Growing up, I was raised where Bible studies were being held in our house on weekends together with all our helpers and drivers, still I never understood what being a true Christian meant. I didn’t know the importance of applying it in my life and at the same time I just didn’t take it into heart for I didn’t know any better.
I would say that I only became a born-again Christian when I had a personal relationship with Him. This was when I read my devotions, reading and reflecting on the Bible, trying to apply it in my life, being a blessing to others, and even praying anytime during the day. This is when I completely understood everything and took it into heart. It all happened when I met Doug and especially when we got married for he was the one who brought me to Bible studies and Sunday church services. Doug encouraged me and helped me with my walk.
I know it's hard for women who have strong personalities to submit to their husbands, but the fruits of following His word are bountiful. Us wives should be okay with this submission because it says in the Bible that our husbands too should love and respect us, which means, that our opinions and thoughts should matter to them as well. Although I know I’m also my own individual, my husband’s opinion matters to me and I want my children to see that I respect and love my husband. It's an example I want to show my kids so it'll be second nature for them to do the same, to respect their father and later on respect the partners they end up with.
The reason we live harmoniously is because of our Christ-centered relationship. We seek, listen and apply to what God says. I believe God let me experience certain things in my life so that I would come to this point of realization. That He taught me the importance of family, which I now teach to my three kids – Kendra, Scarlett and Gavin.
If I were to give advice to the youth regarding relationships, first is to listen to your parents. They would always know what is best for you. I remember my mom telling me that relationships are only for those who are ready to commit. At that time, I didn't understand at that time what she meant, because I thought my feelings towards my relationships were from the heart. Looking back, I realized my definition of love was very shallow. I underestimated the love that God has for me and the kind of partner that he wants for me.
What do I mean? We are so busy living our lives without putting much thought and meaning to it. We forget to value ourselves and we neglect the consequences of our actions later on. We forget about how important God is in our lives and why having him brings direction and meaning to everything we do.
He always wants what is beneficial for us. Once you know how much He loves and cares for you, you will understand these verses.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20: "Do you not know that your body is a temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies."
He entrusted our bodies to us to glorify Him and not to bring Him shame. We should respect that by staying pure, by being patient, and by understanding His word would keep us strong during times of temptation. Had I known how special were God's plans for me and for my future partner in Doug, I definitely would have waited for all my firsts. As we guard our bodies, so should we guard our minds by keeping our thoughts pure as well.
2 Timothy 2:22 states; "So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart."
Had I put to heart all this knowledge earlier, I would've avoided so much troubles in my life. So it is not an accident that you're reading this now. There are lessons to be learned and applied in our lives. Make the most of this opportunity now and correct some of the mistakes that we did, because now you know better. To love God is to love yourself, so make the right decisions because it will make a great impact for your future lives.
Now I know that if Christ does not exist in my life then I do not have hope, for His words give me the assurance that I can count on Him. I am not a perfect Christian, but who is right? I may stumble at times, but I still know that He is always ready to be there for me. He truly is a gracious God. And because I’ve taken my walk seriously, I have discernment and can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit telling me that I can do things right for I am accountable to the Lord.
I realized that I’m in my happiest because now I know what should really matter – a content heart and blessed knowledge of living by His Word.
Obeying God’s word has blessed me enough that I took these values into a wonderful marriage with my wife Chesca. I knew that even this love that we had was from Him and so in our relationship we always see to it that God is always at the center of it all. My actions, my commitments and my vows are not only accountable to her but more so to my Lord. I love and respect my wife but I fear the Lord more. I believe what the bible says about husbands and wives, that as a husband I should love my wife as Christ loved the church.
How do people define being rich? Some would quantify it with the amount of material possessions. For others, fame, position and power equates to being rich. For Chesca and I, knowing our purpose on earth and who we live for gives us peace of mind and contentment. But contentment never stopped us from working hard and striving to reach our dreams. Especially to secure the future of Kendra, Scarlett, and Gavin.
While we believe that we shouldn’t be satisfied with what we've achieved, and that improvement is part of growth, we also should not take for granted including the Lord in our plans. For everything we do on earth, we are made accountable to Him. Everything we have belongs to God.
Worldly wealth never satisfies! We can recall the times we would want to buy something new. The excitement is always there. When you stare at it and use it, happiness creeps in. Even when our kids buy their favorite toys, we would warn them that later on they would want more. It’s a natural reaction. That is why we always teach our kids to value family and their relationship with Jesus, and not what the world can offer. Days and weeks go by, then we find ourselves wanting more, or something new. When does it end? Jim Carey the Hollywood comedian who earns millions of dollars per movie, said it best, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s NOT the answer.”
Our adventures as a family are always something we all look forward to. No work, just our kids and us! Our go-to beaches in the Philippines have always been Bohol, Boracay and Palawan, and they never fail to still amaze us every single trip! But it’s always been a dream of Chesca and I to go to the beautiful Maldivian islands. And how can we not dream of such paradise! We read about it through our favorite Hollywood celebrities, through those Instagram pages that make us want to teleport right away, and of course from featured websites that describe it as something that should be part of every persons bucket list.
When or how do we train our kids when it comes to manners? Do we just tell them about it? Do they just pick it up from us and apply it naturally? How old do I even start teaching them?
As parents it is important that we teach our children! It is our job! it's an entitlement that God has given us parents to raise obedient and well-mannered kids. But we also must remember just like in everything we need to be intentional and that includes raising our children. What does being intentional mean? Being intentional means planning and committing our time to teach them so we can be effective, that way something purposeful comes out of it.
It is our obligation as parents to teach and train our children as they grow up. But we cannot just merely tell them what to do. You have to tell them and apply it every day for them to see. Live it, breath it... Exemplify it!
When we teach our children good manners... We also need to remind ourselves to be patient and to do it lovingly. We must understand just like everyone of us, children are also a work in progress. Don't expect them to get it right away. Our purpose is to teach and for them to learn. To follow respectfully and to remember to be obedient because it's the right thing to do, and not to coerce them forcefully because they might follow without truly understanding. We must also be consistent when we teach them that way they know that rules are rules. When raising kids, we parents have to be united in everything. There shouldn't be any good cop or bad cop. It only confuses the kids more and you take away the authority to be followed. In their heads, "I know I can sway my mom to agree with me and because I know that I will always ask the one who allows me." It's a lose lose situation! We have taught them nothing but how to manipulate us.
However, we parents are not perfect as well and sometimes we make wrong decisions too. Once we realize that we need to correct our decisions let it be known to our children that we will do so on our own time. They should learn to wait patiently and learn to respect authority.
Why do we need to teach our children good manners? Simply because parents who teach their kids to be courteous have better relationships with their children. They learn to follow rules, they're more considerate of others, they're humble, respectful and are happy, confident people. That is why it is so important to be present in their lives. Our roles as parents are so crucial. Who will they look up to if they have nobody there for them? Most parents wonder why they have disrespectful children when they have done nothing but give them everything. You can give them everything but everything to them is spending time with you! "Don't replace presence with presents." Build on your relationship with them!
Children are naturally curious and never running out of questions. Don't be lazy in telling them why you're teaching them... I always tell my children that, parents who teach their children well, love their children well. They know that everything mama and papa teaches them is for their own good even when we discipline them they know it is all out of love. When we take the time to talk to them they also learn to listen and we in turn learn to understand what's in their hearts and minds. As parents we need to make them feel that their thoughts and feelings matter to us the most.
Do everything together with your children. Teach them how it's done and make it fun. We want them to remember what is being taught to them and not to be scared of us. If they make a mistake, take it as an opportunity to remind and correct them. On the other hand, when they do something right, praise them for it! It will encourage them all the more. The best reward a parent can give a child is not material things, but it is showing that their good efforts are seen and appreciated.
Help each other out by practicing it consistently. Practice it until it becomes a force of habit. Be creative with your kids and find out what works for them.
I have observed several times that children who have good manners are happily welcomed to other people's homes. Their demeanor is confident without being arrogant, self-assured and secured with themselves.
Our kids are far from being perfect and I can't promise that we won't have misunderstandings. But just like every relationship that is built with a strong foundation it doesn't easily crumble. Kids are so much smarter than what we think they are. Later on, our "crazy" stories that we make up just so that they will follow us will no longer work and then we will realize they really never learned anything from it. Those are all momentary solutions with no real lessons. They are far better and important than that. We have to take the time to sit them down, or lay down beside them in bed and talk to them about how we feel and explain to them our intentions. Guide them and remember to do it lovingly, kindly and be truthful to them always.
Don't ever neglect teaching your children proper manners. It goes hand in hand with discipline and consistently teaching them God's Word. As it says in the Bible, Deuteronomy 11:19 states: "Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."
Children remember more when they're taught out of love, even without your watchful eyes they stay obedient.
"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4
Dearest Baby Kendra,
Just a week ago you celebrated your birthday! You're now 7 years old! How time flies by... A whole year is not enough to kiss and hug you and enjoy all the wonderful things you're made of. How I wish the years are much longer, that way we can hold on to you for a much longer time.
Just in case you forget later on, we celebrated your birthday with a bang! We celebrated not just your 7th birthday but also the day you brought meaning and a deeper sense of what love really means to mama and papa. Your birth is a reflection of mama and papas love for each other.
Kendra girl, you should know that love is not celebrated only once, but everyday! Just like the time we give you. Love is not based on material things but it's a feeling that is accompanied by words and action.
Don't forget the special celebrations we have together. But also cherish what you have everyday with your family. Never ever forget that love is spending time together, saying it everyday, being gentle and kind, respectful, loyal, honest and truthful and most of all being obedient. Love should be consistent.
Sometimes love also requires discipline. These are the things you learn along the little humps and bumps we come across together. Parents need to teach their children so that they learn to follow rules... Rules and values that will come in handy as you go on with your life. Mamas and papas that teach their children well, love their children well too. May you always be appreciative of the things we teach you. May you keep them close to your heart and follow what is right and good, because it is also pleasing in God's eyes.
One day you will forget all your dolls and toys. Maybe you'll pass them on to someone who might want them more or even donate them to an orphanage. There will be one thing though that will never get old and you will never get tired of, it's hearing your parents and siblings telling you how much we love you, and each other. Our daily devotion nights, praying out loud for each other, all the hugs and kisses, your dates with papa, mama preparing your clothes for those dates, playtime in the playroom, eating together as a family, all the life and Biblical lessons we teach the three of you and all the spectacular moments you have kept in your memory bank. Those are the things that matter the most Kendra. Those are the experiences that will build your character and you will hold on to. One day when you have children of your own those are the same things you will teach them.
So listen patiently, understand with love, and treasure these moments that we would like to impart with you. None of these things will harm you, instead it's meant to teach, and protect you. Sometimes we might not agree, but remember that papa and mama love you so much and only want what's best for you. All the things we teach you are really all for you... Only the best for you!
We love you Kendra... We made you out of love, even before you were born you were already loved, and everyday since the day you were born the love we have for you has never dimmed it only gets brighter at each passing day.
What can be more extravagant than your celebration? It's the love that is felt in your home... That is something that is celebrated everyday. Love that is always present is priceless!