2013 has been more than a challenging year. In 12 months, I’ve encountered significant changes to career, living environment and personal life. Usually, one tends to keep planned changes to a manageable amount, but this year, both planned and unplanned changes came a plenty, and there were crosswinds which I didn’t expect.
In January, I made a planned move over to Hong Kong to take on a larger role within the company. The expanded role was tough, where I took on two additional roles until I was able to build the team to take on the responsibilities. To put it simply, the whole process of finding the right individuals was not completed until July. Even now, I am still filling some positions, but the key ones are filled.
I was in Hong Kong for a good seven months alone, before the family joined me in August. During this time, Dad fell ill in late January, and was literally in and out of hospital until he passed away on 5th April. The first two quarters were one of the most difficult times I had to go through. Apart from having to deal with the challenges of taking on 3 jobs at work, I had also to work in my travel back to Singapore because of Dad’s illness.
I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that without God’s guidance and leading, I would never have made it through. In fact, it was God’s divine intervention in March, when I was back in Singapore for a 3 day visit, which allowed me to spend the last 2 weeks with Dad before he passed away. On the day I was originally supposed to fly back to Hong Kong, I came down with an unexplained stomach ulcer which caused me to cancel my flight back. I had already checked in my luggage, but the pain I felt in my stomach was just too great to bear. I rushed to the hospital. In the following days, I had another stomach ulcer episode which saw me in the emergency department opposite Dad! LoL! In short, my original planned 3 day trip to Singapore was extended to 1 month, as I spent Dad’s last two weeks with him, and was with my family as we organised Dad’s funeral arrangements. If I had not come down with the unexplained stomach ulcer, I would never have had those last precious time with Dad. I am really grateful to God.
When I got back to Hong Kong in April, I plunged myself deep into my work to dull my emotions, and it was a struggle. I questioned my transfer to Hong Kong, and whether it was the right move. I also sought directions spiritually to try and make sense of the challenges I was facing in finding a church I could feel comfortable in, in Hong Kong. I never found spiritual support or a good spiritual community I could feel comfortable in for the entire duration I was in Hong Kong before my family came.
Things took a positive turn in August when Christine, Kyla, Ariel and Elkan came over. Instead of coming back to an empty house, the family is now with me. 🙂 getting the kids into Singapore International School was not too difficult, but caused some anxiety until we got formal confirmation that the kids had been accepted into the school. Things started to slowly get into perspective.
One of the best things that saw me through the ups and downs was a daily time of reading the Bible and journaling. It kept my perspective constantly on Christ. Without a doubt, I am still very much work in progress, but I know that my Redeemer is faithful and true. With 2013 coming to a close, I give thanks to God for a challenging year, where I discovered more of myself, or rather…. less of myself, and more of Him. I discovered that it was not important what was thrown at me, and how much of it was coming, but it was more important to know who is the centre of my life and for whom I am living for.
This is what I will bring with me into 2014. I am certain the new year will bring new challenges, but I also know that what ever the future holds, my God will be in that future with me.