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I have pondered countless of times whether I should be writing about the year that has passed for the sole reason that I was not so sure if I could end it in a positive heyday-like note. 

When I started this blog, I desired to write about things that inspire and encourage people to be creative and to take breathers. Maybe this is also the reason why I blogged less this year, I was honestly consumed about how adulthood hit me so hard and drained every single cell of positivity and creativity left in me. To be very honest, 2017 was not an easy year for  me as an individual; it felt like I have been standing on a crossroad long enough and got stuck there. Maybe it was the fact that I actually took a lot of time assessing my life and where I was at the moment that I realized how lost I felt and how each and every single day felt like I was just breezing through the random and turbulent waves without any action plan or direction in mind. 

It was definitely not like how I pictured my heydays. It was not how I pictured my year to be.

The days went by pretty fast this year 
and everything felt so routinary.
My life circled around the following: House-Work-Grad School-Church, repeat. This is probably something that I share with if not all, most of you. And believe me when I say that there were definitely a lot of great days and memories that came along with it. There were definitely brighter days, filled with hope, love, and warmth. But it is probably the human in us to outshadow all of these when trials come, as if it was coming in too strong and too long for us to recuperate and look back at the brighter days. I questioned my worth a lot this year- as a professional and as someone who has a lot of dreams to weigh in with reality. 
As I am writing this now, I have come to realize two things about myself: I am stubborn and I take a while to move on from a failed plan. I guess those strong traits did get the best out of me this year. I was at a point in my career where I was trying to figure out which way to go and how I could balance the thing that makes me happy and passionate about with the thing that drives in reality. As a woman and as a wife, I'm in the middle of choosing to prioritize my career or to prioritize my husband and starting a family. In the eyes of the world and in my generation, career would more or less go in first. Equality and self worth, is what they call it. But there's something about that idea that has always bothered me so much, it felt like I was doing something that I was not supposed to do. It was a matter of choosing from the standards of the world and choosing the standards of God's Word. 

Reality sat in really good this year, pretty good. I didn't like it.
In all these things, I have come to realize that I was being pruned and my character was being built by the Lord. I have always been so passive about reality because I knew I had my parents as my cushion and that I can always run back to them and run away from the stresses of life when I wanted to. But this year has taught me resilience in all forms - it challenged me to rejoice despite the uncertainties, to be courageous despite my weakness, to love despite my troubles, to forgive despite the hurt, to opt for joy despite the circumstances. As I start the year through another personal note, I wish to share with you three of the most important lessons that I have learned this year.

1. I have learned to accept the feeling of being empty and defeated.

What good is life if everything was easy and accessible? What good is my testimony if everything was good and overflowing? One of the things that I have truly learned is the gift of acceptance and dependence on the One who truly gives and takes away. As cliche as it might sound, it is only now that I truly understood and joyfully accepted the principle of "emptying my cup". The Lord reminds us through Psalm 81:10 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it"My plans are not His plans, what I feel adapt for my life might not be aligned with what He has designed. 

Easy to say, but always harder to apply. God uses our trials to mold us and make his Word be ever true in our lives. This is a very important lesson for me this year, feeling defeat is not bad nor does it make me less of a person.  Feeling defeat makes me cling on God's hand and know that whatever desire I have for myself will pass for it is only temporary and that I should focus more on the eternal value of life and that is to live in the will of God.

2. Afflictions are part of the journey, we must stand firm and know that God is the one who saves. 

It's a very humanistic trait to tend to depend on people emotionally. We like the feeling of being "comforted". When affliction comes, we tend to feel the need to run to people and feel so frustrated when we cannot seem to get that emotional validation from them. I myself am very guilty from this, this is actually one of the biggest things that I have dealt with this year. Our dependence must not rely on people or the material things that binds us from day to day, our dependence and our eyes must be on Christ. Psalm 145:19 anchored me back as it reminded me that he hears their cry and saves them. There is no one in this world that could ever satisfy our souls, this is why the Bible reminds us to run to him in prayer, to speak to him earnestly daily.

I learned that our afflictions mold us, tests our faith and understanding on God's Lordship and eventually learn to stand firm for nothing in this physical world is permanent. As 1 Corinthians 4:8-10 tells us, "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.". I was reminded of how the son of God came down to save us, how his clean and precious blood delivered and placed an end to our sins, how His innocence was maligned and corrupted but He never fought back. How can a man do such selfless act? I remember in one of my quiet times, I cried out and told the Lord "why is it so hard to be like You?". But as hard as it is to accept, it is our primary duty to live a life as Christ did. Our afflictions should never be an excuse for us to turn our backs from what we were called to do. Our hurts should never be used as a license to hurt others. Our temporary pain should never be a reason for us to cause permanent scars to other people. Our hope should never grow tired for our strength and hope relies on the Lord.

3. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28 
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Philippians 4:6-7 
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

As 2017 was a year of acceptance and molding, 2018 shall be my year to depend on the Lord and put my hope and trust in Him. People keep asking me "What are your plans this year?", I only smile and answer a wry "I actually don't know what's in store this year". To some of you that might sound very passive and irresponsible for an upcoming 29 year old married woman like me, but to me this is my act of submission and dependence on God. I actually do have desires- to finish Grad School by August if I pass my Thesis and Exhibit, to seriously kickstart the Heydays branding, to be more creative and make more art, to embark a new phase in my career that would also allow me to have time for my husband and our marriage, to travel more, to blog more often and make serious work collaborations, and so much more. But these are merely my desires, desires that I continuously lift up to God as I try to be more attentive to His voice more than mine.

To say that 2017 was not my year would be unfair - to the great people who have been part of it and to the memories that I got to collect along the journey. 2017 made me appreciate simplicity, quiet times, times of being alone in thought, it made me value time spent with people that I got to see and work with, it made me appreciate and fall in love with my husband more as God used him to become my sidestone in all these things, it made me love my family more, it made me accept myself and what I am not. 

Yes, I like that word. Acceptance.

So this year shall be an interesting year. Am I scared? A bit, but I am more of hopeful and looking forward to see how things shall be unfolding this year for me and how much learnings can I bring in again this year. I look forward to meeting more people, strengthening my faith, spending more time with my husband and my family, and discover more about myself. 2018 shall be exciting and in all honesty, I very much look forward to the next few days, weeks, and months to come!
Let's smile more, be more positive, and grow more in all aspects this year!


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