared for me on the cross, and it stands true no matter our dreary daily circumstance. If we look all around us, it can be easy to see dreary circumstances, good thing the gospel reminds us that our first priority is to God, and making the family go first is indeed an idolatry.

It’s also incredibly hurtful and draining for your family to bear the brunt of your perceived identity and security, these can only rightly be gained from Jesus.

As you do the right thing, whether your kids believe, trust, obey you or not, your value in Christ remains the same. Your value in Christ remains the same even in relational stress with the ones you hold most dear, husband and kids included.

Kevin DeYoung would say that our commitment to family must not come before our commitment to God. He says that family is good, necessary, and foundational, but not ultimate.

I love my family to pieces, and I would surely do all I can to enable them to fulfill their purpose in life, but indeed, a function of that love for them, is putting them second only to God. To be honest, I’m not sure how I can function well as wife and mom at any rate if Jesus wasn’t my Lord and Savior.

Should we really rely only on visible results?

A ton of things we do daily/weekly/yearly will not have visible results. In time they will, but should we pin our satisfaction in visible changes, it’s unwise and may cause our emotions to go haywire!

We can’t merely resort to stifling our emotions, or even exalting them, instead we can pour them out to God. Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre writes in their book True Feelings: “when Christ restores our emotions, they can work the way He always intended, to work in harmony with our other faculties: the mind and the will. On one hand we musn’t despise God’s gift of emotions by stifling what we feel, we should receive this gift, make use of it, enjoy it; on the other hand we must not favor or exalt our emotions. We must not live only to feel, but we should appreciate and apply our minds and wills in equal measure.

We can continue to press on, despite not seeing the results we work on and pray for, just because pressing on honors the Lord as he enables us to persevere.

Speck vs Beam

What is the speck in your husband’s eye? Granted, it’s clouding his vision. But what about the beam of wood in your own eye? For us Christian women married to Christian husbands, we are blessed that God is their Lord and they listen to Him. If not, it still holds true that the wife’s godly behavior can win them over to Christ.

It’s extremely helpful to examine ourselves if we are sorely lacking in something, and for us women, it somehow can be distilled as an inadequacy in respect in conveying our thoughts and feelings.

Surely the gift and mystery of marriage is something I try to cultivate and seek to honor Him everyday in, all by His grace!

Family life is busy, but fun and fulfilling!

Was this helpful? Feel free to shoot me a message or a comment!

Prayer and Patience

Recently we had our friend’s bridal shower and it was as sweet as it gets! Weddings are truly lovely and displays a picture of Christ and His bride, the Church.

With marriage of course comes character formation.

The message I wanted to send across to our bride-to-be is the importance of prayer and patience.

Sabi pa sa Filipino class, “Ang pag-aasawa ay hindi biro, ‘di tulad ng kanin, iluluwa kung mapaso.” Marriage is difficult, its not like food that you can spit out if it burns.

So therein lies the message of prayer and patience. Prayer can bring you patience even.

As we pray, persevere, we can be patient and surrender the results to God.

What do we pray for?

We can pray for our own character flaws, we can pray for his character flaws.

We can ask God for grace and perseverance to overcome and rise above challenges, as a tagteam.

I’m afraid no one has “arrived” in this. I’m talking to myself even as I’m talking to you dear reader.

Provision financially is a common grace and its a means to an end. A heart check here seems in order.

What is your end in what you’re believing God to provide for you?

Will it be used to honor him? Will it be used to live your life in such a way that advances the Kingdom? Does it glorify you, your skills and capabilities, or God?

Having a husband is quite an all encompassing word, the wife has him as best friend, forever teammate, workmate toward goals, intimacy partner, safe zone, co-parent, counselor, leader, and so much more: what a pleasure. What a joy it is to have that!

Cultivating a godly marriage and raising up kids in Christ, arguably, could be the two most difficult things we could do in life. Yet they are the most fulfilling, and sanctifying.

Marriage is such a challenging but beautiful mystery that portrays Christ and the Church, His bride, to partake in it is such a joyful honor.

Its greatly refreshing to celebrate with a friend who’s getting married! JD and I are blessed to be part of this couple’s lives!

Marriage is such a challenging but beautiful mystery that portrays Christ and the Church, His bride, to partake in it is such a joyful honor.

"My love is mine and I am his.."
Song of Songs 2:16A