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When Your Misery Becomes Your Ministry

I struggled with depression early on in my life. There were no wild moments, which caused this relentless, even crippling awareness of life and its breadth. I come from a good, nurturing family, an established high school yet time and time again, I found myself undeniably sad. On good days, I was simply brooding yet on worse occasions, I welcomed suicidal thoughts. Thankfully, I was too much of a coward to do anything about it. I am reminded that depression does not choose who it enfolds. It disregards an individual’s age, status, and even faith.

As a young girl, I was bullied. I was a naïve teenager welcoming the newness of the self I was slowly growing into. I reveled in attention, which I found myself subject to – just not exactly how I imagined it to be. Now at 23, I find myself living out these unhappy parts of my youth during dull days.

On Fridays, I remember going home to my mother, shamelessly breaking down. I was surrounded by other women who were determined to make life miserable for me. Familiar scenes from 80s films and chick lit novels played out in real life. I was the quiet protagonist hiding in dusty libraries with my nose buried in a book, hoping – even just for an hour – to escape my reality.

I hardly knew these people yet they attacked me: through boisterous laughter, intimidating stares, and unending gossip. For a young girl so adamant on people liking her, I was devastated. I felt as if it was my fault. Why was I so different? We were all discovering ourselves, and somehow, these strangers lashed out their vulnerability, their curiosities on an easy target.

In my early college years, I went through even darker days. I found myself spiraling downwards a path I promised myself not to tread anymore. I became more active on the Internet, a public platform where it is so easy to breed gratuitous hatred – after all, we are protected by our anonymity. I created a blog, an honest space for me to share my daily musings, passions, and frustrations. Through time, while creating and strengthening my personal brand, I found myself subject to strangers’ hostility.

I received hate mail on a daily basis. From cruel opinions about my appearance, loathing sugarcoated as criticism towards my art, to even more repulsive queries about my sexuality, I was bombarded with statements an 18-year-old should not be receiving. It even went as far as getting a gang rape threat one December day. Worse, I encountered having a troll send a hoax message to a close friend that my parents were dead. I honestly do not know how I carried so much hatred in my heart.

I discovered that hurt people hurt people. I could easily have repaid evil with evil but a change of heart and a renewing of spirit led me to tread on higher places. Through a rediscovery of my faith, an all-encompassing transformation by grace while eternally committing myself to Christ, I continue to direct my gaze towards that, which is right, pure, and admirable.

Five, perplexing, life-changing years later, my misery has become my ministry. Creating She Makes Him Known, a personal passion and faith blog targeted to young women, I find myself communing with strangers who go through the overwhelming struggles of my past. It is a product of years of learning about His character, understanding compassion, and leading my heart away from depression. This blessed gift of shared brokenness allows me to make peace with my younger self who embraced fear, misery, and rejection. A key verse from Genesis 50:20 says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” I hold on to this passage during days of unnecessary uncertainty. Through undeserved hatred – silenced by my insurmountable Love – I have embraced a cause, which is infinitely and eternally greater than myself.

This entry was originally published in the July-August issue of Meg Magazine. I praise the Lord for the opportunity to share my (main) ministry on this particular platform.

She Makes Him Known

Today, I give you She Makes Him Known, a product of months of labor and years of unquestionable growth.

When I created my first blog seven years ago – a month before I started university – it was a safe place for me to document my process of healing. I was a young girl completely lost in her emotions; the only way I could make sense of my reality was through writing. I documented this season solely for myself until I slowly (and unintentionally) built an audience. I found out that many were, at that time, going through the same turmoil – the big, magical blessing of shared brokenness. People need hope. People need to feel understood. People need empathy.

Through time, I discovered that this public platform may be used to fill people’s hearts with love and light. Ultimately, by bravely sharing my faith, I tether my passions and every individual’s deep need for God. I spent years silencing my inner demons and finally had the courage to move. I started this and am continuing the unbelievably good work of the Lord in my life.

Welcome to my new home. I hope that you find a part of yourself in it – and Jesus too.

For the Lord will cause something new to happen – (she) will embrace her God. (Jeremiah 31:22)

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A Prayer

You are restless, exhausted, yet hopeful. For a future that blossoms with infinite possibilities. It may be too tiresome, but you were made to dream. Every aching atom in your fragile body cries out for a promise that is solely yours.

Please forgive yourself.

There are countless of days when you spend too much time escaping the now, breathlessly racing towards the future, forgetting to take in this beautiful mess, the glorious chaos. You pass by life unaware of the tiny inconveniences that make up your story. It may all seem like random accidents but there is a relentless Love so selfless, that brings all–ugly, crazy, beautiful–things together for your good.

Wait it out.

Your timeline is not someone else’s. Please have patience in your weary, stubborn heart. Breathe and take it all in. Take all the time you need to grow. You are greater than you believe.

Let your wounds transform you.

Cry out when you are pained. There is no shame in breaking down, in feeling unworthy, in wrestling with your faith. You need to hurt to discover more about yourself. Stitch every wound with kindness, and let it be transformed into something greater than yourself.

You are not alone.

Be present. Let your heart be open to Love. When you are overwhelmed, remember that Love is great enough to carry the weight from and with you.

I pray you never forget what you are capable of. Hold onto your faith when all else seems impossible. You are becoming.

Forgive me, I am only human.

Forgive me, for bearing all my heart’s scars from lost wars, for romanticizing pain until it envelops me, making me lose sight of Your bloodied hands, Your tattered ribs, while You gasp for oxygen, for light, and for Purpose.

Forgive me, for taking love that isn’t mine to keep, reaching out for hands to hold and hearts to fill, while you relentlessly offer Yourself to me day by day while I search for a home I could only find in Your arms.

Forgive me, for my emotions which change like the seasons, one day passionately in pursuit of You and the next weary of what You can give me, while Your love for me courses through the ocean of time – steadfast and insurmountable.

Forgive me, for feeding my loneliness with empty, reckless lies and lecturing my heart on how to love without giving away love when the truth is, You have conquered the impossible, You have given me my worth.

Forgive me, for guarding my heart out of fear, for building walls too high to pass through, when you have opened the gate of Eternity, of Perfect Love to give and receive love as I please.

Forgive me, I am afraid to love.

Forgive me, for loving others more than I would want to love you.

Forgive me, my love is conditional.

Forgive me, I am only human.

(Inspired by Forgive me, I am only God by Fr. Arsenio C. Jesena)

God’s will is whatever.

God’s will is whatever.

Every time I am crippled with fear and anxiety, I am filled with peace knowing this is the effervescent truth.

For years, I have troubled myself believing that my choices are either in accordance to His will or they are not.

That is very paralyzing.

How do you move knowing that your choice may lead to a life filled with struggle and misery? How do you console yourself when everything is going exactly the opposite of how you wanted, how you envisioned your life to be? How do you steady your heart when you are drowning in self-doubt and insecurity because of your choice you faithfully prayed about?

Our faith becomes stale and listless when we wait for a promise that was never delivered in the first place. We distance ourselves from God when our prayers remain unanswered and unfulfilled. We feed our pain with comforting lies.

This is the truth. His will is exactly in accordance with our choices.

His will is for you to choose a job that later on, you may end up hating, knowing full well that your colleague needs you to get closer to Him. His will is for you to fail that exam you stayed up all night for, to shatter your pride and leave you broken, for Him. His will is for you to get your heart carelessly broken because He needs you to understand that He alone can fill your emptiness.

Life is filled with countless of detours.

He is great enough to tether these seemingly random events, which always end up pointing to His reality, His presence, His holiness.

Now take that fear, it no longer serves you. You are now free.

This post is inspired by Elevation Church’s message entitled ‘God’s Will is Whatever.’ I watched this a year ago, and it completely changed my perspective.