Dear Shiko, Thank You For Teaching Me To Laugh

Dear Baby Shiko,

It's been another wonderful day with you. Your enthusiasm amuses me everyday. I admire your determination in mastering your new milestone of standing up. You stand up, you fall. And you just keep on standing back up again and again. You explore your little world crawling at the edge of the bed and trying to get whatever is within your reach. You smile and you laugh whenever you discover something new. And those smiles, those laughters, they fill my heart with so much joy!

Thank you for making me understand the heart of God deeper. Last week, as I was crying to Him and telling Him my burdens and struggles during my morning quiet time, He spoke to me through His Word:

"She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future."
- Proverbs 31:25

At that time it wasn't that clear to me why God would ask me to "laugh" in the midst of the heartache that I was pouring out to Him. But during these last few days, everything is starting  to make sense.

Smile Baby Shiko, and laugh all you want. That's all I want to see in you. You don't have to worry, you don't have to fear because I will take care of you. I will feed you and provide your needs. I will not withhold any good thing from you, but I will take away anything that will cause you harm. So I am sorry, but I will not let you eat the remote control, the lotion and the liquid powder, I'll keep on taking it away from you even if you cry over it again and again.

I'll never take my eyes off of you.  I will watch over you. No, I will never let you fall off the bed. I will put piles of pillows as your barricades, and when you try to climb over the pillows and cross your bounderies, I will call you to return to me, and if you don't heed my call, I will get you, I will bring you back beside me... because the safest place for you to be, is to always be close to me. I will never get tired of helping you stand back up again and again whenever you fall. I will guide you, and teach you every step of the way. I delight in seeing you grow and learn! You make me proud even with your slightest accomplishment. I would love to bring you to places that you've never been! I want to dream with you and I'll do everything I can to help you reach your dreams. I want what's best for you because you are my son and I am your mother. So just laugh my baby... because there is no reason to fear, all you need is to trust me.

Thank you for teaching me what a child-like faith truly means. Thank you because I am now starting to understand that this kind of love that I have towards you could not even be compared to the unfailing love that God has for His children. He cannot not provide, He cannot not protect, He cannot let me go... simply because I am His daughter, and He is my Father. and it pleases Him the most when His children trust Him, when His children take refuge in Him. His heart overflows with joy when His children laugh... Laugh without worry of the present, laugh without fear of the future. 

Thank you for living up to your name my baby Isaac... my precious laughter. God's forever remider of His faithfulness. Dear Baby Shiko, thank you for teaching me to laugh! 


Shiko's First Letter to Daddy

Yesterday, our Couples' Discipleship Group had an advance Father's Day celebration. We were asked to prepare a surprise message for the Dads/Husbands of our families. Sharing with you Shiko's letter to Mike which we read to him during the event. (Of course I was the one who actually wrote it, but this is based on what I've observed between their relationship as Father and Son). =)

Dear Daddy,

Thank you for sun bathing with me in the morning. Thank you for cleaning my high chair after my messy meals. Thank you for the everyday ba-bath. Thank you for the play time and the tickles. Thank you for not getting tired of singing "White Christmas" and for always letting me sleep in your chest. Thank you for cooking so mommy will have milk to feed me. Thank you for labada my little clothes. 

Thank you for working hard so you can buy my diaper and other needs. Thank you for the extra minutes of yakap kahit need mo na umalis for work. Thank you for always choosing to be with me and mommy as much as you can.

I look at you when you raise your hands and shout everytime the Golden State Warriors wins... I look at you when you raise your hands, and cry out to Jesus every Sunday morning. You might not always notice, but even if I am still a baby, I am already looking up at you.

Daddy, thank you for being strong during the hard times, and thank you for choosing to grow so you can be a good role model for me. Daddy, whatever the world tells you, please remember that for me and Mommy, YOU ARE THE BEST! 

I'm excited to have more adventures with you when I grow up.. 
I know that you will also teach me to love Jesus the way you do. 

I love you and I thank God that you are my Daddy! 

Baby Shiko

Mike wept a bit :)
Our Couples Dgroup in CCF
It was also heart-warming to hear other families' tribute messages to their Dads. Indeed, these Fathers deserve such appreciation for all their hard work to lead, love, and provide for their families despite the challenges that they face everyday. So thankful for family events like these! 

Advance HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the great and amazing Dads out there!

Bring The Rain

He was crying endlessly. His fever was so high and his antipyretic medicine doesn't seem to be working. Few days at the hospital and we haven't seen that much progress. My heart was crushed seeing my little baby suffer this much at such a young age. I began questioning every choice I have made in the last few months of being a parent. What did I do wrong? What have I failed to do? Maybe I have believed so much that my efforts to exclusively breastfeed my baby for almost 6 months would pay off and he would be exempted from ever getting sick. At times like these, I found that it's hard not to put the blame on myself as a Mom. As I watched my baby suffer, those self-condemning voices seemed to grow louder. In the midst of these voices, God gently whispered, "I am Sovereign. I decide what I want to allow to happen in your life, and it's always for your greater good." 

God was once again using this circumstance to teach me new lessons. And this is lesson number one: "Stop beating yourself up with self-condemnation when Baby Shiko's condition is not doing well... and stop "silently" claiming the glory when everything is going your way..."  He brought me to a point where I found myself just crying at His feet, helplessly begging Him to heal my baby. God was stripping off my pride and reminding me that Shiko's well being is all by His grace. All of my good intentions, my sleepless nights, my efforts to keep Baby Shiko healthy were good, but I should never forget that ultimately, my baby's life is in His hands.

Every blood extraction and IV line insertion was a huge challenge to the doctors and to Baby Shiko. There was an instance when he was poked almost ten times because they couldn't get a good vein in his tiny hands and feet. Shiko's eyes plead that he couldn't bear the needle pokes and the pain of his swollen neck anymore. He was shutting down, crying himself to sleep.

All of those was nothing compared to his pain during the incision and drainage procedure and biopsy. He was only on topical anesthesia because we didn't consent for him to be sedated. I have experienced assisting minor surgeries during my nursing days, but it was a different feeling when your child is the one going through the procedure. Watching him wailing and shouting in pain was almost unbearable to me. In the middle of the procedure, I asked myself why did I allow my baby to be in this table. Why can't I just take his place and let all of these pain be on me? He is only five months!

This is when lesson number two dawned upon me. God was teaching me, that as much as I love my baby, there will be sufferings in life that he will have to go through on his own. As he grows older, there will be more. I cannot shield him from pain, I can only hold his hand, and tell him that I love him and I will always be here. I can only pray for him and let him know, that no matter what happens, Jesus loves him and he'll make it through as he hold on tight to Him... I can only assure him that the suffering won't last forever, but at the end of it all, he shall come out stronger and braver. And my baby did. Such a strong child at such a young age. I'm so proud of him.

This experience gave me a glimpse of the heart of God. My baby experienced the pain of a scalpel incision because we willingly submitted him to the procedure for his own good. I can't imagine how painful it must have been for God the Father to see His only Son suffer the lashes, the thorns, the nails in the hands of unworthy sinners like us... yet, He willingly submitted Him to the Cross for the greater good of humanity. All because of Love.

We're now back home after two weeks at the hospital. Shiko is now doing well but still continuing his oral antibiotic for one more week. We couldn't be more grateful for everyone who prayed for him and our family throughout this journey. As always, God has once again proven His faithfulness. Times like these awaken us from slumber and bring us back closer to God. Indeed, He makes all things work together for good for those who love Him. And yes, if God needs to send us rain in order for us run towards Him again, in order for us learn what He wants us to learn, in order for us to know Him deeper, and to understand His heart.... then it's all good. The suffering is worth it.

🎶"Bring me joy, bring me peace. Bring the chance to be free. Bring me anything that brings You glory. And I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain, but if that's what it takes to praise You. Jesus bring the rain."🎶 - Mercy Me