It was over an afternoon snack a few years ago with my close friends that I learned about noting your life’s Milestone Markers. These were events that left significant marks in our lives, the times when we learned, led to change and to take note of God’s sovereignty over our lives. This year was notably worth remembering because of the many events that truly changed my life and to have something to look back to about how great this year was.
Mark and I got married on the first Saturday of the year under the cool afternoon sun. Saying “yes” to Mark agreeing to his courtship (2010) was also my “yes” to becoming his girlfriend (2011) and wife eventually. Thank God we stuck together and chose to grow up from our differences. We are grateful for a lot of things especially to the people who guided us throughout our relationship.
A welcome surprise came when we found out we’re pregnant! I remember waking up one night after we got married and seeing Mark laying his hands over my tummy, praying for a baby boy. After a few weeks of suspicion and me having some hints that I may be pregnant, we did the pregnancy test. I was giddy and excited and nervous as I watched the line on the test being doubled. I ran to Mark and my parents crying happily and announced that I’m positive. It may have come too soon but we believe it was the perfect time and our hearts have been prepared for the baby’s coming.
We first spent the few weeks after our wedding at our home in Antipolo, set to eventually find a place to rent near our workplace in Paranaque. The travel from our home to work and back was quite exhausting. When I was confirmed pregnant, we hastened the search for a new home and thanked God for the favor of leading us to a studio-type apartment in Rivera Village just a walking distance to work. I am also thankful to my husband who’s really a gentleman when he kept me from doing work as we transitioned to our new home. He cleaned all corners, moved the things around and all.
Amidst the new adjustments—living together on our own, being pregnant—I was challenged with a new task at work as a Marketing Officer in Charge. I never wanted to lead and felt more comfortable in my current position. But God, through our wise boss, spurred me to evaluate myself as well as I accept this new responsibility. It was another moment of surrender to and confidence in the Lord who was in the first place the one who positioned me where I am and the giver of my abilities. I guess this was also the time when we first saw the baby via ultrasound.
It has been a long time since our whole family took a time off for a family outing. It was also doubled as my sister’s birthday and mother’s day celebration which Mama and I (an upcoming one!) share. I was close to the end of my first trimester and our baby was strong to endure the uphill travel to Antipolo and all the swimming I did that summer.
Finally, this was the time when we found out what the baby’s gender will be. My husband was high in his anticipation of a baby boy. Almost all the things we bought when we moved in to our apartment were blue to suit the upcoming baby as he said. So I had my ultrasound and learned that we were having a girl. Yes it was not what we hoped for, honestly, but we were all the more thankful that God still knows best. We were just as excited to finally meet her!
Few months before, I accompanied my parents to get their passports then my sister came with them to apply for a US visa. I asked my colleagues to pray for favor on this matter so my parents could visit my brother’s family in the US and assist them in taking care of their kids even for just 6 months. Then I received the envelope for them. Their passports got the multiple entries visa with 10 years expiration. As soon as this good news came, my sister in law got their tickets and they were scheduled to leave on September 28. I was happy for my parents. It was such a huge favor, though we know that we will not be physically with them on my giving birth and the coming holidays.
I was entering my third trimester and my husband and I decided to look for a bigger place to make room for the baby’s things. He was the busy one asking around and looking for a place weeks before August. Finally, we went back to the 1 bedroom apartment unit in a 3-storey building that we got a chance to see months before we married. One unit on the third floor is still available and we reserved it. We didn’t know how we pooled together the downpayment we needed but the Lord provided exactly how much was required. We were even able to shell out some help to a family need.
This was an important month for the whole CSM family as we joined the annual Manila International Book Fair, and I was nearly on the last stretch of my pregnancy. So much work has to be done and it was a challenging time for the Marketing team as well. God sustained us still and allowed us to make things done while I did not reach the point of exhaustion. The month ended with the CSM 25th anniversary celebration banquet and Mama and Papa’s Departure for US. This was one of the busiest months.
On October 9, I gave birth to a beautiful chinita Baby girl. We named her Lauren Maria Elise, which meant “noble/wise, satisfaction in God.” The labor was excruciating and the effort was so worth it. I praise God for the graceful entry of our baby into this world and sustaining me throughout the labor and the recovery. I commend my husband for enduring the process as well and my family and friends who supported us all the way.
This month was an extension of my maternity leave. I enjoy every moment of motherhood for the first time while recovering my full strength and learning step by step in nurturing a newborn baby. Mia and I established our time of breastfeeding, sleeping (a lot), and getting to know each other more. We celebrated her first month and my husband and sister were just so sweet to add surprise to my idea of just a simple celebration when they invited our friends over.
I was welcomed back to work on December 9, joined the zumba session at the office, had a Luau Christmas party, and of course, the celebration of both Mark’s (December 26th) and my (5th) birthday. I have to thank my in-laws for taking care of our baby while we work. We celebrated our first Christmas as a family.
There are things that are truly worth remembering. But besides these events, it’s God’s hand at work in every situation, whether big or small or good or bad, that deserves acknowledgment and thanksgiving. Despite my shortcomings, it is still the most important decision to surrender your life to the Lord and all He will not fail in giving you the best days of your life each year.
“Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
For in perfect faithfulness
You have done wonderful things
Things planned long ago.”