When A Good God Allows Rape – A Review

This Holy Week, I read the book of one of the Momma bloggers that I’ve been following, Joy Mendoza of www.teachwithjoy.com, When A Good God Allows Rape.

IMG_6237-croppedI had been wanting to read this book for quite some time because while I was blown away by her testimony, there’s a question I’ve long been asking God.

As Christians, we are taught that we will experience adversity, trials, challenges. Jesus Himself said it, “In this world, you will have trouble…”. In reading the book of Job where God allowed His faithful follower to experience trials from Satan himself, I couldn’t help but feel fear. Why would He allow such horrible things to happen to one of His own? This is a common question of both believers and unbelievers. And in my journey with God, I have asked Him this many times.

As I came to terms with the reality of sin existing in this world, how man’s own freewill have allowed for both love willfully given, and evil willfully chosen, I find myself needing to trust someone higher than me for the welfare of my family. The verses that became my weapon were:

If He gave His own son for us, won’t he also give us everything else?

Take heart! For I have overcome the world.

Nothing can separate us from God’s love.

Now, my next question and which lead to me to read this book: In the face of adversity, do we have the grace to face it? Or will we be broken completely?

Joy’s recount of her life’s journey, beginning with her “insulated” childhood of sweet innocence, and then the horrifying experience of her own home being broken into and she, at 15 years old, experiencing rape seven times by seven different men, scared me to my knees. As a woman and as a mother, I truly felt fear creep up inside.

Which is why I decided to continue reading. I wanted to know how this story ends, how she can possibly say, “What Satan meant for harm, God meant for good.”

And as I read through her story, I experienced a familiar sense of peace. That thankfully, our journey, no matter how painful the stumbling blocks, doesn’t in pain. God has said this to me several times: Hope in ME for I am sovereign, and I love you.

Joy’s story tells of God’s grace that began from her family being Christian ministers, that was palpable even during the rape (“Somehow, amidst the repulsive acts he committed against me, I was able to separate myself from my physical body. In the depths of my soul–as though embraced by an inexplicable calm–my one comforting thought was that Jesus was with me.”), and followed her through all the days and years after.

Now, Joy is happily married to a God-fearing man with five children, and she ministers to abused women, as well as wives and moms. Her blog is widely followed due to her honest voice in it. The effect of the rape, intended to be most damaging turned for good and went beyond the victims’ lives. As their family decided to forgive and pray together, their faith in the Lord renewed, their community of believers stood behind them, and they were able to empathize and minister to even more people within and beyond their sphere of influence.

This book helped me validate some answers that I found in my talks with God. It helped me put my own tragedies into perspective as well. When I was turned away by my own family, when our son was born prematurely, when my husband and I go through marital conflicts, a ray of hope shines through knowing full well that God is with me, with us. And what worse thing can we possibly fear than NOT having God with us at all?

Fact is, sin remains to be a part of this world we are a part of. It’s a part of it because free will can allow for it to be chosen. While sin can hurt even “good” people, it doesn’t mean these people will be forever bound by it, because we have Someone who can lift us up and help us rise above victoriously. Choosing to forgive, to surrender to God’s healing, to hope again…God will find many ways for life for life to be rebuilt, renewed, restored to brand-new.

There is a bigger picture to consider and hope lies in the fact that God sent His only son to die for us–isn’t that enough evidence that there is a bigger, higher, more important purpose for us than just being trampled by our pain and hurts?

Healing, redemption, victory–all miracles that a good God will ensure for His own. Consider what Paul said, No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I highly recommend this book for those questioning God, and for those who know Him. Take your questions to Him and allow Him to answer. Our journey with God is worth every question, every honest conversation, every effort to know Him more.

I praise You God for Joy, her testimony and her family. May You be glorified always!

When A Good God Allows Rape can be bought at OMF Literature. 

This is not a paid solicited post. Just a book review bought about curiosity by and the author’s personal faith journey 🙂

Pregnancy Without Fear

Four years ago, I gave birth prematurely to our son. He was born only at 30 weeks. His story is one that my husband and I will always remember to be a milestone in our life as a couple, because it really took us to a whole new level in terms of our journey with God, and in our marriage.

Our family rose above it unscathed. Our baby grew healthy without any complications, and our bond as husband and wife has been strengthened, so this one thing I know for sure: The one takeaway from that whole experience should NOT be fear.

Fast forward to four years later, we are pregnant once again. I knew it’s going to be another journey. And eight months into it, I can say it again, “Whatta ride!” But this time, a mission has been tugging at my heart. This is not just some journey where I will simply be a passive participant. Rather, this pregnancy will be used to teach me, and hopefully other mothers too, that we have to kick FEAR out!!!

From my first check-up with my OB-Gyne, I was immediately informed that I have to be on-guard for many different infections, that I had Myoma and even my online research told me one thing, “I was a high-risk pregnant case.”

On top of the possible medical issues, I knew from experience that another premature birth would mean having to prepare several hundreds of pesos at least for the hospital care. Though God has always provided, I can’t help but consider the financial burden.

Now, all these logically could lead to one thing: Me completely paralyzed with fear the whole nine months. Seriously. I could go there.

Thank God for a husband who continuously reminds me to relax, never fear, and to put our faith in God who has always, always cared for our family.

Being pregnant has also taught me to commune with God more, and one of His astounding revelations are:

Nowhere else in a woman’s life would she feel more that her  body is not her own than in pregnancy. I realize I am on a borrowed “temple”–my body, and as life grows inside of me, I realize I’m not my own. And right now, I need more than what I could give. I NEED to depend–on my husband, my body, on time, on a Higher power to make everything come together.

It’s overwhelming for sure, but it’s also humbling because I do what I can to take care of my body, my pregnancy, yet so much is not within my power. PREGNANCY TEACHES ME TO HAVE FAITH. Everyday. And somewhere in there, in that journey, I get a taste of what’s to come–like a kick coming from my belly, my husband and older child kissing my bulging tummy, a growing love for our unborn–and I get to enjoy something as difficult and so out-of-our control as pregnancy.

I'm able to smile and enjoy this pregnancy, and that's a gift in itself as well.

I’m able to smile and enjoy this pregnancy, and that’s a gift in itself as well.

What are the “lessons” there?

That we are not in control, but we can enjoy what we’ve been given. It is a blessing after all.

That as mothers, we need God so much. It is Him who gives, it is also Him who will care for us, for our babies.

I attended a childbirth class and it was mentioned that stress and fear have more a damaging impact on our pregnancies that anything else. It’s because of the hormone, Cortisol that is released when we are stressed or in fear. This article discusses just how this hormone affects our developing baby.

So, another lesson is that FEAR has absolutely no place in our pregnancy.

As a mom who’s had my experience, I will not lie to you–the battle against fear is very real to me. I face it every single day. And I had to make a decision every time–choose it or fight it. In fact, the reason I’m writing this post now is because we’ve reached an incredible milestone in our pregnancy–we are now at 32 weeks. The farthest we’ve ever gone. To me, it really feels like we just crossed a boundary. The boundary of this supposed limitation that the Enemy has been imposing in my head, telling me that we’re only up to this point.

Well, there is a bigger truth that my husband has been reminding me again and again: God is the one in control here. His plans and timing are perfect. Praise God for this man’s steadfast spirit.

It’s also been pivotal that we chose a midwife From Shiphrah Birthing Home, because their prenatal care goes beyond physical and medical, there’s an emotional and spiritual assurance that comes from faith in the Lord, and hundreds of actual birth experiences. During my moments of doubts and fear, the midwives were quick to tell me that I should not allow myself to be fearful for that is harmful. She checked me up, and steered me towards a place of peace–reassuring me that baby is okay, and that God is taking care of my little one.

Now, I’m approaching our 33rd week. I’m feeling that we’re getting closer and closer and I can’t help but feel excited. I’m looking forward to feeling the labor contractions, the popping of my water bag breaking, feeling my baby going down…I know it sounds crazy. But as God has taken me through this journey of Pregnancy Without Fear, so shall it be for my Birth Without Fear.

Pregnancy Without Fear

Pregnancy Without Fear

Looking forward to writing about our birth story soon 🙂 As for me and the remaining weeks, I pray that the lesson will not be lost on me. That no matter what happens, my faith will remain on our Provider, our Blessing-Giver for He is the blessing Himself.

Thank You, God for our baby and this pregnancy. May this child and our journey be a blessing to many.

 

Getting Back Into the Homeschool Groove

Our work is seasonal. Sometimes, we have chunks of weeks that are extremely busy and others with not much going on. Though there are lots to be grateful for with this kind of work set-up and schedule (like we can go on vacation off-season, and have some family fun mid-week), the hardest thing about it is re-integrating back into the rhythm.

Our homeschool is the most-affected, I would say as momentum is important to learning children. Our Gabbie used to have some semblance of routine but during the last few months where both Mommy and Daddy were busy (not to mention the former is preggy!), we practically stopped doing our lesson plan. I would always say, his lesson for that season is free play and independent learning. He learned how to make his own storybooks and read better.

But still, I feel compelled to get back into the groove. After all, our curriculum, Five in a Row is fantastic and it would be such a waste to halt the learning that so naturally happens with our materials.

Now, for this Momma, the question time and again is HOW?!

Last night, I had a sense of trying to start homeschooling first thing in the morning. I didn’t really take it seriously, but this morning we had the opportunity to do so.

First thing we did, even right before breakfast, we picked up our Filipino book and started learning, pronouncing, spelling, and writing Filipino words. We had fun with it and Gabbie realized how easy it was to spell Filipino words compared to English ones. Indeed!

Working on his Filipino book

Working on his Filipino book

It was just 15 minutes of schoolwork, laughing and eating put together, but it set the stage for us to get back on track. What’s important is we both remember how it felt to be productive and to have fun together when we learn.

For today, that is enough. We will go back to reading our storybooks tonight and slowly get back into the rhythm. That’s part of what I love about homeschooling. No pressure!

As for me, it was good to try doing this major priority in our lives first thing when our minds and attitudes were fresh.

Maybe I can build a schedule around this–starting homeschooling first thing in the morning. Will try and let you know how it works.

Gettin’ On With My Purpose

I put up this blog because like many wives and moms, I got a lot on my plate. I produce videos with my husband, I’m trying to parent a four-year old as gracefully as I can (read: less Monster Momma moments), currently itching to improve our kitchen and study areas (nesting!), and I’m eight months pregnant.

Actually, let me rephrase my first statement: I put up this blog because I’m trying to balance and enjoy all of what’s on my plate right this very moment.

Just this afternoon, I was setting up this blog, writing my first article, an AVP script, and doing my best not to lose my patience with my son who was incessantly asking for scotch tape (for his little project–a birthday gift he was trying to wrap all by himself). There was no “relishing-mommyhood” moment right there; I was just stressed to the bone! Leading me to question if I was right in putting up this blog. And my answer is yes! All the more I should. Because I know I’m not the first or only Mommy to experience this crazy balancing act.

So after a refreshing shower, a quick rant to my husband (thank God he allowed me this quick indulgence), and a heartfelt talk with my son (I apologized to him for being angry), I realized I have to take stewardship of my to-do’s because they’re more than just commitments. They’re my gifts, my  personal passion “projects”, my “purpose-aligners”.

You see, in this season of my life, I’m made to be a wife, my husband’s ultimate lover and helper, which also translates to helping him produce films and videos. I’m created to be my son’s mommy and teacher, and my little girl’s caretaker (from womb onwards). I’m compelled to take care of my home. And as I’m called to be a video producer, I’m also cut out to be a writer. All these put together will help me fulfill God’s purposes for me on earth. All these I feel spurred on to do because God. My Provider is also my Purpose-Giver.

So, in honor and in thanks to my God, here goes my efforts in trying to manage all my life’s gifts. But more than that, I’m determined to enjoy them. Oh yes, through all the joy-stealers: Stress, pressure, fear. I’m not going to back down.

My "Purpose-Reminders" :)

My “Purpose-Reminders” 🙂

As if in response, my husband offered to take our son with him tomorrow as he runs his errands. Oh God, bless him! I’ll need that afternoon to find my footing–plan my schedule, to-do’s and finish some writing.

Tomorrow is a brand-new day and I can’t wait to start it. Goodnight, from one busy Momma to another!