One of my spiritual mentors and angel on earth, tita Rose, is a contributor for St. Paul United Methodist Church newsletter. In her segment, Getting to Know You, she asked to feature my story for the month of December 2010.
Here are my answers to her interview questions:
1.Tell me about your family.
I’m a blessed only child to amazing parents. Most of you probably know my dear mom, Mila Sebastian. My beloved dad, Arnulfo Sebastian, went home to be with the Lord in 2001. In 2009 we welcomed my stepdad, Dennis Magcale, into our family.
I’m also a blessed full-time stay-at-home mom to 4 wonderful children (Phil 23, Immanuel 21, Ian 18, and Isabella 11) and wife to a loving husband (Russ) of 24 years.
2. I'm aware that you're privileged to be a stay-at-home mom. Do you have regrets about this arrangement?
I indeed consider it a great privilege and awesome gift being a stay-at-home mom. There are so many wonderful blessings brought about by full-time motherhood. I am very grateful for all the precious memories of our children’s growing up years that I was able to fully partake in....as team mom in baseball, assistant to my husband as den leader in cub-scouting, taekwondo coach, and ballet mom. Full time motherhood allows me to take Isabella to her daily training at SF Ballet, attend and volunteer at Nutcracker shows and accompany her at summer programs. All these are made possible because of the blessing of full time motherhood. Being a stay at home mom also enables me to fully guide my children in realizing their full potential. I am very proud and grateful to say that they all excel in their own respective callings. Best of all, they are all loving children, beautiful inside and out. So I can honestly say that I do not have any regrets.
3.Tell me about one life-changing or unforgettable moment in your life.
We all know that every person has his/her own stories of trials that make way for a change in one’s life. Some call these moments as “wake-up calls”. I like to call them “opportunities for transformation”. Mine came in the form of financial difficulty. Prior to my personal relationship with the Lord, I led a “trying-to-do-it-all and have-it-all” lifestyle. We kept up with the worldly standards of accumulating material wealth. We even moved several times in search of the better and bigger home. Then in 2004 came my opportunity for transformation....my husband lost his lucrative contract, our main source of income. To make a long story short, we were forced to sell one of our homes in 2006(the big one which I thought was my dream home). Though it was a very difficult decision at the time, I realize now that it was our amazing Lord God Almighty rescuing me from my superficial and exhausting lifestyle. Not only was I released from the chains of unsatisfying way of life, it was the best course of action (I’d like to call it “Divine Appointment”). We sold our home for so much more than what it would have sold in the economy that followed. And not only that...because of it, we were able to purchase a home in Pismo Beach close to Cal Poly. Amazing, don’t you think? Just exactly the way we know only God would and can do...the way He operates...amazingly perfect.
4.What's your favorite biblical passage and how does this impact your life?
I have a lot of favorite scriptures. But in line with my story of financial difficulty as my “opportunity for transformation”, Matthew 6:33 comes to mind: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
I also use this verse in my daily tasks. It reminds me to put God first as my top priority and a lot of unnecessary things just seem to naturally fall off my to-do list on their own.
5. How do you make use of your time?
This question brings to mind Proverbs 31: 27 - She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. As a veteran home manager, I was able to establish daily/weekly routines that I try to follow in order to “watch over the affairs of our household”. I have to say that solitude is an important part of my daily rituals. It is logged in my schedule as “time with God”. I found that when I start my day with God, my entire day has direction. If I start feeling overwhelmed, I know I somehow neglected to include God (or if I forget, my angel daughter would sweetly remind me). I realized that the busier I am, the more I need to make time for God. The discipline of solitude enables me to make the best use of my time each day and is yet another blessing I’m grateful for.
6. How did you learn the discipline of solitude?
I was able get the training of the discipline of solitude when the Lord brought us to Pismo Beach. Little did I know that our move to Pismo Beach, which was then full of uncertainties, would become an essential part of my journey toward spiritual maturity. It was a beautiful place by the sea showcasing the grandeur of God’s creation thereby inviting daily contemplation and repose. It was there where I got the chance to get closer to the Lord. Away from the busy city life, I got the chance to cultivate the habit of not only starting and ending my day with God but also including Him in all I do. Talk about God’s amazing divine plan in turning what appeared to be a trial into an opportunity for transformation!
7. What makes you happy and what makes you sad?
My personal relationship with the Lord makes me happy and also all the blessings He has given me...full-time motherhood, family, friends, health, my bible study group....
When you have a personal relationship with the Lord, your perspective on sadness is different...like I said, I like to call them opportunities for transformation. But to answer your question, it makes me sad when my personal relationship with the Lord is not right because of something I did or did not do for His glory.
8. Who is a wise person in your life? Why do you think so?
The person(s) I consider wise are those who have a deep personal relationship with the Lord. And in my life, that would be the ones who brought me and continues to bring me closer to the Lord....tita Rose Agana and ate Lolit Flores, my spiritual mentors, angels, and bible study leaders. They are indeed wise individuals whose relationship with the Lord is not only personal or private but also communal as they share their wisdom and blessings to everyone they meet.
9.How do you want to be remembered by people around you?
I would love to be remembered by the people around me as someone who reflected the love of Christ. Someone whose smile, hug, words, welcomed them home to God’s love. It would be delightful to hear my children thanking God for a mother who lived the virtues she wanted to see in them.