“In spite of all the pain, God was with me.”

Wencel Palabay

July 15, 2021

Nakapagtapos ako ng kursong Bachelor of Secondary Education major in English mula sa Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina noong 2018. Isa akong dating iskolar ng Real LIFE Foundation.

Pero para marating ko ’yung stage kung saan nakuha ko ’yung diploma ko, maraming season sa buhay ko na gusto ko nang sumuko. There were many times that I felt like the struggles were too much for me to handle. 

I grew up without my father. Hindi ko siya kilala mula pagkabata. Ayaw rin namang ipakilala ni Nanay kung sino ang tatay ko. Ang alam ko lang ay may sarili siyang pamilya.

Kaya lumaki akong may sama ng loob sa kanila. Galit ako na may kanya-kanya na silang pamilya, pero ako na anak nila, naiwang walang pamilya na pwedeng matakbuhan at malapitan.

’Yun ang pinakamasakit sa lahat: I was bullied, accused of many bad things, ignored, and rejected. But the worst was knowing na wala akong mapupuntahan, wala akong maiiyakan, at wala akong mahihingan ng tulong.

Because of that, I had to learn to be independent at a young age, kasi pakiramdam ko naman na walang ibang tao na pwedeng tumulong sa akin kundi sarili ko. Umabot ako sa puntong handa na akong magpaalipin sa iba para lang mag-survive ako sa buhay.

And because I felt that I was barely surviving, there were moments I gave up on my dreams of having a diploma. Madalas kong iniisip na pointless naman ang lahat.

But in spite of all the pain, I can see now that God was there in every season. In hindsight, hindi Niya pala ako pinabayaan. Nandun pala si God nung mga panahong feeling ko na mag-isa ako. Narinig pala Niya ang bawat hikbi at naiintindihan Niya ang bawat sakit. And He proved Himself faithful.

I became a Real LIFE scholar. Nabawasan na yung worries ko kasi hindi ko na pinagtatrabahuhan yung pang-aral ko. I have finally become a full-time student. 

But aside from the financial support, natulungan din ako ng Real LIFE Foundation at ng church community na baguhin ang mindset ko sa buhay through the coachings, seminars, gatherings, and discipleship that they provided.

Another hurdle that I overcame was forgiving my parents, especially yung tatay ko. Mahirap itong gawin nung una, lalo pa’t hindi naman nila ito hinihingi. Pero dahil nakatanggap ako ng kapatawaran mula sa Panginoon, natutunan ko ring ibigay ito sa kanila sa kabila ng lahat ng pinagdaanan ko. 

Ika nga sa Colossians 3:13, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

And when I was able to forgive them, alam ko na naging tunay na maligaya at malaya ako. I experienced unexpected breakthroughs in my relationship with them. God is indeed a God of reconciliations kasi alam kong Siya ang nag-ayos nito. Nakilala ko ang tatay ko at tinanggap niya ako bilang anak niya.

Hindi man mabuo ang pamilya namin, masaya na ako sa peace na kasama ng reconciliation.

During my graduation, nakasama ko pareho ang nanay at tatay ko! With the help of some of my church friends, inisponsoran nila ang tatay ko para makapunta sa Manila mula Baler, Aurora, para ma-surprise ako sa graduation ko. 

My college graduation was three years ago. Sobrang kaligayahan ang naramdaman ko nun. At dahil ako mismo ang naka-experience ng grace ni God, gusto ko ring matulungan ang ibang taong nahihirapan sa buhay para makita nila kung gaano kabuti ang ating Panginoon. 

I now get to teach sa Alternative Learning System (ALS) sa Marikina. Isa rin ako sa mga natulungan nito noong high school ako. At dahil nakaka-relate ako sa struggles ng karamihan sa kanila, I chose to teach here. Hindi ko lang sila natuturuan sa academics, pero I get to lead them to Christ with our daily devotions. 

Hindi ko sinasabing wala na akong nararanasang paghihirap. Madalas pa ring dumarating ang challenges. Hindi naman mawawala yun eh. And the truth is, there is no escaping pain and trials. But because of the journey I have with the Lord and how He has shown His faithfulness, hindi na ako madaling natitinag ng mga pagsubok na ’yun, dahil alam ko kung Sino ang kasama ko at alam kong ang mga struggle ay temporary lang.

And the same goes with you, when pain comes, know that you are never alone because God is with you. Hindi man pare-parehas ang kuwento natin, iisa naman ang ating Panginoon. And He will prove Himself faithful through and through. 

Kapit lang, umasa ka pa rin sa Panginoon, at laging tandaan na hindi ka nag-iisa.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” 

Deuteronomy 31:6

 

 

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The Author

Wencel Palabay

Wencel had to fend for himself since he was a child. He worked many odd jobs just to survive. Then, he became a Real LIFE scholar and was able to achieve his dream of finishing college. He is now an instructional manager for DepEd’s Alternative Learning System (ALS) in Marikina--where he graduated highschool-- working with out-of-school youth.

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