The Comfort Influencer

(2 min read)

So I gather there is such a thing nowadays gaining ground, comfort influencer. People find themselves gravitating towards comfort on social media, especially during this unstable and rapidly changing time.

And why not!? It is totally needed! It’s like “Hey you’re going through something?” “Yea, me too! How did you get through that? Follow!”

There are all things comfort, comfort food, comfort pillow, comfort zone; and I love that! My husband and I have gained some weight recently due to comfort food. My kids love a good “huggie pillow.” I love a great worship album such as those of Victory Worship, and Every Nation. (Hopefully no one listens to Bethel, Hillsong, Elevation, Kari Jobe or anyone from New Apostolic Reformation camp anymore)

The newly released Filipino songs of Victory Worship – Ligtas, Paghilom, Lilim, Maghari; are incredibly comforting to me. I’m immensely blessed they released that! Tahan Na, ironically, makes me cry more than it makes me “tahan.” 🙂

In the same way, I’m equally blessed that our friends in Dumaguete and Davao churches have started to release Visayan versions as well. I’m not Visayan, but my husband is. (I’m good in speaking Visayan, and by good I mean I’m good in making people laugh when I speak it) 🙂

Longing for comfort inherently means there is something in us genuinely uncomfortable, and we need something to help us deal with that.

It’s good we recognize we are uncomfortable! We in fact inherited sin from our first parents. We are in our sinful natural bodies, wherein its natural for us to sin. It just cannot be helped.

Matthew 15 says “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” It also says the heart is incredibly deceitful.

That’s why we have this broken world. That’s why if you look at it, all jobs are hard, marriage is hard, parenting is hard. Sometimes it takes a good admitting. Life is, in general, a string of struggles connected to one another. It’s not that all of it is hard, but that it’s never free of struggle, we get over one thing, another one is waiting by the curbside.

Thankfully we are being renewed everyday in Christ. Thankfully, in as much as we were saved once, we are constantly being sanctified.

I love tuning in to most influencers, we’re friends with the Bonifacios. Mad respect! They sure have been through a lot, and they do a great job encouraging others too! Post-World War II, our modern times, I don’t think there has been more need for encouragement than now in this Covid pandemic.

Still, social media encouragement is ultimately – screen time, and whether we admit it or not, screen time is, at the end of the day, draining. We really cannot be simply watchers, we need something more, real relationships that “teach, rebuke, correct, and train in righteousness”; hopefully, and best done, done in church community – which is actually what Pastor Joe would always encourage people to do.

The need for comfort is always there. The question in our hearts is always what is your comfort? Thankfully in Christ there is the answer.

My only comfort, in life and in death is that I am not my own, but I belong wholly, body and soul, to my Savior, Jesus Christ. But what does this really mean? I am kept by Him. That comforts me so much in that, whatever calamity or discomfort that may occur here, I am in Him, His presence protects, sustains, and preserves, and in death, I am with Him in heaven. That reassurance makes me enjoy earthly life in waiting for that future hope, it makes me understand why ultimately nothing here 100% satisfies. That is my comfort. Jesus is our only comfort, here we see a ton of beautiful and joyful glimpses, but there it is even indescribably complete. 🙂

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.

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

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.

How does this affect me?
“How does my behavior affect others?”
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

Encapsulation and Time

Henrietta Mears, of “What the Bible is All About,” did a wonderful encapsulation. In just the first chapter, she profoundly put it:

  • The Old Testament begins with God (Gen 1:1)
  • The New Testament begins with Christ (Matthew 1:1)
  • From Adam to Abraham we have the history of the human race.
  • From Abraham to Christ we have the history of the chosen race.
  • From Christ on we have the history of the Church.

I can’t believe how direct, simple, and yet profound that is!

As I prepare to begin sitting in in our much awaited Leadership 113 first semester (of 2), I’m very much thrilled to begin to “pick up the pearls in the Scriptures and string them into order from Genesis to Revelation and think through the bible story,” (not that I don’t already do so though), but to do it in a class mode, albeit via Zoom, all together seems rather more enjoyable!

Mears goes on to say when it comes to intentionality in Bible reading:

Do you want to read the Bible through? Leave 80 hours for it. Plot out that time. How much can you give each day? How many days a week? This highly practical proposition should be seized by the very busiest. We are all busy and must make time for it. If we are going to know the Bible, we must give time for it and arrange for it. We must adjust our lives so that time is made.”

Now I’m sure that Netflix, Youtube and even news time will be so much less, but I’m greatly excited to be that disciplined more than ever, and read my bible, (my life!), cover to cover all over again. 🙂

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

Suffrage: How Should a Christian View Politics?

A quick definition of suffrage – a right of voting. It has certainly fallen out of usage! Globally, fighting for and significant wins towards suffrage for women in national and local elections ranged in the 1840’s to 1920’s. In the Philippines, the winning date was 30 April 1937 – women were allowed to vote!

Suffrage, as with thousands of English words, comes from Latin, suffragium, which originally meant to pray for or intercede, but which was later broadened to voting.

Incidentally, this fits right in to the era of my current favorite leisure series, Downton Abbey. Set in 1918 Britain, Lady Sybil was their down-to-earth, interesting, and forward-thinking daughter who advocated for women’s right to vote.

So, as I sat there in the Comelec (Commision on Elections) waiting area, all decked in face mask & face shield, expecting to have my voter’s registration transferred to my current city, as well as changed to my married name, it got me thinking about what has transpired through the years before I got to this place.

I mean, being a free country, a sovereign democracy, with a young woman like me having a privilege to vote.

It was not so long ago that women were not allowed to vote. It was not so long ago that our country was in a Martial Law. So it is indeed a privilege, one that is easily taken for granted.

An Ombudsman of the Philippines 10-page Citizen-Voter Education Module entitled “Your Vote, Our Future.,” states that the human right to vote is embodied in three instruments:

We are governed by these documents which all mandate universality of right, equality in access to public service, and secrecy of votes.

What is the Ombudsman? The thought of it takes me back to college days in Makati Med, we were the only college there, right smack in the Central Business District, walking around and eating where corporate workers and executives walked and ate. We frequently passed by the Ombudsman’s office. I didn’t know it then, but it was the government agency tasked to investigate and prosecute government officials accused of crimes, especially graft and corruption.

Waiting Online?

One thing that hit me too was that in the days before the Kindle, the smartphone and Facebook or Spotify, we humans used to do either of two things while waiting in line:

  • stare blankly somewhere, 🙂 or
  • make new friends.

Seeing as I had too many errands and forgot the Kindle at home, I just settled for my usual upbeat lo-fi beats on Spotify to pass the time. Sadly, unlike my husband who is apparently good at it despite his introversion (for purposes of evangelism), I on the other hand wasn’t able to make new friends, as most of the ladies in the voters’ registration queue were absorbed in their phones playing games and scanning Facebook.

In the end I got my details in and was successfully transferred here. I can vote here now! Granted that must be my last government identification to be changed to married name (after 8 years!), and the elections will still be in May 2022, but I’m excited!

But Why Vote?

Most certainly, God is in control, but surely, we can’t just do nothing to further His will. It is our duty and responsibility; to give to Ceasar what is due Ceasar; to do everything as unto the Lord; and to submit to our local authorities (provided they are not making us do anything dishonoring to God).

I understand that even among believers politics can spark heated debates. That’s why our leaders and mentors wouldn’t ever endorse or talk about any political candidates and we don’t do so as well. We simply choose the candidates to vote wisely as to the best options there are, do our part, and trust God for the results.

Voting and positions on issues also don’t have to be choosing just one political party. Timothy Keller would say in a New York Times article: “For example, following both the Bible and the early church, Christians should be committed to racial justice and the poor, but also to the understanding that sex is only for marriage and for nurturing family. One of those views seems liberal and the other looks oppressively conservative. The historical Christian positions on social issues do not fit into contemporary political alignments.”

Also, ultimately, it is the Lord that puts people in authority, He merely uses circumstances for His purposes. The Lord even put and used Daniel and Joseph in powerful pagan governments!

"For this has been decreed by the messengers;
    it is commanded by the holy ones,
so that everyone may know
    that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world.
He gives them to anyone he chooses—
    even to the lowliest of people.”
Daniel 4:17 NLT

“Political entities are not the savior of the world. The salvation for all mankind has been manifested in Jesus Christ. God knew that our world needed saving long before any national government was ever founded. He demonstrated to the world that redemption could not be accomplished through the power of man, economic strength, military might, or politics. Peace of mind, contentment, hope, and joy—and the salvation of mankind—are provided only through Jesus’ death and resurrection.”

How Should a Christian View Politics,

He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;

Daniel 2:21 ESV

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!

Slowly But Surely

This week I got to start on homeschooling my 6-year old gradeschool style, classical style. It was super exciting and super new! I found myself, during the preparation phase, bring out planners and stuff.

Back in Kindergarten it was easy peasy. Mental notes on her progress was enough on those 4 basic subjects. I didn’t stress at all, I am indeed blessed with a learner, who reads fantasy novels for fun! It IS her hobby!

My girls love The Hobbit, albeit read aloud for now, for my younger.
They absolutely adore the Narnia series too, pictured here is a lamp reminiscent of the one in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Snaps from Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga

This summer vacation, (oddly enough, June & July) we were able to relish more relaxed and unstructured days. We had time for movie marathons, Jd and I ofcourse “served” time redeeming them with a Biblical worldview. (More on that soon!)

But then August came and its now time for a litte more structure, and “serious” material.

Who else still finds going to school by August odd? It’s the second year of pandemic schooling and I still haven’t gotten used to it.

I was in serious trepidation for about a month, and finally, by God’s grace and much prayer, completed the planning; looking as well to quite a few Reformed homeschooling mama blogs, podcasts, and groups!

What was striking for me in one of the blogs was this encapsulation of grade school:

The goal of the elementary years (roughly 7-11yo) is to fling wide the doors of interest and cultivate the habit of attention. In addition to skill-based work like math and handwriting, we read lots of good books on a wide array of topics. You might peg some as history, science, geography, or literature, but the point is that the exposure is consistent, cheerful, and broad.

Mystie Winckler

You might peg? That’s sure made me laugh in relief! I was covering those things in my plan: math, handwriting, and included a lot of good books on history, geography, and literature. I guess we’ll be fine.

From the beginning of our classical homeschooling journey, I have decided to do it scholé & contemplation style.

Scholé is festive, a celebration, it is work, but it is work of a different order. It is leisurely work. It is blurring the lines between work and the modern definition of “leisure,” – which has somehow come to mean doing nothing, blanking your mind, and watching Netflix.

Festivity is an atmosphere. It is also a lot of work.

However, the work isn’t to glorify our own reputations or build our own kingdoms; the work is done to glorify God and honor Him – it’s a sacrifice of praise. It is worship.

Mystie Winckler

Yes, its something we try to cultivate in our home. Enjoying academic work as a feast, being in scholé while working.

I’m constantly trying to balance load and absorption. Depth versus width. Thus, oral & drawing narration prove to be the “perfect” kind of test in our home.

When Jd comes home on any given Sunday and asks me what I like about the preaching of the Word, I find myself thinking long and hard, hey, I just heard it once a few hours ago.

Thus, asking the girls open-ended questions about what they just heard read-aloud from my lesson — such a TALL ORDER!

It’s easy to ask the “Who, What, Where, When” details of any given text. Retelling a read-aloud in their own words proves comprehension and understanding.

The modern schooling we have come to grow up in seems to favor “coverage” more than understanding & comprehension; favors equipping students for a certain job, than equipping them with virtue, wisdom, and character.

Yes, in our classically schooled humble abode, our ultimate goal is equipping our kids with virtue, schooling them in the Liberal Arts, teaching the Trivium, not just equipping them for jobs, but equipping them for that, and life in general.

First Day topics

Yes, our homeschool days have bumps and bruises, and its still in its infancy stage, but I am hopeful and expectant to see God’s will unfold in the girls’ lives. I would certainly rely on God’s grace everyday!

The one thing I try to remind myself of every morning, one thing I pray continually for grace to live out, is to see the bumpy patches of our day as opportunities for growth in virtue rather than as evidence of condemnation.

It’s alarming but true: the kids are learning more from the way I handle life not going my way than they do from their books and assignments. So how I manage throughout the day and how I treat them and speak to them matters far more than anything else.

Mystie Winckler

So as I start “formal” gradeschool with my eldest, I am terribly glad to be reminded that work is worship, and its ok to be not so formal about it, if you get what I mean, and let “work” bleed into leisure, and to enjoy letting home education “bleed into life,” enjoying a full life lived together in the home.

When cleaning the house, this Proverb remains to be a great reminder. Much harvest come by the strength of the ox.

"Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox."
Proverbs 14:4

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.

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!

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