My Super Mom

Her super powers started at a young age of 22.¬†She was working as a public high school English teacher in our hometown when she met and married my dad. Almost a year after tying the knot, they had their first child and her wonderful, amazing, drama-filled adventures as a mom began and became even more exciting with 3 more children. ūüôā

Meet my Super Mom. ūüôā

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A Hard Working Working Mom

My mom is a natural go-getter. She finished her studies with honors at 19 and started practicing her profession right after passing the board exams. Maybe because their family was not well-off and as the eldest among the 6 children, she knew she had to graduate soon to help my grandparents with their finances. Why she got married young is another story. ūüėÄ

This achiever attitude coupled with her passion for teaching motivated my mother to continue working despite having kids. I believe this led to her being the breadwinner of our family and my dad as the house husband. ūüôā I found this set up in our home somewhat weird and deviant as a kid — a dad cooking our meals, washing the dishes, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, attending PTA meetings at school instead of a mom which was the common case among my classmates — but I had gotten used to it eventually. ūüėČ

Anyhow, back to my mom. To further her career, she also took up and finished a master’s degree at a college in our province while being a high school teacher. Though if I remember it correctly, there was a time that she had to take a long leave from work to finish her studies. And at some point in her grad school, she also accepted a teaching stint among college students every Saturdays at the school where she studied her masters. I honestly don’t know how she did all of those things while being a hands on mom! Maybe Super Moms really do exist? ūüėÄ

Apart from¬†being a very hard working teacher, my mom was an equally hard working mother to us four of her kids. She made sure she attended to all our needs despite her full schedule. Since we didn’t have a helper or yaya (oh, my dad was! Hehe!) because we were not rich to begin with, my mother was the one who gave us a bath when we were much younger, prepared our baon when we were in preschool, covered our books and notebooks for school, reviewed us our lessons, helped with our school projects. And the list goes on. There may be school activities that she missed but when¬†she was at home, she made us her priority.

I also remember a story that she recounted showing her¬†Super Mom powers in action, literally.¬†I was¬†I think more than a¬†year old and there was no one to look after me at home because my dad had to run important errands¬†so¬†my mom¬†brought me to school with her.¬†I fell asleep in her arms¬†so she taught in front of her class in heels¬†cradling the sleeping toddler me. My heart melted after hearing that story. Tissue please. ūüėÄ

My mother’s hard work paid off¬†when she¬†got promoted until she became an Education Supervisor leaving the confines of a classroom onto a bigger role with wider scope and responsibilities. The career woman in her further pursued PhD and was granted a scholarship at DLSU which meant having to travel 3 hours to Manila every week to attend her classes. That was how determined and hard working she was. She was on her final requirement, a dissertation, when she had to discontinue her studies because of her tight schedule and financial concerns¬†so¬†she was not able to finish her PhP¬†until her retirement last year.

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My Super Mom received her Outstanding EPS Award on March 2014. So proud of her! ūüôā

She continued working and building her career but she never neglected us even until we have become older.  When we were in college studying here in Manila, my mom and dad would always visit us every week if they could or at least once a month to check on us, bring some food, cook meals for us, do the laundry for us (especially my dad. hehe!) and just spend some time with us their children. Even when we all have started working, they would still pay us a visit once in a while like they did when we were in college.

My mom did not only work hard¬†in establishing¬†her career. More importantly, she worked hard to¬†shape responsible and¬†independent¬†children in us.¬†¬†Since we didn’t have any househelp, our parents especially my mom taught us how to do household chores — washing the dishes, doing the laundry,¬†pressing our clothes, cleaning the house.¬† My dad took charge of the kitchen because he likes cooking so I didn’t get¬†to learn much¬†about that. ūüėĬ†This equipped us to become independent growing up.¬†I’m personally thankful that my¬†mother taught me all these¬†which I¬†now apply in my married life. I always tell my husband that I’m not at the mercy of our helpers in case they decide to leave because¬†I can take care of our home (except that I would need to quit work ūüėÄ ).

While she and my dad always visited us during our college years, she made sure we know how to handle ourselves given that we were miles away from them. My brothers and I learned how to survive college until¬†we started working, all¬†by ourselves.¬† Though I lived in the same apartment with my brothers during¬†my college and working days, there was a point when I¬†had to¬†be¬†by myself because of certain career decisions that my brothers had to make. During this time, I wasn’t scared to live far away from my parents and siblings because of the foundation of independence that my mom instilled in me.

A Respectful and Submissive Wife

She had a good career and was the breadwinner of our family. But my mother never forgot her role as a wife. If there is something that I admire the most about my mom, it’s how she treats my dad — full of respect and with submission.

Despite my parents’ switched roles, my mother never made my dad feel he was incapable.¬†She never bossed my father¬†around even if she very well knew she was the one earning for the family.¬†¬†She never shouted and degraded him¬†nor spoke ill of him in front of other people. Instead, she appreciated all my dad’s efforts to take care of our home and look after us while she was working and gave him the respect that he deserved. She was gentle and kind-hearted towards my dad.¬† A wife respectful of her husband.¬†That’s the kind of wife she was and is until now.

With my mother’s respect to my dad also comes her¬†submission to him. When I was single, I couldn’t understand why my mom wouldn’t make a decision without the knowledge of my dad when she was the one who provided for the family anyway. In my mind, “She has the right to because she works hard.” But this¬†made sense to me when I became a wife myself and learned about God’s command for wives to submit to their husbands.

Photo by Gerard Aquino

Photo by Gerard Aquino

As a submissive wife,¬†my mom would always seek the opinion and/or approval of my dad in every decision she makes especially if it concerns our family — from the renovation of our home, purchase of an appliance or furniture to¬†giving us permission to go out with friends. During my teen years, whenever I would ask my mom¬†if we can¬†go out with my friends or go somewhere, she would always tell me,¬†“Ask your¬†Daddy.”¬†I knew my chance of¬†being allowed to leave¬†gets slim because my¬†dad was strict. ūüėÄ But the point is, she acknowledges the role of my dad¬†as the head of the family even if she was the one working.

A WOMAN OF PERSEVERANCE

Growing up, I’ve seen how my mother strove hard to provide for our family and at the same time, fulfill her wife and mommy duties.¬†As a mom, I could imagine how difficult it is for her spending more days at work than with her children¬†but she endured being away from us instead of personally taking care of us to be able to provide for our family’s needs. And to take on the role as the¬†provider that is normally fulfilled by the father is¬†no joke. It’s like carrying the whole world on your shoulder because of the bigness and gravity of the responsibility. But my mom persevered to raise our family of six.

My mom’s perseverance is also evident in her marriage. We all know how it takes a lot of hard work to make marriage last because¬†of the¬†individual differences in attitude, values, beliefs and outlook that a couple needs to deal with. My mom and dad’s marriage was¬†no exception. I’ve witnessed them disagree and fight even on petty things, usually stemming from my mom’s ¬†love for shopping/window shopping and my dad’s abomination for it, and many other instances. Their reversed role as home maker and provider also became a source of their dispute at times. But despite all the challenges that they faced, my mom stood by my dad’s side and never gave up even if there were times when one¬†who’s full of pride¬†would think that the only option left¬†is to pack up and leave. Thank God for His grace because my parents¬†have been married for 44 years now.

A Loving Lola

As a teacher, my mom was known for being strict. But this mellows down when it comes to her apos¬†except when they become difficult to handle especially the first 2 who stayed with my parents for a couple of years when their dad left¬†abroad to work. ūüôā Ms. Minchin in Sarah the Little Princess comes out! Haha! She’s old already so her patience has become shorter. ūüėÄ

Kidding aside, my¬†mother loves spending time with her grandchildren. Even if she got¬†“stressed” in taking care of my nephews from my eldest brother because she was practically raising kids again, she enjoyed being with them. She helped them with their homework, reviewed them on their exams and attended to their needs even if she was already tired from work. I guess their mere presence gave her joy probably because all of her kids are already old. Plus they had errand runners whom they asked to¬†run¬†to the nearby sari-sari store to buy quick household needs. Hehe! ūüėÄ

When a new baby apo, the Big Boy, came after I think 10 years, my mom got delighted and excited once again. Who doesn’t like babies especially if they are your own blood? ūüôā They¬†give a fresh look in life I believe. So whenever my parents¬†are in Manila, my mom would always pester my dad to drive to our place to see the Big Boy and now, the Little Princess as well,¬†even for just a short period of time. It’s the kids who they visit now, not me anymore. Huhu! :p

At the Big Boy's 1st Birthday Party. :)

At the Big Boy’s 1st Birthday Party. ūüôā

My mom also has her own way of¬†“spoiling” her apos. She doesn’t give in to what they want but she always buys them clothes and shoes. My mom¬†likes shopping, remember? ūüėÄ And being her only granddaughter¬†(just like how I am her only daughter), the Little Princess served as¬†her Barbie doll buying her¬†clothes and footwear¬†she would find cute or pretty. ūüėÄ ¬†So the Little Princess modeled¬†all her outfit from her Lola everyday.¬†Ha! ūüėÄ

At the Little Princess' 1st Birthday Party. :)

At the Little Princess’ 1st Birthday Party. ūüôā

A fan-girl

Miss Minchin, I mean,¬†my mom, as a strict teacher, is¬†always thought¬†to be serious. Partly true when at work¬†but when she has gone beyond the walls of her class/office room, her amusing side comes out! She likes celebrities and is a solid Vilmanian! ūüôā

At home during weekends, you would always see her watching showbiz talkshows catching the latest chismis about celebrities. ūüėÄ In fact, she and my dad fight over¬†basketball and talkshows on television until now. Haha!

If you¬†happen to be a visitor in our home and became interested to browse¬†our¬†photos, you would find an album of her pictures with celebrities she encountered at an event, a seminar, at the airport, anywhere! ūüėÄ Of course she has photos with her favorite Vilma Santos! ūüėÄ And she’s not ashamed to approach a celebrity to say “Hi!” and make a small talk when we are out much to our embarassment. Hahaha! We always tease her that¬†she’d make a good talent manager. LOL! ūüėÄ

(Sorry I don’t have any copy of her pictures with celebrities with me now that I can share. :D)

MY PRAYER FOR MY SUPER MOM

After working all her life, my mom has finally decided to retire with the encouragement from my dad primarily because of her health. She has diabetes and hypertension and has suffered from mild stroke twice. Finally, she would be able to enjoy the fruits of all her labor without worrying about us and live life stress and worry-free. She had been working since she was 19!

However last year, a few months after her retirement, the unexpected happened. She had another stroke attack while at the mall with my dad and my brother, much worse than the first two that it paralyzed the left part of her body. This was one of the most difficult times of our family, seeing our very own Super Mom who was very independent and always full of energy, suffer, crippled in bed and incapable of doing things by herself. It was most difficult for her, physically more so, emotionally.

My prayer for my Super Mom is¬†for her to be continuously fueled by the Lord with physical strength and¬†good health given her condition. But more than her physical needs,¬†I pray that she will be filled spiritually — that she may get to know Jesus on a personal level and have a relationship with Him. That she may discover and experience the overflowing joy of being one with Jesus, that even her physical limitations won’t matter anymore. That she will always¬†see God’s beauty and goodness amid her situation. That she will be blessed and be a blessing to others. That she¬†learns, and lives by,¬†that¬†being a Super Mom is not because of¬†our human capacity but because of the strength coming from Jesus.

P.S. This blog post is¬†supposed to be a Mother’s Day entry in honor of my mother but even though¬†it’s more than a week late, I’d like to continue honoring my very own Super Mom on this blog. ūüôā

My Reading List

I’m not a bookworm but I enjoy reading. A few novels to¬†awaken and excite my imagination¬†but mostly informative or inspirational books. Reading does take time¬†so I prefer to spend my time, especially now that I’m a mother,¬†to read books that will essentially¬†feed my mind and¬†soul with learning. So my¬†book storage¬†is filled with titles from¬†Christian authors with themes ranging from¬† spiritual life, relationships,¬†work, parenting and the likes.

But I have this¬†lousy habit of¬†buying books and not reading them. I have¬†a tendency whenever I visit a Christian bookstore to browse through the shelves and get my self a book or 2, which will end up collecting dust in¬†our house, untouched. In fact, a¬† few months ago, I went book shopping at the CCF Bookstore and brought home with me about 5 books. Apparently, I’ve only read one which until now, is still unfinished. ūüėÄ And a few years back, I also got myself some books which¬†remain, well, sitting lonely¬†in my book storage, all patiently waiting for their owner to grab them and read. I’m such a perfect book collector!

Despite my fascination with “collecting” books, I want to have even more¬†(see, I’m¬†seriously taking my title as¬†a book collector! ūüėÄ ) and hopefully more time to read them all as well.¬† I just haven’t gotten the time to go to a bookstore with the purpose of buying books and not craft stuff, but I wish to have the following titles¬†which I heard about when hubby and I attended the CCF Counterflow Conference last year:

1. Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

Paul Tan-Chi, one of the workshop speakers at¬†the Counterflow Conference mentioned about this book on¬†how to discipline our¬†children from¬†a biblical perspective. I’m personally¬†still struggling on disciplining my 2 kids and I hope this book could help me shed light on it.

shepherdingachildsheart

Via Christianbook.com

2. Raising a Modern-Day Joseph by Larry Fowler

The author of this book himself, Larry Fowler,¬†also spoke at the conference and discussed the main point of the book:¬† how¬†parents can raise their children¬†like Joseph that even though he¬†was far away from his family¬†without spiritual support, he¬†remained¬†obedient and faithful to the Lord.¬† Though he enumerated some points¬†during his talk,¬†I’d like to get into more detail¬†on¬†the strategies for raising a modern-day Joseph.

Via Parable.com

3. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

I’ve heard about this book a long time ago from someone I can’t remember who and also saw¬†it from a¬†celebrity Christian mom, Cheska Kramer’s Instagram post. And during the conference, one of the speakers, Francis Kong used these love languages as reference when he talked about reaching out and bridging the generation gap with¬†our kids today. The love languages actually apply to every relationship and I think it’s important to understand another person’s love language in order for us to know how we ought to respond and these expressions of love.

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Via Refreshedbiz.com

Hope to get hold of (and read!)¬†all these books¬†in the next couple of weeks months. ūüôā

4 Things I’ve Learned in Our 4 Years of Marriage

This entry is supposed to be an “anniversary post” for my husband and I’s 4th wedding anniversary which we celebrated 3¬†weeks ago but it ended up resting in my drafts folder for weeks now because of my jam-packed October especially the second half — our company’s Family Day at Manila Ocean Park, a parenting conference at CCF, Halloween preparation in our office, DIY-ing¬†the kids’ Halloween costumes.

Anyhow, I really need to get rid of this post from my drafts¬†so I can move on so here it goes… ūüôā

I can’t believe it’s been 4 years since Joey and I exchanged our vows and I Dos and made the eternal promise before the Lord to be together forever. Four years of living together under one roof, sharing the same bed and closet (sometimes shirts or towels ūüôā ), laughing together on silly jokes, watching latenight TV series or movies together, sharing our mostly contrasting thoughts and opinions about anything under the sun, having sporadic fights and misunderstandings, helping each other bathe and clean up and raise and discipline our 2 adorable kids, learning together what it is to become a husband or a wife and a parent and many other happy/sad/crazy/proud moments and memories I will no longer list down.¬†So please raise your glasses with me and say¬†cheers to our 4 years of togetherness! ūüôā

Since wedding anniversaries are special and only happen once a year, I was¬†hoping to celebrate our 4th¬†year together, just the 2 of us, any possible way — an overnight stay in Tagaytay, a spa day away, or even just a simple dinner. I even teased J before I left for work the day of our anniversary to take me out on a date that night. Hint, Hint. No, plea. Kidding. ūüôā¬†But reality did not meet my expectation. Later that day, J asked me if we would still go out for dinner and was insinuating that we just stay home because he still had a jetlag from his US trip and he had run out of budget for our date. Okay, this made me a little disappointed not because we couldn’t go out and have dinner together as I openly hoped for¬†and I perfectly understand any financial-related¬†issues, but because he was leaving the decision to me on whether we will eat out or not. To me, such matters should be handled by the husband, just like how a boyfriend plans¬†his¬†date¬†with¬†his girlfriend.

And so, the upset wifey me was thinking of how I should react. If I were the old stubborn wife that I was, I would celebrate our anniversary by myself by going to the mall and shopping while bearing a grudge on my husband. “How dare him not take me out even on a simple date on our anniversary?!” I¬†imagine¬†that playing in my head while doing some retail therapy for my broken heart.¬†But the transformed, more mature wife that I am now just didn’t let the situation get into me so much to ruin the rest of my day. ‚ÄúBreathe in, breathe out,‚ÄĚ I told myself. I replied with unseen elegance and poise to my husband‚Äôs SMS that we could just stay home if budget would not permit but I would have appreciated if he had told that to me point-blank without waiting for¬†me to make the decision. I knew he sensed I was irritated even if I was trying my very best to mask my frustration. After that, I wholeheartedly accepted that we wouldn’t have a date that I have been longing for in a while. Yes,¬†wives can be reasonably clingy and demanding, too.

I went home from work that night¬†“heart broken” but found this lying on¬†the bed when I entered our room! I feel like¬†teen-er again. hehe!¬†¬†ūüôā

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Thank you, Daddy J for the pretty flowers! ūüôā Shall I smile when taking selfies? ūüėÄ

I¬†told J what I felt about his text message and why I reacted that way and he apologized for his action. I said he owes me a date. Hehe! ūüôā

Now, on a more serious note…

J and I have been married for just 4 years and there‚Äôs a whole LOT of things that we still need to learn (apart from dealing with mishaps on anniversary celebrations¬†ūüėÄ ) as we go on with our¬†journey called marriage, based on the principles of God. We’re just at the beginning and we have a looonnnngggg way to go. But I thank the Lord for teaching us one at a time His design and purpose for marriage. Here are some of the important things that I personally have learned in our 4 years of marriage:

1. Marriage NEEDS Jesus as its foundation for it to grow firm and steadfast and withstand storms.
Many times I’ve heard in Sunday service messages and especially during wedding ceremonies that for marriage to become unshakable, it must be¬†built with Jesus¬†as its foundation. Just like our lives, it¬†must be surrendered and entrusted to the Lord and He will be the solid Rock that will keep and hold the marriage together. To borrow Pastor Peter Tan-chi’s words on having a Christ-filled life, it will make the husband-and-wife relationship “problem or challenge proof”.

“They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.” ¬†– Luke 6:48 (NIV)

wedding rings

Photo by Studio1 Photography

I couldn’t agree more with this. When I was newly¬†married to J, everything was¬†so fresh and novel because beginning our wedding day, I was no¬†longer living by myself but sharing my life¬†with another person I¬†vowed to be with for the rest of my life. And with this entirely new life comes the happiness and excitement of being with the person I love and care about every single day, day and night, as well as the challenges and difficulties that we as a couple will face along the way.

Admittedly, however,¬†I personally was never really prepared to be a wife and this stemmed from¬†the fact that when I got married, my spiritual foundation was shaky. I’ve mentioned in my previous post that I had a bumpy spiritual journey that went on until my¬†married life. When I entered a lifetime commitment with my husband, my relationship with Jesus was stagnant. I knowingly de-prioritized it, took it for granted. Therefore, I had a very difficult time adjusting to our married life. I would always end up getting frustrated because of our differences which most of the time manifested¬†on how I treated my husband: disrespectful with no humility and intently, no submission.¬†There were¬†times when¬†J and I¬†would¬†have a fight, I¬†would¬†shout at him and wouldn’t talk to him for days. I would nurture the anger with pride¬†instead of being humble and¬†asking for forgiveness. It was chaotic inside of me and it translated in my relationship with my husband. Not so good.

What makes everything even more challenging is the reality that¬†J¬†is not (yet) a Christian and therefore, we are not aligned on our goals, specifically spiritual goals for our marriage and family.¬†I’ve hinted or even candidly mentioned about his spiritual status in my other blog posts. He has heard the gospel several times at church and I’ve also shared it with him during the early part of our dating¬†relationship but it just became a point of debate between us so I just didn’t shove it down his throat. But¬†I have left this burden¬†to the mighty hands of the Lord and let Him work in the heart of my husband because I know that I cannot “force” him to have a relationship with Jesus. Only God has the power to make that miracle in his life. All I can do is to constantly pray and strive to be¬†Christ-like through the help of the Holy Spirit and become a¬†good testimony to my husband.

And because we put different weight on spiritual matters for our marriage and family, it¬†became a source of disagreement¬†and exasperation between J and I.¬†I would like us to go to church on Sundays but he prefers to stay at home and relax (but thank God this has changed already. ūüôā ).¬†I¬†wanted Big Boy J to have a dedication on his first birthday but he firmly¬†insisted on getting him baptized in a Catholic church (I had to cede on this one to avoid further disagreement between us). I prefer the kids to go to a Christian school but he prefers a Catholic one (I pray and I’m kinda positive that he can be convinced on this one ūüôā ). And some other clashing thoughts and ideas on how we are going to discipline and raise our kids, some of which¬†are¬†so difficult for me to accept and compromise.

Photos by Gerard Aquino

But with all the things we have experienced so far in our young marriage, this is the most important thing that I have¬†learned: having Jesus at the core of a marriage¬†is like having another “Person” — a mentor, a counselor — who is always there to guide a couple in their journey of lifetime togetherness. He will direct a husband and a wife in all aspects of their marriage starting off with their individual selves, onto their relationship as a married couple then flowing into parenthood. He will enable the couple to become humble and accepting to each other which¬†will lead to a stronger bond that will withstand the test of time. Jesus is like a glue, a heavy-duty one, a Mighty Bond, that will bind a husband and a wife together, making them inseparable, unbreakable.

As a follower of God, it is my earnest desire for J and I’s marriage to be rock-founded on Jesus. So I always¬†pray that God will touch J for him to open his heart and submit his life unto Jesus so that we’ll share this same aspiration for our marriage. I know how it is to be like to have Jesus in my life and I’m looking forward to sharing and enjoying this same feeling with my husband in our relationship.

2. Wives MUST submit to their husbands as commanded by God.
In our marriage, God has also spoken to me so much about my role as a wife to my husband ever since I rekindled my relationship with Jesus. I am fully aware even before J and I got married that a wife needs to submit to her husband because that is what the Bible says. Ephesians 5:22-23 reveals, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (NIV). But being fully aware is different from fully understanding and living this command of the Lord. For the first 3 and a half years of our marriage, I really had a hard time obeying the Lord in this aspect.

Photos by Studio1 Photography / Gerard Aquino

The struggle comes, first and foremost, from the fact that I am a Christian who tied the knot with¬†a self-professed non-believer. I’m not going to tell the long story of our love and how we ended up together because it will merit a long discussion specially from my point-of-view as a Christian. But to make the long story short, right from the start, I acknowledged that the differences in our faith was going to be a concern in our relationship as husband and wife and on how we are going to raise our children. How am I supposed to submit to my husband who does not share the same faith as mine? How is he going to lead our family especially when it comes to our spirituality? How are we going to raise our kids when our perspectives on parenting come from two opposing poles?

Well, this is obviously the consequence of being “unequally yoked” with a non-believer (2 Corinthians 6:14-15), you might be thinking. I have¬†learned to accept that¬†and I have¬†surrendered it to the Lord. But I think in spite of this sad truth, I still need to¬†submit to my husband because that’s the Lord’s command. God impressed upon me through Ephesians 5:22-23¬†that I was not being the wife that He wants me to be to my husband¬†if I purposely do not obey and submit to him. Despite J and I’s¬†differences in our spiritual beliefs, I’m very grateful to the Lord that¬†I do not experience persecution at home such that my husband would not allow me to go to church or read the Bible. In fact, J is very willing to come with us every Sunday at church and is the one who accompanies our Big Boy J to his Sunday School. Just a constant, earnest prayer and I believe God is¬†doing something in his life. What I’m saying is for as long as my faith in Jesus is not compromised, I will continue to submit to my husband. Of course, I love my Savior more than my husband and He is the one that I will obey more than my husband.

Ever since God opened my eyes and my heart to obey this commandment of Him, I had peace in my heart, like I’m doing the right thing for the first time in our marriage. Irking and annoyance between J and I (or mostly from me? ūüėÄ ) have reduced. There is less tension between us now. I have also learned to be more respectful of my husband which helped him become more confident¬†in leading our family.

I’m¬†still a work in progress when it comes to this aspect of our marriage but it’s my heart’s relentless prayer to continue to be an obedient, respectful and submissive wife after God’s own heart.

3. Spouse MUST be put first before the children.
When I became a mom, the term “unconditional love” became a¬†real experience to me. Imagine a tiny little baby whose only way to communicate¬†is through crying but then, you pour out all your love, time¬†and devotion to him/her — getting all sleep-deprived, putting all his/her needs before yours — without expecting anything in return because the fact that you are doing all of those things for your child is already a joy in itself. It was wonderful and life changing.

And little by little, as I prioritize my child and devote most of my time on him, I have set aside, unintentionally, my husband. Nothing wrong with it, or so I thought, particularly when the Big Boy was still a newborn.¬†Then he grew bigger and my unconditional love for my son even intensified, displacing my husband in the picture. My husband and I had rarely spent quality time together, just the two of us. Movie and dinner dates lessened.¬†Romance had taken a back seat. Blame it on the postpartum hormones heightened by the¬†physical exhaustion of¬†middle-of-the-night¬†feeding and diaper changing while my husband seemed to be enjoying¬†snoozing soundly all¬†night and didn’t even bother to wake up early in the morning¬†to relieve me from taking care of the Big Boy (Felt the anguish? ūüėÄ It’s over now, thank God. ūüôā ). In spite of the situation, still¬†I thought, there was nothing wrong with it.

Until one day, I was browsing a Christian celebrity mom, Rica Peralejo’s blog and came across her¬†blog entry about keeping quality family time. I was like, “What? Wait…”¬†upon reading item number 1 of her post which says:

1.) Spouse comes before the children.  That while children are wonderful, we must not forget that a good marriage is of primary importance. Children cannot be the center of family, for without steady posts all will come crumbling down. Moreover, a healthy relationship between man and wife does not only benefit one another, but gives security to the brood; children need to be loved and led, and not made to be a god!

“Really? How come?” I was a bit reluctant to believe her point at first but¬†I felt a pang of guilt. “Tugs!” right in the heart.

So I further read about the order of priority in the family according to the Bible and this was clarified¬†to me¬†when I saw¬†the¬†post¬†of another Christian mom blogger that I follow, Joy Mendoza of Teach with Joy, about prioritizing and respecting our husbands. She stressed¬†that doing so is an act of obedience to the Lord.¬†Justyn Lang also made a great point in this article¬†on A Biblical Marriage. She said¬†that it is “normal” for mothers to spend their time and energy caring for their babies and go through this “survival” stage¬†but it becomes a problem when this extends to post-babyhood and becomes a lifetime habit.

Another valid point was raised by Christian speaker and author Sheila Wray Gregoire¬†in¬†“Your Husband Trumps Your Children”¬†on To Love, Honor and Vacuum¬†that prioritizing and nurturing our relationship with our husbands will actually benefit our children:

The best way that you can love your kids is to love your husband. What kids want, more than anything, is to feel that their home is stable and secure. That security gives them the wings to grow and explore in safety.

Double, triple, quadruple “tugs!”. I should be dead by now.

Photos by Studio1 Photography / Gerard Aquino

The best and most reliable source, the Bible, tells in Genesis 2:24, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. (NIV)” As Sheila Wray Gregoire pointed out, we,¬†wives,¬†were united as one with our husbands, not with our children and therefore,¬†it is our¬†husbands that we need to put first (next to God) before our children.

After learning and getting enlightened about all these, I was convicted by the Lord to revisit and change my priority from “God-Children-Husband” to “God-Husband-Children.” This was reaffirmed by Francis Kong, a well-known Christian inspirational speaker and author, when he spoke at the Counterflow Conference that J and I attended last month¬†(will blog about it too). He opened his talk with this question: “If you are in a sinking boat and you are with your spouse and your only child, who will you save?” then referred to the same verse above. J and I had differing answers to this question, and¬†I knew I had the correct one.

4. Marriage is an everlasting commitment between a husband and a wife. NEVER ever think of or consider ending it.
No raising of the white flag. No cutting ties. No parting of ways. No breaking of vows.¬†No matter how mountainous the challenges you are facing as a couple. For the Lord says in¬†Matthew 19:4-6, “Haven‚Äôt you read,”¬†he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female,¬†and said, ‚ÄėFor this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. (NIV)”

It’s undeniably clear what the Lord wants to tell us with regards to marriage: we have no right to break the bond that He sacredly and blessedly created. Sorry but once you get married, you’re tied forever. No taking it back. ūüôā

Photos by Gerard Aquino

Further, in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, God instructed us with this regarding¬†marriage:¬†“To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. (NIV)”

This is my firm belief right from the very moment that I decided to marry my husband and I vow to follow this Lord’s command for the rest of my life. But I had a personal struggle concerning, again, my husband’s spirituality. I must admit that I was confused on how I would deal with the fact that he¬†is not a Christ-follower. What should I do¬†given that God says that a Christian should not be yoked together with an unbeliever? I cannot leave my husband¬†definitely! But God showed me¬†1 Corinthians 7:12-13, To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. (NIV)”

Problem solved, thank You, Lord. Even if J is not (yet) a believer, it’s not a reason for me to leave him and get out of our marriage (not that I thought of leaving him because he has not yet accepted the¬†Christian faith). All the more that I should stay and pray for him and his salvation. And I believe that¬†it’s also part of my role as his wife, to pray for him to experience the wonderful gift of salvation.

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Photos by Gerard Aquino

Our married life journey¬†has just begun but God has already revealed a lot about our marriage. But there is still a lot to learn and I’m looking forward to more marriage lessons¬†that He will teach us along the way.

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Happy Wives Club

30 Prayers For My Husband Who Turned 30

Somebody bid his 20s goodbye. Yes, Joey turned 30 last Tuesday! ūüôā¬†He was out of the country for a work conference in Las Vegas¬†and visted a friend in Houston last week¬†and fortunately, he¬†was able to come back home on the day of his birthday¬†and celebrate even a few hours left of his special day with us.¬†I fetched him¬†at the airport¬†and good thing the kids were still awake when we arrived at around 10:30pm.

We just had a simple celebration at home, just like how we, especially Joey wanted it to be. Actually, we also thought¬†of having a bigger celebration with our families and friends but just decided to keep it intimate and to save on cost. To make his birthday more memorable, I, being the default¬†“party planner and stylist”¬†at home, executed a simple¬†FC Barcelona themed party for¬†my loving husband.¬†I’ll¬†discuss the details of the celebration particularly the decor in¬†a separate post.

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So as Joey enters his “thirtyhood”,¬†I’d like to thank the good Lord for all the blessings¬†He has showered upon¬†him. Likewise, I’d like to¬†say¬†30 prayers for him¬†(wooo, that’s a lot! :D) as he continues his journey of being 30. With a heart seeking the Lord,¬†I pray that:

  1. He will have a personal relationship with Jesus.
  2. God will be his top priority in life.
  3. He will read and meditate the Bible.
  4. He will always pray.
  5. He will put his trust in the Lord in all aspects of his life.
  6. He will always wake up with a thankful heart for each new day that God allows him to experience His goodness.
  7. He will be a blessing to other people.
  8. He will share his blessings in whatever way to others.
  9. God will give him the strength and wisdom to lead our family physically, financially, emotionally and the most important, spiritually.
  10. God will bless him with good health to lead and take care of our family.
  11. He will make sure we nurture our relationship as husband and wife.
  12. He¬†will keep on¬†being¬†a sweet and caring husband to me. ūüôā
  13. He will learn to extend his patience on me especially when we are shopping. ūüôā
  14. He will continue to support me in all the things that I would like to do according to the will of the Lord.
  15. He will keep on being a loving and responsible father to Joshua and Aia.
  16. He will continue to always make quantity time for me, Joshua and Aia.
  17. He will never get tired of taking on some mommy roles like bathing the kids and cleaning their poop. ūüôā
  18. He will continue to spark laughters from the kids by playing horsey-horsey with them. ūüôā
  19. He will be a good example or role model to our kids.
  20. He will practice positive biblical discipline on our kids.
  21. He will fulfill his dreams.
  22. He will excel and do his best at work.
  23. He will work hard to provide for our family.
  24. He will maintain having a positive outlook in life.
  25. He will uphold integrity and will not compromise his convictions.
  26. He will be a man of wisdom and understanding with fear in the Lord.
  27. He will have a humble, teachable heart before the Lord.
  28. The Lord will guard his heart against temptations.
  29. He will be able to lead and handle our finances wisely.
  30. He will discover and live his God-given purpose.

Happy¬†30th birthday, Daddy! I love¬†you! ūüôā

*Some of the prayer items were¬†inspired by Revive our Hearts:¬†31 Days of Praying for your Husband.¬†I¬†wanna take this 31-Day challenge, too. ūüôā