Tag Archives: family

10 Things I Wish I’ve Learned About Teen Purity

1 Oct

Celebrate Purity Gala Night 2013

My son Miguel just turned 14, and it was very timely that we were invited by our good friend Mark for a Purity Symposium and Gala Night last September 21. This event was offered by The Master’s Academy (TMA) for home-schooled students. Since his son Nathan is also fourteen, and a good friend of our son, we figured now was the best time to have these two young men go together.


My husband Gerard and I take parenting seriously. We know that it is our divine calling to guide our children, support them, and to teach them to know all about Christ.  Our parenting is very intentional. We seek instructions not just from the Word, but from experts and other parents who are as devoted as we are to our God-given vocation. 


The Purity Symposium is one of those events we were eager to attend. This in effect is one way of setting up walls of defense for our children, and one of the many teaching  opportunities for us to let them know how they can glorify their Lord and Savior.

 

Miguel and Nathan, buddies for the symposium, buddies for life.


During our time, our own parents were not exposed to a valuable tool such as this. We learned everything about sex and purity through our classmates, friends, and sadly from TV shows and movies, which were not the best sources, and not the standard we should be looking at for our moral compass in purity.

 

O great young men for God!


Attending two half-days’ worth of seminar, here are the 10 things I wished I have learned during my teen years about purity:

1. Gods design for purity is a gold standard, 100% pure, and flawless. (1 Peter 1:15-16)

What does it mean to be pure? From a biblical perspective, purity is a virtue of single mindedness, the moral excellence evident in life as you do consistently what is right. One foundational truth is that God is holy and pure! Purity is embracing God’s standard in all things. 


Man’s efforts won’t be enough to satisfy a holy and perfect God. Man’s dilemma is that God’s standard is 100 percent pure. God’s dilemma is to bring us to perfection thru John 3:16 by sending Jesus to die for us

 

Gerard and I signing the Purity Covenant, committing to supporting and guiding him in his battle for purity.


2. God created male and female in His own image. (Matthew 19:4-6)

God created us in his own image means we are reflecting his character: we can reason, be creative, have purpose, speak the truth, have goodness, and blessing. God made two different sexes for a purpose, equal before God. There is no third sex. In Genesis, God saw that it was good! We are fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139) 

3. God created us for a purpose. (Jeremiah 29:11) 

God has plans to prosper us and to give us hope and a future. In John 10:10, He came for us to have abundant life. Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder said, “What you can build can change the world!” In 1 Chronicles 11:22, stories were told of the great exploits of David’s 30 men. So is Tim Tebow’s great exploits in sports. 

Find your purpose in God, not your own. Here’s a video to show how one can triumph against all odds just by finding his purpose in life in God. You may be dealt with all 5 cards but God has all the chips.

 

How amazing for Nick Vujicic: “Even the worst things in your life can come together for good. So stop looking everywhere and just look up – you’ll be unstoppable!”

 

4. Our body is not our own. It is the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

We must honor God with our body.  We do not belong to ourselves. God has bought us with a price. There are many issues that beset the youth today –  smoking, drinking, and drug abuse. In Romans 1: 18-32, there is a downward spiral for godlessness and wickedness of men. Futile thinking and foolish hearts are darkened, there is sexual impurity, they have exchanged God’s truth for a lie, they worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator. So God gave them over to a depraved mind. What we see and read in the newspapers today are all clear examples of godlessness and wickedness of men that resulted from the abuse of their own bodies.

 

Our son Miguel signing the Purity Covenant, committing to living a life of purity.

 

5. The mind is powerful. God wants us to control our thoughts. (Proverbs 23:7) 

God wants us to protect our mind from the deceptions of life. It is a battle of the mind. For the rest of our life, the more of these impure images we see, the more of these pictures we will store in our brain. 

 

The way to our head is through our heart, we build emotions in our heart. There are songs with catchy melody but very bad lyrics – and very deceptive! The danger of music can be seen clearly in the music “Marry You” by Bruno Mars. Watch out for what is written and sung, because great is the power of the subconscious.

What man thinks for himself he will be. Romans 12:2 advises us not to copy the customs of this world. Like polvoron, the world squeezes us to its mold to be what we shouldn’t be, to forget about God. Let us allow God to transform us into a new person by changing the way we think, then we will know what God wants us to do, which is His will, pleasing and perfect.

 

We need to practice self control – to control what goes on in our minds, to take control of our thought patterns with Scriptures. We are encouraged to study and read the bible, pointing out to Proverbs, to keep our minds focused on the good things. Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I may not sin against you.” Our objective is not just to flee, but to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. Philippians 4:8 shows us the 8 stage filter for our thoughts and to dwell in these things. 

 

Purity Ceremony, a milestone for us in teen parenting.

6. God desires that we see only what is good. (Psalm 101:3)

Matthew 6:22-23: “The eye is a lamp for our body, it lets sunshine in to our soul.” What we allow our eyes to look at really matters. We need to refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar! Have nothing to do with them.

 

When we pass by and see some of the billboards in Edsa, we should “do the boing boing”  – turn our head the other way. It is fleeing with our eyes. We can’t run, but we can turn our head away! Train ourselves not to look at worthless things, such as pornography and violent movies.

 

7. God wants a heart that loves him above all else! (Psalm 37:4)

In Proverbs 4:23, we are told to guard our heart because it affects everything we do. It is the source of life. We live out our hearts.  Delight in God principle is “to delight in God, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Know only affection, not love! We need to learn to control our feelings, emotions,  or affections (our likes).

 

Ring Ceremony – putting on the ring as a visible symbol and a constant reminder to keep himself pure.

8. Pursue God, not romance. (Song of Solomon 2:7)

We are advised not to awaken romance or love, until the time is right, when we are ready for marriage.  We need to spare our hearts from needless pain, from heart break. While waiting for the right time, we can:

– pursue friendship, not exclusive relationship

– stick to our priority, be an excellent student!

– practice the rule of head over our heart. Don’t follow our heart!

– avoid reading romantic novels, movies, music, heartthrobs 

9. Prepare now for a great future. (Galatians 6:7)

Enjoy the golden age of opportunity, to enjoy this time with God, the time of discovery, growth, building interests, strengths, fun and new experiences, and new skills. We need to work hard at life  – “do hard things, ” because the easy life is not real:

1. Be God’s best first. Be everything God wants you to be.

2. Obey the “hard things”. Obey your parents on what they would like you to do, on varied interests and you will see how those dots connect when the time comes! 

3. Practice hearing God in the Scriptures.

4. Be useful.

 

There is no such thing as teenagers! After being a child, you become an adult right away. Teenager is just a marketing term. The Spartans are the perfect example. When one turns 7, the child is sent to fend for himself, to be trained and educated to do battle.

The challenge is to wait till marriage, and we’ll be there to see him through. He will give this keepsake to his future mate.

10. God designed the home as the place where purity is nurtured. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

 We are told to commit to God’s teachings and for parents to teach these things to children. The circle of blessing “umbrella” happens when we put ourselves under the protection of our parents during our teen years. To improve relationships at home, we need to discover each other’s love language, and engage in lots of conversation, to make small talk special.

Science says that it will only be after the teen years that the frontal lobe of the brain will be fully developed. For this reason, teens need their parents to guide them, to put fences and boundaries for their safety and well-being. We are encouraged to confess, not to hide things, and protect ourselves.

Families that support and help their children win the Purity War.
Our family’s purity code.

If you want to know more about how you and your child can attend a Purity Seminar, call TMA (The Master’s Academy) Homeschool at +632 234 0432 or +63 917 849 1409.

Life is Amazing!

Leny

 

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5 Things We Want Our Son To Know

9 Sep

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Here is a letter my husband and I wrote to our son on his 14th birthday. We figured this would be the best time to share with him some piece of advice to help him get ready for life. I hope that you can also glean from this letter some things you can tell your son on his road to adulthood.

To Our Son Miguel,

Happy birthday! This time is a terrific but terrifying opportunity of living out your life, with privileges of making more important decisions for yourself. So on your 14th birthday, your Dad and I would like to give you a gift that you will need to help you  make all these decisions and get you ready throughout your journey in life. We know that you need all the help you can get! This is the gift of wisdom, something that will last and can be passed on to your sons and to more generations to come. These are some of the most important things we have learned to guide you and lead you to be the young man God has destined you to be.

We have compiled ten of the many “parental provisions” God was kind enough to share with us to help us raise a loving, God-fearing son. Though it wasn’t easy to reduce this list, we felt that these were the most important you can glean some helpful hints from to be the young man you always dreamed to be. Suffice it to say that we will be giving you only five of this list today, because the other five will be given if you will be, or hope to be, a father someday. We are excited about the possibility that these thoughts from our hearts will be encouraging and most useful to you, Miguel. Here are the 5 things we want you to know:

1. You Will Always Be Our Son.

From the time you were born, we have already loved you. You are our son, and our love for you is unconditional. We already pledge you our love and claim you as our son  in spite that just like your Dad and I, you were also born a sinner. There is nothing that you can ever do that can change our hearts on this issue. Our affection is not based on your performance or the lack of it.

Always remember that you can never lose the love we have for you – that is a constant. We know you want our approval of all things that you do, but when that approval doesn’t come at every turn, just know that the love is always there. It is not what you do, or what you didn’t do, that can take that love away. To borrow from the words of our Heavenly Father, and we think He wouldn’t mind, after all, He is a Father: “You are our most precious son, with whom we are well pleased.” While these words are not original, we want everyone to know how we feel and what is the best way we could think of to say about you. Our usage of God’s announcement regarding His own Son would be most appropriate especially at this time. God has given you to us as a gift. “For He has created your inmost being, and knit you together in my womb.” (paraphrased, from Psalm 139:13)

You don’t need to live your life trying to figure out what will make us happy with you every second. This will only exhaust you, because the truth is, if you would try to do that, you only set yourself up for disappointment and a loss of self. You can only be who you are and not who others want you to be. Accept that you are only fourteen and growing up is a tough process – harder still when you feel like you don’t always fit the mold that the world tells you to. Accept those things but don’t be defined by them. Be defined by the good things you know about yourself and be defined by what you see for yourself ahead of you. Life is a journey and you will experience new things that will teach you more about yourself as you grow. So while defining yourself, be strong inside right now. Be careful not to box yourself in. Be open to new things and ideas. Above all, always know who you are, you are our begotten son, with whom we are well pleased.

Migs & Dad

2. The sure proof of our love is to painfully administer discipline to you.

Saying to you and showing to you that you are loved is the first and most important thing we have to do as your parents. Even with the right words spoken, there were moments that we cannot motivate you to good behavior. What we had to do when your inappropriate behavior erupted is not pleasant for all of us. But if we didn’t do it, it would eventually signal that we didn’t really care. With this settled, the second thing we want you to know is that the sure proof of our love for you had to be sometimes shown through the painful administering of discipline.

“He who withholds the rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” (Proverbs 13:24) With this directive, we are given the most difficult but necessary task of correcting and training you to good behavior while you are young. We had our own personal experience of the rod of correction during our childhood, and there is hardly any way to render the rod without it appearing to be anything BUT gentle.

You have to understand Miguel that there is an incredibly important purpose of our discipline. Borrowing from the example of the seeds and soil, the soil is made good only because of tilling and clearing away of worthless debris. Discipline is really tilling your heart so that when God’s word is sown, it will take root, grow, and bear much fruit.

There were times that you felt you could do anything and not be held accountable for your behavior. You always have to keep in mind that you need to respect, and trust our rules and decisions while you live with us even when it doesn’t make sense to you. It is important that we render discipline to administer correction. We have to connect your wrong choices with painful consequences because we love you and we want you to learn to make good choices later on in your life where the consequences will not just be more painful, but life threatening, and critical for you, for others, and for your own family.

How true it is “that all discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:11) Disciplining you is the surest proof of our love for you. 

We are thankful that you didn’t always resist our discipline. We consistently reaffirmed our love for you with words and deeds, as you can attest, everyday. You have trusted our judgment when corrective measures had to be taken. In the few times of your heavy defiance, we had to keep reminding ourselves, your Dad and I, that you were not our enemy, that it was your sinful nature that we were fighting against. We admit that it would have been much easier to walk away, and to avoid any emotion-packed confrontation by simply letting the trespass go unchecked. Your bliss and our safe blood pressure would have been maintained, but your temporary happiness was not at stake here. We were more concerned with the eternal condition of your soul, and this has kept our shoulders straight to the wheel of correction.

Though you will always be our son, your heart belongs to the Lord. We can only hope that the efforts we took at tilling the field of your heart through these fourteen years has made it easier for you to accept the Heavenly Father’s discipline. You have made us proud, without reservations, that you have understood the better way.

3. We want you to choose the right hero.

There may be heroes you look up to, such as your favorite, Spiderman, who could do more than leap through tall buildings and save the city. Spidey can only look through walls, but he cannot see the wicked schemes of evil and resist the temptations for 40 days. He cannot guide you and save you. The real savior of mankind is not born in Hollywood, but in Bethlehem. We want you to believe not in fictitious characters of today, but in the divine hero with supernatural abilities not generated by camera tricks. We want you to know Jesus Christ, to believe in Him, and embrace the One who defeated the forces of death and the grave. To this day, we have not been disappointed as a result of following Him!

We want you to know that everybody else will fail you, except our Lord Jesus Christ. This goes true most especially to us as your parents. We would like to be your perfect model, but there is one major hindrance – we are only human! No human can fully meet the need of a young man such as yourself for a flawless leader to follow. If your Dad and I could be the perfect parents to you, we would.  The love we have is a huge love, and one that comes from a place of wanting all the best things in life for you. But, maybe even though we love you so much, we aren’t supposed to be perfect. Maybe that is part of the plan for all of us as people – for us to experience pain sometimes even from those who love us most because when we do, it forces us to find strength within ourselves and to find comfort in God.

We are sorry for the failures you have experienced from us and we apologize in advance for the times we might fail again – we will try to give more of what you need from us, but we know because we’re not perfect, that we might have mistakes again. We pray you will find a way to allow God to fill those spaces and bask in his peace and love. Although we know we could not claim the role of your ultimate hero, we know that we cannot relax our efforts to be good examples. On the contrary, we feel an even greater pressure to pursue righteousness.

FCB coaches

As you are nearing your adulthood, we will strive to let you understand that to see the very greatest of champions, you must keep looking heavenward to Christ. All others, no matter how celebrated, will fall short, even your favorite soccer meister, Messi. He is the best of the best to you. Humans are far too fragile to be worshipped. We were not designed for it. Furthermore, God will not be replaced. Jesus is our ultimate example, He is our truest Hero. Unlike your favorite fiction character, He will never lead you to unwittingly jump out of the building. Unlike your soccer meister, He will never leave you hopeless and disappoint you. Unlike us, your parents, He will never lose control. The search for absolute greatness ends with Him. With Christ, you will never need another hero.

4. You have a divinely appointed purpose.

One of the things we could hardy wait to tell you is that God had made more for you to do than to just occupy space and rid the world of excess hamburgers! We want you to know that your steps are ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23), that you have a divinely appointed purpose. We are also excited to let you know that you are “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that you should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

Did you know that your good deeds will bring glory to Christ? We are preparing you to do every good work for Christ by sending you to the best schools available that could teach you all you needed to know about different skills. We also enrolled you to the different interests to cultivate any talents you have. We do this in the hope that God would lead us to the vocation He has chosen for you.

Can we tell you how immensely impressed we are with your prowess on the guitar and drums? Your interest in these instruments also gave birth to yet another good work, which is composing the melody of a song. We know it sounds like we are boasting, but we boast in the Lord knowing that if God has chosen this as one of the good works you are to walk in, then your Dad and I will take delight in knowing we assisted you in developing it.

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Through these years, we have been able to discover so many other talents and giftedness in you. To name three, you have been blessed with the gift of gab. You never seem to run out of words to say, and you know exactly when to say them. Also, your skill at kicking at anything caught us by surprise, whether in soccer or in tae-kwon-do. Finally, you have a knack at understanding things and concepts quickly that you always ace your exams, read a thick book in a few days, and achieve excellent grades consistently.

With all these capabilities that have been mined, we are very much aware that maybe none of these skills may represent the field you may ultimately plow. We have no problem with this possibility, for we know that you must be allowed the freedom to choose to follow God’s work order. We can only trust that we have done right in redeeming the time by actively searching out your gifts.

Son, try to accept that you don’t have all the answers yet, but we have no doubt that you will find your way. When you do, you will be a wiser worker for the Lord.  Even if you don’t know what kind of work the Lord has made for you, this should not stop you from dreaming big. As your favorite animator, Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” We had always instilled in you to do everything excellently, as a worker for the Lord to glorify His name. The instinct in our house is to never sit around and wonder. We have always taught you the better way: if you have a question, find the answer, and open your mind. We worked hard and we also expect much from you. Just know that this high expectations would become your blessing and would give you a leg up in the future.

We would like to be of help to you along the way but if we cannot, find your way through it anyway – read things that help, listen to things that help, look for people who are examples of what you want for yourself, and learn how they got to where they are. Above all, pray unceasingly for God’s guidance to lead you to where he wants to put you to serve His purpose.

5. You are a watchman.

Son, we want you to know that it is imperative that you stand firm at the gate of your heart as a protector of the name of Jesus Christ. One of the reasons why this is of utmost priority is that our salvation is found only in Christ, His name should be held in the highest esteem. His name is too precious to allow it to be defamed. We want you to consider the weight of the cross that was borne by our Lord, who loved you and  gave Himself up for you.

While the rest of the world may refuse to take Him seriously, you have to stand ready to proclaim how majestic is the name of our Lord. We have taught you the “rule of tongue” in our home by avoiding the use of any slang words that might even remotely disrespect God’s name. Admittedly, it is not easy to keep as peer pressure is difficult to endure. We know that you hear these slang words everywhere you go but we honor you for taking the better way.

We also want you to know son, to guard the name that was given to you. “A good name is to be more desired than great wealth.” (Proverbs 22:1) An ounce of personal integrity weighs a ton of money. It is important to protect your identity and your name.

We want you to understand that the very mention of your name brings up images of your character in the minds of those who hear it. It is important for you to consider that what others think of you when they say or hear your name will undeniably influence what they think of your family, and consequently, of your God.

Remember that your name is a mirror that has the potential to reflect either a good or a bad light on us, on you, and on the Savior you deeply loved. Remember whose child you are! Understand Psalm 23:3, “He guides me in the paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake.

Mom & migs

Your Dad and I believe that if God is so seriously concerned about His own name, then we should also be more considerate enough to guard ours. We should do this with the final goal of bringing glory to His name. Our hope and our prayer is that the quality of your name will be able to stand the test of time. If this happens, then we have the greatest blessings for generations to come.

Keep these things in mind. Keep them in your heart. These are the things the Lord God directed us to teach you. Remember them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6:7)

Know that we are always here for you. We are first on the list of the people who love you. We stand by you to see you grow in the Lord.

We love you son,

Mom and Dad

3 Secrets To A Successful Marriage

5 Sep

Research shows that a couple’s retreat or couple’s seminar extends the marriage to the next 5 years. So if you have been attending a couple’s getaway yearly, then you are definitely assured that you will stay married for a long time!

In the couples’ retreat we attended just recently facilitated by Victory Fort, aptly named “They’re Playing Our Song,” I have been reminded that all throughout your relationship with your spouse, you could actually be playing different songs. In the beginning, you might be singing, “You To Me Are Everything”, then in another season of your marriage, you or your spouse might be singing “Sana Dalawa Ang Puso Ko” (How I Wish I Had 2 Hearts). And then again, you also might be playing “Please Release Me Let Me Go,” or then again maybe “Love Will Lead You Back” in a few years. 

In the couples retreat, I have learned that the greatest songs in marriage starts with the Key of C, the 3 secrets to a successful marriage. Here are some of the most important things to note for  your own marriage:

1. COMMUNICATION

Pastor Sonny and wife Malou really hit the mark with this one.
  • Miscommunication breeds misunderstanding. Miscommunication happens because men and women differ from one another:
  • Men want to talk because there is a problem. Women talk only because they want to be heard. They just want to spill out words while organizing things or thoughts in their mind.
  • Men are conditioned to listen actively – they want to talk to tell you what they want to happen, or to take action, or to solve a problem. Women only want them to know what’s in their heart and how they’re feeling.
  • The purpose why couples need to talk to each other are:
    • to better understand each other and situation; not to blame and not to complicate the situation,
    • to enable people to resolve differences; not to disagree and not to fight,
    • to build trust and respect; not to be suspicious and not to judge, and
    • to create a caring environment, to love and to flourish for creative ideas to be revealed.
  • Communication is NOT just to understand information, but to understand the EMOTION behind the information.
  • To communicate effectively, we need to understand the power of words, which involves a lot of work.
    • The Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:6  is telling us that speaking the same language will result to achieving almost anything.
    • The devil’s goal is to confuse the husband and the wife. There has to be a goal or a purpose to talk to each other: NOT just pouring out our hearts and emotions, but to address conflict and arrive at a solution.
    • Going away or retreating to our caves is NEVER the solution.
  • There are 3 ways that we can communicate effectively:

1. Words. We say what we mean, and mean what we say, yes, even in sex. We can only retain 7% of what is being said to us through words, or even LESS especially with words we don’t want to hear. When we talk to our spouse, we need to communicate and consider each other’s convictions, true emotions, standard and values, and our hearts. Let us not allow them to guess what we want to say. Reveal the depth of who we are and how we truly feel.

Power Verse:
  • Proverbs 31: the woman of noble character wants to bless and not to bluster, to heal and not to wound, to create a world of order and beauty and not chaos. In her tongue are the words of kindness and instruction.
  • Proverbs 18: on the other hand, warns us of a fool’s lips that incur a beating caused by hurting words.
 
2. Tone. Consider how you say your words. 38% of the things we say are retained through our tone. Verify and confirm what we say. Let us consider the right pitch to use, the highness or lowness of pitch of our voice.
Power Verse:
  • Matthew 12: 32-37: a good heart brings forth good things. What is in our heart affects the tone of our voice. All our sentiments and hurts in our hearts affect how we say things.
 
3. Non verbal. 55% of retention is through our body language. Our actions affirm or deny what we say. What do we communicate through our eyes, our facial reactions, our body language? What do we always need to communicate to our spouse?
  • For the husband: that she is the most important person in your life. This gives her security.
  • For the wife: that you respect him and are proud of him, and that you appreciate everything they do, especially in the presence of his family and in front of other people. This gives him validation.
  • Here are the 5 most important statements to say to your spouse in order of importance: 
    • #5. “I am proud of you!” (to husbands)
    • #4. “What do you think?” (to wives)
    • #3. “How are you?” (to wives) with “I just want to reply or return your call.” or “I am sorry, please forgive me.”
    • #2. “You matter to me.” (to wives)
    • #1. “Thank you.” (to husbands)
Power Verse:
  • Proverbs 4:23: warns us to guard our hearts because it is the offspring of life.

2. CONNECTION

Pastor Tito and wife Carol reminded us of these barriers to emotional intimacy, and yes FB is one of them…
  • The biblical foundation is found in Genesis 1:27, that male and female have a unique need for emotional intimacy. But in Genesis 3:5-7, they were tempted. Man has fallen, out of his own selfishness.
  • God himself is the missing piece of the human heart. As Mary Farrar says it, “there should be a healthy connection: first be connected to God, then be connected with each other.”
  • Barriers or disconnectors to emotional intimacy between couples:
    • 1. Busyness and weariness
    • 2. Sloth or laziness with marriage (auto pilot)
    • 3. Social media (FB, Twitter…)
    • 4. Personal baggage or hang up
  • Connectors for emotional intimacy:
    • 1. Discover and understand your spouses emotional expression. Men are like waffles (thinking in boxes) and women are like spaghetti (thinking in interconnection and relationships of things). Marriage is like a coin. It has two sides, but it is STILL only ONE COIN. We relate and connect to each other based on our themes or individual wiring, temperament, love language, or birth order. Here are some practical tips to discover our spouses emotional expression:
      • 1. Non negotiable weekly date night
      • 2. Laugh together
      • 3. Try new things together
      • 4. Play together
      • 5. Rejuvenation at the end of workday: halt for husbands and talk for women
      • 6. Pray and believe together. God has joined us divinely.
  • 2. Devote and delight in sexual intimacy. (Genesis 2:24). Here are some practical tips:
    • 1. Do not deprive each other. Consider and appreciate the blessing of God’s innate wiring of husband. In 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, there is a marital glue. Wives, remember that men are more fragile and vulnerable. They are mortally wounded when repeatedly rejected. Husbands, remember to do it ASAP, not as soon as possible, but as slowly as possible.
    • 2. Schedule a day for sexual intimacy
    • 3. Put awe ( Affection, Warmth and Encouragement) in your intimacy
    • 4. Share what pleases you most.  

3. COMMITMENT

Pastor Raymond and wife Malou reminded us that Jesus is the only source of the living water.
  • Ephesians 5:31: to be united (cleave) together to be one flesh. To cleave means to stick together like glue
  • Commitment is a decision to love and stick with the other person no matter what
  • According to Timothy Keller, the meaning of marriage is facing the complexities of marriage with the wisdom of God. Love now becomes a covenant, NOT a renewable contract that expires.
  • Investing with time brings the love. Emotion follows the motion, the action.
  • Stick together!  There’s a turnaround. It is a matter of declaration for the future. “No matter what.”
  • John 4:13-17: people will be thirsty again, but with Jesus you won’t be thirsty again. This verse is also speaking about second and third marriages: you would want to be quench with the need you didn’t find in your marriages, but it is ONLY through Jesus that your thirst will be quenched. God is the source of water in our life. We are asking for something from our spouse that God can only supply – unli!
  • The vow is both is noun and a verb:
    • Listen.
    • Encourage: make a prophetic declaration
    • Co-build: you need support and mentors
  • Vows:
    • I will love you no matter what.
    • I will bring out the best in you no matter what.
    • I will believe the impossible no matter what.
    • I will be faithful to you no matter what.
    • Our foundation will be the word of God at all times no matter what.

Power Verse:

  • Psalm 127:1: We will pass on a legacy of commitment to the next generation no matter what.
  • Judges 2:10: God is more committed to our marriage than us.
Here are the many ways we have learned to apply the 3 Keys of C during the day:

 

Are you ready for the challenge???
The Great Date Challenge: Love Art
The Great Date Challenge: House of Straw
And the prize for the Great Date Challenge? A movie date with popcorn and drinks!
Awesome couples for support!
And another couple partner in our marriage journey, Milona and Bensie.

These are the many bonuses of our couples getaway that made it all the more worthwhile:

Matching his and hers pens! Adorable, right?
“Making sweet music together” cupcakes we found on our beds for the night was a sweet surprise!
Breakfast in bed room service with flowers!

We were floored with how well organized and how well planned this couples getaway was. And only for P3,990! We thank Victory Fort pastors and the many volunteers for their commitment and dedication for the many marriages of all the couples who were blessed with this retreat. 

We hope someday, we will have the greatest and most romantic love story ever told! 

Life is Amazing!
LENY

3 Things Every Teen Should Know

28 Jul

I’m sharing with you a letter I wrote to a teen who is close to me, I’m almost her second mom. She just recently celebrated her 13th birthday, and as such, her mom, my best friend, Milona, encouraged me to write her a note. Her love language is words of affirmation and it would greatly make her happy and feel loved if I write her a few words. I got carried away because I have so many things to share to this budding young lady. Things I would like to share to my own daughter as well when she comes of age.  Here are the 3 things I think every teen should know.

megan

To my dearest Meg,

How time flies! When I first saw you, your Mom brought you to my house for a visit when you were just 4 years old. I just blinked and now you are already 13 going 30! As i reflect on the years of enjoying your presence in my life, I see a picture of a beautiful, godly young lady. I stand back and observed the beautiful gift your life has become.

With your full life still ahead of you, I’d like to share with you three of the most important things I’d like you to know. My desire is to encourage you and assist your Mom in giving this gentle instruction on how to be a strong, complete, godly young woman.

FIRST, I want you to know that life is not a matter of circumstances, but of choices.

The first and most important goal for me and your parents is to make sure you understand the blessed gift God has provided for you through the finished work of Jesus Christ. Everyday, I pray that you will always choose to be on Jesus’ side, even if it’s difficult and unpopular. I pray that you choose Heaven every single time. When you make this choice, God in his divine power “causes all things to work together for the good of those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Even if there are circumstances that can make you feel helpless, I pray that you will always choose happiness. This is the kind of attitude that can bring you joy and contentment. Don’t allow yourself to be pulled into despair, loneliness, and hopelessness over something which may be insignificant. Remember to be thankful. An ungrateful selfish heart always leaves us feeling miserable. No matter what we have, it is never enough. “In everything, give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Always be positive. Look at life as a glass half full. Always bring a smile and a good sense of humor. This changes the circumstances in your life. This leads to your happiness and joy.

With God’s power in your life, I pray that you choose health. Exercise, eat the right food, sleep and rest well, drink plenty of water and juices, and find time to enjoy the goodness of The Lord. “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1) You need to be healthy to be able to do all the things that you plan to do and the things that God has planned for you. Take good care of your body, it is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

I want you to know that your choices determine your destination. I pray that you choose heaven, choose happiness, and choose health. If you have all three, then you have everything. 

SECOND, I want you to know that you need to be the best representation of our Creator in appearance and demeanor. 

“Pretty” or “beautiful” is defined subjectively. There are many different physical attributes that have been valued more today, and this opens doors for unhealthy behavior for most young women. The one gift I can give you is the gift of knowledge. I would like to share with you that the perfection that you see in the cover of magazines, tv, and movies of beautiful bodies and faces are a mirage, they don’t really exist. This is the role of computer enhancements, air brushing, and several hours of working into these faces and bodies to make them look perfect. Any flaws are erased and doctored with artificial corrections. This is unrealistic. This is NOT the definition of beauty I’d like you for you to believe.

I want you to know that you are complete, beautiful, and a wondrous creation of God. The true meaning and purpose of beauty is reflected here: “Your adornment must not be merely external – braiding the hair, and wearing of gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be that hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times, the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves.” (1Peter 3:3-5)

Sounds pretty serious, isn’t it? There is nothing wrong with our outward adornment, just as long as our heart is not neglected. The way we dress and act announces to people around us who we really are. We must not allow God’s standard of beauty and modesty be dictated by the whims and trends of fashion or popular culture. We must be sensible and self controlled, content, and pleased with our appearance. True beauty, my dear Meg, is something that originates within and shines outwardly. What God has given you is designed to bring glory to Him.

I pray that the truth of God’s love and acceptance will be firmly planted in your heart and mind so you can continue to develop your God-given beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. I am confident that you will always let your outward appearance reflect the mercy and grace of God in all true loveliness.

LASTLY, I want you to know that God had created you to walk in a responsible, pure manner. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. 

The choice to follow God in the area of moral purity affects not just yourself but the people around you. Even though you are still relatively young, I would like you to choose not to date and save your young years from heartbreak. Protect your young heart from being fragmented by casual dating. Know that you need to be mature to handle your feelings before you get emotionally involved. Date when you are ready for marriage. It is okay to have group dates and group activities, it is more fun! This way, you can get to know attributes and characters you would like to have in a husband without having to go through so many unnecessary heartaches.

When you are ready for marriage, say, by the age of 25, after you have already accomplished what you have set for yourself, then by all means, prepare yourself to date.  But the parameters for dating must be set by you as a woman. The decision for moral purity must be made before any date is planned. The ground rules need to be established before the agreement to go out. You have more responsibility because you have the awesome gift of reproduction. This overwhelming responsibility gives you the obligation to protect your body and your sense of purity is even more important.

I pray that you will always maintain purity in heart and body as your ultimate goal for your dating experience. I am reassured of this fact because you have already taken the first step to this wonderful choice when you attended the Purity Ball with your Dad and Mom. I couldn’t be more proud of you, Meg!

I would like you to know and understand that you can call me anytime you need me and tell me anything that is in your heart. Just like your Mom and Dad, I love you no matter what. I have seen you practically grow up before my eyes.

There is a wonderful life ahead God has planned for you, plans to prosper you, to give you hope and a future. This is the beginning of the rest of your great life. Happy birthday Meg!!! You are officially declared to be a TEEN.

Love and Hugs,

Your Tita Leny

5 Ways To Nurture Your Child

16 Jul

Let me share with you what a mother’s primary job is.

It’s not cooking dinner, changing diaper, or helping our preschooler glue her colored macaroni. The most important assignment a mom has is to NURTURE her child. 

Let me offer you 5 ways you can nurture your child:

1. Fill your children up with spirit and “aliveness.”

We help to enable our children to develop fully by pouring life into them.  We need to model joy and passion. As nurturing moms, we go beyond being the ‘maintenance person’ in our children’s lives. We don’t just keep our children clean, fed, warm, and dry, but we also teach them to cultivate their passion. 

In our household, there are 3 things that are non-negotiable that inspires them to develop and identify their passion: 

1. to develop a love for music by learning how to play an instrument, dance, or sing

2. to develop a love for discipline by learning sports such as individual or team sports

3. to know how to survive and keep others alive by learning how to swim and to defend themselves and others.

All of them are engaged in taekwondo and football, they are attending music and voice lessons, and are honing their swimming skills for the past 2 years. These activities are meant to enrich them as individuals.

As a mom, I do this by modeling to them my own interest in sports, in playing badminton and squash, and attending dance classes. I inspire their curiosity to explore and discover by taking them 2-3 times a year to spend vacation to different places. It is also our way of educating them outside of school.  

Accompanying our son for his Europe tour for World Youth Cup

2. Make them feel that they are the most important person in the whole world. 

Focus our attention to them and make time whenever possible, avoiding any distractions, so they feel loved and respected.

As nurturing moms, we take time to play, read, and take pictures when our toddlers’ spaghetti ends up on their heads instead of in their mouths. We enter our children’s world to see things from their perspective, even it means the carpets don’t get vacuumed for a while or our homes don’t get cleaned. We also need to provide emphatic understanding and listening from a position of strength and support.

In the early days of my children’s life, I make sure to read books with them and teach them not only their ABC’s or their 123’s, but to also make time to play with them, crawl with them, and laugh with them.

Now that they are tweeners and teen engaged in many activities, I intentionally chose to be present in their games or tournaments every single time to encourage them, and to let them know that they are important to me. 

I am involved in my children’s lives to the extent that I had to know more about these activities and how they can get better at what they love to do.

Winning in the International Schools Tae-kwon-do Championships. 

Sharpening their saw: soccer training at FCB Escola Camp

3. Notice and appreciate their special qualities and their individuality.

Take time to identify with them their natural talents, and support them in every way. Have one-on-one dates weekly with your children so you will know their special qualities and the skills they are developing. Make sure to mention that you appreciate them as a person. Celebrate their achievements and their spirit of “trying.” We also need to accept their limitations based on their abilities and gifting.

We need to try and seek to know our children as individuals, different as they might be, and bring out the best in each. We can demonstrate by example how to explore life with zest and express the unique gifts God provides each of us. Our nurturing can blossom in their emotional and spiritual growth. 

4. Encourage more activities centered on developing relationships rather than around the television or gadgets. 

Lead your children to spend more time around the family table and work on projects, drinking hot choco, playing board games, learning how to peel carrots or potatoes and make cookie doughs, eating birthday cakes and ice cream, teaching and tutoring homework and assignments, and talking and sharing your day’s events.  Many of the most important, interesting, and nurturing things happen in your home.

It makes me sad when I see young families in a restaurant not talking to each other but heavily engaged with their I-Phones or I-Pads while waiting for their food. Parents and children do not talk to each other anymore. They’d rather focus their time on Candy Crush or Facebook than developing their relationships.

5. Teach them the importance and the power of prayer and scriptures.

We need to teach our children that they can always lean and depend on God. When we see someone get into an accident and get hurt, rather than being afraid, ask them to pray with you. Introduce them to the scriptures so they have something to lift them up when they are down. This can help them to handle and tackle life’s concerns.

We gave each of our children their Bibles with devotionals appropriate for their age as gifts on their birthdays. We encourage them to read and pray whenever they have something we cannot help them with. This gives them more personal relationship with God and develops their love and trust on Him.

Nurturing is not about doing it all, it’s about doing the best we can, without losing ourselves or driving ourselves crazy because our own needs aren’t taken care of. We need aliveness to pass it on to our children.

Remember, our job is to nurture our children.

How about you? How do you nurture your child?

Life is Amazing!

LENY

5 Ways To Validate Your Child

15 Jul

Can I tell you? A father’s underlying job isn’t control. It’s to VALIDATE every one of his children. To validate means to let your child know over and over, through words and actions that the following are true:

    1. “You exist and you matter to me.”
    2. “You are more than good enough for me.”
    3. “You are a good child, unique, and a gift from God.”

Psychotherapists talk about the ‘looking glass self principle’ – it’s the idea that children get their earliest, most lasting impressions of who they are from what’s reflected back to them by their parents. These impressions become their “records” in the jukebox of their brain. 

Here are 5 ways you can validate your child:

#1. Don’t miss small opportunities to give attention to your child.  

Let’s say my four-year old Jaime walks into the room where his dad is reading the newspaper, and Dad doesn’t confirm his presence. Dad doesn’t say, “Good to see you, son!” He doesn’t even say, “Don’t bother me, don’t you know I am trying to read?” Jaime may begin to doubt his own existence. His existence hasn’t been validated by any response. He interprets this to mean “I am not an okay person.” This may be a totally wrong interpretation by Jaime. His dad does not believe this but this is how Jaime and most children will interpret this scenario. This is the way children’s brain operate. 

That’s often why children do bad things. My then twelve year old Miguel remembered the fun he used to have with his dad. Those days, though, Dad traveled and worked most of the time and buried himself in tv news when he was home. Without asking, Miguel borrowed his father’s expensive jacket and took it to school. Somewhere along the way, he soiled the jacket. When he confessed, Dad yelled at Miguel for being “careless,” and irresponsible and for not asking permission. After that, Miguel didn’t think there was much chance he would ever be able to borrow anything from Dad again. 

It was a good thing that Dad realized what a terrible mistake he had done and asked forgiveness to Miguel for shouting and for saying terrible things which he actually did not mean. He validated Miguel by saying how much he loves him and carefully talked to him about the importance of respect, asking permission, and responsibility.

In this case, by misbehaving, kids got some response, even if it was negative. By acting out, kids can affirm they exist and their existence has an impact on the world around them. They get something from their parents, even if it’s punishment. To avoid that kind of acting out, remember that our kids need attention and our time. A dad’s validation is so critical to a child that he will go to any length to get it, whether real or artificial.

time with sons

As a dad, my husband has not missed any opportunity to make time and pay attention to our two sons. He is present at all of their practices, games, and tournaments.

#2. Pay attention to who your child really is, not what he can do.

Your job is to see your child’s nature and reflect it back to her. Feed these observations back to your child in a non-judgmental way so that he can see himself through your eyes and so that he can see how well you know him.

Validation also doesn’t mean lying. It doesn’t mean telling our child, “Great game, son!” when he played poorly. Validation means acknowledging your child, affirming the person apart from the not-so-good performance. You should avoid withholding validation when your child doesn’t “measure up.”

You want him to grow up full of confidence, so you give his mediocre performance rave reviews. You want him to achieve, so you skip the praise so that he’ll try harder to earn it.

Our culture is so conditional in its validation, affirming only those who’ve won fame or fortune, or been born with “good looks.” It’s easy for anyone to validate a good performance, but it takes a lot of time and energy to see and value the person in the absence of any performance and put it into words. Your child needs to see that you value him as your child, not for what he can do.

#3. Show your child that you like as well as love him. 

It’s vital that your child not only knows, but feels, that you like and love him. Warm, caring hugs, laughter, and truly enjoying your child’s personality all go a long way toward conveying that feeling to your child. Knowing that he’s loved is not the same as feeling loved. Make him feel loved. 

Seek to understand what he likes doing, what he’s feeling, and what makes him happy. Strive to be emotionally connected with him. Spontaneously give him extra hug when you notice him feeling sad. Spend extra time with him if you feel he needs it. Do something extra special for him, like fixing him his favorite snacks, writing him a thoughtful note in his “baon” or lunch box, or giving him a massage when he’s feeling tired. All these ways show him that you deeply care and love him.

letter from jaime

A letter from our youngest son validates us as parents that we were able to show him and make him feel loved. My heart is filled with joy!

#4. Exercise positive discipline with your child.

Aim for a respectful relationship with your child. When you employ the wrong kind of discipline and fight with your child over your will, it often leads to resentment, revenge, anger, rebellion and retreat. Emotions are ignored or disregarded when you fight with your child in your effort to discipline him. You can develop or learn a positive approach to discipline to promote self-control, encourage responsibility, and help him make better choices. One such approach involves applying consequences to poor choices like taking out privileges, reducing daily allowances, or lessening his phone or computer time. Be prepared though to dare to discipline your child, even when he deserves a rod. 

Keep in mind to value your child as a person, even when disciplining an action or attitude. Make sure your child knows he is good enough for you.

#5. View things from your child’s perspective, especially when it comes to his emotions.

When you validate your child’s emotions, you are able to see the situation from his perspective. When you take the perspective of your child and truly understand how he is feeling in that moment, you are able to validate his emotions. There are three benefits of taking your child’s perspective, based from Alfie Kohn.

The first benefit of taking your child’s perspective is that it allows you to understand what the child is going through, especially if your child is unable to explain his motives. The second benefit is that it allows you to be more patient with your child’s moods. The third benefit is that when you practice taking your child’s perspective and communicate and validate him, you are setting an example of the importance of validating others’ emotions.

The act of validating our children’s emotions is a crucial part of effective parenting. When you recognize that your child has emotions, you are showing him that you love and care for him. This helps him to eliminate feelings of resentment and anger toward you as his parents.

Validating children’s emotions has been proven to be successful in strengthening the relationship between parents and children. As adults, we often become offended and frustrated when people pass off or minimize our frustration. We don’t want to be ignored, and neither do children. They may start to feel like we don’t care. What do you want someone to say to you when you’re upset, sad, frustrated or angry? We want them to feel our pain, and understand what we are going through. It is the same with your child.

Remember, your real job as a father is to validate your child.

What are your ways to validate your child?

Life is Amazing!

LENY

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