What Are You Waiting For?

Waiting is seldom pleasant. In a world where many services are instant, waiting can be quite annoying — a symptom of inefficiency, a system error, or even problematic management.

Whenever the Internet connection slows down in our house, Edric and I feel irritated. We talk about switching providers and complain about how awful our current one is. When a Mc Donald’s drive through experience takes longer than 5 minutes, we think about it as a big inconvenience.

Why? Well, unfortunately, we are being conditioned to expect expediency because of the nature of the times we live in…almost like it’s a human right we are entitled to.

I say this is unfortunate because the reality is, not everything can be rushed or quickened to our convenience. In fact, some of the best things require a period of waiting…a beach sunset on a clear day, homemade chocolate chip cookies baking in an oven (yum, I will make some later), a promotion that you’ve worked hard for, a husband who will love you faithfully for the rest of your life, your child’s first steps and first words, building your dream home…

We can’t always live in fast-forward. Imagine what it would be like if we could press a remote control button and skip through all the parts we didn’t like?

“Hon, I’m tired of the baby stage. It’s getting really annoying. Let’s go to scene selection and fast forward all the kids to 12 years old.”

That would be freaky! We wouldn’t even recognize them. And worst of all, they would be 12 year olds acting like babies. I wouldn’t want to clean the poopy diaper of a 12 year old! That would be a nightmarish mess of a bomb to contend with.

It sounds crazy. But the reality is, sometimes I am guilty of wanting to get out of and get past the difficult stages and phases that marriage or parenting go through, or even the days, weeks, months or years required for a dream to come to fruition. I want the greener pasture NOW without having to wait.

When I was newly married, Edric and I sold our second car to save on expenses and we shared one car between us. We rode with one another to work and back. It was an adjustment for both of us. As singles, we had our own cars. A part of me was like, why do we have to downscale our lifestyle and inconvenience ourselves? I wonder how long we will have to struggle financially? When is it going to get better?

I didn’t like having to wait to be picked up when Edric was driving or to wait for Edric to come out of his office when I was driving. On certain days, I would have to circle around and around Ayala Tower 1, or park and visit Starbucks by myself until he came down from his Ayala Land office. It was spoiled of me to act this way and feel sorry for myself. God was working on my character, teaching me to count my blessings and be thankful that we even had a car! We managed to survive with one car for several years.

When we finally got another car, it was exciting. The liberty. The flexibility. And the irony is I began to feel sad when I realized we didn’t have to ride together anymore. The “forced bonding” we had when sharing one car allowed us to have many wonderful conversations while enduring the traffic between Pasig and Makati. Our one car predicament had been good for our marriage. We grew closer as a couple. It improved our communication and deepened our friendship. With two cars, it wasn’t the same. So whenever I could, I would find a way to ride with Edric and leave the other car at home just so I could be with him. (I still do that whenever we can even it means having to adjust my schedule to his.)

It’s interesting that life experiences can be like that. We are so eager to get away from hardship. But when circumstances do change, we discover, in hindsight, the gifts that were hidden, the blessings that WAITING ripened and cultivated for our greater good – a beautiful truth about God, ourselves, others, or the human experience; a deeper connectedness and appreciation for those we love; or the satisfying answer to the question of purpose and reason.

Well, I shouldn’t presume to speak for everyone so I will speak for myself. Waiting is so much a part of my marriage and parenting experience. But the key is to contentedly accept God’s plan for me right here, right now, and cooperate with him because the waiting is intentional on his part, to produce Christ-like character in me.

For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him! (Isaiah 64:4 NLT)

Right now, I am waiting for the next 18 weeks to pass until my due date. If I could have it my way, I would want to speed it up a little and by-pass the discomfort and awkward body stage. I’m beginning to look more and more like an egg. But what I really feel badly about is not being able to run anymore. The round ligament pain around the lower part of my abdomen has really inhibited me. I’ve tried to “push it” but it’s an arresting kind of pain. So I have to slow down and watch Edric run off into the distance. Bye-bye. The best I can do as an egg is fast-paced walking to catch up with him at home.

Some women can still run at this stage. They can run all the way until their 8th or 9th month! And it’s humbling to come to terms with my physical limitations because I enjoy being active and fit. During my previous pregnancies, I was playing badminton until 7 months. It’s probably the age that has made the biggest difference between then and now.

But like I said, waiting is an inescapable part of life, especially as a wife and mother. Therefore, I must embrace the realities of my 5th pregnancy and not compare myself with my former self or others.

There will always be areas outside of my control that must be accepted with gratitude and cheerfulness. Sometimes, it is about waiting for God to work in Edric’s heart; or it is waiting for my children to respond to my daily training; to grasp what I am teaching them; their personalities to emerge and their character to grow; or the addition of a new baby to our expanding brood; and other times it is about waiting for God’s provision, a prayer request to be answered, or his will in an area of my life. Yet, personally, I believe that waiting is most profitable as a preparation for the eternal experience of heaven.

Waiting conditions the heart to long for what the world, people and dreams cannot fully satisfy — the end of all sorrows and the beginning of unending joy in the presence of God.

Titus

For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit. So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. (2 Corinthians 5:1-7 NLT)

On the Money Kids

Elijah guested on Edric’s show, On the Money, for the Christmas episode along with four other kids (three were also homeschoolers). He had such an amazing time. He kept talking about how cool the studio was. But, I think the best part for him was just being with Edric. He is at that age where bonding time with Edric matters a lot. They do one-on-ones every now and then and Elijah comes back from these occasions with his emotional tank full. I wish I had a spy camera that can record their conversations because neither of them divulge as much as I would like them to when I ask them what they talk about.

After the ANC interview, I asked Elijah what he answered and how it went. And he just said, “You have to watch it, mom. I can’t tell you.” Well, I finally found the link for it. On the Money:Christmas Episode Every time I watched Elijah answer, I thought, my goodness, he is like a little Edric!

Elijah's first field trip to a TV studio. It just so happened to be his daddy's show!

Elijah’s first field trip to a TV studio. It just so happened to be his daddy’s show!


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A Story Worth Sharing

I don’t know how many of you saw the airing of 700 Club’s feature “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” which came out Wednesday night on GMA News TV. But if you did see the segment, it might seem strange if I make no reference to it here. After all, this site has been so personal to me.

So, let me write this entry as someone considering two different readers. Some of your may know that I was a rape victim when I was 15, or you may be finding out for the first time. If you did not know this, here is the link to the feature that was done about me. Joy Tan-Chi: When Bad Things Happen to Good People

Some months ago, 700 Club Asia asked if they could interview me because they had heard about this story. After getting Edric’s go signal, I agreed to meet with them. This was the first time, in many years, that I had talked about what happened in such detail. I had done counseling for other women, my dad had shared about it from the pulpit, and I had given my testimony to church groups. However, the interview was quite emotional for me because I had to narrate and recall what happened chronologically, and I had the added challenge of expressing myself in Filipino. (I think I did a pretty good job with the Filipino, by God’s grace!)

I said yes to 700 Club Asia because I wanted everyone to know who Jesus is. He is real. He heals the wounded, the broken-hearted, the devastated. I came to him in my darkest hour — unable to understand what I had lost, but Jesus gave me his beautiful grace. (He did the same for my family and my two dear friends who were also a part of that frightening night). He gives that same grace to anyone who chooses to believe in him and follow him…grace to live again with joy, purpose, faith and hope.

In John 16:33 Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Somehow, I feel that this is a story that belongs to every person. We all understand human tragedy. We all know what it is like to feel sorrow, loss, disappointment, and pain. And while bad things may happen to good people, bad things don’t have to define who we become or who we choose to be. We can still choose to believe that God has a divine plan. We can still choose to love and forgive.

People said that I was courageous for sharing this story, but I must confess that I am NOT so brave. I haven’t felt this vulnerable and “exposed” in a long time. In fact, I couldn’t watch the 700 Club feature! (Edric and I will do so at some point, maybe next week…) A part of me did not feel like I needed to because I had seen the final script and I knew which parts of the interview they were going to include. I prayed instead that God’s name would be lifted high above the tragedy itself, that many would come to Jesus, that hurting people would be encouraged to trust in God’s goodness and forgive. My desire was that people would realize, “God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love him.” (Romans 8:28) So when a good friend passed on to me the statistics after the show aired and my Facebook account was flooded with responses, I was rejoicing in the Lord. Thank you for using this story, Lord. It is not about me. It is about you.

Immediately following the night of February 7, 1995, my two friends and I didn’t know how God would redeem this tragedy. We made a decision, along with our families, to believe that God had a purpose and a reason for allowing something so horrifying. But we couldn’t see it then. So we clung to the truth about who God is — his sovereignty, goodness, love, and faithfulness.

Many years later, Ginny Owens wrote a song that captured how I felt during the aftermath, as I processed and came to terms with the reality of rape. The song is called, IF YOU WANT ME TO…

The pathway is broken
And the signs are unclear
And I don’t know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I’m gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to

Cause I’m not who I was
When I took my first step
And I’m clinging to the promise You’re not through with me yet
so if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will walk through the fire
If You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that’s not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I’d never go alone

So when the whole world turns against me
And I’m all by myself
And I can’t hear You answer my cries for help
I’ll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the valley if You want me to.

Sometimes, we can’t always understand the why, but if we understand the WHO, the why can wait. I didn’t know how God would use what happened. It seemed like a black hole in the timeline of my life when I was fifteen. But I remembered that God has an everlasting love for me — a love that was demonstrated at the cross through his son, Jesus, when he died for my sins and suffered for my sake. So I walked through that valley, a valley that felt exactly like Psalm 23 describes as “the valley of the shadow of death.” I thought I was going to die that night. But God let me live to proclaim victory in Him. The WHY came later for me.

I want to borrow the words of Joseph in Genesis 50:20, where he said, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good…”

When I look back on my life, I have been the recipient of much good. How good the Lord has been! As for my two friends, who were also victimized, I remain in touch with them. They too would say the same thing. God has been good to all of us. We are happily married to wonderful, godly men. We are enjoying our children and the joys of parenting. We are serving God alongside our spouses.

God purposes to write each person’s life story. The question is, will we let him hold the pen? I am convinced that it is his authorship that makes a life beautiful. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, “the author and perfector of our faith,” we let him be the writer and the editor. (Hebrews 12:2) No matter how crooked or bent our way, no matter how ladden with hardship the journey is, if it begins and ends with God, we all have a story worth sharing.

Family Series on TV

For all the moms and dads out there, I encourage you to watch a Family Series by Peter Tan-Chi that will help you discover truths that will transform your family.

From July 8 to August 19, 2012, this Family Series will be broadcasted on the following channels: Sky Cable (ch 161), Destiny Cable (ch 98) and free -to-air (ch 33) from 9to 10PM every Sunday and from 9 to 10AM every Monday.

May you be blessed!

Best Job in the World

A homeschool mom, Abi Lasquety Ruelo, shared this link with me on my Facebook page and I couldn’t help but repost it here. It is a beautiful video of moms doing the best job in the world — being a mom!

Praise God for moms! Praise God for you!

Best Job in the World