This year’s breakthrough

In church, we always pray for breakthroughs of different kinds – financial, for relationships, and spiritual. I’m sure there are other kinds but these are at the top of my head. Back then, I always believed holding on to God would bring me the comfort of the worldly kind. Maybe if I believed in God, I’d be successful in what I do, I’d get rich, I’d be happy 100% of the time.

Apparently, that’s not the case, although there are still times I have that tendency. Every day, I talk to God because it’s just been an essential part of me. Even more than that, I like to think it encompasses my whole being. Every time I’m hesitant of something, it’s because I think twice about whether God approves of it. I talk to God every day, saying my usual prayers, but there are notable moments when His word really just strikes. I wondered why – why can’t it be every day that I rejoice in His word? Why is it that some days, His word seems ordinary, because it’s not answering any of my questions?

I realized maybe it’s because if we don’t want anything from God, we won’t really bother listening to what He has to say. We knock on God’s door only when we want something, but when everything’s smooth-sailing, we don’t make that extra effort to know what He wants to say.

I am still plagued by my favorite troubles. There’s this constant fear that I won’t be able to reach my goals. There’s the usual crappy feeling when it comes to people “having more” than I do. A lot of bad thoughts surround me, but the question He has recently answered is if He exists.

I know it’s ridiculous to proclaim to have faith in Him while still having those thoughts at the back of my head. But I’m honest about it to Him, and I do believe in Him. I’m holding on. He answered me (refer to previous post) through Exodus 17. It was my exact question – “Is the Lord among us or not?”

There are a lot of other times I experienced God, most of them chronicled in this blog. This blog is also evidence of my past self and I realized I never want to be like that again. I have faith I won’t turn away from my relationship with God. That’s my breakthrough of the year. This is the year I truly found God. I always believed in Him, but I realized it was always easier to thank Him when life was good. When it became rough (as it did for the past four years), I hid from Him even though I knew all along He had always been there. It was useless, but it was also amazing how He welcomed me with open arms despite everything I’ve hidden inside me. I feel things when I am reminded of His presence, just like relationships we usually have. I cry, my heart leaps, and I smile. I realized nothing on earth will ever match that. But during tough times, I now try my best to turn to Him, say sorry when I don’t, and talk to Him and confess what I really feel. He is enough every single time.

There is this time in a day when there is a huge urge to blog, but it is not now. I just got off work – if you can call it that – from my online job, and the first week of second year of med school just ended. It’s a Friday night but I’m gonna end it with work with some laundry in between. I’m tired, but for some weird reason, I’m not too exhausted. I’d like to think it’s the vitamins, diet habit changes, and prayer. I had a beautiful encounter with God last Wednesday. It had to do with my doubts (what’s new?). I was having all sorts of thoughts – how do people succeed in med school without God? Is there really a God? Is God and His promises really that much stronger than the troubles of this world?

I’ve been reading the Bible chronologically, and I encountered Exodus 17. It was perfect for that day. These verses reflect what I’ve been thinking for the past few weeks about med school and life in general:

And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lordsaying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

I believe this was His answer (though it came before the verse above).

I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.

Naturally, I cried. It was me being reminded of His presence again. Some days, I can feel so alone, and He’d come comforting me right away. It’s amazing to have this relationship with Him.

Anyway, I haven’t been getting good sleep, simply because I have class. But I used to be worried about not being able to wake up in time for class. Apparently, I’ve been to worried about second year to have that problem. I haven’t been sleeping well. To be honest, I’m nervous and excited for second year. I love how the things we study are more clinical. We had our first patient last Wednesday. Though the preceptor did most of the work, it was exciting. We are going to have our first graded history-taking and assisted physical examination on Wednesday. So many things are going on. I have eleven subjects, not counting labs, and I have classes on Saturday sometimes, too. It’s all new and nerve-wracking, but “this is it” is always ringing in the back of my mind. I’m just hoping and praying I won’t be burnt out to the point that I don’t see the point in it anymore, although I really doubt that would happen because I squeal in excitement from time to time at the thought of potentially becoming a doctor.

There are so many things to thank the Lord for, but I feel quite guilty for not having spent much time with Him lately. Maybe I’ve been busy, maybe I’ve been busy being confused, but right now, my roommates aren’t home, and I should be having some quiet time. I will. I will.

Thank God for letting me make it to second year of medicine. Thank God we found our dog yesterday. Thank God there’s actually internet access in our condo. Thank God for everyday protection and blessings. Thank God for provisions. Thank God for this desire and will to keep on pursuing my dreams. Thank God for this life, thank God for every single day.

We found our lost baby!!! We lost him yesterday afternoon around our village but could not search around because it was raining. I knew I heard him barking last night but we hoped he would manage to find his way back. Mom and I tried to search for him this afternoon, to no avail. We asked someone who was about to walk her dog if she had seen ours. She told us people around the area would pick random dogs up. She witnessed mostly tricycle drivers or people from random cars do it. They would either sell the dogs or keep them for themselves.

A few hours later I heard him barking again, and my uncle and I rushed outside to chase the sound. A teenage boy found us searching and he approached us. He gave us descriptions of the dog he found yesterday and it all fit. He told us a tricycle driver had taken him and claimed him to be his. The boy said he knew where he lived and that he would alert us if he’s brought the dog back. My uncle and I went back to the house and just less than thirty minutes later, the doorbell rang. The boy came back with the dog and my goodness, I swear, I will treat that baby like a baby from now on. Thank goodness I won’t start the school year without him. Thank God I’d still get to see him turn eight!

Lost dog

We lost our dog yesterday. He’s turning eight in August. He’s a male Lhasa Apso. We dunno how it happened, but we didn’t find him anywhere at home anymore. He doesn’t respond to me anymore because our house-help is the one who feeds him, but we tried searching for him a while ago, to no avail.

I dunno how I feel about this, but it has taken my mind off school for a bit. I was worrying about the upcoming year, and this suddenly happens. I just wish whoever took him is gonna take good care of him, but miraculously, I wish he would find his way back. I wish he just went off on a little adventure.

The expiration of my summer

I just overslept as what I thought was a culmination of all my sleep-ful nights, because this morning was the last time I was not gonna have an alarm clock in ten months. (Well, four months, because we get a mid-year break in December). My hands smell like garlic from chopping stuff up in the kitchen and I realized I was gonna miss those mornings, when I just help my grandma and we chat in between.

I was looking at the planner on my phone, looking back at my longest summer ever – four, whole months. I remembered dreading it, because I hated shifting momenta. We had exams the whole of March, so when we finally, suddenly had nothing to do, we were like lost sheep. Plus, mom cooks food for me before I go to the condo for the school week, and I have the privilege of telling her what I want. In this house, I eat what they eat, and do remember that my grandma loves little fish with many bones. For some weird reason, I have adapted to it. I don’t seem to crave for meat anymore, and I love how light salads make me feel. I think I might just crave for little fish when I’m in school, too.

April

I worked for the whole month of April, but before it started, we went to an overnight trip to a family friend’s guest house a few hours away from the city. It was a beautiful house, and I’m touched by how they love to entertain and invite people. It’s really as if the house was made for our Bible study family and other friends. For work, we interviewed mothers from poor urban and rural communities about health care. I had blogged about my experiences there. It was exhausting and we only had Sundays for free days, but I learned a lot.

May

I watched an Owl City concert, which was free. I remember we had a lot of celebrations because it was Mother’s day and it was my uncle’s birthday. I interviewed the president of the student council, and up to now, some of his words ring in my head. The Bad Blood music video came out (yup, I’m a fan), I attended a Harvard neurology lecture series and circumcised for the first time ever. I also had a job interview for tutoring, but they didn’t hire me because I would be busy within the school year and they wanted someone for the whole year round. I wrote some things for the school paper, we went to the friend’s guest house again, and I had a two-night trip with my college friends.

June

Not much happened this month because some of my friends already had classes, but we had a sleepover to end the summer (well, their summer). The most notable thing about June was that it was my grandma’s surprise 80th birthday party, and we were busy the whole month preparing for it and dodging my grandma.

July

I entered an online job at the end of June, so I worked on it most of July. I caught up with a friend, slept over at my aunt’s house several times, one of the times with my ten-year-old cousin. We finally (finally!) enrolled in school and my dad’s relatives paid for my tuition. We also bought medical supplies, and I finally (finally!) have my own stethoscope. I was really excited about that. I also ran errands and finished requirements for school, repainted my new study table and the pantry for our condo. At the moment, I’m savoring the last few days. I might be over-thinking it. I still can’t believe how four months can be so long, but how time could also be so fast. That reminds me how I’m pretty excited about Earth 2.0. A huge part in me believes extra-terrestrial life exists, and I don’t think it has to contradict my faith. I think it even supports it, seeing as how God’s power and creativity is unimaginably vast.

This summer turned out well. Though my mom and I wish we could’ve gone on trips, we don’t have the budget for that. Even so, it was pretty meaningful. I thought I was gonna bum around the whole time, but I didn’t. I also thought the idle time would bring me away from God, but it didn’t. I’m both excited and nervous about school. There are a lot of new things to learn, but also expectations and goals to keep. I don’t want to worry about it anymore. I’d like to leave it all to God.

My clinically depressed brother

I really dunno how to respond to people who know about his condition. I also don’t know if I’m doing my best about it. Probably not. But I think the best thing I could do is to pray for him, and I do it every night. People tell me I should talk to him, ask him how he is, treat him well, tell him about God’s goodness despite what happened, etc., etc. as if it’ that easy. Now, I dunno if I’m defending the fact that I’m not doing it, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t tried. I greet him every day. I say ‘hello’ to him but he acts as if he didn’t hear anything. When you ask him something, he responds irately. I used to drive him to school (when he was still in it) and I wash and iron his clothes. Plus, he’s mad 100% of the time because of our slow internet connection, and that’s because of our area and because there are multiple internet users in this house. He will not sit down for a decent talk. He is rude to my mom all the time and used to disobey grandma’s rules, even though she was so kind to take us in. All he does is complain about how life sucks, how it’s mom’s fault this time, and how sad it is that dad died because he held the key to his dreams of living and working abroad. If you must know, when dad was alive, he hated him. He used to blame dad for everything that was happening, especially the fall in our finances. Now that he’s dead, I’m pretty sure he’s holding on to his memory because he regrets hating him so much. Now, he’s busy hating on mom but he claimed to her that if he loses her, this world wouldn’t mean anything anymore.

Now, I don’t understand how or why he would abuse someone he’s afraid to lose.

I wouldn’t write about it if it didn’t affect him so much, but it just bothers me that the rest of the world thinks I’m not doing anything, when, really, there are situations in which the only thing you could do is pray. It was like that with my mom for 21 years with my dad, and she only saw the fruits of it in the last month of his life. It is unfair in the standards of this world, but my mom has set her eyes on God, and I believe it, too – that God is good and that our prayers were heard, even though we weren’t able to be with dad anymore. I’m worried people think I’m even maltreating my brother, which is why he’s like that, or that I don’t care about him. To be honest, thinking about this is giving me a headache. I’m so exhausted.

I know I should end this on a positive note. The thing is, I’m still praying for him. And I have faith. I am positive that God will use him for His purpose. All this, like everything else, will come to pass. I consider it a blessing he hasn’t given up on life.

We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose.

Romans 8: 28