The Blessing in the Waiting

I suck at waiting. I hate falling in line for bank transactions, I hate falling in line in mall comfort rooms, I just hate long lines and being put on queue. I love fast food, I love instant noodles, and I love vendo machines. I always find ways to rush and get things done right away. That was me, impatient and impulsive.

In 2010, I met a guy who was far more impatient than I was. We decided to get married only 2 months after getting to know each other. We've suffered the consequences and missed out so many things because of our rush decisions. But God, (I love those two words!) He loves us so much, and little did we know that He was about to teach us a lesson that we will never forget.

After we got married in 2010, we longed to have children. Actually, I longed for it more than Mike did. Maybe it was because of feeling pressured whenever relatives or friends ask us when we plan to have kids. The longing (and the pressure) just got stronger and stronger as years passed by without a positive pregnancy test result.

In 2012, i finally got pregnant. We thought that was it, but nine weeks later, I miscarried. A month later, we found out that I had an auto-immune disease which would cause a lot of complications in case I am going to get pregnant again.

That was a very hard season for me. I cried out to God and honestly poured out all my confusion, fear, and helplessness to Him. Few months later, my husband told me that he wanted me to stay home and leave the role of providing financially to him so I won't get stressed and I can prepare my body for future pregnancy.

My pride could not accept that I would ever fully depend on my husband for provision. I've always been an achiever. I have a degree, and I was determined to build a career and prove to the world what I can do. Being a stay-at-home wife was never the kind of life that I dreamed for myself. It was very hard for me to let go of my own plans, but I knew very well that this was God's will for me as He confirmed it so many times during my quiet moments with Him. Eventually, I obeyed.

I obeyed even though I was like a child kicking and tossing myself on the floor. I obeyed with eyes filled with tears. I obeyed even when I was sinking in self-pity as I asked God, "What now? I have no career and I have no children. What would other people say about me?"

I never expected that my life was going to drastically change because of that simple act of (heavy hearted) obedience. During those months of being home alone, I had all the time in the world to read and study the Bible. I found myself kneeling in worship, in awe as He started opening my eyes for who He really is. The more I read His Word, the more I got to know Him and His mind blowing love for a sinner like me. In my waiting season, God taught me to fall so deeply in love with Him.

Even when I was enjoying my relationship
with God, the waiting season still hurt. I was hurt year after year as I watched our relatives' children run around and excitedly open their gifts during Christmas Day. I was hurt whenever we passed by the childrens' section of the department store. I was hurt by the insensitive jokes and unsolicited advices of people who mean well but have no idea of how it feels like to be in my shoes. I was hurt with every negative PT result and everytime my period begins. I was hurt whenever I read new baby announcements in facebook and new baby shower invitations. I wanted to be happy for my friends and relatives, but their fruitfulness only magnified my own emptiness and longing. I never doubted God's power and ability to give us a child, and what hurts the most is that He was choosing not to. "Why, God? Why are you being generous to everyone else but not to me?" This was my honest cry to Him.

He never answered my "Why" questions, but He once again revealed Himself to me through His Word:

"For the LORD God is our sun and our shield... The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right." - Psalm 84:11

God lights my path and protects me. He is not a withholder of blessings. If He doesn't give it to me, it means that it is not good for me (yet). I've held on to this verse eversince and it never failed to comfort me. In my waiting season, God taught me to stand upon His promises, and to not judge Him based on my circumstances, but based on who He is as revealed in His Word. In my waiting season, I found a place where God meets me to heal my broken heart.

There was one instance when one of my cousins gave birth to a cute baby girl. For the first time, I had the courage to sincerely congratulate someone for having a baby. As my cousin was telling me how happy she was for having a new baby, I heard a gentle whisper from God in the quietness of my heart, "You have me." His voice in my head was so loud, I couldn't help but cry.

In my waiting season, I found my contentment and joy in Jesus alone. I realized that He allowed me to be empty handed... no career, no children, so that I'll never have anything or anyone else to boast about, except Him, and what He has done in my life. He was all that I have, and I found out that He alone was enough.

I learned to be happy for others because He secured me that He has His own great plan and future prepared for me. I never have to compare myself to anyone because God taught me that my worth as a woman does not lie on my achievements, or worldly success or even in having children or not. Only God who created me has the right to define me...  And His Word says that I am His precious princess, loved with an everlasting love. I don't need to prove anything in order to gain my worth, there's nothing I can do that could make Him love me more or less. In my waiting season, I found out who I really am, and I never felt so free.

Throughout my journey, God gave me the passion to reach out to other women and share with them these things that I am learning about Him. I want them to also experience this joy and freedom that I found in my relationship with Him. He called me to disciple a group of single women, and as I see them growing in their relationship with God, and leading other women to Jesus too, I felt a sense of fulfillment that I've never felt before. In my waiting season, God revealed His purpose in my life. And that is to point people to Christ. He changed the desires of my heart and aligned them to His will. He taught me to dream bigger dreams. Dreams that will outlast my short life on earth. Dreams that will impact eternity.

Almost seven years later, and I am now finally holding our precious Baby Shiko in my arms. God answered my prayer, in His time, His way. But I'll never trade any single moment during those six years when I was most of the time alone in my room, alone with Him. My waiting years were not wasted years. My waiting years, looked like a season of drought and emptiness on the outside, but it turned out to be the most fruitful season of my life. In my season of waiting, God gave me more than what I have been praying and waiting for. God gave me HIMSELF... And He is the ultimate blessing in my season of waiting.

Keeping My Baby Close To My Heart

I never planned of babywearing when I got pregnant with Baby Shiko. I wasn't familiar and educated about it. I see people using baby carriers but I never knew that there are a lot of benefits from it aside from the convenience when we need to bring our baby with us somewhere. A friend of mine introduced me to a Facebook group named Babywearing Philippines. I got curious and started reading about it and I found out that the principles behind it all makes perfect sense. The benefits of baby wearing are also supported with scientific research and proven studies. Of course I cannot write everything in this post, and I know there's  a lot of questions (and superstitious beliefs, and myths about raising a child), and this blog post is not written to persuade anyone, but for me to just share my baby wearing experience. If you are interested, I encourage you to research and read about it on your own. I am sure you will also be amazed with the facts. Babywearing International is a good place to start.

I was in high school when my mom brought home a baby monkey from the mountains of Mindoro. We named him Robin. He was so cute and was very small. His bskin appeared bluish in color because his hair hasn't grown yet. I did not know the whole story as to what happened to his mother, but poor little Robin was only a few weeks old when he became a part of our family. I imagine how anxious he must be to be separated from his mother so early in his life. During his first few days with us, he would attach himself to my leg (or to anyone's leg that's available) and would hysterically cry when we try to detach him. He would also not sleep at night, and we would hear his heartbreaking cry of loneliness and fear, unless my brother cuddles him in his arms. We figured out, that in order for him to survive in this world that is so new, and so wide, and so complicated for him, feeding alone is not enough. He needed to feel secure, safe, warm, and loved.

I share this, because this came to mind when I started to understand how important it is for my Baby Shiko to always feel close to me. I find it funny that I needed to use our pet monkey as an example, but I realized that both baby animals and humans have similar needs. The first few days of Baby Shiko at home was chaotic as he would always want to latch on to me, and would always cry whenever I put him down. Well-meaning friends and relatives advised us to just let him cry so he'll get used to not being cradled and it will be more convenient for us in the long run. I did want convenience of course, especially that I was still recovering from the pain of my CS Operation, but my mother's instinct always told me to pick him up whenever he cries. To embrace him, to rub his back, to comfort him and to let him latch on for as long as he wanted to. It dawned upon me, that indeed, my baby not only needs to be fed, or to be diaper changed, he needs to feel secure, safe, warm, and loved because this world is so new, so different, so wide, and so complicated for him.

Shiko was only 6-week-old when I started wearing him using a Ring Sling. I bought our slings from an online shop named Shadrach's Collection. They have beautiful designs to choose from, and I am proud to say that they are all locally handwoven. I've already purchased two slings from Shadrach's, the first one is Lime, and my most recent purchase is the Goddess of Beauty. Shiko is now more than 7 kilos and I can attest to their quality and comfort. Mommy Jen, the owner of the shop is also very friendly, accommodating, and supportive to answer the questions of first time baby wearers like me. I highly recommend her shop if you are looking for budget friendly slings and wraps with good quality.

Shiko just turned four months and so far we're loving it! I don't only wear Shiko when we go out, I also wear him at home. I am able to get some light chores done, and I am also able to do some graphic designing and video projects. As I am writing this, Shiko has already been sleeping on my ring sling for almost 3 hours. There are times when he would even sleep in it for four hours straight (he'll wake up only because he's hungry). More than having both of my hands back, my favorite benefit of baby wearing is feeling intimately close to my baby. I noticed that he would at first feel anxious when we bring him out to church or to the mall because there are so many things happening around him that are so unfamiliar to him, but because he is closely attached to me, I can sense that it makes him feel secure that he can hide his face in my chest whenever he wants. This reduces the possibility of him being overstimulated. I love that he gets to explore his Mommy and Daddy's world without feeling overwhelmed or afraid. He knows that he is safe and close to Mommy's heart. 

Shiko also started having regular, long, good night sleep when we started baby wearing. He's been sleeping for 12-15 hours every night since he was 6-week old. He would latch on while sleeping when he's hungry, and would seldom wake up when I change his nappy. I've read that researches found out that baby wearing for three hours a day reduces infant crying by 43 percent overall and 54 percent during evening hours. We can attest to this fact! Maybe they cry less at night because they're no longer seeking for reassurance because his need to feel secured has already been provided throughout the day. Being often on skin-to-skin contact with our babies also increases the milk production of our bodies,  so yes, I also give some credit to babywearing for our four months of exclusive breastfeeding journey.

Overall, Babywearing has been a blessing to our family. Every mother wants what is best for their children, and I am thankful that God brought people in my life to help me learn and discover these things. I hope this blog post also encouraged you the way I was encouraged by other Moms who has been doing this for many years. Happy Babywearing! :) 

My first time to babywear.
Shiko at 6 weeks.

Baby Shiko's first worship service at CCF.

Ringsling: Lime by Shadrach's Collection

He loves being worn!

Close enough to kiss! 💋

Ringsling: Goddess of Beauty by Shadrach's Collection

Keeping my Baby close to my heart while working some graphic design and video projects.

Sleeping soundly at Church.

Rare moments when he is awake while I'm wearing him.  Our ringslings come with a lot of sleepy dusts!

Sleeping Shiko during Bible Study Sessions.

Dear Baby Shiko

As I am writing this, you are already sleeping soundly on my chest. Yes, it's been almost four months, and you still wouldn't sleep anywhere else but on my chest, feeling the warmth of my skin, and hearing the beat of my heart, while your chubby arms are wrapped around my body.

It's been another beautiful day with you. I woke up with your cute little eyes staring at me. My heart melted as you greeted me with the sweetest smile first thing in the morning. We read about Joshua and the Walls of Jericho during our Bible reading time. I love how you respond with your babbles and coos everytime I flip the pages of your Picture Bible, as if you are understanding what we are reading. I read Psalm 91, and sang my prayers over you. That has been our morning routine for the last 4 months.

And the day went on just like most of the other days... with lots of latching, and playing, and laughing, and crying, and carrying, and rocking, and singing, and pooping, and diaper changing... and latching again... and the cycle goes on and on until you get tired and sleepy and find your home back on my chest again.

Sometimes you would fall asleep as early as 6pm and I have no other choice but to lie down with you whether I am sleepy too or not. And all I have is my phone on my hand in this dark, cold room. I would read, research, and study about anything to make sure I give and do what's best for you.... as if being a good mother could really be learned through the world wide web.

Sometimes I get upset with myself too. When I can't seem to understand what you need. When you are crying and I can't figure out why.... and I feel afraid that you might be hurting somewhere, and if I could just transfer that pain to me.. I would. But I can't, so all I can do is comfort you with my embrace, while rubbing your back and whispering a gentle hush. My heart breaks everytime.

Forgive me baby, when I'm trying to be the best mom for you, but still, I fail.... I fail at consistently keeping your nails short, I sometimes miss out waking up at night to change your diaper, and at times, I am unable to pacify you when you are already too exhausted and too tired of crying. I fail, and I know that I will still continue to fail from time to time as you grow up, but I'll never stop trying. I'll never stop reminding myself that my failures as your Mom don't define me. My worth and identity is still, only defined by how Jesus sees me -- His precious daughter.

Thank you Baby. Thank you, because your every smile, every giggle, every burp, every blank stare, every weight gain, every healthy Pedia visit, every unli latch, every long hours of uninterrupted sleep... they tell me that somehow I am doing something right, something purposeful. Thank you because you have no idea how God is using you to grow me up into the woman He desires me to be. Thank you because I never knew that this kind of love ever exists, until you came.

Mommy 💖