I am turning a year older again.

And as is my practice, I am again on a self-analysis mode.

(I guess, when you are inching closer and closer to the end of your earthly rope, you get to be more sentimental and more introspective.)

While my default look in front of the camera is happy, playful and even comical, deep down I am very much in touch with my emotions. I easily get hurt by criticisms, no matter how well-meaning they may be. I have shed countless amounts of tears over the years– from the time I was mercilessly turned down in a singing audition when I was in Grade 1 (even as I almost dislocated my hips swaying to the dancy tune I belted out), to the time I was called ‘ting-ting’ by my playmates because of my anorexic look and up to the time, a college crush crushed my heart into pieces for his disinterest in me.

I am no stranger to physical pain, either. I have been under the knife three times for repro-related health issues, not to mention giving birth twice with the kind of pain only mothers understand.

Yup, I can still vividly remember the hustle and bustle in an operating room before the sedation set in. “Ay… Tachy pala to! Pakikabit ng Monitor!”

(I am tachycardic, meaning my heart rate is abnormally fast even when I am at rest.) So, I feel like I am “in love” 24/7 with the way my heart somersaults — with or without any stimulus.

Every time I was wheeled into the OR, I would have the same thoughts playing in mind.. “This could be it. I might not come out of that room alive, but I hope I can get through. Lord, extend my life. I still have so much I want to do. I still want to live out your purpose for me.”

And all throughout, God has been truly faithful. He has sustained me through the deep valleys of my life—especially every health crisis.

And so today, a few hours before another crop of gray hair appears to mark my _8th birthday, my writer’s heart overflows with thanksgiving.

For the laughter and pain, for the highs and lows, for every single circumstance that has helped shape who I am now, and for every person God has brought to touch my life, I am truly grateful.

And I am thankful too that even as I have been unfaithful many times in my commitment to be a better follower of Christ, He has never ceased to sustain me.

Let’s remain thankful and hopeful each day. One day soon, everything will fall into place and our beautiful smiles  would be a permanent fixture on our faces.