2019 changed me.

I know each year has it’s own ups and downs with its own extremities. 2019 is one, with a lot of new things.

January when I was able to have a whole lot of adventure for a day. Went to Taal, lost in Tagaytay, found a church, and met an online friend unexpectedly. She even prayed for me, some of her words still lingers with me up to this day.

Unexpectedly, and not even on my Faith Goals list, somebody invited me to become an ambassador of a Christian apparel named Worship Generation. I didn’t know what to react since I didn’t even know why I’m qualified, if there is some sort of qualifications. I was so grateful to God for everything.

Few days after that, I saw a Tweet inviting writers for a monthly devotional. I thought, why not. I sent one of my write ups before. Just like the ambassador thing, this one’s another surprise for this year. The team is one of the best surprises ever in my entire life.

Then before I knew it, 2nd semester of 2018-19 is starting to build up. But what I like about it though is I’m enjoying one particular subject that I have even though it was demanding a lot of requirements.

I’m also grateful for my brother’s adviser for introducing me to someone who now is my Thesis adviser. I was planning to finish my masters before the year ended but it became impossible. It was scratched out from my faith goals list then. But that’s okay because I found an adviser, which is also on my list.

Amidst of the acads, I went to a beach overnight with a group of strangers. As one who cannot easily conform to a strange group with different personalities with uncertain thoughts, it was so hard for me to join in. Fortunately, I am good at enjoying things and places myself with my camera. In this, I realize one of my weaknesses. Which is good, by the way, not the weakness, but in realizing it. So I can address it and be better at it.

So much for that. Before the sem ended, I went home early while bringing some of my requirements. With one week to finish them all.

And I did. Excellently. But I’ve already known they wouldn’t satisfy, yet I know when we do things excellently, it makes God happy.

I joined a 3-day youth camp after that, and it made me feel closer to God. I don’t know how to explain that but what I know is that He is closer than we think He is. He is even closer than our heartbeat.

It was full of consecration and sanctification that I forgot opening my phone for days, skipping this daily challenge that I have in my Bible app that I’ve already been doing for almost a year straight. That sucks but I guess experiencing God off screen is still better.

Because you get to see people. God’s people.

The summer went by pretty fast. And in those times, I heard a gossip about me going around. I was not so sure about how true that was but a part of me believed it, like 70%. It’s a passing grade, by the way. What saddens me is that it was from people who are supposed to be close from God. But you see, we can’t just judge people how close or far they are from Him, and we don’t have to fight back. Certain battles aren’t meant to be fought back. We just have to let God defend us and know that He is gonna change hearts, including ours.

Honestly, I have my fair share of shortcomings. And I can do nothing about it but just give it to God and pray for peace of mind, grace, and joy in every one’s heart.

Back to school in August and I only have to do one subject, my last course work for masters. And before my birth month ended, I went home to attend my brother’s wedding.

I couldn’t contain the joy I had the day when I heard he was engaged with his wife now. But the day after? I was sad. He won’t be going home to our house anymore. He has his new family now and new set of priorities. While it felt like being left, but not really behind because we have our own roads, but while it felt like being stagnant in the same place, I think my mother feels it the more. But when I asked her about it? She just said, “I want you each to have your own family and be happy.”

Middle of the semester, I attended Making Disciples and Purple Book class which is 8 Sundays in total. Sunday was by busiest day but it didn’t matter. Knowing God hasn’t been this exciting and interesting. While He is transcendent beyond measure, He desires for us to know His ways so we can be close and intimate with Him. This one’s I’m just really grateful about.

With many free time, I watched many UAAP basketball games. Rooting for UPMBT, obviously. Spent many times on the road from MOA Arena, Smart Araneta, to Ynares Antipolo. Spent lots of money, too. But all are worth it. The team won 2nd runner up, anyway. Every game is one of the most memorable days. Those are the happiest and the saddest too, whenever they lost. But it was an amazing journey, even for a fan like me. I would do it all over again, even when the time comes that they’d have a different set of players, that nobody from the current team is left.

The semester went by fast, the UAAP near to end, I went to a “climb for a cause” event (you can read the whole story here). Remember the one who invited me to Worship Gen? She’s the one who invited me here. First, this trek is my first time. 3 hrs in the ascent and 3 hrs in the descent was heavy but satisfying. Second, I never thought about making it a charity work, giving goods and groceries to the locals while enjoying their home land. It was worth it. And lastly, it was also with a group of strangers but this one’s different. I learned so much.

After a week, she then invited me to a dinner and she became one of the coolest friends I have.

It’s true that how we act and connect with people is dependent on how we perceive them to be. Some we can be really awkward with, some we can be goofy with in just a minute.

While the end of the sem was approaching, I spent more time in the library, and walking and taking a jog alone around the campus, well, until that white van news came. And I didn’t know what came to me when there were nights I would just be crying. Another surprise, wasn’t it.

As one who particularly loved being alone and can come up with a lot of fun things when bored, I became extremely sad. One time I walked around the acad oval past 10pm, called my mom, and just burst out crying. She just listened to me and my rants and how I’m tired. She was worried of course since I was still out late at night. She planned to come over to Manila from CDO but I disagreed since I was just a month away before coming home. Plus, the flight costs too much, honestly.

There are certain people close to you that you can hardly open up to. Some who are far yet you can be so comfortable with being vulnerable. Others, you just don’t know how or what they’ll respond to your situation, so you choose not to distract them. Some you know you just can’t trust. And a few unexpected people would reach out and be there with you without trying to solve your case, which you can even hardly explain yourself.

This went on for weeks, I guess. I didn’t bother counting. And, we aren’t meant to ignore and dodge out every ugly situation. We have to really feel what we’re feeling, and experience what we are facing. And on top of it all, back up on God because His grace is abundant and sufficient. He didn’t particularly promise happy and good days all the time. But He assured us that in ugly and painful times, He will be there to give us peace.

I never isolated myself completely. One thing I was grateful for is the existence of community and different group of friends who came by, even my chat box, to converse with me with random things.

Beyond those is a grateful heart. We may not know it but many people are praying for us. One reason why we still get by and get through and find joy is because of other’s prayers.

December came and I felt better. Attended the singles Christmas party was a great way to cap off my semester. I went home and days after, went on a road trip with my cousins and visited a nature park with some relatives.

On the New Year’s Eve, we didn’t have anything on the table. It was just me and my mother, since my brothers didn’t come home. Instead, we went to my mother’s siblings for dinner and met other relatives as well. I actually slept well while others were embracing 2020 with cheer and gladness.

It should’ve been extra special but every single day is special too. We can embrace each day with cheer and gladness because God’s mercies are new every morning.

As I met some relatives and friends, the questions about work, relationships, and future plans cannot be avoided. I don’t even know why they’re looking for my boyfriend when I’m actually not looking for one.

Adults can be funny. While we respect them as much, the more we spend time with them, the more we can see how relatable they are. They can be funny and innocent like children, unconsciously, which doesn’t make us, young adults, even better. Ha! And maybe, we just look up to them too much, not knowing that a child in us stays even though our hairs have turned white and faces have wrinkled.

This year has been more about knowing different people, learning how to deal with them, learning to discern who to trust, and knowing how to intentionally connect whoever they are. I know these lessons won’t be applied immediately. I honestly struggle with applying the theories I know and believe in.

There was a big difference between 2018 and 2019 but the latter has really been a wild and crazy adventure, which I know God has used to teach and change me.

And I can’t say 2020 will be whole lot different or will it be even better. Each year has it’s own ups and downs but it is not mutually exclusive with the pre or post year. Even though it may look like a brand new one, we’re still dragging a part of us from last year. And I guess that’s okay because our growth is not discrete but a continuous one. And it’s not like an inclined walkalator going upwards either. It’s definitely a roller coaster, a very complicated one.

2020 will also have it’s extremities, but may the Lord use His year to change us for the better and for His glory.

Luv,
Hanna

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