Choosing JOY in painful situations

“Why are you always joyful?”

A lot of people are asking me this question.
At times, I will even ask people “Am I really weird?”
Some would say
“Yes. It seems like you always have energy. You do not get tired.”
While others will just say “You are not weird. You are a muppet. You are so innocent of thinking that people will not hurt you. It feels like you do not know how the world revolves”

But in reality, I do not know how to explain myself. I do not know how to share my life without shedding a tear. Shedding a tear because everyone thinks that I have a perfect life BUT NO, and I never had.

My i(‘)mperfect life

I came from a dysfunctional family. Rather, a pragmatic or logical one. They do not believe me when I tell something because they know I have very weird thoughts or way of saying things.

I was bullied in school, was mocked and teased. I was even called “crazy”. For them, trying to be excellent is a crazy thing.

I was always taken for granted – doing and giving things for free, lying to cover up someone from getting his/her punishment, carrying someone else’s burden, being sexually abused in a very early age and sad to say, it even happened in a place where I thought safe – a church building.

Because of my worries, I ended up not having so many friends. I ended up not trusting the people around me. I ended up reserving myself because I am so afraid to be harmed. I was so paranoid when people call my name thinking that they need someone to hurt again.

I ended up not enjoying life the way a normal teenager would enjoy it.

At the age of 11 years old, I was exposed in serving the Kid’s Church.
At the age of 13 years old, I struggled with being a Lesbian and doing things I should not do.
At the age of 15 years old, I chose to serve in the Church Choir thinking that I can escape the consequences of being a Lesbian.
At the age of 16 years old, some people harassed me sexually and told me it is okay because at least I am not yoked with an unbeliever.
During my college days, I never engaged myself from dating because I was afraid to be sexually abused.
I never tried any vice, not because I fear Christ but because I am afraid that people will judge me.
At the age of 18, I lost my Dad who was a victim of mistaken identity.
And when I started my internship, I was nothing but a confused child.
And when I was in 20 years old, a Pastor told me that I deserve being sexually abused because I am foolish and I do not deserve graduating with honors because I do not honor Christ the way this Pastor wants me to serve the church.

I ended up just moving forward without allowing myself to grief enough. So I met people who would allow me to grief, people who would allow me to cry on her shoulder. Some of them told me to go and attend a counselling session just for me to be heard. BUT HONESTLY, IT DIDN’T HELP ME. I ended up just getting hurt even more.

So what I did was just to put my 101% faith in Him. I attended Bible studies, engaged myself in learning the God through the Word, served faithfully inside and outside the office. I even gave more than 10% of my pay to show how grateful I am to Him choosing me.

However, the worst day of my life came

May 31, 2014. While we are having our despedida party for some of our friends, I didn’t even notice that some men have plans to take advantage of me. Everything was normal and just like the usual conversation – nothing green or nothing sexual. However, when I went to the restroom, came back and drunk water from my tumbler – after a couple of seconds I had a blackout and after almost 9 hours, I was in a motel room, naked and being laughed by six men even asking me “Did you enjoy? Do you want some more? You are beautiful without clothes.” As they saw me crying, they even mocked and told me “You are now wasted like those prostitutes and you will never be a virgin again. You giving that body pure and holy to that right man are fantasies. Your Christ cannot do anything about you anymore.” I just begged them to give my clothes and my stuff. And good thing they did.

When I was inside the taxi, it all sank in – I was gang raped. My entire body was hurting and I should do something about it. What’s on my mind was nothing but “I do not want to be a shame. Yes I am but I will just keep it to myself.”

So what happened after?

I kept quiet. But I also know that I needed to redeem myself. So what I did was I engaged myself in wrong relationships and I just allowed men to touch me and had several one night stand. I didn’t care about myself ‘coz all I know was that I would rather lose that virginity because I wanted the guy I am having sex with than living in reality that I lost it because I had no choice.

At those moments I forgot Jesus. I forgot what the Bible says about purity because I was wrapped in so much shame and pride. Yes, I post about Him but it was all filled with hypocrisy, nothing genuine. I stopped attending church. Or I will attend just to please my leaders and friends, or because of a Facebook invite. BUT I GOT TIRED. IT WAS TIRING TO LIVE IN HYPOCRISY. I got tired believing that dating several men will redeem my ego. But no. IT DID NOT.

I know for a fact that I was already depressed until my friend who happens to be a psychiatrist confirmed it.

So I prayed and fell on my knees “Lord, give me an avenue to raise my questions. Lord, give me an avenue to just release all these pain away. I DO NOT LIKE THIS ANYMORE!” And He answered my prayers – I went back to my first love, doing arts.

While creating artworks for people, I started seeking a new job and after getting that job in my dream company, I decided to totally quit from that lifestyle of treating myself as an object for sex. I saw that job opportunity as God’s way of telling me He loves me so much and He is always willing to heal and redeem me, and I was reminded that His love died not just to forgive me but to make me pure again and again and again no matter what happens.

I performed well. I created so much art that I even served in a retreat and was asked to do several projects for different people.

After 6 months

I was trying to be okay because I do not see them however, when I saw them after a long time — it was sinking in I AM NOT YET OKAY. It was a nightmare. These six men were able to corner me and almost touched me. Good thing, a security guard came so I was able to shout and gladly, the guard helped me out and brought me to a safer place.

I started browsing my phone to call any random person to ask help. And God sent someone who helped me digest what happened to me. Another person helped me to file a case and go through the right process. But sad to say, I lost the case at the fiscal because I didn’t have enough evidence to show that will make them believe that I was gang raped. Aside from my medico legal, I have none.

So, I asked God, “Why did You allow me to be shamed? I thought I was made a conqueror? But no! I am now a loser.” I chose to rebel against Him. I didn’t care about what the people in church would say. So I did ways to expose myself from all the sins I committed. I WENT ON A HIATUS. I didn’t answer texts, calls, FB messages from my church mates. However, I realized that I also need to explain to them. So I just said “I need to reassess if I still want to believe Christ after all the things that are happening in my life.”

Ironically, as I went on a hiatus, I suffered the consequences of my choices and the consequence of the rape drug – I had an 8cm diameter cyst at my right ovary. Then, my left ovary is having some dysfunctionalities which led to its natural death. I asked prayers from people but I was shocked ‘coz I ended up being judged “It is your fault. Your cyst was a punishment of your disobedience. You need to deal with that.”

So I just reserved my opinions and thank God! I found a community that will just allow me to have a breather – Pursuit Manila. I kept on doing calligraphy to express my heart that is wrapped in bitterness. However, through the community, God was slowly changing my heart.

Walkway 2015 came. I took that step to volunteer to show my gratitude to Him saving me from all the things happened in my life. But, there was a mind blowing question He left in me “Why are you not leaving your comfort zone?” So I asked Him “What do You think was my comfort zone?” He wanted me to weigh my heart and priorities. And I realized that my current job was the comfort zone God is referring to. I was working so much that in my 6th month, my Manager told me that he is going to help me to get promoted and last May 4, 2015 I received a status of my promotion which was approved by the HR and my manager. I was really happy about it BUT the thoughts of resigning from the corporate and breathe keeps on coming inside my mind. I did pray about it – and last May 12, 2015 the answer I didn’t want to hear came. God confirmed all of my thoughts in a Bible verse that doesn’t really have an appeal on me when I first heard about it.

So what I did was, I started to write my resignation letter and I bravely gave my resignation letter to my boss last May 22, 2015. He was totally shocked – He expected so much of me that we even had a debate. However, at the end of it all, God won. The moment I told my boss “God wanted me to walk on water called ink.” He eventually said “Okay. I do not want to debate with you, I am setting you free. Soar your wings and I wish you success.” He signed my letter and got my immediate resignation effective May 29, 2015.

The journey of Littlemsprinter

I was totally clueless of what I am going to do because honestly, I am still recovering from the pain of losing my case and losing my left ovary. But God just really brought the right people who helped me and encouraged me to organize my first ever workshop, carry my own personalized products, work with several brands and to summarize it, in a span of two years I never felt so fulfilled.

Yes, I wasn’t earning as much as I was doing when I was in the corporate but I was helping a lot of people to recover from depression.
Yes, I had so much broken dreams but it is a wonderful masterpiece in the making.
Yes, I had so much disappointments but God was teaching me so much about forgiveness, joy and love.

I HAVE GONE THROUGH SO MUCH IN LIFE THAT MAKES ME CHOOSE NOTHING BUT JOY. (It chose me first anyway)

Before, I was complaining “Why God allowed me to experience rape and sexual harassment?” Now, I am thankful because of the things I am slowly learning and yes, I am thankful that it happened to me. Sounds ironic but, yes. How can I not be thankful for the blessings that happened after that?

I may not have a choice because it was done in an evil manner

BUT God didn’t just die at the Cross just for the sake of creating a history.
He died to show the world that LIVING FOR HIM IS A GAIN.
He died to show that there is a LOVE THAT IS WILLING TO DIE JUST FOR YOU TO LIVE.
He died and rose again to show that THERE IS A LOVE THAT WILL COME BACK FOR YOU NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU HAVE GONE THROUGH.

That incident in my life drew me closer to Him, that I do not even understand why I just forgave those people who took advantage of me since day one. I am still in awe that He chose me to tell His love and grace through my mess.

Isn’t it amazing how a perfect God can turn our TESTS to a TESTimony and our MESS to a MESSage that will be known for His glory?
Isn’t it amazing that a perfect God is using imperfect beings like us to proclaim He is perfect?
Isn’t it amazing that a loving God is loving us unconditionally even if we do not love Him back?

Currently, I am going through a lot of things that I choose not to share as of the moment. But, all I can say is I have never experienced freedom as much as I am experiencing it now. Finally, after bravely writing my heart out. 

This life is not yet over.
But to answer the question “Why are you joyful always?”

Because JOY chose me first. And that JOY is deeply rooted in Christ.

I am expecting some more — trials and triumphs. Because I am still alive. For now, allow me to end this with something I’ve been learning:

I am excited to hear how God is working in your life!

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