Since I started writing in September, I have been vocal about the parent’s spiritual life (relationship to God) as the foundation of our parenting.
2016 is the best year for me because of how my faith has been tested, refined and grown; and has consequently matured me as a person and more importantly as a parent.
I started 2016 with the theme “Go!” and my banner verse being “My presence shall go with you and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14) and as I look back, I realized that I carried and lived out this message all throughout the year, especially at my most [physically]painful point in June 2016 when God tested my faith in the area of health and wealth.
From June to August I fell ill. I was in and out of the hospital for a series of blood works, check ups and even biopsy—at one point the doctors considered the possibility of having me checked for the Big C. At that time I could neither do tapings nor bake. And the fact that I had eight different doctors and they could not put their finger on what was wrong with me, put me in much more agony.
At the peak of my pain and wondering why I got severely sick at 28, I cried out to the Lord as I know pain always has a purpose. Was He asking me to slow down because I was taking in more work than my physical body could manage? At that time I was juggling three TV shows, a child I send to school and tutor and cook for myself, a home-based business, a column and a blog to maintain with only an average of four hours of sleep a day.
Nevertheless, I continued to worship, so much so that even when I couldn’t stand up due to countless lumps on the soles of my feet and I had suspicious nodes on my left axilla, I would bear the discomfort to rise and raise my hands in praise and worship. How ironically liberating I felt with the pain I had.
I cried silently at night with my daughter sleeping soundly in my arms, not knowing if I may already be afflicted by cancer then. The thought of leaving her so early saddened me, the many milestones I may never witness, the future I may not be able to secure.
But the Lord comforted me when He reminded and whispered to my heart that He is my daughter’s Father, in the same way that He is my Father too. God assured me that He will take care of my child because she too is His child.
At that very low and weak point in my life where I had to give up where I relied our future on, I offered my life [should God want to take it already], entrusted my daughter to His care and also surrendered full control of our lives to Him.
During that season when my health was down, the Lord was teaching me to trust him more to take care of Gummy and I— physically and financially. That my security is really not in the amount of work I have to continuously generate income to support our needs nor our funds for the future that I am able to secure to cover our wants, but on Him who has the future in His Hands.
Yes, God has been beyond real to me as Jehovah-Jireh or My Provider but I also humbly admitted and realized that I had been overworking myself to secure our future—my way. And as a way to test that trust, the Lord prompted me to resign from doing teleseryes which taped thrice a week and undeniably was the source of the bulk of my income.
He asked me to let go of a great-paying job as an act of faith in obedience to Him. In exchange for physical recuperation, rest for my soul and more time for Gummy to focus on my calling as a parent.
As I look back, I realized that the Lord had to physically immobilize me (because otherwise I will not slow down from working) for me to literally stop and reassess my life and priorities.
I realized that we are not put on this Earth just to work and overwork ourselves for bills and our increasingly high cost of living. God also wants us to enjoy. And joy is found in so many things outside of an established career or a big bank account—such as sleeping early, waking up to enjoy quiet moments with Him, serving my daughter breakfast, preparing her lunch, sending her to school, doing ordinary things with and for her, making friends and building relationships.
Ultimately joy is found with peace in your heart when you align your life according to His will. When you obey Him, the blessings are guaranteed and abundant. My theme this year was “Go!” but ironically God asked me first to let go before I could go.
My decision shocked many. It did not make sense to the world. Retiring before I even hit 30? But just like how He commanded Noah, Abraham, Moses and David to go and do things for Him, despite not knowing exactly where to go, I also just obeyed. And in exchange I received peace, peace that the world can never give.
I start this year with the message I closed with last year with hopes that you keep this perspective as you face difficulties: Every pain has a purpose. Our suffering will make us stronger.
We can find joy in the face of trials because God always work things out for our good (Romans 8:28). God is with you always, in anything, in everything, whether you feel it or not. And finally, may you consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of faith produces perseverance.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4). Trials test us to refine. And when it is done, we are refined like silver (Psalm 66:10).
God bless us all this 2017!