“I love you Jesus. I give my life to you.”
I remember writing this line in my diary, while sobbing uncontrollably. I was 9 years old. Little did I know, then, that this statement would carve my destiny.
My life was very ordinary in my growing up years. I studied in good schools. Enjoyed the company of good friends. Relished myself in the love of my parents and family. After I finished college, I worked for a commercial bank at Makati, the country's financial district. One time, a close friend whom I have known since grade school, invited me to attend a prayer meeting. I readily agreed because during this time, I was already a daily mass goer. And I felt a deeper longing to know God more.
My first prayer meeting was awkward. I liked the talk that the speaker gave, but I was uncomfortable with worship. It was my first time to hear people speaking and praying in tongues. But my discomfort was not enough to deter me from returning. Since then, I was a regular attendee. I completed the Life in the Spirit Seminar and became a regular committed member of this Catholic Community. Needless to say, I was growing up in my relationship with God. I was also a zealous member of the community. All of my free time was dedicated to serving God and others.
In the meantime, I was enjoying advancement in my career as well. My boss was satisfied with my work, and he said that he had a career plan set out for me. I felt honored, of course. But on the other hand, I had a yearning to give to God more than what I was already giving.
Inevitably, I resigned from my lucrative career in the bank and worked full time for the Catholic Community that I belonged to.
I was Marketing Head of a Catholic Magazine that was just starting out. There were only four of us who worked full time for the magazine then. With God's grace and a lot of hard work from all the people involved. The publications company I was involved in grew and became very successful. Eventually, I left and moved to work for a travel agency. I was assigned to work with the Pilgrimage Department. My work included the task of going to different pilgrimage sites around the world. My work also allowed me to meet people from different places, of different nationalities, from all walks of life. This was a wonderful experience for me.
For one year, I took a leave from my work in the travel agency, to accompany my mother to visit my sister in the United States. Then, I considered the option of staying there. I tried to look for a permanent job who would be willing to sponsor me. But to my dismay, I found none. I came back to the Philippines with the plan of going back to the US the next year so I could try looking for a job there again.
Luckily, the travel agency I used to work for, agreed to hire me back. Once again, I was tasked to organize pilgrimages and accompany the groups I was assigned to.
A few months after I came back from the US, a friendship with a former client was rekindled. He is an amazing man who swept me off my feet. We fell in love. And got married shortly after.
Matthew and I continue to be the best of friends ever. Each day our friendship grows. Every experience we share brings us closer to one another.
I thank God for Matthew, my marriage, my life. I had no idea at all. That the prayer I uttered at a young age of nine was going to chart the course of my life. But I surmise, it must have been His plan for me all along. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways, my ways.” Isaiah 55:8
NOTE: Jojang is now busy with her home-based online work as a travel writer, while lovingly taking care of Matthew who suffers from chronic illness.