Maternity Shoot x Pregnancy Diaries

Motherhood

 

wp-1516700623166.jpg


“Your story is not just your story. It is for others to learn and know. And one day you will share these experiences to others- mothers, single ladies and many more. I just feel that this season of yours is going to make you a better person for His glory. I sense the unfolding of greatness, the unveiling of His love and the showering of joy. The Lord is not done with you yet.”


This was my sister’s message in the middle of my 1st trimester. These words were the beginning of a realization for me & I truly thank God for people like my sister who continuously remind me that the life I live is His.

wp-1516700721271.jpg

This inspired me to share about what I experienced & felt during the first few months of my pregnancy. Which means the experiences & feelings each mother goes through  are different. I say “mother” because pregnancy is already part of “motherhood”, in fact, it is the beginning of it. If you’re somebody who’s expecting or who’s praying to have a baby, I hope this gives you an idea what happens during pregnancy & that you’ll be able to prepare for it.

Oh the joys of breaking the news that you’re pregnant! The day has finally come when your prayers have been answered, the future looks bright as you start pinning adorable baby outfits, maternity fashion, checking out lists of what you’ll need when the baby is out, thinking of booking a photographer for your maternity & baby shoot, planning for a baby shower & the list goes on. All of these are great & they’re a beautiful side to  pregnancy but the hard or challenging reality will get to you as pregnancy progresses. Mothers or every parent will agree that those mentioned are just tiny bits, parts or the sweet little things to motherhood or parenting.

wp-1516695939421.jpg

The first few weeks of my pregnancy were difficult. Although I hear some pregnancies are flawless, mine was one of the usual cases. Usually during the 1st trimester pregnant women experience morning sickness, excessive vomiting, swollen breasts, weird cravings at the same time distaste for some food while appetite increases, amplified urine movement, nausea, heartburn, acne breakouts, mood swings, skin discoloration, are more susceptible to illness & so much more. Some experience these for months & some even during the whole duration of the pregnancy. (If you’re a guy reading this & you’re expecting, take notes! You’re wife isn’t overreacting, these things happen!)

For me this meant, stopping work, ministry & all other activities I had in a snap! I remember my husband telling me one time that his head was aching because he wasn’t able to drink coffee, I tell him, “Just imagine how I feel?”. For a coffee lover who drinks about 3 cups a day & letting go of that in an instant, not to mention everything else my body goes through, the struggle was very real. And that’s just one. Being pregnant means sacrifice. This is just the beginning.


Shout out to EVERY MOM! You are beautiful, strong & truly Wonderwoman! I hear new moms say, “Dear Mom, I get you now”. I have only been given the starter if this was a full set course meal yet I feel you. And I just want to say THANK YOU. You are amazing!

During this time (1st trimester) we found out I had hemorrhage, which had me stay at home for a month & a half. I was usually in bed & these were the times I kept crying & I honestly tell my husband & myself “I’m tired already”. As if giving up was an option. Of course not! I often hear people say, “the baby is worth it” or “it will be worth it”. No doubt but for usual cases or even crucial cases wherein bed rest is a requirement for 9 months & the struggle is very real, I realized this… Like any other thing that we say is worth it, like marriage or whatever matters to you for the world & in this case, the baby… ________________ (whatever it is) is not enough reason to stay strong… Jesus will always be the answer, the reason. I don’t know how I’d reach this point without Jesus.

wp-1516698115633.jpg

Jesus… keeping me strong, giving me a hardworking & patient husband who was & is with me through the whole process, giving me family & friends who would communicate, encourage, visit, cook, bring food, pray with me & show any kind of support. Jesus made all of these things happen. And these things gave me so much comfort & joy during this phase.


If you’re one of those who did those things mentioned above, THANK YOU from the bottom of  my heart. You have no idea how much you’ve brought a great impact during my pregnancy. You know who you are. Your names will forever be carved in my heart.

wp-1516697702930.jpg

wp-1516696497991.jpg

During the 2nd trimester, the hemorrhage healed. Answered prayer! This time, I am able to go out, however, because of everything else that comes with pregnancy; I had to stay at home more often. My husband & I had the mindset of, “it’s better to be safe than sorry”. Like I said, pregnant women are more susceptible to diseases. We don’t want to risk it. Also during this time, my appetite was waaaaay better, as what most would say, the 2nd trimester is the best time. Naturally, I gained weight & there’s no shame in that. Pregnant women have to gain for their baby’s health. So when people comment about how much you’ve gained, have the confidence that what goes on in your body is no joke & if that meant being chubby or fat even, you wouldn’t have it any other way for your baby’s sake. Giiiiiiirl, YOU’RE BODY IS THE TRUE WONDERLAND. Especially during this time when you’ll be able to feel the kicks, pokes & even turns! How amazing is your body, His creation.

wp-1516698539194.jpg

wp-1516696440364.jpg

Pregnancy hormones kick in & I had times when I’d look to the future, would feel very emotional because the realities of motherhood or parenting would sink in. The beauty & the struggle in one scenario made me pray for God to give me a MOTHER’S HEART. An intentional loving mother who will be able to give what’s best for my child in the way GOD wants her (YES IT’S A GIRL) to be raised. Not just me but for my husband & I to be purposeful parents. As one of the mothers I know would put it, #MomOnaMission. Yes we are, yes I am. Being a parent has always been a prayer & a dream. And I do not take lightly the grace that’s been given to my husband & I. #ParentwithaPurpose. We have  this in mind, we are the keepers of the next generation, which are the world changers. A vessel for His glory to be made known in the generations to come.


We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, HIs power & the wonders He has done… so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, & they in turn would tell their children. Psalm 78:4 & 6

wp-1516696558674.jpg

Writing this as we enter the 3rd or last trimester. Physically, baby’s movements are really felt, the struggle of the weight is getting more challenging everyday, stretch marks are in & skin has been very itchy due to the continuous stretch. I also don’t mind, although I plan to let them go when baby is out. I don’t mind if this is the way my body is responding to the stretch to make room for the baby inside. These marks are beautiful marks. Truly there is growth in stretching. Very true in life. As baby grows & tummy stretches, it is not only the physical that’s doing all the action. Body, soul, mind, heart & spirit are being stretched & are grown, by His grace. And I’m really grateful for that.

This is it! Another season of experiencing Jesus. A few more weeks & we’ll be able to hold baby in our arms. Nothing but expectant hearts knowing He holds the future & that His promises are yes & amen.

wp-1516700172186.jpg


Last Christmas, our families went on a beach getaway at Club Serena, Moalboal. We took the chance to have our maternity shoot. And the 2nd setting was when we had our advance anniversary celebration at Kandaya Resort, Daanbantayan, since I am due on the same month as our wedding. By that time, baby would still be a few days or weeks old & we’re not certain we can go out to for a celebration. Nonetheless, reaching 2 years with a baby in our home would be the best gift, the best celebration yet. All glory to God. DIY photos by my dear hubby, sharing them as inspirations for your shoot too! Both locations are in Cebu, Philippines.


wp-1516287169578.jpg


Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

wp-1516286436164.jpg


Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire. Proverbs 29:17

wp-1516287274020.jpg


These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deutoronomy 6:6-9

wp-1516287255274.jpg


 Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. Proverbs 13:24

wp-1516287320260.jpg


Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Psalm 127:3

When You Are A Volunteer

Lifestyle

When you are a volunteer… what does it mean to be a volunteer? To be a volunteer in the ministry, to be specific.

I have been a volunteer for as long as I can remember. Started out to be part of the children’s ministry, did musical plays of The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe. Part of a ladies group singing Joy William’s I Surrender & some songs of Barlow Girl, Mary Mary & a lot more in high school, involved myself in different fellowships- youth, young adults & at present, by God’s grace leading worship in the Sunday afternoon services of Citichurch in Cebu, Philippines.

So here I am today thinking about VOLUNTEERISM in the ministry.

For the past years, here’s what I’ve come to realize.

 IT IS A CALLING

 Being part of a ministry is never by force. Not because your parents or siblings are serving in the ministry, you should. Not because all of your friends are serving in the ministry, you should. Involving yourself in the ministry, full-time or being a volunteer is a calling from the Lord given to us by His grace.

 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. Romans 12:6-8

 YOU ARE SERVING GOD

Since being a volunteer in the ministry is a calling from God, you’re in service to God. Whatever work you do, procedures you follow, standards to attain, you serve the King of kings.

Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God’s various gifts of grace. Anyone who speaks should speak words from God. Anyone who serves should serve with the strength God gives so that in everything God will be praised through Jesus Christ. Power and glory belong to him forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11

 IT IS A PRIVILEGE

Because you are serving God as you do volunteer work in the ministry, it is a privilege. To fully understand this, you ought to know WHO you are serving. Getting to know Him through spending time with Him- reading the bible & meditating His word, listening to His voice, allowing Him to move in every second of your life, helps you to fully embrace that it is truly a privilege to be serving Him.

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. 1 Chronicles 29:11

You are serving God, the King of kings, Lord of Lords, the Great I AM, the Creator of the heavens & the earth, the blood of the Lamb, I could go on. HE IS GOD. And it is a privilege to be serving Him.

 IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU

The moment you feel entitled, is the moment you should check your heart.

 Who says you are better than others? What do you have that was not given to you? And if it was given to you, why do you brag as if you did not receive it as a gift? 1 Corinthians 4:7

Being part of the ministry as a volunteer requires a lot of time, effort & sacrifices but it has never been & will never be about you. Go back to number 2 or the 2nd point.

Some people think that because they are serving in church, they ought to be treated special because they are giving to the church. NO, go back to number 2. Special than probably those who are serving full-time or special in such a way those things around them ought to be adjusted because they are volunteers. The moment you commit yourself to being a volunteer, you commit yourself to God through the ministry you are in.

 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24

 LET YOUR YES BE YES & NO BE NO

As a volunteer it is understandable that you’re are not full-time, meaning, you have other priorities but you are given the question CAN YOU…? And once you say YES, much will be expected from you & when you say NO, that won’t be taken against you.

 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. Matthew 5:37

 HONORING AUTHORITY IS HONORING GOD

You are serving God, it is for God through the ministry you have committed yourself into who have leaders in authority.

 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.  So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. Romans 13:1-5

Truthfully, who wants to be told? to be corrected? When you are a volunteer, you have to swallow your pride, be humble & honor God by honoring the authority.

You have to understand that as a volunteer, you serve God not only through the talents & gifts that you have, honoring authority is a big part of that. Honoring authority in systems, procedures, standards & etc. God is a God of order. Without order, things will not fall into place & there wouldn’t be any direction to move forward to. Leaders have been placed by God for a purpose. You being a volunteer have to submit yourself to the person God has called to be on top of you. And just a thought, if you were in their shoes, don’t you think it’s challenging to handle volunteers… because they are volunteers? Think about that.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:3-8

 EVERY ROLE IS OF GREAT VALUE

You have to understand that every part, small or big, is of great value to God. You, doing your part in the best way, whether you’re arranging seats, attending meetings, brainstorming for the events, doing display, greeting people or leading worship is a great deal because, it is for the Lord. Which leads us back to number 2, YOU ARE SERVING GOD.

 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Romans 12:4-5 

All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27

 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

 ENJOY THE PROCESS

When you volunteer, you may not automatically do what you love to do or be in the position where you love to be. As a worship leader, I started singing in choir & understood why I had to be there. The process is all part of God’s mighty hand moving through each volunteer. Through the process, not only your talent or skill will be stretched but more importantly, your character. Enjoy the process, learn in every situation & position so that when the time comes that you are rewarded with what you love to do, you are able to truly give back the glory to God.

A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great. Proverbs 18:16

 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.  1 Corinthians 4:2

 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. 1 Corinthians 14:40

 TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN MUCH IS REQUIRED

Some people think that being a volunteer or being in the ministry is a having a glamorous life. Being a volunteer, as what I’ve said, requires a lot of time, effort, sacrifices & so much more. So before you answer to His call, pray hard about it because it will cost your life. It’s not glamorous but it is glorious because you know that what you’re doing is for God’s glory.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Ephesians 4:7

WHAT IS DONE IN LOVE IS DONE WELL

As you get to know God, you get to know His heart. He loves us deeply that is why He sent His son Jesus to save us.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

 You doing ministry work should be an outpour or an overflow of His love. Because of this, every time you serve, you think of His love for you, your love for Him & for His people.

What is done in love is done well. Let His love be the air that breathes you to move forward for His glory.

JESUS IS MORE THAN ENOUGH

As a volunteer, you do a lot of things, make a lot of sacrifices & human as you are, you may think you need people to notice, to give you words of affirmation but JESUS IS MORE THAN ENOUGH.

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8

citichurch1

Photo taken from Citichurch 

These things I have learned & gathered today & I am excited with what God has to reveal even more in the years to come.

Are you ready to answer His call?

citichurch4

Production & Intune (Music) Volunteers of Citichurch during UN1TE Team Night (Photo from Felmar Caranzo)

Confessions of a Voice Talent

Lifestyle
 Written July 24, 2016

Tonight, after my last event of the month, marks my official vocal rest. So help me God.

It has been almost 2 months since my voice was A- ok. It has been really hoarse. But I have to admit, I haven’t been a good steward of God’s blessing. After resigning from my full- time job, I was booked with a fairly good number of gigs & have been given the privilege of serving God through becoming a worship leader. Despite that, I did not do preventive measures, I still drank 3- 4 cups of coffee per day, which I reeeeaaaaaaaally love, also eating spicy food, eating & drinking a lot of dairy & sweets & slept less than 8 hours, I kept talking & talking. I could go on. I wasn’t listening to my body. I wasn’t worshiping God.

And so, here I am having a lot of thoughts about this situation. And Ministry Sunday is coming up (The biggest event of the year in Citichurch) but I had to drop it because of the condition that I have. Thus, this is not just simply a confession of a voice talent, it’s

CONFESSIONS OF A WORSHIPPER

With this, I remember Ate Jesse (one of the leaders in the music ministry) recently asking me “what is worship?” This was in preparation for ministry sunday. Well, God has allowed me to be in this situation to, not just know, but experience worship in a different way, I could say in another level.

The Battle

The battle goes beyond consciously resting, not drinking coffee, eating sweets, drinking meds & home remedies, not being able to sing, to host, to talk & all the other physical challenges that comes with it. The battle is SELF.  The battle is self emotionally, mentally & most of all, spiritually. It is not being able to be who God wants you to be & not maximising yourself to your full potential & what God has designed you to be.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, o present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-3

Yes, I am in pain. My throat is in pain, my heart is in pain & worse, God is in pain because He wants the best for us & has a purpose & great destiny for us. Most of the time we only think of ourselves especially when we are in success & in pain. Most of the time when everything is going great, we tend to take all the glory & think highly of ourselves, which results to wasting away ourselves. And whenever we are in pain, we go to God & ask so many questions, some even blaming God. But the truth is, when we are victoriousm our Father in heaven is & whenever we are in pain, God our Creator is in pain too. But He has to let us go through the pressure. To learn, to mature, to be better, to move forward, to grow.

A diamond is a coal made under pressure.

Grace

But God doesn’t waste any pain. I look at this as a lesson & a season of building spiritual muscles for His glory. By grace I am able to move forward, I believe not just with the talent or skill that He has given but with a heart full of hope that I will be completely healed & by grace I will lift up his name through this little story of mine.

Worship

Before when asked what is worship. I simply say “It is a way of life”. It is, but to experience it? You could go on. In this situation, worship is resting, is going through the process of healing, is supporting the team in any way I can whether I sing with them or not, is lifting up a prayer, is rejoicing with my teammates…

Worship is the absence of self for God’s glory. IN EVERYTHING.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith. Romans 12:6 

#Confessionsofavoicetalent #Confessionsofaworshipper #worship #Jesus