No to Lukewarm

These are times that require a firm choosing of sides. As formerly taboo ideologies and concepts have shamelessly been trying to establish themselves as the norm, we find that the more wrong is being pushed as right, and right as wrong, we see that the line between them is becoming clearer than ever.

Now is not the time to be lukewarm. We cannot be neither hot or cold. Either we support or even just accept killing, abuse, misogyny, racism, white supremacist ideologies…or not. When we say yes to a leader who subscribes to even just one of these, but who also subscribes to a common value like for example, anti-abortion, we still yes to these other evils. Standing up for immigrants, the LGBT, abuse victims, or the poor does not mean you have to sacrifice your pro-life values. If anything, the disenfranchised needs those values at play.

Like it or not, we are at a monumental time in our history where we must take arms in protecting truth or it shall not prevail in the lives of many. Right now, truth needs our help in rising above the filth of lies that attempts to cover it.

With the staggering amount of absurdity and bold, audacious lies that come out of the mouths of our leaders daily, the citizenry has been conditioned to hear, and forced to accept, unbelievable realities. It’s called gaslighting.

The Philippines’ Duterte has sold his country to China and actually has the audacity to ask his predecessor how he managed to let go of his country’s disputed land in the South China Sea. Beyond that, he has murdered more than 20,000 Filipinos, has freed the most corrupt, has trashed the Constitution, and cursed God in a country with 70% Catholics. So far, he is still in power, with a good number of Christians lauding Romans 13:1-5 as a defense for him.

The United States’ Trump has just denied climate change as a fact, has launched a most brutal and merciless anti-immigration campaign, has thrown his seat’s power to the protection of the NRA and tax cuts to the wealthiest, all while having his background unveiled to the world to be riddled with illegal dealings and abusive, misogynistic patterns of behavior. He’s still pumping vitriol to Twitter-dom every few hours daily, and his followers still believe God sent him.

There are no accidents here. The spiritual battle is raging and we must choose where we stand.

I’m not what you would call a “political person”. I’m not usually heavily vested in the political issues of society. I usually busy myself with my responsibilities, pay my taxes and go my own way.

But what’s happening right now begs my conscience to speak up. We CANNOT possibly idly sit by as more and more people are being hurt, disenfranchised, abused, killed. That could easily be us, and I wouldn’t want our children to grow up with evil as the norm. Everyday, the temptation to just let this slide or to be apathetic about all these is real. But we cannot. We must not. For our children. For our souls.

For every Christian, there are different seasons. A season of planting, waiting, harvesting, etc. Now, I believe, is the season of separating the wheat from the chaff. We have to choose which of the two are we.

Are we for God or are we for evil? It cannot be both.

Choose, and speak up. Stand for it. It will be hard. It is hard.

I’ve lost friendships, I’ve lost my home. Fear creeps up every now and then for me and my children, and our future.

Yet, I fear staying silent more, for I know my God. His words are harsh to a lukewarm church, “The members of this church see themselves as “rich” and self-sufficient, but the Lord sees them as “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked”  

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

Again, these are troubling times. Yet, my hope is and always will be in the Lord. Not in some populist leader touted as some sort of “messiah” or “God-sent”. The only Lord I recognize is Jesus and this is His promise: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We Are What We Consume

I read this post on the influence of consumption by Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio and it reminded me of my own experience when I was still single.

I had just moved out of my parents’ home after a painful disagreement with my father that left us estranged. I was 27 then, and I was going to find my own place for the very first time. Though the circumstances were unpleasant, I was nonetheless excited at the new prospect of freedom.

I found a place–a good friend of my husband’s is renting out a room in her three-bedroom condo (which eventually became our home as a family) and I wasted no time making that room my own.

However, the excitement soon faded and I found myself getting scared and anxious when I was by myself at night. I was getting all sorts of paranoid thoughts that I wasn’t alone and something or someone was out to get me. I couldn’t sleep til the wee hours, and I had work early the next day.

I was also a new Christian and I knew then that Christ was Someone I could ask for help and so I did. Each night I lay scared to death, I opened my Bible and prayed until early morning. I prayed for protection and for the fear to go away. It was exhausting to be scared all the time.

I also asked for the cause of my fears to be revealed. I thought it was the strife I had with my father, which probably contributed as well. But something was revealed to me that truly hit home.

Memories of my most favorite ghost stories that I loved telling anyone who cared to listen suddenly came back to me. My inclination towards watching horror and suspense films were suddenly pinpointed in my head. I loved a good fright much like any horror fan, but being a Christian, I suddenly realized–they simply don’t match. Fear of any kind, even for entertainment, simply doesn’t go with faith. What I had opened myself to, what I had devoured and consumed took its toll. Fear had taken root and anxiety took over my nights.

It took months but I had to deal with the unearthed cause. I prayed, repented and confessed to my husband too. He helped me pray against my fears.

Now, God had weeded out the propensity towards fear-inducing materials like horror movies and stories and saved me from my fear. Thank God! Sometimes, it’s still tempting to watch the latest horror fads like The Conjuring, The Walking Dead, etc. but really, it’s not worth investing in fear anymore. Thankfully, my husband doesn’t enjoy those kinds of entertainment too and would rather watch wholesome movies together.

The Enemy uses seemingly inconsequential things to lure us in, then were left to deal with the consequences and that’s usually FEAR. When you feel yourself fearful and anxious, pray for freedom and discernment of the cause then repent and pray for it specifically.

The grace of God frees us from ALL kinds of bondages, even those that modern society says is acceptable. Bottomline: If it causes fear or torment of any kind (even if it’s “just not being able to go to the bathroom alone”), kick it out of your life!

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.