August 15, 2020. This day marks the exact date of when Van and I first arrived in Canada. Four years. Time flies so fast. Who would have thought we’d survive?
This week, we were strolling around the park where we used to go after Sunday mass. This was the only park we knew back then. We used to go there so frequently, it seems like we’ve taken photos at almost all its corners and sites.
Fast forward to the present, we’ve become well accustomed to the city. We’ve gained so many friends, tried numerous restaurants, and experienced the local culture like well, a local.
So many things have changed. As I look back, all I feel is gladness – glad that even if we are not in a place of perfect peace, we are not where we used to be.
Let’s take a quick look back:
I have learned so many things in the last four years of being a single mom, living abroad. It sure is tough. There are days when all I want to do is cry because of exhaustion. There are nights when I go to bed and sleep almost instantly because I am tired working all day, maintaining a household, and looking after a kid. It’s been a one-man show for the past four years.
The light needs to be replaced? I replace it. The daycare is closed? I find child care replacement. My son is hungry? I fix a snack. Math homework? I put on a teacher hat. The Rubik’s cube needs to be scrambled? I scramble it. You get the picture.
People ask me how I do it. My answer is I don’t know either. I guess when you come face to face with any situation, you just muster the guts and simply deal with it.
In spite being able to hurdle all those obstacles, I cannot get all the credit. I may look like a Wonder Woman to some, but believe me, I’m not. This is where my life verse comes to play:
“I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Who allowed me to witness my dad replace a fluorescent light multiple times before? Who directed my steps so I can meet trustworthy and reliable friends along the way? Who gave the provision for us to have food on the table? Who allowed me to fail at elementary Math so I can master the concepts and be able to teach my son? From where does my energy come from?
No one else, but the almighty God.
He was, is, and forever will be the orchestrator, the provider, the healer – the only one, who can make all things possible. I have nothing, absolutely nothing, to brag about myself. Every little thing is part of His perfect plan for us. It’s all Him.
We stayed in my cousin’s house on year 1, moved to an apartment on year 2, bought a house on year 3. Little miracles happened in between – full time work came, daycare spots opened, true friends met, and so on.
Every single day, I feel so grateful. I am able to survive, laugh, eat, and enjoy life despite the difficulties. Even if Van and I feel out of place sometimes because of our not-so-conventional family structure, the Lord never fails to remind us in simple ways, how favored and loved we truly are.
As I said, I learned so many things throughout my journey, but if I was asked to pick one of the most valuable, I would say, it is to learn to surrender everything to the Lord.
I used to want to control things and plan my own path. I never considered praying about it, or consulting God. In my mind, I want my own gain and pleasure. Disastrous strategy.
When Jesus saved me and called me back to the faith, I learned to let loose and chase after what God wants, instead of what I want. I wanted to please God first before myself. I learned to die to myself every single day.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
When I started aiming for what is righteous, true and pleasing to God, the worldly material possessions, relationships and money turned into a speck of dust in the very back of my head. I rarely think about these things anymore. What’s interesting is, that’s when God poured all these blessings unto me. I guess God just really wants to teach me that apart from Him, I am nothing. I learned to rely on Him alone and seek His face first. When I’ve mastered this, that’s when He added up beautiful things here and there.
Four years in Canada. Wow. This country just used to be a dream destination. Now, it is home. Thanks to all the people who supported us along the way. We are forever grateful.
Happy anniversary to us, land of the Maple leaf, bear country, winter wonderland! Here’s to more fond memories and sweet tire d’érable!
Merci beaucoup! 🇨🇦🥂