2016 was definitely a year of “GO”-ing for me that led to inevitable yet welcomed GROWTH. My banner verse being “My presence shall GO with you and I will give you REST.” (Exodus 33:14) and this theme has been consistent throughout 2016. God had asked me to GO (make decisions, surrender certain desires and people, to unknown territory) and in exchange, He gave me REST AND PEACE (not rest IN peace ha!) 🙂
In the year that was, I had big blessings, countless answered prayers, new people I let in and let go of in my life, as as well trials and tests sandwiched in between. God, throughout the year, remained the unchanging faithful God that He is.
My year opened with my first public testimony on TV when I shared my life at The 700 Club Asia show. It was a very humbling and liberating experience for me to admit my sinful past as well as speak boldly of how the Lord used my life and made it new in Christ. I was on “GO” mode after the airing of my testimony when I received several invitations to share my life – in Christian radio programs and churches both in Manila and the province. It is always a privilege speaking before and for the Lord!
Below is an excerpt of my testimony.
Here is where you can watch it in full.
The highlight of Q2 or Quarter 2 of 2016 was teaching baking. After the fasting week in January, I received the GO signal from God to seek the permission of CCF Life Academy (Gummy’s school) if I could use their kitchen as the venue for my desired and planned (and at that time, prayed for) “Baking with Gummy and Mummy Bites,” baking classes I wanted to offer to Moms and kids. The meeting with the principal, Pastor Leonides Son took only 3 minutes. How smooth and easy when it is God at work!
In February 20, God granted my desire to teach baking and use it as a platform to tell more people about Jesus. I held classes until May but had to decide to stop when Gummy called my attention that I no longer had time nor energy for her on Saturdays, which was our usual lakwatcha day. The rebuke was sharp and apparent and after praying about it, the Lord reminded me that family comes before work AND ministry. You see when your priorities are clear, decision-making need not be a tugging between desires.
For the three months that I barely slept (juggling two shows and teaching on weekends, sometimes going straight to the kitchen from a 24-hr shoot) and I being on my feet 80% of the time, I was overjoyed and beyond fulfilled that my passion is serving its purpose (I minister by sharing that aside from bread-making, my goal is to share about The Bread of Life). However my daughter was quite unhappy. Gummy IS my priority next to God. So I let GO of my teaching stint and honored my daughter’s request.
The turning point of my year was in June to September when I went through a period of sickness and self-realization; of intercession and introspection; of recuperation and revival. I wrote about this season of physical pain and spiritual breakthrough in my recent article at The Manila Times published last Tuesday.
All my reflections were poured there. But what I was not able to disclose though is exactly what my condition really was. It started with little red bumps on my shin. Everyday there would be two or three new ones. They mushroomed along my legs up to the soles of my feet. I couldn’t stand for long periods because they burn when I do. I walk on slight tiptoes as if I had imaginary heels. The lumps were accompanied by rheums-like pain in my joints (later on it was confirmed that it was Rheumatoid Arthritis). I honestly felt I was a lola then.
Aside from the bumps on my legs I also had lymph nodes on my left axilla or armpit. I only felt one lump (it felt like here was a small tomato in my kilikili) but when I had an ultrasound there were 5 others sitting deep inside my axilla! Of course the doctor’s first instinct was to have me checked for cancer since my paternal grandmother had breast cancer. I went for a biopsy and the breast surgeon took samples from 3 out of 6 lumps. When the results were released I felt terribly frustrated that my doctor could not confirm if it was benign or malignant and instead sent me to the hematologist and then to the rheumatologist (This was the doctor who confirmed that the lumps on my legs were due to a condition called Erythema Nodosum that could be caused by an underlying condition which could be any of the three: an auto-immune disorder like lupus, malignancy like cancer or infection like TB). After “playing pingpong” with the doctors, they asked me to see a new doctor to add to my “team,” an Immunologist because they suspect the lumps to be strongly telling of TB. The Immunologist confirmed it to be a case of extra-pulmonary TB (despite my TB tests and histology revealing negative for TB and lupus). He said that I probably had TB (like primary complex) when I was younger and the strain just slept and was awoken by my very low immune system (from lack of sleep because of work and overfatigue, work-related also, hence the reason for resigning from taping soap operas). So he prescribed me with a 4-in-1 anti TB pill which I am to take for 6 months (treatment of extrapulmonary is same with pulmonary).
Upon taking meds, my body started reacting repulsively. But I endured it because the doctor said that its natural for my body to fight off the meds. However, after a week on anti-TB meds, I developed rashes all over my body AND had difficulty breathing.
First time such a thing happened to me. I have no known allergies so I knew it was the pill. I had myself rushed to the E.R. where I demanded for antihistamine injection (they actually even thought my TB was pulmonary so they isolated me for 15mins before giving me anything). It did not end there. After the allergy attack, I was asked to seek an Allergologist, whose recommendation was to take the 4 meds individually and to check which one my body will react with. At that point I said, “enough.” I refuse to try to take and test which one almost killed me.
In my pursuit to be healed, I asked Gummy’s pedia who is a Homeopathic (all natural) doctor for recommendations on an adult homeo for me. Dr. Divina diagnosed my condition as auto-immune and stress-related. She prescribed me to do very simple things: do detox – so I did a colon cleanse, do juicing, rest, sleep early, pray and infuse more joy in my life. And guess what, when I did my detox alongside cutting my workload, sleeping at 9pm, giving more room for recreation, I was healed. (PRAISE GOD!) My condition improved and the lumps disappeared! My Rheumatologist said that the marks of the lumps will never go away. Guess what they actually did go away. Today there are no traces that my legs were filled with deep red bumps. I declare that I am COMPLETELY healed in Jesus’ name. I claimed and continue to claim the healing He has already paid for at the cross 2017 years ago.
During my recovery months, what sustained my strength really was my faith. I clung to it because my dear life depended on it! Most of my time was devoted to reading the Bible (and how timely that my readings during that time were on the Book of Job! Coincidence? Not!) and healing books such as Pastor Hiram’s “Be Healed”! Worship of course strengthened me. I continued to worship despite the agonizing pain in my legs and feet. And the intercessory prayers of my family members, dearest few friends who knew about my health and pastors of CCF and Victory.
The climax of my year was at the end of it. The best is always saved for the last. In December 4, 2016 I publicly declared my inner conviction that I belong to Team Jesus. It was a very rightful way to close my year with Him.
My family went to Mt. Makiling to witness my rebirth ceremony. What a joy I felt that day. I was united to the One who loves me most. It truly was a beautiful union. I felt like that day was my wedding day. It could not have happened any day sooner. I knew I was at my best when I presented myself before God.
The reason why I like going back to my past is to see God’s faithfulness. When you recount, you remember that God is faithful – to answer prayers, to give your heart’s desires, to heal you, to protect you to guide you, liberate you and speak counsel and give hope to you.
2016 was a rich one. It’s soil conducive to growth. I felt I grew more mature and more prepared for what is to come (though I am clueless about what’s coming, I get giddy in anticipation!). This 2017 I trust God to bring more burdens to refine me, more blessings to reward and surprise me and more breakthroughs in order to grow more. My theme this 2017: GROW.
Praying that this year will be a year of bearing fruit, abundance and growth for you too! God is with you always! Be blessed!