Monday, December 30, 2013

Be Thankful for the Good and Bad Times of 2013

I just came back from the hospital and another illness is added to the list! Doctor confidently diagnosed my bald patch as Alopecia Areata and asked me to use the same topical treatment cream I applied on my Vitiligo patches.

For those who didn’t know, last year I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Disc Herniation and Sciatica. In between all that, I have frequent diaarrhoea, food poisoning, sinusitis, sleep disruption, headaches and etc. Earlier this year, Vitiligo came and leeched itself on me. Just last month, the doctor guessed I have Neuritis and today, I am given Alopecia. Wow, what’s next?

As I googled up on Alopecia, it says that 1 in 5 people would progress to total baldness. So I’m going bald after turning slowly into a leopard with spots? What other autoimmune disorders will creep up? How disfigured will I get? Will I be shunned by society? Hmmm…should I freak out? For some reason, I am unusually calm although I can’t say I am not disappointed, upset or more sombre than usual.

Beginning of this year, I quit my stressful job and came back to my hometown. I’ve been ‘jobless’ for almost a year although I do get part time/freelance stuffs once in a while. The illnesses have taken a toll on my body physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. I’ve gained 10 kgs since last year. Tomorrow is the last day of the year. Should I lash curses at God and hold resentment against him? Should I throw away all smiles and laughter and wallow in self-pity? I think not.

As I look back at this past year of 2013, there is much to be thankful for. Yes, even in my multiple sicknesses and trials and losses, I am thankful. I won’t put up a front and tell you that it has been a breeze and every day I had wakened up being grateful. I confess I have been bitterly frustrated, depressed, fearful, doubtful and even angry at God many times. Why did the Almighty God allow heaps of things to happen to me?

 Well, He’s God and I’m not. Therefore, I will never completely understand and grasp the big picture that He has in mind. I believe He has a plan for all these. He always does. He promises in

Romans 8:28 ‘We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.’

If God can give Sarah a child at her impossible old age and raised Lazarus from the dead, I am sure there is nothing that is impossible for Him. There must be something good out of all these trials and sufferings.

First and foremost, I am very grateful for the Lord’s grace and strength for helping me get through my painful days and days when I felt hope was just too far away. I am especially thankful for His constant Providence through unexpected sources that has kept me going although I was and still am technically jobless. I even get to go on several travel trips overseas through sponsors! I also thank God for the generous love from my family and friends. I still get to celebrate Christmas where many are homeless and cannot even go to church because of terrible disasters like the typhoon that plagued so many Filipinos. I am thankful for shelter and food and looking at my size, I’m sure you will know that there is always plenty of food on the table, if not too much. 

I would also like to thank God for the many times I've been hurt, misunderstood, rejected and humiliated for at times like these, I felt I had a glimpse of God's painful sacrifice for us. I thank God for all my illnesses because they keep me a little humbler and dependable on God for without Him I cannot go on especially on days when my physical strength is at its lowest. It was at times like these that I sometimes felt the closest to God although there were many times that I thought He had abandoned me. Again, those times were crucial to help me develop my faith. I sure hope it is not diminishing but growing instead. I am glad to still be alive, kicking and moving where millions have died or became bed-ridden.

Due to my ‘joblessness’, I have time on my hands and I have been immersing myself in creative projects from crafts, paintings and especially writing. Writing has always been a childhood dream buried and forgotten because it is not something someone in my country would encourage you to take seriously especially if it involves fiction or storytelling. Same goes to painting. There are plenty of poor artists around me and those who cared didn’t want me to end up like them. I am thankful however that my family supports my endeavours and although most of them do not understand or even read my writings especially my poetry, they never stopped me from doing them or put pressure on me to quickly find a desk job or a 9 to 5 occupation. I mostly felt the ongoing pressure from within myself. It is by facing the dark and forging ahead to fight those battles that I was able to draw much inspiration to write and paint. So for these trying times, I want to thank God for leading me through this foggy war. Without all these ‘unforeseen circumstances’, I would never have time to sit down, reflect, write and paint. I would have been too busy trying to look my best, be my best at my career and on top of that, acting like a social butterfly fleeting from one party to the next.

I don’t know if I will ever be cured of all my sicknesses or whether I will get financially stabilised in 2014. One thing I know and I’m certain of is that God is always with us. No matter the hurdles he’ll make me jump over or the raging sea that he’ll have me cross, I know He is faithful even when I am not and that means He’ll give me all the necessary graces to not only persevere but to rise above them all triumphantly. And so, in sickness or in health, in baldness or in full crown of glory, I thank God and will thank Him for all He has prepared for me in this coming year. After all, what are a little baldness, a little pain and a little poverty as compared to the crucifixion pains and humiliation suffered by Jesus on the cross? What we have or will ever have is pale in comparison to His. Let us draw strength from He who has been through it all.

As He has commanded, let us obey and

'give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.' (1 Thess 5:18)

By the way, I am working on my first novel while compiling my poetry. Hopefully, I’ll get to publish them both in 2014. Also, more paintings will be on sale! Here’s to a fruitful and joyous Happy New Year no matter whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. One more thing, I thank God for you. Will you pray for me as I pray for you?


  1. I didn't know you are burdened with so many sicknesses, most of which I have never heard of! I salute you for your positive outlook on life and not letting these obstacles become stumbling blocks. I promise you my prayers. Let me know when the novel is on sale. I'd love to get one for myself... an autographed one, that is. ;) God bless you Angelina!

    1. Hi Audrey,
      Thank you for your encouraging notes and especially your prayers. May the good Lord bless your kind soul. I will be keeping you in mine too! I have yet to find a publisher so hopefully, I'll be able to. Perhaps one day we shall meet in person. God keep and bless you!


  2. I add your name every morning during my prayer time and I give abundant thanks that your stories and specifically the physical pain you experience has crossed my journey now - It helps me to understand the suffering of my dearest best childhood friend. She is in turmoil, rejecting me, embracing me and in all of this I feel that we are both on a see saw - going up and down. I will introduce your blog to her. So far (1 year) she has only been fighting this illness, she has not taken on creative means to help her spiritually, mentally. I think your work/art is perhaps your saving grace and can be so for many who are plagued with such intense pain. thank you.

    1. Thank you Patty. I'm much better now in terms of handling all these. Thank you for dropping by and read. I hope your friend will be better soon. Cheers to more good things to come in 2014!