When a Husband Appreciates His Wife’s Simplicity

One of the men in our couples’ bible study group asked us to organize a surprise birthday party for his wife in lieu of getting her something expensive. For the first time, she didn’t ask for a luxury item or pricey gift to celebrate her birthday. In fact, she didn’t ask for anything at all which left him scrambling to conceptualize a special plan to execute for her. As a loving husband who actually enjoys spoiling her, he was almost taken aback by this change in her appetite for material things. But he appreciated her desire to be simple and less extravagant. 

Even though they are materially blessed, their relationship with the Lord has reordered their priorities. What’s most important to them today is following God wholeheartedly and raising their kids to do the same. Amazingly, these are the pursuits they derive greater joy from. 

The ladies in the group and I had a day and a half to put together this surprise since the request was very last minute. Yet everyone was excited to do it. Two of us went to Dangwa to source out the greenery we needed for the theme on the day of the event. Thankfully, a caterer also confirmed their availability. We pooled together items in our homes for the decor and recruited family members to participate in the preparations. One of the ladies in our group is a fantastic cake maker so she whipped up a beautiful creation. Another one tapped into her inner creativity to design a special bouquet for the husband to give his wife. Many of us spent a good four hours at the venue (volunteered by a couple in the group) to arrange all the details. By 7:30 PM, the place looked the part we envisioned it to. It was God’s grace and a labor of love. 

Don’t Be Selfish

It takes two joyful persons in the Lord to make a happy marriage and just one person to poison it with his or her selfishness. 

This past week I reacted with selfishness towards Edric because I judged him for not meeting my expectations. One of the more painful statements I made towards him was my life doesn’t revolve around you when he asked me to spend time with him and forego a previous engagement with girl friends. In my annoyance I spewed it out rather venomously. 

During the week prior Edric had been preoccupied and busy so I felt emotionally neglected. My instinct was to “do my own thing” and keep busy myself. However, when his schedule opened up on a Friday afternoon, he wanted me to spend time with him and drop everything I was doing. In fact, he sat me on the bed and asked, “Can’t you just cancel your event?” 

I interpreted this request to abandon my commitment as selfishness on his part which is why I carelessly commented, “My life doesn’t revolve around you.”

Instead, I should’ve sweetly appealed, “Hon, I really want to be with you but I made this commitment. I hope you understand. But I will make it up to you when I get back, okay?”

My cutting response, laced with pride, was meant to injure him emotionally because I entertained this it’s-not-fair mentality about my marriage. 

I thought, Why is that I am the one who has to adjust and be available to him? Sure, he is a rescuer when it comes to the big things and he will drop things for me, but on the day to day, I have to wait for him to be done with his preoccupations. In contrast, it feels like I am supposed to be “on call,” always ready to drop everything and anything for him.

My ugly, selfish and prideful self resented this. 

The rest of the week that followed I leaked out this resentment in various forms, draining the life out of my marriage and pushing Edric away. As a result he began to withdraw to avoid being hurt by my reactiveness and snappiness. 

It took the duration of a week (last week) for me to apologize sincerely to him and realize that my thoughts and actions weren’t honoring to the Lord. When I opened up to my mom about it, after Edric and I had reconciled with one another, she offered the more spiritual perspective about my marriage. She told me that I may have judged Edric as selfish but I was also selfish. She was right. I needed to hear that. (One of the things I appreciate about my mom is that she doesn’t take sides. Her advice is always about what God wants for Edric, for me, for our marriage.)

Truthfully, marriage is the most difficult relationship I have ever been in but it has been the best relationship to teach me selflessness and what it means to love and forgive unconditionally. My tendency is to think of my marriage with Edric as a barter sort of relationship. I will be grateful and sweet if you do this and that for me. Yet a marriage based on fair exchanges is self-seeking and self-centered. It is conditional and therefore bound to end up broken.

The key to rising above this is to fix my eyes on Jesus Christ, not Edric. It’s true that my life shouldn’t revolve around Edric, but I don’t have to declare this as an independent woman who prides herself in being captain of her own ship. Instead my life should revolve around Christ so I can make the right choices when my marriage is not such a happy place. I can still be sweet, grateful, and dispense grace when being married feels unpleasant and wanting. Why? Because of Christ in me, the source of my joy and strength. 

Admittedly, I have much growing to do in this regard since selfishness is so easy to succumb to when I don’t feel important or appreciated by Edric. Sometimes I fail like I did this past week, basing my responses on how Edric treated me.

However, the good news is that when I started to seek what Christ would have me think, say, and do rather than give in to the selfishness, Edric and I began to experience intimacy and healing in our marriage once again. We ended today with a heart to heart conversation about how we could both improve and we have begun to rebuild what was broken by selfishness. He fell asleep whispering “I love you,” and I will follow him to dreamland after I post this. All is well once again…

Allow me to end with this passage in James which I find to be a fitting reflection on selfishness: 

‭“For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.” ‭(James‬ ‭3:15-18‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

When a Child is Gifted

After watching the movie, Gifted, I had a crisis of doubt over homeschooling my oldest son, Elijah. When he was six years old, he was diagnosed as a gifted child. At the time I didn’t give it much thought. Edric and I believed that it wasn’t necessary to overemphasize this aspect of his person. After all, our greater priority was to instill godly character in him. The academic ability presented itself as a nice bonus but not as the focal point of our home education for him.

However, fast-forward to some weeks ago when Elijah broke down. He expressed worry over having accomplished “nothing” with his life, accompanied with the fear that he was not good at anything. Plus, he thought his opportunities would be over by the age of eighteen. (He tends to be hyperbolic in his assessments of himself.)

I listened to my fourteen year old son wondering why in the world such a bright young man could suffer these thoughts. Really?! Not good at anything? I mean, that makes me seem like I have a cockroach’s brain compared to him! (Now you know where he gets his exaggeration tendencies from…)

Here’s the truth. Elijah is able to program ridiculously well for a fourteen year old, having taught himself at least five coding languages. God has also given him an amazing ability to remember science facts and encyclopedia-like information. We call him our resident Google. He can read a four hundred page book in one sitting if no one interrupted him. At age eight, he started public speaking. At age nine, he attended a three hour seminar about stocks investing and started his own portfolio. He has finished the Bible six times since the age of seven. When he turned thirteen, he survived Mt. Apo. 

To me all of these sounded like he had done quite a bit for his age. However, I didn’t want to be insensitive or dismissive about his sentiments, so I probed further and tried my best to empathize. 

Where was he coming from? Why was he feeling these emotions?

One possible reason was that he had just lost a tennis match with his dad, where he played in a manner that he described as “pitiful.” Being similarly competitive in nature to his father, he didn’t take to the defeat too well.

Secondly, he compared himself to Edric and me He stated, “Mom, I don’t think I will be able to do what you and dad do. You guys have done so much with your life.”

At this point, I had to interject, “Hon, you don’t have to do the same things that mom and dad have done. God has a specific plan for YOUR life. You don’t need to compare.”

That past week, our homeschooling schedule had also been erratic because of other commitments Edric and I, as well as our kids needed to attend to. As a result, Elijah felt unproductive in terms of his responsibilities for the week.

As he verbally listed the reasons why he was stressed, accompanied by tears he tried to hold back, I thought, Are these his hormones kicking in to high gear because he is going through puberty?!

When Edric entered the restaurant where Elijah and I had this conversation, I signaled him with my eyes to let him know that something serious and important needed his participation. So Edric added his perspective to encourage Elijah. But his approach was to come up with practical plans. 

Elijah has since changed his opinion about himself and his future. Whew. Maybe he just needed listening to. He’s back to his positive self. When I asked him what altered his perceptions of himself, he replied, “When you told me that I have to focus on obeying God and following His will for my life, then I will accomplish what He wants me to.”


Because of his “break down” I continued to give his education considerable thought in the past weeks. Then, half-way through watching the movie, Gifted last Monday, I felt troubled. The uncle who had taken it upon himself to raise his extraordinarily intelligent niece, wondered if he was doing her a disservice by not putting her in a school for the gifted. Since his genius sister (the mother of his niece) took her life due to the pressure the mother burdened her with to solve a millennial problem in mathematics, he didn’t want to see his niece end up the same way. Instead, he believed his niece needed a more balanced life, one where she could enjoy playing, the outdoors, having friends her age, and going to a school that was for “normal” kids. 

As he wrestled with doubt, I sat in the theater seat wondering similar things. Should Elijah still be homeschooled? Does he need to be enrolled in a school where he can benchmark himself against others? Should he got to a science high school? Does he need to apply his skills in other ways that are beyond my capacity to provide as his teacher? How can he better maximize his talents and abilities? Are Edric and I doing him a disservice somehow because he is gifted? 

One of the things that resonated with me was how the uncle emphasized the importance of character in his niece. He didn’t think that focusing on how much of a prodigy she was would do her emotional and mental good in the long run. 

This is the same conviction Edric and I have about our kids. We talked about these things after the movie. 

I believe each one of them are gifted and extraordinary. Elijah just happens to display this in the area of academics. Yet what is more valuable to us is their character. Furthermore, unlike the uncle in the movie who philosophized the existence of God and therefore lacked spiritual emphasis in his parenting, we believe this ought to be paramount to our children’s upbringing. Whatever exceptionality our children may have, should God will this, they are His children first. Their identity and their purpose must be anchored on this truth. 

Therefore the goal of Elijah’s education has to be loftier – he was gifted for the glory of God, not for his glory, and not for our glory. We want him to grow up loving God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. (The same goes for all our other kids.) 

Keeping these goals in mind affords us with a filter for the plans we make for him. The framework we will continue to focus on is largely based upon Luke 2:52, which says that Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, favor with God, and favor with man.

I started to worry about Elijah and his future after his break down and the movie because I temporarily lost sight of the why of our home schooling. Thankfully, Edric comforted me. He’ has often quoted one of the founders of Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), Mike Smith, who wisely said, “We don’t homeschool for Harvard. We homeschool for heaven.” 

But hey, a lot of homeschoolers do get into Harvard. Not that this is our plan for Elijah. Our plan is to follow God’s leading for him. 

So far this is what we’ve come up with for his ninth grade…

1. WISDOM – Elijah will intern with a company so he can use his coding and programming skills to complete projects that are meaningful and beneficial to others. He is starting on Monday and will be tasked to help develop and improve the systems of two organizations. A few weeks back he admitted to me that he liked the idea of hacking into systems (uh-oh), so I had to remind him that he must be wise about the applications of his ability. (Wisdom is making choices that honor God. Intelligence without wisdom can be destructive.)


2. STATURE – Elijah will zone in on two sports – swimming and tennis. Instead of experimenting with different options, these are the two that suit his physical build and interest. He will continue to pursue his violin studies as well.


3. FAVOR WITH GOD – Elijah needs to have a vision for his life. He doesn’t have to compare himself to anyone. If he follows and obeys God’s plan for him, he will become whom God wants him to be. 

4. FAVOR WITH MAN – Edric signed Elijah up for the High Unite Summer Camp called Revolution, It Starts with You. It’s a high school retreat organized by homeschoolers from Home school Global for their fellow homeschoolers. This will be a good opportunity for him to reach out to others and possibly form a small group that he can mentor.


There’s a scene in the movie of Gifted where the uncle reflects as he takes his seven year old niece in his arms, “If you are turning out to be a happy, smart, and kind person then I must be doing something right.”

This part made me tear because it also dawned upon me that if Elijah is turning out to be a young man who is joyful, wise, kind, and who loves God then homeschooling must be working. And this is to the Lord’s credit because he supplies the daily grace. 

In fact, should any of our children turn out well all glory ought to go to the Lord. In the meantime Edric and I will train, disciple, steward, encourage, guide, and love our children. Home schooling is not a perfect science to raising kids. Yet it allows us to pursue the parenting goals that are most meaningful to us.

Teaching Kids to Organize Their Things

As much as possible, I try to instill in my kids the value and discipline of picking up after themselves. Even little Catalina, at three years old, is learning this habit. I need to repeat instructions with her more often than my older kids. However, they all know that in our home, your mess is your responsibility. When they forget, I remind them.

The homeschool room gets the messiest, especially at the end of the morning when cut and torn paper, writing instruments, craft materials, books and notebooks, as well as a few toys pepper the room. Catalina probably contributes to seventy percent of the disarray. 

Tiana, who doesn’t like disorder, will grab a broom and begin sweeping. Edan takes the initiative to return his books to their proper location. As for Titus and Elijah, they need some gentle pushing to motivate them to clean up as well. Everyone is supposed to put their own books away, on their designated shelves. It’s part of their learning experience, and something that I am pretty sure my future daughters and sons-in-law will thank me for. Wink. 

I have also instructed the household help to reinforce the cleaning-up-after-themselves habit for my kids. It’s so easy to be lazy and delegate tidying up to others, but my kids won’t learn about stewardship, responsibility, or organization this way.

I am not at the level of tidiness that my sister-in-law, Jenny, is…someone who is a neat freak in a good way. She’s my peg for orderliness. Yet, I would like to think that I have improved over the years of being married to a wonderful husband whose idea of a cathartic experience is to clean out his closet and de-clutter. He is strong and masculine, but I find it adorable when I see him standing in front of his side of the walk-in closet, humming a tune while taking stock of what to throw out or give away, how to re-arrange his shoes, or thoughtfully line up his shirts and pants. 

Living with someone who abhors clutter, who feels ruffled when his things are moved an inch from their original location, has caused a little bit of his OCD behavior to rub off on me. I am still messy in comparison. But we do share a common liking for keeping the home tidy. 

Very simply put…we prefer to avoid stacks of objects, books, and papers on desks or cabinets, and we throw away, donate or garage-sale surplus and unused possessions that needlessly collect dust. As I share this, I actually feel guilty about three areas in the home that require sorting yet again — the linen closet with two bins that I haven’t opened in a number of months, the guest room closet which the househelp recently stuffed with miscellaneous items, and the storage room, which is, well, collecting more storage. 

Going back to training the kids…

Recently, I was asked to write about Simply Modular: “the first modular storage system designed for those who like to constantly change interior layout and move around through the use of simple connectable planks. Planks come in different colors are self-assembled into different styles to meet the individual needs of the furniture.” 


My boys jumped on the opportunity to assemble the planks. The experience served as an application for geometry and logic. They had to configure the planks according to their design. And when they made mistakes, it was easy to take the planks apart again. 


Naturally, Titus, my mechanical son, was very eager to participate in this. Elijah, too, took charge of the building. He even instructed me what to do. 



Since the planks were made of lightweight and durable plastic, they could be assembled and transferred to any place in the house. So my kids designed the furniture pieces in the living room and then we carried them to the girls’ room. 

Tiana and Catalina were thrilled! Tiana, as I said, gets really excited about organizing her things. I know, it’s kind of weird, but nice. 

She went to work right away and begged me to help her. Since I had to leave for an appointment, I requested that we resume the task another time. Her response, “You promise, okay?” 

My goodness. This girl likes to be clean and to organize!


The only objective feedback I have on the planks is that the doors don’t close completely. I am trying to figure out a fix for this. But other than that, Simply Modular has provided me with a quick and easy solution for the girls’ storage needs. Plus, we can always redesign and remodel the planks to serve another purpose. 

Other ideas from Simply Modular:

Simply Modular Furniture System, which started in Hong Kong, Japan and Korea, is quickly earning popularity among millenials with fast-paced and ever-changing lifestyles, as well as condo investors. It is fun, flexible, practical, durable and affordable, as it combines function, quality, design and value – with sustainability in mind. It is the first of its kind in the country.

Simply Modular are connectable panels that are self-assembled to form different types of furniture – a shelf, cabinet, console table, closet, bed, desk, bench, etc. They may be reused and morphed into different styles and sizes as needed. Storing the panels takes up minimal space as they are flatly stacked in a box, easily transportable. All parts, made from high quality ABS plastic, are 100% waterproof, termite-proof, rust-proof, and can hold up to 200 kilos.
More info on Simply Modular:

G/F SMDC M Place Panay Avenue Quezon City 

Tel No: 0917-637-4152 

Store Hours: 10AM – 8PM Mon – Sun

E-mail: hello@simplymodular.ph

My First Colon Cleanse

My sister, Carolyn, is one of the doctors at the newly opened Centro Holisto branch in the Grove by Rockwell. I walked in yesterday hoping to spend some time with her and she suggested that I get the colon cleanse because of the digestive issues I have been having as of late. (They have promos right now, too.)

It was my first time to do this. She didn’t tell me that it’s actually pretty painful, like the crampy feeling of giving birth and diarrhea. But the sensation of pain dissipates when you expel the liquid.

I don’t mean to overshare here, but the good news is that afterwards, I felt great! Lighter, more energized! Strangely or not so strangely I lost about over a pound, too. Bleck. Probably from the waste in my colon. Oversharing again, sorry. 

Here’s what I had to lie down on and you can pretty much guess where everything went during and after the procedure…


Nurse Tin, whom I also got to have a nice chat with about the spiritual realities of life, pumped about 15 liters of coffee + liver detox solution and water into me to clean me out. She stayed with me the whole time, massaging my lower abdomen to facilitate the cleansing process. I couldn’t believe she did this every single time with every single patient. (Actually, she goes through the experience herself on a regular basis.) 

At first I felt like a geriatric lying there at the mercy of the solution perched high up on a shelf for gravitational effectivity. Yet, Nurse Tin maintained her composure and calm throughout the entire time. She made me feel at ease.

We talked quite a bit, Nurse Tin and I, which helped to pass the thirty or forty minutes that it took to finish the procedure. I praise God that I got to share the gospel with her in between the stabs of pain I felt. Afterwards I was handed a hot pad for my stomach and a cup of ginger tea. It was delicious! Just the drink I needed to soothe my stomach. 

I didn’t know what to eat after my experience but Edric and I went on a dinner and movie date where I settled for Filipino cuisine. The next day (today) everything worked just fine, maybe even a little better than usual. 

Dr. Carolyn Pedro (aka sister dear) recommended three times of colon cleansing during the first week, followed by once a week for the remaining three weeks in the month and then maintenance cleanses, either bi-monthly or once a month. 

Since I don’t have constipation issues, I may not need to do this as frequently, but I do think it’s beneficial to do the cleanse, especially for someone like me who needs to heal and protect her gut. 

Dr. Candy Dalman-Drilon and Dr. Carolyn Pedro of Centro Holistico highlight the top benefits of colon cleansing: 

1. Detoxifies the liver

2. Increases your antioxidant levels that neutralizes free radicals. Helps the body produce 700x more glutathione than what it would do on its own which helps to remove the free radicals

3. Removes or cleans out the top layer of the colon which can then be replaced with probiotics. 

4. Eliminates toxic residues from environmental sources 

If I might add, it’s also beneficial to kick start a weight loss program, increase energy levels, and sharpen the sluggish mind. 

I have been to the Alabang branch of Centro  Holistico but this one is much more accessible to me. It’s very near where Edric works and where my kids have their music, art and pe classes. And of course, my sister holds her clinic here on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons so it’s convenient for me to see her.  Dr. Carolyn taking my live blood analysis…


Centro Holistico’s approach to health and wellness is integrative medicine. Its medical doctors “combine both traditional and western medicine methods, and complementary and alternative medical theories and treatments.”

Here are some of the treatments, services, and health programs offered at Centro Holistico: 



Address and contact info:

2/F The Retail Row

The Grove by Rockwell

E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave (C5)

1604 Pasig City

Landline: (02) 477-4574

Mobile: (0917) 120-7058

Email: centroholistico.thegrove@gmail.com

Nutritious Snacks by Raw Bites

I am often on the lookout for healthy and nutritious snacks for my kids. Admittedly, my pantry isn’t always stocked with honest to goodness food for my children or Edric and me. I cheat from time to time. (I still make my chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes on my kids’ birthdays.) However, I do lean towards healthy eating for our household. 

After my gut health issues and the various skin asthma breakouts my kids have had towards certain foods, I tend to read the labels on everything I buy. If I can’t decode what’s on them then I know it’s probably not good for us. 

Although I don’t want to make healthy living an obsession (Edric has warned me repeatedly about this), my desire is to be wise and intentional about what we eat in our home. 

It’s great to know that Raw Bites has healthy, organic, natural sugar, GMO-free, and preservative-free snacks-in-a-box options that can be delivered right to your home. They sent me a sample of their premium box and it came with the following goodies:

 Check out Raw Bites’ site and Instagram for more information: 

What to Model to Our Children

Modeling who we want our children to become is one of the most effective ways to influence them positively. 


Model the Right Character – Christ-likeness

I grew up in a home where my parents loved God, served God, and taught us to do the same. They weren’t perfect, but I saw a genuine desire and faithfulness to live out the principles they preached. The best version of themselves was at home, with us. I would see my dad delivering sermons at the pulpit and I would think, I trust what he is saying because he lives it out at home. There’s no hypocrisy. 


My dad didn’t yell or shout at us. He was strict and he disciplined us (I was probably the most disciplined, he he) but like my mom, he was an encouraging person. Generally speaking, his even-temperedness kept the climate of the home positive. Although I feared him out of respect, I knew that he wasn’t going to blow up or hurt us when people in the home made mistakes.

Even towards my mom, he was very patient. My mom once joked that she spilled stuff on him during every airplane ride. (He finally decided to sit across the aisle from her rather than right beside her to avoid getting hurt by hot tea or coffee.) I saw what my mom meant when we were having a family dinner and my mom accidentally knocked over a cup of hot tea on him as she reached across the table. He didn’t raise his voice or react in irritation. Instead, he calmly wiped his arm and continued conversing with all of us. I was like, wow. If that was me…I don’t know if I would be so composed!

As for my mom, she was predictably and contagiously joyful when I was a kid. Till this day she is one of my favorite persons to hang out with. There’s something very attractive about her joy in the Lord. 

In fact, when I was struggling with my role as a wife in my early married years Edric would actually tell me, “Why don’t you spend some time with mom? I am sure being with her will make you feel better.” 

He knew that I would come away from my time with her recharged and spiritually energized. And more importantly, she imparted to me godly advice. 

Sometimes, when I am unusually positive, he still asks jokingly, “Did you spend time with mom today?! Why are you so cheerful?!”

The culture of a Christ-centered family has to begin with us, as parents. It’s a top-down thing. What my siblings and I saw in my parents, we copied (the good and the bad, but praise God there was much more good to copy). 

My parents’ positive role-modeling coupled with their intentional discipleship bore fruit in the lives of my siblings and me. Today, my siblings and I, along with our spouse, share the same core values and beliefs as my parents. Even if we have discussions and disagreements every now and then, by God’s grace, we share unity in Him.
I once told my father, “Dad, it feels a little bit like heaven when we all get together. It’s like a foretaste of what heaven might be like someday.”

We talk about what God is doing in our lives, share the victories and the struggles, and come along side one another to encourage and lovingly correct each other so we can all grow in our faith. Furthermore, there’s so much laughter and talking we sometimes get lost in all the conversation and forget what time it is. 

At the center of our family is Jesus Christ and all glory goes to Him. My parents were great parents not because they were special, but because they were committed to Christ. As the apostle Paul said, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1

Model the Right Mission – a passion for the gospel / compassion for the lost

Besides their Christ-likeness, one of the most significant things I saw in my parents’ lives was a passion to share the word of God, to share the gospel. My parents would come home from their out of town or overseas trips and tell us, “Guess what, I shared the gospel with the person beside me on the plane.” 

Or, they would finish a golf game and say, “My caddy accepted the Lord today.” 

As a younger woman, I remember going with my mom to malls and during her encounters with check-out counter clerks, salesladies, waiters, or whoever was serving her, she tried to share the gospel. These moments made such an impression on my heart about the importance of the gospel. 

One of the more dramatic gospel stories of my mom was when she ran after a thief who stole her bag in Trinoma mall. She chased after this woman in her high heels. When a guard finally apprehended the thief, my mom caught up to her and retrieved her purse. 

The guard asked if my mom wanted to file a report against the thief, but she replied, “Oh no, I just want to talk to her for a bit.”

Her more urgent priority was to tell the woman, “There must be some reason why you took my bag. There must be a greater need that you have and so I want to tell you about Jesus.”

The woman thief prayed with my mom to receive Jesus into her heart! 

I needed to see my parents model a passion for the gospel so that it would become a priority for me. The same is true for my own kids. Our second son, Edan, has asked Edric and me numerous times about the realities of heaven and hell. He has struggled with questions like, “What if someone never hears the gospel. Is if fair that they go to hell?”

So whenever he sees us sharing the gospel with people, it matters to him. A few weeks ago, I shared the gospel with one of our household help. Edan overheard me and when I got to the prayer part, I saw him tearing.

Asking if he was okay, he revealed, “Mom, I thought about the verse in the Bible, about how there is rejoicing in heaven when people come to Jesus, and I just felt happy.”

When we had a shoot the other day and he heard me explaining the gospel to one of the moms I had met, he came up to me during the break and asked, “When are you going to do the closure mom? To pray with her?”

“Oh, you were listening?”

“Of course, Mom.” 

Another one of my sons corrected me for not bringing gospel tracts to give to a student who was soliciting money from us when we were at a coffee shop. He reminded me, “I think you should always have a gospel track mom, so you can give it to people.”

“You are right, son.” 

If we don’t show a sense of urgency or compassion for the lost, why will our kids ever grow up to do the same?

Edric and I also believe in involving our children in ministry with us. We don’t want them to feel like ministry takes us away from them. Instead, we want them to witness transformed lives and develop a conviction to be a blessing to others as they accompany us.

When I still lived at home, it was a privilege to observe my parents in action, ministering to others. This is one of the reasons why the principles of God’s word made sense to me. Since my siblings and I would be invited to listen to my parents counsel other couples or singles at the dinner table, we would make the connection – when you follow God, you are blessed, when you don’t, there are painful consequences. We perceived that the people who had joy and peace were the ones who obeyed God’s word. It was also reassuring to see how God could redeem the mistakes of people.

Model the Right Values

Because we live in a world where our children are assaulted daily by values that are contradictory to ours, it’s necessary for us to model the right ones for them. Whether it is the way we deal with conflict and difficult people, how we process trying circumstances, the way we choose to spend our time, talents and money, the habits we have, or the friends we surround ourselves with, our children are watching us closely. They are taking their cues from us.  

What we put emphasis on, they will, too. Take for instance being extravagant. If we want our kids to be frugal and discerning about what they spend on, if we want them to avoid materialism, do they see these convictions lived out in us? Do we demonstrate to them what it means to be a steward of God’s resources? 

One time, I asked my kids, “What do you think mom and dad are most passionate about?”

I was hoping they would immediately volunteer the answer, “You are passionate about God!” 

Instead, I got a very innocent and honest response, “Mom, you are passionate about your phone.” 

Oh my goodness, I thought. What have I been modeling for them?

I tried to explain, “You know that I use my phone for ministry, right? And my bible is on my phone? And I reach out to people through my phone?”

However, I just looked silly trying to defend myself. What my kids were basically telling me was that I spent a lot of time on my phone. So I had to change.

Even in small things, Edric and I have to be careful. We enjoy Netflix, but we have to be mindful of what we watch, even what we listen to because our kids copy us. We can’t say to them, “Don’t watch this show, it’s only for adults.”

As much as possible, we try to watch shows that we can all enjoy as a family. If it’s defiling for our kids to watch something, then why do we think it’s okay for us? Aren’t we called to honor the same temple?  

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

This passage also applies to exercise and health. Our kids need to see us being disciplined about our eating, sleeping, and diet. We can’t emphasize healthiness in the home if it’s not backed up by our examples.

At the same time, we can’t be obsessed about wellness either. When Elijah started to act like a hypochondriac, I realized it was my example feeding him with fears. 

So there has to be a balance. Taking care of our bodies is a good thing but not when it moves into the realm of idolatry. 

Model the Right Perspective – A spiritual perspective 

My family experienced a major crisis when I was fifteen. However, long before this event I had observed the manner in which my parents handled various crises in their own lives. When people wronged them, betrayed them, or maligned them, they didn’t take it personally or hold grudges. Instead they processed difficult people and circumstances with spiritual lenses. 

When something or someone was beyond their control, they did their part to fix what they could but they also prayed instead of panicked. They often reminded my siblings and me that God was in control, sovereign, and causing all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)  

Our children are bound to encounter their own set of challenges in life. Seeing how we respond with faith and trust in God during times of testing will strengthen them for the storms that will come their way. 

Model the Right Kind of Authenticity – Be humble when you make mistakes 

The reality is that we make mistakes as parents. Edric and I have hurt our kids and been bad examples at certain points, and our kids know that we have our weaknesses. But one thing that we have learned is that the best remedy is to humbly ask for their forgiveness and commit to change when we mess up.

 Last year Edric and I had a speaking engagement in Baguio on parenting young kids. On the way, we had an issue. One of our kids passed gas in the car and the smell was terrible. Edric was preparing his message and the smell bothered him so much he asked, “Who passed gas?”

A hand went up in the backseat and someone said, “I’m sorry dad, I did.”

Since Edric is sensitive to smells, he felt annoyed, and declared an ultimatum, “Kids, no one is allowed to pass gas in the car EVER.”

When I heard him say this, I felt annoyed. How can this ridiculous, exasperating rule be imposed on young children? We have a three year old!

So, my mistake was I disrespectfully challenged Edric in front of the kids, “So you mean to tell me you never pass gas in the car, hon?”

The kids were listening to us go back and forth as we dragged the verbal arguing on. Finally, we got to the venue and I didn’t want to speak about parenting. I felt like we were parenting failures at that moment.

God convicted me to apologize for my disrespect to Edric and the kids which I did. As for Edric, I just prayed that God would speak to him, especially since one of our sons whispered to my ear, “It’s kind of hypocritical of dad to tell us not to pass gas.”

I replied in faith, “I’m sure your dad will talk to you and you can share this with him.”

Thankfully, that’s exactly what Edric did. He too was convicted about what happened in the car and he apologized to me, to the kids, to everyone. Peace and joy were restored and Edric and I could truthfully stand in front of the audience with our kids sitting in the back.

Since we are imperfect parents, we will make mistakes, but the good news is that the willingness to say sorry and ask for forgiveness keeps our children’s hearts soft. 

James 5:16 reminds us, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”

To encourage the parents out there, God is committed to helping us fulfill our role. He will continue to change us and mold us into the persons He wants us to be. However, we have to be willing to repent and change when we make mistakes. 

I want to end by sharing what Edric and I learned from an Easter family breakthrough retreat. Every parent has to be able to ask their children, “How have I hurt you? How can I improve? And will you forgive me for…”

We can try our best to be a model of Christlikeness but if we fail, these questions will keep our kids from developing bitterness and hard hearts towards us and towards following God.

Model the Right Roles 

This part was written by my fourteen year old, Elijah: 

Around a year ago, right before my thirteenth birthday, my Dad took me to climb Mt. Apo, as sort of a “rite-of-passage” ritual into manhood. He modeled how to be a man. Being very responsible and prepared, Dad created a checklist of things we needed to bring, and pitched a tent in our yard so we could practice for the real thing (it was actually much harder than the real thing, being in our rocky yard), then finally took out our little burner and grilled some food out in our yard, too. But we still ate some of the dinner cooked by Mom. Because we learned from our mistakes, we were able to camp more comfortably on the actual mountain. 

At one point during our climb to Mt. Apo, my Dad was so exhausted that he told me, “I’ll probably climb back down and call a helicopter to pick me up.”

However, he kept pushing and made it to the summit. He even shared the gospel with a few people at the top. 

During my time with him on the mountain he showed me how to live with very little and be content with it. Although it was difficult, we had a lot of fun. Dad pushing himself made me want to push myself too. I reached the top second! (Of course, our guide got there first.)

Another way my dad teaches me to be a man is through speaking engagements he brings me on, showing me what he does and exposing me to all kinds of people. I learn how a man should conduct himself, how one can communicate effectively, and how to have God-confidence. In his talks, he tries to insert the Gospel as much as spossible, no matter what he is speaking about. This assures me that I, too, can be confident to put verses in my sharing and not be afraid to share God’s word. 

Model the Right Priorities

Significantly, one of the most recent things Dad has taught me is the value of priorities. Through the years, Dad has showed me how to give up good things to make way for great things. 

Back in September 2015, my Dad got an offer to be an anchor for Mornings@ANC, a morning news show. He told us that he was so excited about the opportunity because it was a major show which paid good money. We also thought that it would be great as a platform for God. So, my Dad took the job after praying about it and getting advice from others. 

Initially, it was fun to have him come home after the show to catch us at breakfast and share all the goodies and freebies he would get. And my Dad seemed to enjoy it as he would share stories with my Mom. 

However, his schedule was crazy. You see, he had to wake up at 3:30am to be at the studio by 4:30am. To wake up at this time, he had to sleep by around 7:30pm. But this was just a show on top of his other work. So when he got home from the Morning Show, we would catch him for breakfast briefly, then he would leave for work and come home just in time for dinner then head off early to bed.

To be honest, after a few months of this, I felt that Dad wasn’t spending enough time with me anymore, and I am a time person. I hardly got to talk with Dad and I didn’t see him a lot because of his difficult schedule. I tried to forget about it, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it because I missed him. So one day, I told my Mom how I felt. 

“I feel like Dad has been out too often. His show is taking him away from us.” While I was talking, my eyes started to perspire (because men don’t cry; their eyes only perspire). 

Apparently, I was not the only one feeling this way as my brother Edan also shared the same thing to my Mom. Also with eyes tearing. 

Because of this, Mom told Dad about it privately. That very same night, Dad spoke to my brother and me. He started the conversation by asking us, “How can I improve?” 

Edan and I told him that he was way too busy, and that we missed him. Since I was getting emotional, I stood up for a bit and as I walked away to compose myself, I said to my Dad, “There are more important things in life than money. I will pray for you Dad.” 

My Dad then gathered us together and embraced us tightly and looked at us with a smile, and said he would do something about it.

You know what? A few days later my Dad called us to gather around him as a family, saying he had something to share. He then told us that he had resigned from the show! I know it was hard for him because I saw sadness in his eyes. After all, he was turning down such a good opportunity and he would lose income. 

When I saw this, I felt like I wanted to take back what I said. But instead, I ended up saying, “Thank you for choosing to be with us.” Then I hugged him tightly. 

My dad started to make lots of time for us. We got to spend a lot more time together. So when he didn’t win an award he was nominated for called the Oustanding Young Man award and he felt discouraged, I told him, “You don’t need that award dad. You are the most oustanding man to me.”  

Inspired by his example, I try my best to prioritize too. One way is by reading my Bible and praying first thing in the morning, which should be my greatest priority. After that, I try my best to get my responsibilities done like practicing violin and completing homeschool work. 

One of the last things I am learning about modeling is that it is not just from my parents to us children, but also from us to our siblings. For instance, I have noticed that my siblings copy me when I read my Bible and practice instruments in the morning. Even Catalina, my three-year-old sister, who cannot read, will pick up her picture Bible and pretend to read.

To be honest, I don’t always model the right things—I don’t always read my Bible like this and I don’t always prioritize my responsibilities. Sometimes, I lose my temper, get impatient, and fight with my siblings. When this happens, I realize that I need to ask for forgiveness and try to improve. That’s something I see my parents do when they too make mistakes and it encourages me to do the same.

Ultimately, their goal and my goal is to copy Christ—he is the perfect model. So please pray Please that I will copy Christ more and more, through the years, and that when I fail, I will be humble and willing to improve. Please pray the same for my parents, that they will be humble and ask for forgiveness when they mess up. I’m sure they would appreciate it. God bless you all!


 

 

I Trust You

Since my two older sons don’t need me to micromanage them, I have shifted my parenting style to give them room to exercise personal discretion. Instead of dictating their schedules or giving them a suggestion when they ask me, “What should I do?” or, “Can I do..”, I now say, “You decide. I trust you.” 

Those three words, “I trust you,” communicate my confidence in their capacity to make good choices. Having spent so many years teaching them the difference between right and wrong, it’s time they take ownership of their choices and assume responsibility for the consequences of their decisions. 

Interestingly, this “I trust you” statement actually makes them more conscientious about choosing wisely. 

Edan came up to me the other day and shared, “Mom, you know, when you say you trust me it actually makes me want to be very careful because I don’t want to break your trust.” 

I told him, “That’s a good thing.”

After all, he is old enough to know what is beneficial and what is harmful to him. For instance, recently he asked me if all the kids (himself included) could use the gadgets while Edric and I were out of the house. Our children know our rules and standards for gadget-use but we don’t hover over them every time they are on one to make sure they are following these. 

Edric and I have had many talks with our children about the dangers of media and guarding their eyes from pornography. We have talked to them about sex in the context of marriage and why it’s a beautiful thing. So they know what to avoid and run away from. 

Even though I want to amp up the controls to ensure that my kids never look upon any worthless thing online, it’s not possible to regulate everything my older sons do. Edric perspective on the matter is a better one. He asserts, “We cannot fully protect our children from pornography but we can prepare them.”

Between the two of us, I probably err on legalism more than he does, so this is a great reminder for me. I don’t want our kids to feel like following God is about external behavior. What matters is their hearts, realizing that God’s design and His will for them leads to fullness of life, and that they are accountable to Him for their actions. Daddy and mommy won’t always be watching. 

Our role as parents is to “train up our children in the way they should go” as Proverbs 22:6 commands so that “when they are older, they will not depart from it.” Personally, I believe that the ages of 1 to 12 require intensive teaching and training. These years are the conviction-building stage– when our children need us to pour into their hearts the word of God, to emphasize the truths that ought to direct their thinking and decision-making. It’s also in this stage when we need to warn them about the pitfalls of life– conflicting world views, sexual immorality, addictions, materialism — and how to choose the right friends and a future life partner. During this season it’s important for us to look for evidence that they love God and understand what it means to have a personal relationship with Him. 

If we have been intentional in their younger years, then we can relax in the area of micromanaging their decisions. In fact, we should avoid doing this. (The discipleship and availability, however, don’t have to end.)

My parents were very relaxed. Neither of them waited for my siblings and I to come home at night when we asked to go out with friends. They slept peacefully, trusting that we recognized we were accountable to God. They also rested in the Lord, knowing that our lives were in His hands. This doesn’t mean they were careless and uninvolved. In fact, they spent so much time being intentional about training and teaching us to make wise decisions that when we were “teenagers,” they let us know that we had their trust. 

In the meantime, they encouraged open communication, prayed for us consistently, and continued to disciple us and affirm God’s truth in our lives. Their style simply changed with consideration for our capacity to make our own choices. They respected us in this sense, and my siblings and I desired to please them and obey them. 

I have shared that of all my siblings, I learned about wrong choices the hard way. However, I came back to the principles that my parents taught me as a child. These truths hooked me back to the path I needed to be on and perpetually gnawed at my conscience when I ignored them. And like Edan told me recently, I wanted to preserve my parent’s trust in me, just as he wants to preserve my trust in him. 

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck. My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” Proverbs‬ ‭1:8-10‬ ‭

This past year, I struggled with understanding my changing role in the lives of my older sons. I recall my father-in-law taking me aside to tell me very kindly that I had to avoid babying them, that it wouldn’t be healthy for their manhood. He sought to prepare my heart for the necessary shift in my role as mother to sons who were growing past the childhood stage. He emphasized that Edric should be taking over as far as mentoring them on how to think, act like, and be men. It’s a blessing that Edric has gladly and wholeheartedly been present to do this. 

As for me, I am taking the “I trust you” approach which seems to be working so far, and only because our older sons value my (our) trust and know that obedience brings blessing. I trust them because they have a relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit will convict them when they go astray. My confidence is in the work of Christ in their lives…

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭

Time to Play 

Nothing trumps nature as the best setting for free play, also known as unstructured play. Several years back my kids went to Disney Land and Universal Studios in California but their favorite vacation memories revolved around visits to the park and Lake Tahoe, where they enjoyed hours of romping around the snow. 

Recently, we traveled to Dubai, and as much as they enjoyed all the amusement parks and touristy locations, the desert proved to be top on their list of places we visited. What did they do in the desert? They scaled the dunes and rolled down them! 

In the Philippines, their destination of choice is the beach. But of course! We have the best beaches in the world! 

For my kids, there is never enough time spent on the sand and swimming in the sea. 


Over the weekend, we went to Acea in Subic Bay. It’s a newly opened resort and still working through its birthing pains in the area of customer service. Yet, the place is beautiful, the ala carte meals delicious, and the staff are helpful and friendly. Besides the swimming amenities, there’s a gym and an indoor play place for the kids. Kids will not be bored. 


Furthermore, one of the owners is from the same church we go to so yes, I am biased. We like this place a lot! 


The kids hit the water as soon as we arrived and they were happy as can be, building their sand structures, throwing sand bombs at one another, and paddling in the sea. Acea also had a large pool and outdoor kiddie splash area which my youngest, Catalina, kept returning to. 

Had it not been for the severity of the sun at certain hours and the need to eat meals, I would have let the kids stay out all day. Even Eljah, as a fourteen year old, relapsed into early childhood with a shovel in hand, digging into the sand. The boys pounded one another and their friends with sand balls. There was no point to the game except to revel in the satisfaction of hitting their targets. A few adults chided them when their bombs accidentally hit innocent bystanders and swimmers. Yet, all in all, it was good and clean childhood fun. No adults dictated their activities or rules of play, but watchful moms kept a lookout for everyone’s safety. (And some of us played ourselves…beach volleyball versus men and well, we won! He he…When Edric joined our team.) 





Why is free play so beneficial to kids? 

First, it contributes to their healthy social development. They have to cooperate with one another, practice communication skills, deal fairly, and manage their emotions when they win, lose, or encounter difficult personalities. 

They also implore creative problem solving. How do you create a sand castle that will withstand the rising tide (if that is even possible)? How deep a hole do you need to dig to create a protective moat around your castle? What makes a sand bomb effective? Kids think through questions like these as they play.  So their brains, along with their bodies, must commit to resolving the challenges they face. 

Kids discover their unique bents and talents when they play, too. I know Titus is a tinkerer because he gravitates towards activities that involve building, dismantling, and figuring out how things work. As for Edan, he is a natural-born leader. When he plays, he gives other kids roles and responsibilities, and he comes up with rules and mechanics to create order. He likes being in charge. Tiana enjoys cleaning up. She feels a deep sense of gratitude when mess is managed. Elijah is a problem-solver. When a challenge presents itself during play, he thinks of mathematical or scientific solutions. Catalina can be very helpful when she is assigned a task by her siblings that makes her feel included in their play.  

I believe play makes kids smarter, too, and it allows children to discover who they are and whom God made them to be. Play gives children the opportunity to apply what they learn. It’s experience-based learning which is far more effective than filling in worksheets and answering test questions. Furthermore, when kids realize their limitations and capacities through play, they grow to understand themselves better. What are they good at? What can they improve on? 

The act of playing, which usually means they are having loads of fun, motivates them to see how far they can go in order to accomplish their goals. Whether it’s exerting themselves physically or mentally, kids are inclined to persevere because play is delightful. Titus figured out how to bike without training wheels, snowboard, roller blade, and use the scooter in a span of two weeks when we were in the U.S. for Christmas. He fell down and injured himself but he got right back up to pursue his goal, learning how to balance.

It is during play that children form cherished memories of their childhood as well. Whenever I reminisce about my younger years, it is the hours of play that I remember best. I developed a deep attachment to my home and my family because of our play times together. 

How sad to hear of children who have nothing left of the weekday to enjoy playing because of the time spent going to and from school, in school, and attending afte-school tutoring sessions. That’s not the kind of childhood our children ought to have. And it’s no wonder why they can’t wait for summer! 

I am not saying that kids shouldn’t work hard to get a good education. Yet, I wonder if we have tilted the balance too far in the direction of classroom-based academic rigor, where learning goals and parameters are dictated upon kids rather than allowing children to be in environments where they learn through play. Personally, I feel that there is something disturbingly unnatural about a childhood without the joys of unstructured play. 

What do you think? 

Manuka Health Loves Moms!

To celebrate the gift of motherhood, Manuka Health is inviting all moms and expectant moms of all ages (grandmas, too!) to participate in a Mother’s Day contest.

The contest will be open from May 1 – 13, 2017. Winners will be announced on Mothers’ Day, May 14, 2017 in Manuka Health Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Here are the mechanics of the contest:

a. Post a photo with your kid/s on your Instagram and Facebook account. 

b. Share your motherhood experience by answering the question: “What do I like most about being a mom?” (Not more than 200 words.) 

c. Make sure to tag manukahealthph and teachwithjoy both in FB and IG so your entry can be tracked. 

d. Include the hashtag #ManukaHealthPHMoms #teachwithjoyforManukaHealthPH for the entry to be valid.

e. Make sure the post is public.

The prizes:

a. MAJOR PRIZE – 3 winners to win 1000 pesos worth of GCs plus a Manuka Health Gift Bag which contains…

– MGO 100 Manuka Health Honey 250g


– Manuka Honey Premium Blend

– Manuka Health Suckles


b. MINOR PRIZE

– 5 winners will each win 1000 worth of GC

– 10 winners will each win 500 worth of GC

Advance Happy Mother’s Day, Moms! 

A Husband’s Hero Halo 

Early Monday morning, at about 3 A.M., I woke up to escalating stomach pain. Edric wanted to rule out appendicitis, so he insisted on taking me to the E.R. 

The pain had been troubling me since Sunday and I couldn’t find a comfortable position to alleviate it. Since I wasn’t able to eat much either, Edric grew concerned, especially since he knew I wasn’t the kind of person to complain about pain. 

Even if he had a full day of meetings on Monday, he was prepared to drop everything for me. I finally asked him in a playful tone, “Why is it that you tend to get annoyed when I do things that inconvenience you but when I am helpless like this, you gladly play the role of hero and will go out of your way to take care of me? Can you explain this (paradox) to me?” 

He smiled, pounding on his chest like a champion, “Of course! I love you.” 

“Yes, but it’s kind of weird isn’t it? You don’t feel the same sweet emotions towards me when I don’t need you. In fact, when I act assertive and independent, you aren’t as gentle towards me. I know you love me but it’s different. So be honest, is it also because you also like it when I am a ‘damsel in distress’?” 

His playful grin gave him away. 

Maybe the feminists out there will criticize him for this, but they aren’t married to him so it doesn’t matter. It matters to me. Most of the time, I can fend for myself and I don’t depend on him to take care of me, but there’s something hard-wired into Edric that likes to be the rescuer. And I am thankful for this aspect of his personality.

He heard me crying in pain in the middle of the night and I would have suffered through it till morning. However, his hero-adrenaline kicked in, causing him to think of nothing else but my well-being. For someone who values his eight hours of sleep, this was a big deal. I didn’t want to trouble him but he was resolute about taking me to the E.R.

After a blood test and urinalysis, and a general physical exam, the doctors found nothing remarkable about my pain. They put an IV line to give me something to relieve the pain but I was sent home two hours later. The entire time, Edric sat by my side and didn’t complain about the wait. He gladly took care of me and settled all the paperwork of our insurance. 

Thankfully, the pain diminished significantly three days later. Today, I feel just fine but I am planning to see my Ob-Gynecologist to rule out any possible issues with my reproductive organs. 

During our date night, I thanked Edric for being there for me. In fact, I had a renewed appreciation for him. 

He kidded, “Now I have a hero halo right?” 

We both laughed as he followed up the comment with a ridiculous hero pose.

I don’t expect Edric to go out of his way to protect or care for me. After all, I was raised by a mom who was pretty independent and I grew up seeing her brave difficult situations, not as a damsel in distress, but a damsel whose strength was in the Lord. 

From her history, I know she left her homeland in her early twenties to go to Asia, to travel with a singing group and do mission work. Eventually, she met my dad, a Chinese businessman who loved the Lord, whose heart beat for the same thing — that of sharing the gospel message of Christ in Asia. 

They had five kids of which I am the second, and my mom has shared with me that every time she gave birth (following her first delivery), she encouraged my dad to go play golf! She preferred to labor on her own without worrying about my dad waiting during the eighteen hours  that it often took her to labor. Her request was that he come back right when she was about to deliver, for the highlight of it all. My dad, being the practical man that he was, conceded to her request. (Edric is too much of a romantic to do this!) 

Anyway, that’s the kind of mom I had and in many ways, I am similar to her. I know Edric likes the side of me that is indepedent and strong in the same way that my mom is. 


However, he really likes it when I need him. He rises to any occasion where he can demonstrate his gallantry. 

I don’t think it implies weakness or incapacity when I let him fulfill this role, either. He delights in being a hero to me. And I have to admit that there is something hard-wired into me as well that likes to be rescued by him. 

This is one of the beautiful things about being a woman — balancing that inner strength and courage that comes from the Lord and the willingness to be vulnerable and weak in the arms of the one you love. 

The Friends You Choose

Even into adulthood it mattters that I surround myself with like-minded friends, women who share the same convictions, who anchor me, hold me accountable, and encourage me to love God and keep Him front and center. 

I have always believed that you can tell a lot about a person by the company he or she keeps. And I have been blessed to know women who have been there through the many seasons of change in my life — from singlehood, to becoming a wife and mom. 


Some years back, a number of these women sat me down to confront me about how I had hurt them. In shock, I listened to their grievances, unaware that I had made so many mistakes as a friend. It was humbling. 

However, the good news is that today we remain friends. I am so glad our friendship was tested the way it was. Conflict, after all, can make relationships stronger when they are dealt with positively. We are still committed to being truthful and honest with one another because we love each other. Furthermore, we are focused on growing in our relationship with God, and whatever correction or advice we receive from one another has this goal in mind. 

Every friendship I have with people at my age must be purposeful. I have to ask myself, what kind of person do I want to become and who are the people I want to surround myself with so that I become that person? When I was younger, I didn’t give this much thought. But now the stakes are higher. I don’t want to mess up as a wife or a mom, and I want to finish well as a follower of Christ. 

Therefore, peers are important. As my father has often emphasized, it is easier to be influenced negatively than to influence someone positively. He uses the illustration of a supposed “good” person standing on a chair, trying to pull up a supposed “bad” person who is standing on the ground. Gravity makes it difficult to do so. If both were to exert force on the other, the one standing on the ground would with the tug of war. In friendships, it is the same way. The impact of negative influences is so strong that you and I are likely to be swayed by the perspectives and behaviors of friends who oppose our values. Sometimes there’s a time-release effect. The corruption is gradual. 

If, for example, I frequently spent time with women who cheat on their husbands or take pleasure in illicit relationships, who enjoy gossiping about others, and get their sense of self worth from material possessions then it’s likely that I will eventually subscribe to their value system. Although the effect on my convictions may not happen right away, over months and years, I am certain that my thinking will be conformed to their way of thinking. 

I am not saying we shouldn’t reach out to people who are different than we are. This doesn’t change our mission to share the gospel and invite people into God’s kingdom. However, we have to think carefully about the persons we select as part of our inner circles. These are the persons whom we open up to, confide in, look to for counsel, and trust with our lives. 

Proverbs 13:20 puts it very practically, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

I would struggle to grow in wisdom if the close friendships I kept encouraged me towards foolishness. Since one of my weaknesses tends to be the desire to please people, I am all the more vulnerable to peer influence. So on the one hand, I do my part to saturate my mind with truth, but I also seek out people who affirm the truths I ought to live by. 

“And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another…” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:24-25‬ ‭

So when it comes to the friends we choose, do they push us towards love and good deeds? And are we doing the same for them?