One of the greatest achievements we can have in life is becoming a parent and building our own family. But how do we define the word “parent” and how do we view the definition of “family”?
I became a widow at age 26 and my daughter was only two years old then. My husband was diagnosed with spleen cancer and eventually went home to be with the Lord after five months. I was left with nothing. I didn’t know where and how to start again.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)Tweet
I was stubborn and did not look unto God and His promises. I did not listen to His Word and did things my way.
I left my daughter in the care of my grandparents in Pangasinan, went back to Manila, and continued working. All I had in mind was to work, earn, and provide for my child.
Then I decided to leave the Philippines to work in another country in hope of having a better life. My daughter was eight years old. I moved her to the care of my younger sister in Baguio.
A 15-20 minute phone call everyday was never enough to satisfy my longing for her. I missed her so much but I had to be strong for her because I was the only “parent” she could depend on.
After years of working in another country, I decided to come home and stay for good. By that time, my daughter was already in her final year in college.
Reality hit me. My daughter’s personality was completely different from what I expected. I sensed a wall between us. She wasn’t even excited to see me. She didn’t even miss me. Well, I couldn’t really say what she was feeling or thinking because the truth was I didn’t even know her.
But life goes on. I must accept the consequences of what I did in the past. The Lord must have been telling me about it but I chose to follow my own decisions.
I went back to Manila and worked hard again since my daughter had yet to finish college. I stayed with my sister who encouraged me to go to church with her. I attended Sunday Worship and even joined a Bible study group. However, due to work demands, I stopped going to church and focused on my work. Going to church was never my priority.
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)Tweet
I continued my life this way, until I got sick. I was diagnosed with leukemia. My hemoglobin dropped too low and I was close to death.
I think this was God’s way of telling me: “Hey, child, this is your time. Return to Me. Give up your pride!” This became my real turning point.
I began to realize what kind of “parent” I was. All those years, I let my heart become so hardened by the experiences I had in life — from a very traumatic childhood to a very dramatic adulthood.
But God is sovereign! Holding onto what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” and Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ” I fully surrendered everything to God.
After my baptism in July 2016, the Lord allowed me to join the music ministry and to also become part of the children’s ministry in our church.
The best thing that happened is God made a way for me to be reunited with my daughter for good.
Last year, I attended #ParentsTalk in our local church. It helped and guided me on how to build my relationship with my daughter. With lots of prayers and through the help of God, my daughter and I celebrated her birthday together for the first time when she turned 22.
I thank God for He has made me the parent I am today. Now I can call my family a “family” with God as the head.
With all of this, I give back all the glory and praises to Him alone!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
A personal testimony of Yolly Guanlao. Her journey of being a parent to her daughter and being a daughter to her heavenly Father.