My disobedience led me having to face responsibilities and hardships in my life a lot earlier and harder than expected (paraphrase). But despite that, God’s love led me here. To this beautiful family.
For a while during my walk with the Lord, I have learned that obedience brings blessings. And it does. But I have been so focused on that, that I have forgotten what goes way beyond obedience: God’s love and goodness. During my devotions the other day, I have been reminded of three truths:
- Obedience brings blessings
- But that obedience must be paired with faith. Do I believe in the promise and do I believe in The One who made it?
- It’s God’s love that creates the beautiful promises. No one can ever earn that promise or deserve that promise. God has beautiful promises for us because He loves us. That’s the only reason- His love. Not our good works.
It is NOT: Obey first so that I can earn God’s favor. So that I can be deserving of His love.
It is: God loves me, so He desires a beautiful life for me. I believe in Him and His promises. So, to claim those promises that He has already prepared, I have to obey.
In fact, God has revealed His beautiful promises to me during the worst days of my life; the days when I was most undeserving. It was during the time I was lost, disobedient, and broken when He said, “My Love, I will can use your pain for My glory. I will guide and protect you, Mark, and your baby who is soon to be born. I will make your life new. I will prosper your life. Can you trust Me? Can you follow Me to where I lead you?”
It was that. Promise, faith, then obedience. In this post, I have focused more on obedience and faith because that’s what I have control of. The promise was all in the hands of the Lord.
Before I proceed with the post, I am going to answer the title first. What did we do to deserve this? None. We are undeserving people who gave our Father the chance to enter our hearts, change our lives, and take care of us. It was His love; not us and not our good works.
Back to obedience and faith..
Besides sharing our story online, we also participate in university students’ projects to share God’s works in our lives. Sometimes, communication arts students interview us for a documentary. Other times, it’s psychology majors studying the lives of young moms. Although most of their work isn’t shared to the public, it’s something we enjoy just the same. It’s not their output that we’re looking forward to; it’s getting the magnificent chance to sit down with 2 or more students and share God’s wonders with them. The best part is, they hold the questions! We just have to share what they I ask for. The flow is very smooth and fun.
During one of the interviews I had, one of the students made a remark in the middle of our chat at the coffee shop, “Wow, ate. Out of all the young moms we have interviewed, you’re the one who seems to be doing the best”. I had to kiiiiind of correct her that moment. Sometimes, I even get messages that say, “I wish as fortunate as you. You’re so lucky. When I see your photos, I wish the same things are happening to me.”
That’s not true. I am not doing better than anyone else. Like I said in the intro, God And I will never be God’s favorite. GI may have God’s favor but that favor is equal for me, you, him, and her. However, not everyone is aware of that, so they are unable to dive more into God’s heart and discover God’s better plans for them. God desires the best for you just as much as He desires the best for everyone.
That is the beauty of God’s love. We cannot earn it and we do not deserve it, but He just does. He loves us. Period. And if you are also a mom like me, let me ask you, why do you love your child? Because she is sweet and kind? But you know you’d love her just as much even if she wasn’t. Because she is beautiful? But you know to you, she is the most beautiful creation in this world. That’s just but a glimpse of God’s love.
So, how did I get here? The answer is simple but it requires persistence and endurance. The answer is: O B E D I E N C E.
At the moment of surrender, God has heard my cry. I found out I was pregnant. That’s when I kneeled before God once again and said, “Lord, take my pain and worry away from me. I am tired of being in control, I am tired of having things my way, I am tired of being selfish. I know if I don’t pursue you now, not only my life will be ruined. My daughter’s life is on the line. I want to be a good mom, Lord. I don’t want to live the life I’ve been afraid of (I come from a broken family). I want to be a woman with a purpose. I want all of You. I surrender. Starting today, I will live according to Your will no matter how hard it is for me to turn away from my earthly desires.”
He responded, “I am here for you, My love. I have great plans for you. I will use your pain and story. I will answer your calls but you have to endure the consequences of your decisions. Don’t worry, I’ll be with you through it all. And there is one important thing you must do. You must obey me”
That time, I didn’t know what it meant when God kept claiming His great plans for me. All I imagined was for my family to accept my daughter, for my boyfriend (then) and I to have a harmonious relationship, for a healthy baby, and to share His goodness to the youth. God surpassed that. My family loved Taziana, I married my best friend, Taziana is healthy and smart, and I was able to use social media as a platform to share the love of God.
But before I was able to claim all those promises, there was a lot of breaking, a lot of renewal. And I had to do a lot of what God had told me in the beginning. It all boils down to obedience and endurance of the consequences.
But what is obedience? What exactly do we have to obey?
Obedience is an everyday process. In fact, we obey someone or something every day. Our country is guided by laws. Our companies and our schools are a protected by policies. The same is true when it comes to our home, marriages, relationships, and everyday walk in life. The standards and laws exist to protect the goodness inside and to prevent bad things from happening. Obedience to the law is never meant to limit us. Laws exist so that we may be protected and so that we may experience peace and be able to enjoy life to the fullest.
There are laws that are universal. Universal laws are laws that are applied to everyone with no exception. For example, it’s always wrong to steal. There is no gray area in that. But there are commandments that are very specific for a person. For example, Mark and I were called to protect our relationship. But for some people, they are commanded to let go. Some things are really just between you and God. The laws and commandments are not enclosed to the 10 commandments that we already know. Sometimes, they are as simple as, “trust Me. Let go. Have faith. Be still. Be courageous. Be filled with love”.
Every day, we either obey or disobey. It’s clear as day and night. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Partial obedience is disobedience.
If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:
You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock- the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. … You will blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and everything you put your hand to.
Need I say more? Obedience brings many, many, many blessings!
FOLLOWING THE LORD. COMMANDS WE HAD TO OBEY.
- Speak with gentleness and love. That was His first commandment to me upon finding out I was pregnant. He said, “speak with love. Do not lose your temper no matter what Mark’s reaction is. I will fight for you”. When Mark said he wasn’t ready to be a dad to our baby, I remained calmed and gently explained how I felt. Mark had to step outside because he had class and when he entered the door of his room, God brought home Mark with a changed heart. He was suddenly so excited to have a family with me and to see God’s hands in our lives. I didn’t need to apply force for him to change. God did that for me.
- Humble myself to my parents. When I told my mom that I was pregnant, she didn’t take it well at first. It was only natural because I have cause her pain. I withdrew from her thinking that I was giving her space and respecting her pain. But God said, “No, no, no. That is pride. Humble yourself”. I immediately texted my mom telling her how much I needed her, that I was wrong and I would wait until she is ready to forgive me but I need her because she is my mom, I admitted to her that it was my mistake but I cannot do it without her. After a while, I received a call from my step dad, who was speaking on behalf of my mom. He was so kind to me. They planned a meet up with Mark, they were the ones who broke the news to the entire family, and they sent us a message saying, “Come home, anak. They’re ready waiting for you”. I was in Manila for my summer classes that time. They guided us in every decisions we make. Then until now.
- Mark had to move from Naga to Bulacan to Manila. We disliked this idea very much at first. He had 2 remaining years in university in Naga that time. We know it would take him a semester or two more if he transfers to Manila. My parents asked Mark what his plans were. Being a young dad who knew nothing about parenting, our plan was, “I would pursue my studies in Naga. Treszka can come home every weekend to see our baby and I would travel here (13 hours of drive) once a month to see them”. My mom gently replied with, “Do you mean you’ll only be doing your responsibilities as a partner and a dad once a month? Who is going to do that when you aren’t around?”. In my mind I thought my mom was being too straight forward. But after that talk, Mark seemed to take what my mom said at heart. I told him, “pray about it first. I am okay with our initial plan”. Mark knew that it was what the Lord wanted for us too. He said, “I already prayed about it. They’re right. Who will take care of you while you are pregnant? Who will assist you after giving birth?”. He got the blessing of his parents and transferred schools. We first lived in their house in Bulacan because they have a home there which nobody used back then. When I had to go back to university, he transferred again to Manila. It wasn’t the cheaper or the more time-saving option but it was God’s commands. And because he obeyed the Lord, he was able to see Taziana growing up, his bond with his daughter is beyond amazing, he was able to take care of me on the days I needed him the most, he was able to play his roles as a husband, and he was physically and emotionally present in our family. His obedience led to the growth of our family.
- We got married. Though it seems unusual, because I asked God to take complete control of our lives, Mark and I abstained from sex even though I was already pregnant. We didn’t have the peace on the idea of moving in together out of marriage, too. If we wanted to make a difference and to raise a home where Christ is the center, we should start building our home the way God wants to build it. It was the time for us to select what “materials” we want to use to build our home. We were also about to model love, marriage, and family to our daughter.
It was difficult for us to decide so we listed three untouchable factors: giving glory to God, honoring parents, and the (best) welfare for our baby. All other denominators may be moved except these three. We were all over the place since we considered finances a lot, my parents encouraged that we stayed together so that our future family would grow closer together, yet God cannot fully bless us if we don’t meet His standards. We sought a lot of wisdom from different people and sought the very heart of the Lord. The answer all led to marriage. We answered God’s calling to marriage. Because of that, God was able to fully shower us with blessings.
AFTER MARRIAGE. THE EVERYDAY COMMANDMENTS. THE 7 FAMILY PRINCIPLES OF THE OLIVERIAS.
Through the years that we have been together, Mark and I have been more familiar with the Lord’s desire for us. No matter how hard obedience is, I still love it! I love how God commands Mark to treat me with gentleness, to love me, to lead me, and to protect me. I love how God commands me to always honor and respect Mark, to love him, and to support him. God has revealed various of commandments to us that He expects us to apply at home and to pass on to our children. So, we constructed the our family principles. WHAT ARE THESE???
- The King of Our Hearts
“You will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart” Jeremiah 29:13
Making God the King of our hearts means making it our priority to bring glory to God and give Him control over our lives. In every decision making, we make it the biggest point to see the Lord and His heart about it. This also means dethroning other idols that try to replace God in our hearts- addictions, desire for material things, money, and oftentimes, our selfish selves.???
- Obedience Brings Blessings
- Do Everything In Love
Above all, love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
- Be Honest. An open rebuke is better than hidden love.
- Humility and Responsibility
- Guard Your Heart
Does that seem a lot? Hehe. To us, it really doesn’t. When we hear the word obedience, we often think “to be under control of something”, “I can’t do what I want”. But the truth is, every time we obey, we are more free. We stop being under control of earthly thoughts and materials. We can’t always do what our selfish selves desire, but we are able to do much, much, much more.