Breaking Free from Depression

It was around this time last year when I went through one of the toughest battles of my life. Depression. Yes, you read that right, DEPRESSION.

wp-image-665531710(photo not mine)

It was something I had not imagined myself going through. It was so real and difficult. Even my close friends couldn’t believe it because I’d always displayed a happy facade whenever I was with them. But deep inside and when I’m all alone, every part of me felt crazy. I was frantic with fear and insecurity. It was the first time I experienced extreme outburst of emotions. It wasn’t the ordinary sad and lonely days. It wasn’t a simple case of fighting off my emotions or convincing myself that it was just all in my mind. No, it wasn’t just mind over matter. Sleepless and restless nights turned into weeks and months. It wasn’t easy. My health and attitude towards every thing got affected too. I was filled with so much anxiety that even when I’m awake or not, my mind felt so active. I worried about things which I wasn’t sure if they even really existed. I became a slave to my anxious thoughts and unstable emotions. I tried to keep mum about it and withdrew from everyone because I felt so ashamed. I didn’t want people to know and I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I just wanted to be alone. Until one night, every fearful thought found its way to my dreams. It felt so real and I badly wanted to run away from it. It was only then that I realized that what I was going through wasn’t normal anymore. It had to stop and I knew healing will only start once I acknowledge that I was not okay and that I needed help.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Memories

As I was on my way home tonight, I saw Lola in my mind. It was a vivid picture from two years ago. Her last hospitalization, how I used to hold her hand, kiss her forehead and embrace her as I prayed for her complete healing, then her last drop of tear and breath. I couldn’t utter anything but “I miss you, ‘La.” I thought to myself ‘how can I stop these tears? How can I stop this longing? If only I can see your face again, if only I can embrace you for one last time…‘ Then I felt His comfort in this song by Kari Jobe: “come and rest here. Come and lay your burdens down. Come and rest here. There is refuge for you now. You’ll find His peace and know you’re not alone anymore. He is near. You’ll find His healing. Your heart is not shattered anymore. He is here… breathe in, breathe out, you will, you will find Him here…

How could God have felt when He lost His only Son whom He loved most? How was He able to freely give and let go of His Son whom He dearly loved? Love. Love was the answer. And because of our love for Lola too, we’ll be able to freely let go.

Then He reminded me with this verse:
“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.’” Exodus 14:15

Did we not pray for her healing that time? She was in so much pain and suffering. God’s answer for our prayer was for her to rest in Him. How can I be in pain when she’s more than okay now? I became so focused in my longing for her that I forgot God’s goodness for setting her free from that pain. No more tears. No more pain. No more suffering.

Yes, an answered prayer doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing all the way.

We prayed for her complete healing and He answered. Yet there’s longing as we think of her from time to time.

But we have to keep moving. We have to keep going.

He answered our prayers and He will be with us in every step of the way. We can either get caught up in the loneliness or celebrate where the Lord is taking us.

The loneliness is here, yes, and I won’t deny that fact but God is here too, comforting us with His love. That alone brings so much peace.

So I wiped my tears away and lifted my hands to thank Him. It was time to stop crying over answered prayers, rejoice and move on. After all, moving on doesn’t mean forgetting her. Moving on means lovingly remembering and celebrating her happy memories with us. Yes, focusing on the happy ones rather than the painful ones.

We love you, Lola. You will always be alive in our hearts and minds.

Dear Lola…

An open letter to my dear grandmother, Rosa Del Rosario Doria.

(I’m listening to Babbie Mason’s Trust His Heart as I write this. You may click this link for the video: https://youtu.be/XWk8DRwDYDc)

image

May 24, 2015, 08:38 pm, Room 306, Bernardino General Hospital.

image

(Took the photo below at 6:55 am, May 24, 2015, not knowing it was gonna be the last.)

image

Losing you is by far, the most painful heartbreak I’ve had. It’s been a month now and I can still vividly remember how you breathed your last. I was trembling and crying as I rushed to the nurse’s station to ask for help. They tried to revive you, pero wala na. I knew it was time to let you go. Ayoko pang tanggapin nung una until God quieted my heart with His peace. Then I remembered what He told me in one of my quiet times that week.

image

And like I always did, I prayed and believed Him for your healing, for you to be spared from great pain (na huwag kang magstruggle), for Him to prepare and clothe us with His strength, for me to be beside you pag dumating na yung araw na to and above all, for His will to be done. Napakahirap netong season na to for all of us especially sa’yo pero never Nya tayong pinabayaan. He remained faithful. Yes, it was so painful but at the same time, I am thankful. He granted every single prayer and finally, you’ve been completely healed. Although hindi ka na namin makakasama physically, what comforts me is the assurance na hindi ka na nahihirapan. Na wala nang sakit at paghihirap. Na healthy ka na, masayang-masaya at mas malakas pa ngayon sa amin. I rest assured and excited for our grand reunion sa heaven.

image

I miss you, Lola. Alam ko na hindi ako showy at expressive pero I hope naipadama ko sa’yo kung gaano kitang kamahal nung nabubuhay ka pa. Thankful rin ako kasi natupad yung pangarap kong maging nurse at naalagaan kita.

Whew. Namimiss ko nang kausap ka. Hayaan mong i-honor kita today at alalahanin yung precious memories natin together.

image

Hindi ako sanay na hindi ka nakikita tuwing darating ako ng bahay at hindi katabi pagtulog. I thank God for the 27 wonderful years I’ve had with you. I’m proud to say na Lola’s girl ako hindi dahil favorite mo ako kundi dahil sa kung paano mo kami pinalaki at minahal. Pantay-pantay yung love na ipinadama mo sa aming lahat.

image

image

Bata pa ako nung namatay si Lolo at never ko nakita, naramdaman o narinig sa’yo habang lumalaki ako na gusto mo na mag-give up. You chose to stay strong for us. I will always remember kung paano mong sinasabi na, “gabi-gabi, pinapanalangin ko sa Diyos na habaan pa Nya ang buhay ko kasi alam ko na kailangan nyo ako.”

image

Hanggang sa huli, alam ko na kami ang iniisip at inaalala mo. Kaya kahit hirap na hirap ka na, you chose to fight and live for us. Walang katulad yung pagmamahal at malasakit mo para sa aming lahat–mula kay Lolo hanggang sa mga apo mo sa tuhod at sa lahat ng mga taong nakakakilala sa’yo. Hangga’t kaya mong tumulong at magbigay, gagawin mo ng buong pagmamahal at walang panunumbat.

Salamat, Lola. Thank you for putting your faith in God and for upholding all of us in prayers every single night. Kung alam mo lang, gabi-gabi ko rin pinapanalangin na makasama ka pa namin ng mas matagal. Dati, takot na takot ako pag naiisip ko na darating yung araw na mawawala ka. Na magigising ako minsan sa madaling araw at iche-check ko kung humihinga ka pa. Ang selfish ko nga kasi ayoko iparamdam sa’yo na kaya ko na mag-isa kasi baka mawala ka na. Until natuto akong ipagkatiwala kay God yung araw na yun.

image

‘La, hindi ko makakalimutan yung paggising mo sa amin every morning na nakahanda na yung tubig pampaligo. Sabi mo pa dati sakin nung sinabi ko na ako nalang mag-isa ang gigising para di mo na kailangang bumangon ng maaga, “e gusto ko nga pag ginising kita, maliligo ka nalang.” Hindi mo alam kung gaanong nadurog yung puso ko nun. Thank you, Lola.

image

I will miss everything about you… Yung malalambot mong mga kamay, yung boses mo, yung naiinis ka kapag kinukulit ka namin, yung tawa mo, yung pagtawag mo sa pangalan ko, yung masasarap mong mga luto, yung pag-alala mo sa birthday naming lahat at pagluluto ng spaghetti at pancit (kahit pa nasa malayo yung celebrant), yung kahit na nagtatampo ka sa amin, pinagtatabi mo parin kami ng pagkain, yung mga paulit-ulit mong kwento kung gaano kamura ang chicken sa Max’s dati at marami pang iba, yung paghaplos mo sa pisngi ko pag masakit ang ngipin ko, yung pag-aalaga mo sa akin pag may sakit ako, yung pagreremind sa akin na umuwi ako ng maaga at magdala ng payong, yung pagtulong mo sa paggawa ko ng assignment at projects, yung ang pangconvince mo sa akin para sumama ako sa’yo mamalengke ay samahan kita magbreakfast sa Jollibee o Greenwich tapos bibilhan mo ako ng kahit anong gusto ko, mapa-chichirya, candy, headband, songhits man yan o tsinelas kahit na napakarami ko na nun. Yung bilin mo na uwian kita ng Lapid’s chicharon kasi wala kang gana kumain, ng crossword or fill-ins kasi sabi mo para busy yung utak mo at di ka makalimot. Yung paglalambing mo na kapag may nakita ka sa dyaryo o sa TV na masarap kainin, tatanungin mo ako kung saan kaya nabibili yun. Yung pagtawad mo sa pamasahe sa tricycle pag nagpapa-special tayo na kilala ka na ng mga tricycle drivers. Na kapag nakita nila tayo, sisigaw sila ng “O Nanay, Gerryville, 28 nalang!” Sila na mismo ang tatawad para sa’yo. Yung pagtuturo mo sa akin kung paano mamili ng baboy, baka, manok, prutas at gulay. Yung panonood natin ng mga koreanovela at nung tumagal, natuto ka narin manood ng mga tagalog na teleserye at game shows dahil gusto ko panoorin. Minsan nga, ikaw na mismo naglilipat ng channel. Kinikilig ka pa nga kay Ser Chief at Maya. Sayang, hindi mo na napanood yung ending nun. Di bale, ikkwento ko nalang sa’yo pag nagkita ulit tayo. Ice-celebrate ko parin ang birthday mo, a week before mine. Yun nga lang, wala na tayong picture together. Ako nalang ang iihip ng candles para sa’yo. Susubukan ko ring gayahin yung spaghetti at pancit mo para magluluto ako pag birthday mo.

image

Ilan lang yan, ‘La. Maraming-marami pa. I will forever treasure these memories in my heart. I will always be thankful to God na ikaw ang Lola ko. Para sa akin, ikaw ang BEST and coolest Lola sa buong mundo!

image

image

Maraming salamat sa pagtuturo mo samin ng mga bagay na hindi namin kailanman natutunan o matututunan sa school o sa trabaho. Thank you for modelling Jesus through your life, through your selfless and unconditional love. Thank you for fighting the good fight of faith. Alam ko na bukod sa pagmamahal mo para sa amin, what kept you strong and alive is Jesus na nasa puso mo. It was Him who held us together and strengthened us sa season na to. Though physically and emotionally tiring and faith-stretching, it has drawn us closer to Him and to one another. And I know na Sya rin ang magcocomfort sa aming lahat pag namimiss ka namin.

image

Basta, maraming, maraming salamat sa lahat, Lola ko. I will be strong, promise. Mahal na mahal na mahal kita! Hanggang sa muli nating pagkikita…

image

I love you forever,
Jekka ❤

image

Thank You, Lord.

After having a late dinner, I found myself thanking God for random things: “Thank You, Lord, that we had food to eat today. Thank You for Your protection for my family, for a home, for my job…” then I began to realize, we can be grateful to God even for simple things. We don’t need to wait for grand things to happen before we thank Him. It’s just that oftentimes, we tend to focus on the unanswered prayers that we forget to realize how blessed we are. When we start to feel frustrated about having to wait for our “breakthrough,” take it as a reminder to thank God for what He has done in your life so far. Recall God’s goodness in your life. Think about the things and situations He allowed you to overcome before. Remember those moments when you encountered Him.

Do you have anything in mind now? Go ahead and take this as a personal time with Him. He longs to hear You thank and praise Him. Enjoy the sweetness of His presence.

image

“I will praise the lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the lord ; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the lord ’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the lord , and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. Taste and see that the lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” Psalm 34:1-8 NLT

Committed and Connected

wpid-img_20150101_154219.jpgJohn 15:5 NLT “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me, you can do nothing.”

 

It is but fitting to start the year by committing it to the Lord. Unfortunately (and sadly), we are only good at starting strong (ouch!). Somewhere along the way, we lose not just the momentum but the heart to continue and finish strong.

 

Jesus said in the verse above that APART from Him, we can do NOTHING. We may try to be self-sufficient but we must accept the fact that we are limited beings. We need God to supply us with the grace and ability to do what we need to do.

 

Yes, willpower and determination can get us started but once we lose it, we can be left stranded in the middle. So what do we really need?

 

In a plant, if the branches are not connected to the vine, where all the nutrients and everything it needs flow, it will not grow nor will it produce any fruit.

 

JESUS  is the vine and we are the branches. So if we want to grow and bear fruit, we have to remain connected to Him. It is only He who can cause us to grow, mature and learn all the things that we need to learn.

 

We can enjoy life with Jesus by involving Him in every aspect of our lives. Yes, we may grow weak and tired at times but we can always accept His invitation in Matthew 11:28 NLT which says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest.”

 

We were NOT made to function without God. We need Him. With and through Him, we can break any bad habits or addictions that we’ve had for the past years and we can continue and finish strong.

 

This year, let us COMMIT ourselves to remain CONNECTED to Jesus from whom all good things flow.

 

***Lord, I know that I am nothing apart from You so I invite You into every aspect of my life. Help me not just to start strong this year but remain connected to You so I can continue and finish strong with You. Thank You that I can always come to You for help and rest. Help me to grow and bear fruit for the glory of Your name. I commit 2015 to Your hands, Lord. Have Your way in me.