THE START OF A MORE INTIMATE, CHRIST-CENTERED FAMILY

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About a week ago, an idea suddenly popped from my head: to start a family devotion. A few years ago, I saw a picture of a friend of mine doing devotions with their family and I thought that idea was a great one. But for some reason, I never really took the initiative to ask my parents if they were willing to have a family devotion once a week. But suddenly, just last week after I met up with my parents somewhere along Commonwealth Avenue, the idea came back to me, as if God was telling me to go for it and ask my folks about it. Without hesitating, I asked my mom if she’s interested, and agreed to have one, as well as my dad.

We decided to have our weekly devotion every Sunday night because it’s the only time within the week where we’re not too busy thinking about work or school, and at the same time, it is also a great time for us to bond and catch up as a family. We decided to start today, 6 September 2015. And because I thought of starting one, they asked me if I can start the devotion. I agreed to do it; my only problem was what should I share to them?

First, I found a message from our home church, Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF), which was preached two years ago. I wanted to show to them why discipleship begins at home but as I dived into the message, I realized that it was not a great first devotion to start with because it only tackles the role and responsibility of a father, not the entire family. So I decided to keep it for future reference and to use it maybe when God wants me to use it as a devotion.

After a day or two, I found a copy of a booklet we bought years ago from CCF, entitled: “Christ-Centered Family Devotions.”(You can download it online by clicking HERE) So I took the booklet and reviewed its contents. I decided to use the material as the series for our weekly devotions. So as I prayed and reviewed for our devotions, I created a slideshow to make it look pleasing and interesting. I ran through my devotions and so as I finalized everything, after dinner, I went down with my laptop and with the booklet.

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My message was about God’s fear – how it is not for us to be frightened nor for us to feel threatened, but God’s fear can be considered as reverence, wherein love and respect would match its definition. Then as I started with a prayer and run through the questions, they gave insights on what do we mean by fear, and is it good or bad to name a few.

Then things got awkward for me when they started asking questions about my relationship with them in the past, if I feared them in a way I fear God or did I fear them the way I fear people who might want to take my life away. I was a bit shocked and did not know how to transition back to the topic so as I explained what my perceptions were when I was young, the more questions became personal. I was telling myself that “Maybe this wasn’t a good idea,” and “Why did I pick this booklet? I could’ve picked any other devotions from the internet,” but then I realized that as I share more about what my insights were with them, it looked like an open forum, wherein unanswered questions dare to be answered. And for me, that experience made me more open with my parents.

You see, having an intimate relationship with someone means that you trust him or her your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and explanations wherein he or she knows that everything is personal and that he or she will treasure your answers. I know that many parents want to help and know their child more often, especially if they’re at their teen years wherein everything might be confusing and scary (I’m not just talking about puberty, kids) and that’s why they ask you questions like “How was your day?” and “How are you?” It’s because they want to be intimate with you, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I like it when people share personal things with me because I know that they trust me and they want to hear my opinion about certain topics or issues. Same with our parents, they want you to trust them that whatever you say (or in some cases, we can use the word “reveal”) to them, they will try to help you in understanding you better, and maybe even finding a solution to your problem if they can.

After the devotion, I felt happy and thanked God for this idea that He gave me. I know that He let me find the booklet, not for me to “lecture” my parents, but for us to be open with one another. Next week, my father’s going to lead the devotion, while my mom will lead after a fortnight. I am very blessed to have a wonderful family wherein we can trust each other and be open and intimate with each other.

Yes, discipleship does begin at home and it makes the family closer and stronger than ever. Please continue to pray for our devotions; pray that we may have consistency and accuracy when it comes to sharing God’s Word through the booklet!

I can’t wait for next week’s devotion!

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A FORTNIGHT WITH MY PARENTS

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Two weeks ago, my grandmother decided that it was time, that the ceiling in my room should be repaired. You see, I live in my grandmother’s house – an ancestral house – and my room was my father’s room when he was still a child, and my cousins and their family stayed in this room for a while before getting a place of their own. Since the room has been unused for quite some time, I decided to ask permission if I can use it as my own, considering the fact that I have been sleeping with my parents ever since I was born. I occupied this room just a year ago and whenever my mom or dad is on a business trip away, I would stay with my parents’. I’d also like to point out that my grandmother’s house is right beside my parents’ house, but we live in one gate, and we eat together in the main house so there are no boundaries within the family, except for the structure itself.

My room had a white-tiled ceiling where some of the thin strips of wood are slowly peeling off of it. My walls had a white coating, along with a few coats ripped, and wooden planks for flooring with a layer of plastic (the plastic is coming off and it is a bit uncomfortable if you walk unevenly with “polished” and “not polished” wooden floor. Also, my room is the second storage room in the house. Here lies all my uncle’s trophies, my grandmother’s incredible collection of novels (it’s more than a hundred, I tell you), and luggage bags and suitcases along with boxes filled with computer-related stuff. The problem with my room is that the ceiling started to leak whenever the rain would pour heavily. The leak wasn’t that big but you know what they say, if you don’t take care of little things, they’ll turn into big problems.

It was around 10 in the morning when I got the news to get all my important things and get out of my room because the workers will start taking off the entire ceiling. So I grabbed my school bag and filled it with a filler notebook, all my essential needs and important items (cellphone, school ID, eyeglasses, etc.) and took two books with me while the rest of my stuff that was left were covered with blankets. I expected that the job would be done in two, maybe three days tops. So while my room shall be “murdered” then fixed, I will sleep at my parents’ house.

My parents’ house is no stranger to me. I always go there whenever I like, because I still have half of my stuff there and why can’t I visit my folks every now and then? The house consists of only three rooms: the living room, the bedroom, and the bathroom. Yes, it may be hard to believe but that, my friends, is the house where I grew up and slept ever since I was born. It was supposed to be a small clinic for my grandfather wherein his patients can go right in, but he passed away back when my father was still in elementary; that plan never came true, so they decided to use it as a house instead.

I like staying with my folks; the internet is fast and I don’t have to climb stairs just to drop my bag in my bed. Whenever I stay at my old house, my father would sleep on the couch in the living room, while my mother and I would take the bed in the bedroom. After a few days, I thought that I would be able to go back already, but they told me that the workers will also repaint the walls and the cabinet, but they have to clean first. So I had to stay longer.

As I spend more time with them, the more I remember the times when we would all laugh and play together as we enjoy a movie at home, or whenever we would eat together in the living room while sharing stories of how our day went. Every day, I would sleep before 11 in the evening because my dad sleeps in the living room while I can no longer watch TV nor can I go to social media using my laptop so I would often immediately go to sleep as well. It didn’t bother me because I had nothing important to do during the night.

Today, August 24, my room was finally clean, finished, organized and ready for occupancy again. They painted my ceiling with creamy white, my walls with a darker shade of sky blue, and the cabinet and dresser with a river blue color. The floor is still the same (and most of the plastic is ripped off already making it even harder to pass by) though but everything was more organized than ever. That also means that I can already leave my parents’ house after lunch. But because I still smell a hint of paint odor, I told myself that I would just move in when my folks arrive back home. It was around nine in the evening when my parents arrived home. After going upstairs to check how my room was, I slowly got my stuff and moved it back to my room. It took me four trips to get my things but as I was going back to pick up the last items: my toothbrush, toothpaste, and water bottle, I hesitated to go to my room. To spend a fortnight with my parents really made me happy because I missed the feeling of going to sleep with someone right beside you, protecting you and making sure that no one can ever hurt you as long as they’re around. I still went to back my room because I wanted to prove myself responsible in owning one.

Going upstairs to my room alone made me a bit teary-eyed. I was laughing at myself because I knew that it was just two weeks yet it feels as if I miss them already. I know that I will still see them, eat with them, and talk to them daily, but the feeling of being close with your folks, it’s not the same. But even so, I’m still happy that I got my room back again, and it looks better than ever. I just wish that something would be broken again so that I can sleep with my parents’ again…just kidding! But I would love to just go there and spend a night or two with them. You know what they say: home is where the heart is.