Another year had passed – a year which most of us, humans, wanted to move on.
I posted on my Instagram that 2020 will be an amazing year. I even wrote an article about it – Answered Prayer 2020. A year I decided to serve at church, to meet new friends, travel to new places (there were two canceled flights on my itinerary), and so-on and on. But everything changed. 180 degrees change of plans.
“Many are the plans in man’s heart, but the Lord’s purpose will always prevail.” Proverbs 19:21 I wanna quote from Pastor Patrick Mercado’s preaching today when he said from a post, “WE MAKE PLANS but GOD DECIDES.”
March 2020 – the month that has the world in panic and changed the course of our lives. As for me, the first week was a joyful one for me and my family since my sister was able to come home here in the Philippines and we did a little celebration. She went back to her second home on March 7, 2020 – the Saturday where the news was all about the total lockdown. And on March 8, 2020, I still went to the Fort and serve at my church, some were already wearing masks – and I, for one, was still in a denial stage that this thing called COVID-19 is legit. I didn’t realize it was also the last Sunday I will be serving that year. That week as well, as foretold about the lockdown, I went straight to the grocery store with my sister-in-law, and it was the first time I get to experience waiting for the pushcart at the parking lot of the mall because there are people like me in a state of panic buying. The long lines to the cashier took us 2 hours to get by. When the lockdown started, it hit me hard – is Jesus Christ coming now? Is this the final judgment?
As weeks went on, anxieties and fear keeps crawling beneath the vein. For one, fear of catching COVID-19, and two, what will happen in my future amidst the crisis – pertaining the family business, finances, etc., etc. I was scared. I was scared specifically for my mom. Don’t we all with our loved ones? I remember having a fight with her because she was in denial stage as well where she thinks this COVID-19 is just a phase and is not real. I was consumed with fear that I forgot to look to the ONE who can help me overcome my fear. And one day, I prayed. I knelt down with all my fears inside me and He took it all away. He replaced it with the peace that has gotten me to survive until now. A peace of knowing Someone is in control of what’s happening in our lives.
Also, the news you get to hear every single day is just horrible, it tosses you around the stillness of your mentality. It wrecks your day, it leads you to political debate with your loved ones, and simply just ruins someone’s reputation. The canceldt generation is just so horrible, to be an influencer you have to ruin someone else just to pave your way through. Even the church has been involved with scandals of politics, it’s appalling. Don’t get me wrong, I was one of those people debating with politics just to prove a point – I repented afterward. Then I remember the era of Jesus Christ, He didn’t even speak ill of the politicians but He corrected them in love. All left in a chaotic world is PRAYER. “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18
Before my story begins where I am grateful for surviving 2020, yeah, my story hasn’t begun yet. LOL. Sharing with you a pastor’s message to me out of nowhere. Somehow it slowly came to pass.
Staying at home for an ambivert like me is truly hard. I’m a woman you’d see in a coffee shop enjoying her cup of latte and a book alone, eating sushi and steaks with girlfriends, and simply driving around the city while singing to her favorite Worship song. You could say going out once a week or twice if needed feeds my soul, so when the lockdown started it hit me hard. I know you’d say – you had a privileged life etc. How easy for your life to be living under a roof while others don’t have a roof. Let me get this straight, I’ve been there trust me, I lived in my teenage years as a rebel. As Paul said, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” But that’s another story to tell. Anyhoo, depression started to kick in. A few weeks after, my life started to crumble. I have no work (because our family business is on the brink of pandemic recession), and I have bills to pay. I’m very grateful for the provision that the Lord provided for me and my family as well as our employees, sometimes, it creeps me how undeserving I am. You could say I dwelled on that area of my life that got me to seek counseling. I was a bit scared at first – precisely to be judged – I’ve been in a crowd of pretentious people trying to befriend you so they could get in, or perhaps people using you for the sake of their sanity. I took a leap of faith when I sought a pastor for counseling. And that’s where miracles started to flourish. In my weakness, GOD is my only strength.
I’m not saying my life became so wonderful after counseling, no it did not. I had to go through the digging of my past scars to find healing. So what happened next? Well, I have gotten to know myself even more. I learned to appreciate even more as to where GOD had placed me. The very outgoing Katrina became the domesticated goddess, KIDDING. No, seriously, I started baking cookies, which I love most, and also cooking new dishes like Korean pancake and Tempura, I think my most favorite above all was the baked lasagna I did ala MUM’s lasagna (Thanks to YOUTUBE!).
These things gave light to the unwanted thoughts in my life. And of course, I worked out again, which gave me a big boost to my immune system plus I actually lost a bit of weight from the two years of not doing so.
Another thing, I officially became a plantita. Gaah. No one really expected that from me. Which I didn’t even expect myself either. Perhaps I could say now that I inherited my grandmother’s green thumb. Hurrah! I love seeing my plants in the morning and I do a little humming so they’d realize their mommy is looking after them. Tee-hee. That’s TMI. They remind me of the verse in the Bible, Luke 12:28 “And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?”
One of the best things that I discovered within the months of staying at home is that I can still play the piano. Yes, my childhood talent – teehee.
One of my goddaughters Kelzey was an inspiration to me. And an acquaintance of mine randomly popped up on my FB and I saw him playing the piano – my favorite song from the GOBLIN. And I thought, how I wish I can still play. So I bought myself a 61-keys keyboard thinking it’ll just be a practice and I regret doing so because now I wanted 88-keys or a real piano (sadly my mother gave away my old piano because it was too vintage).
One thing that I learned about 2020 is to embrace God’s favor upon you… After all, He gives and He takes away. Wherever He places you, never stop being thankful for the provisions the Lord has given you, whether it is small or big. I never thought that my family and I could still celebrate our birthdays at home even in small ways. Thankful for the restaurants who work so hard to cater as well as the COURIERS – they are truly the heroes. I’d like to share s snapshot of my birthday, all I wanted was a boodle fight with my family and requested Cakes by Miriam to my mom (LOL), surprisingly my good friends sent food, cakes, and gifts. I felt the overflowing and undeserving grace of GOD.
Anyhoo, the cherry on top of my story was the fact that the LORD has given me something that I did not see it coming, yes in the time of pandemic the LORD opened a window of opportunity in line with my passion. I know I always wanted to pursue the fashion and styling business, had my first heartbroken when I decided to give up on my styling career last 2019. And now, I opened a small online business with my sister-in-law, Rhea, namely MADE BY CORINTH. The name itself was derived from the Book of Corinthians which has a great impact on me in the time of pain and struggles, remembering the verse “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love” 1Corinthians13:13. Rhea knows how to sew and she was making scrunchies and even mask. So I asked her if she’d like to do business with me. I searched for the best fabric suppliers in town that could give us an edge over all the mask sellers. I choose the fabrics, did the financing and marketing while she does the labor. Yes, our business is all handmade living up to our business name MADE BY FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE. We also collaborated with one of the finest artists in Manila, Ms. Andrei Solmirano of Yadah Arts and Music.
Changes became a big part of our daily lives in 2020. Going out we needed to wear a face mask, face shield, maintain social distancing. I remember the first time I ever went out after they lifted ECQ. I was so scared to go out but on the other hand, I knew I needed to move forward too. Surviving the new normal.
Looking back… It was the relationship I have with GOD that has been the biggest change. He became the constant mentor that nurtured me throughout the year, He was my “survival kit”, a loving Father who reminded me that I am loved even when my scars are showing. My 2020 faith goal was “Lord, what is it that you want for me in the Year 2020?” With all these things that happened, it felt like an act of preparation for another season that is about to happen. GOD carefully did take time in molding my weaknesses so He can strengthen me further. It was HIS AMAZING GRACE that sustained me all. I remember a friend of mine told me, “Prepare the field for the Lord will send the rain.” With the field comes the right people to walk with. I lost a few people, and with it, the LORD replaced them with great people whom I can truly say, a part of His plan. Then there are those people whom I believe are forever angels in my life, they are a big part of what it means to be under the grace of GOD. So if you are reading this, I AM GRATEFUL TO YOU. “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Proverbs 12:26
December 2020: “Remember what happened long ago, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me. I declare the end from the beginning and ancient times from what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and all My good pleasure I will accomplish.” Isaiah 46:9-10. No one has ever foreseen the pandemic except GOD, He knew it will happen and only HE knows why it is happening. The year 2020 felt like the time of the Israelites in the wilderness, all left for them was to trust HIM, and I believe that is what happened to us in 2020. It wasn’t because GOD wants us to suffer further it’s because HE wants us to be reminded of WHO HE IS that HE IS YAHWEH. And let alone trust in HIS SAVING GRACE.
The silent year of 2020 is the silence of what GOD is doing behind our lives. The resilience of every one of us is what made of 2020. Loss, tragedy, pain, anger, and anxieties, we carried it all out and fought our way through to overcome every single situation just to survive. A year filled with moments that have gotten us to our knees and pray, a year that realigned our lives with what is more important. I can genuinely say the one thing that nursed me in the year 2020 wasn’t the new business nor the new skills acquired, it was the WORD of GOD that has gotten me thoroughly to live a life of purpose. I would like to share a prophetic word from my prayer and fasting last October 14, 2020. A word came to me, “Nevertheless, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal its people and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth. I will restore Judah and Israel from captivity and will rebuild them as in former times. And I will cleanse them from all the iniquity they have committed against Me, and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against Me.” Jeremiah 33:6. Time composes of healing, restoring, and cleansing. And I believe the Lord will do so for His greater purpose. And then 2021… Began to submerged. (…to be continued)