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As the year is coming to an end and I look back to all that I’ve been through this year, I came to a conclusion that this year is by far the best despite of the pandemic and the chaos that came through. Here are the ten reasons (though there are more) why.
1. Becoming a mom
It’s one of the best things that has ever happened to me. God fulfilled a desire that has been ingrained in my heart long before I got married. About a year ago, I attended a women’s retreat with such hope and expectation that God is going to birth a new thing through me. I shared it with a sister from church and she prayed with me for a baby. After coming home from the retreat, the first thing I did was take a pregnancy test and it came out positive. The journey from pregnancy to motherhood wasn’t easy yet God’s grace was so evident as He provided everything I needed especially strength. The joy of becoming a mother is incomparable and I am so grateful that God let me have this privilege.
2. Overcoming PPD
Due to the pandemic, no one was allowed to stay with me at the hospital when I delivered my baby and that was extremely hard. Unmet expectations made it worst. With the painful recovery, lack of sleep and fatigue in taking care of a newborn, my mental health suffered and I experienced postpartum depression. I got more and more irritated, angry and lonely. I am so grateful for a patient, understanding and supportive husband who is a real gift from God for sticking with me through those hard times. Also to friends and mentors who prayed with me and walked me through it.
3. My refugee friends’ resettlement
God answered a prayer for a refugee family that is very dear to my heart. For over a decade of praying, God finally answered and gave them a resettlement. I believe that His timing is perfect and this year is the perfect time. I have learned so much through this family and journeying with them was truly a humbling experience.
4. Moving up of my advisory class
I’m so glad to be able to see my advisory class graduate primary school before I left. I taught them for three years and they became very close to me. When I became pregnant, I feared that I would leave before the school year is over but the pandemic was actually a blessing in disguise since online teaching made it possible for me to finish the school year with them.
5. Good health of my loved-ones
I’m so grateful that God kept my family and loved-ones in good health all throughout the year.
6. Genuine friends near and far
I am so blessed with amazing friends in all seasons of my life but this year, I came to value genuine friends even more. They were there when I needed help, took care of me when I was sick, celebrated with me, prayed for me, gave me advice, listened to me, cried with me and supported me. They are a true blessing!
7. Fellowship and sumptuous meals
I love connecting and having fellowship over meals. Because of the pandemic and social distancing, it has been a rare thing this year yet I remember every chance we could eat together with friends.
8. Moving to our own place
We’re beyond blessed to be able to purchase our own space in the midst of the pandemic. God provides indeed. He made a way when there seems to be no way. He gave us exactly what we need at the right time.
9. Smooth transition to a new city
Moving out of a comfort zone is always challenging but I’m grateful for the smooth transition to this city. We were warmly welcomed by friends, old and new ones. I‘m adjusting well and I like it here a lot.
10. Long walks
I had the most frequent walks this year and I just love these long walks especially with scenic views. A walk in the nature is always so refreshing and rejuvenating. Another special thing about it was the quality time spent with my husband and deep conversations we had while walking.
I don’t know what the future holds and what awaits me in 2021 but I know the One who holds the future and that gives me peace as I welcome the coming year.
I wish you all a blessed and bountiful New Year!
This gallery contains 2 photos.
This gallery contains 1 photo.
The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8
Moving to Eastern Europe was a big leap of faith for me and a new season to experience God’s grace in new ways. Though uncertain of my future here, I decided to submit to my husband and follow his decision in settling to his home country. I left Asia, my job, my home, my family and friends, and my beloved church.
Before I left, I received so many prayers and words of encouragement and blessings from my loving friends and pastors. Many of them assured me that God goes before me and prepares everything for me. Knowing that so many prayed and will keep praying encouraged me a lot to face an unknown future.
On the first week upon my arrival, I had the opportunity to rest and meditate on the changes I have to embrace as well as pray and wait on God. I asked God for specific things just like a daughter would do to her father. First: a community of faith who can journey with us. Second: friends who will encourage us to grow deeper in the Lord. Third: a job in the capital city.
Thirteen days later, God surprised me with a teaching job in one of the international schools in the capital city which I happen to get by randomly sending my resumé to well-known international schools in the city. I came for the interview and to my great delight met the first Filipina who paved the way to my quick employment because of her excellent teaching performance. We later found out that she is also a Christian and invited us to the only international church she’s been attending.
I taught summer course to a group of students for a month which I enjoyed a lot. And then I was given a month and a half holidays which I plan to use in learning the language, meeting new friends and preparing for the next academic year. We also began travelling to the West, South and East of Ukraine and I am so amazed not just by the beauty of the places we’ve been to but with the friendliness and generosity of their people. God has blessed us with awesome friends everywhere we went who also loves Jesus. It deeply encourages me and assures me that indeed God goes before me and prepares everything for me.
God is growing me and increasing my faith. His answers to my specific prayers prove His goodness and faithfulness to me. I can only boast in His love and grace and thank Him and praise Him greatly.
I encourage you to listen to one of my favorite songs for all seasons. Indeed, we have such a good Abba Father who loves us so deeply, whose ways are perfect, who gives unexplainable peace and comfort and never leaves us nor forsake us. He goes before us and prepares the way for us. He desires only what’s best for His children.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
I recommend this beautiful song for your prayer time today. Indeed, God sees the end from the beginnning. Our future is secure in Him.
God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours and He knows what’s best for us. He’s working things out for our good and so even when we don’t see the answers to our prayers and the waiting is taking longer than we expect, we can trust His faithfulness.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite spirit; a broken and contrite heart, He will not despise.” Psalm 51:17
Jesus once spoke about the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector who were praying in the temple. The Pharisee stood and prayed a prayer of self-exaltation that came out of his proud heart. Meanwhile, the tax collector who can’t even look up to heaven cried out a desperate prayer asking for mercy because he recognized what a great sinner he was. Jesus said that the tax collector went home more justified than the Pharisee. Why? Because those who lift themselves up will be humbled down and those who humble themseleves before God will be lifted up. Maybe some of the people who were there condemned the tax collector the same way the Pharisee did but God didn’t. People look at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
Pride is the root of all evil and God is against any form of evil. But He gives grace to the humble and grants forgiveness to the contrite heart. God is moved by the tears and desperate cry of a truly repentant heart.
“This is who God esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at His word.” Isaiah 66:2
God honors the meek and those who submit to His Word. He never pushes away anyone who seeks Him, who cry out for mercy and forgiveness and who longs to be restored.
Have you ever wished you had more time? Or that somehow, time will stop but you can still continue working to meet your deadlines? How do you keep up with the overwhelming demands of your day?
We live in a day and age where there are too many distractions. There’s just so much to do and oftentimes, we wish we had more time. We are often bombarded by responsibilities and tasks that require our immediate attention. As days go by, we start to feel sapped of energy most of the time and then before we know it, we are already burned out.
How do we regain our strength? The Bible assures us that though our heart and flesh may fail, still God is the strength of our heart. Yes, we may be burned out from time to time but God sustains us when we are weak. He is our strength and shield and He always helps us because He cares for us. He cares about even the tiniest detail of our day. It is God who arms us with strength and keeps our way secure. He satisfies us with good things so that our youth is renewed like the eagle’s. He longs to give us good things but even in bad times, God never let go. He patiently walks us through renewal and strengthening.
Therefore, let us fix our eyes on Jesus and acknowledge that in Him, we can do all things because He strengthens us. As we gaze into His beauty and majesty and become more aware of His presence, our hearts become filled with joy and it strengthens us. As we put Him first on our daily schedule and spend the best time of our day with Him, we get the assurance that all the other things concerning our day will be taken care of and added to us. Each day that I spend quality time with God and soak myself in His Word before anything else, are the days that I am most joyful, kind, peaceful and productive.
Philippians 4:13, Nehemiah 8:10, Psalm 46:1, Psalm 73:26, Psalm 28:7, 2 Samuel 22:33, Psalm 103:5, Matthew 6:33
God’s plan is not to harm us but to prosper us and give us hope and a future. He sent Jesus so we may have life and live it to the full. He doesn’t want us to live another day defeated and miserable.
Trials and setbacks are inevitable, yet we can choose to put our trust in God and hold on firmly to His promises. Let us take Him by His Word and trust that He is able to work all things for our good, even those that breaks us, for we are called according to His purposes.
Indeed, we are called to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. In the midst of struggles and grief, where should we put our hope in? In God alone, because He is an ever-present help in times of need. He’s the One who never left our side. He will never turn His face away from those who earnestly seek Him.
When the discouragements and difficulties threaten to knock us down, we should return to our fortress, as prisoners of hope because God promises restoration and renewal. God is the only one who can make the valley of trouble a door of hope. Let this joyful hope be an anchor for our soul, both sure and steadfast so that nothing can move us, not even life’s greatest testing.
1 Corinthians 13:13, Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 5:5, Romans 8:28, Romans 12:12, Psalm 39:7, Hosea 2:15, Hebrews 6:19