What Happens To You is For You

Life is an artistic realm.

Life may not always come into the way we desire. But living a fuller life is a creative journey to find new ways of filling up each day. Just like after we wake up every morning, we have our face as a blank canvas. A freshly washed face. It is up to us whether we want to create natural, colorful, or dramatic look, or leave it as it is. The more harmonious one color and another, the blending, the expression, the more attractive our looks appeal to people. Each day is a creative challenge.

However, there might be times of hardship—Stress affects your skin too. Even though we have tried doing good deeds in life, to ourselves and to people, sorrow still comes without knocking our door. Heartbreaking event or never-ending illness that causes us to lose hope might be beyond our control. But as long as we know our potentials, we still remain the artist. We are the controller of our own mind. The way we respond is how we perceive to such challenges. Though the process of changing mindset is hard, but it is attainable. I personally, do believe in the existence of hope.

“You have no control over the cards that are dealt to you. But you do have control of how you play them” – Dr. Howard Murad

Until mid year of 2013, I have experienced several turning of events that greatly affect my physical and emotional health, that cause me to lose a great amount of weight and get very bad skin breakouts. From the blurry vision and incurable damage in the retina, to the loss of two persons who are special to me whom I love the most. The shocking events consume my mind and strangle my soul. They are the people whom I place in my innermost heart. All of these, thrice in a row. My heart has no room to breathe.

About My Eyesight

I am diagnosed with toxoplasmosis disease in the eyes at the age of 12. The bacteria eats the core of my right eye, the retina, causes the eyesight to be incurably blind. Late of March 2013 when I am out looking stuffs for beauty photoshoots, suddenly my vision gets blurry. I cannot read. I cannot see objects clearly. I can only identify letters when the fonts are enlarged to 36. Additionally, every midday my head starts to feel dizzy, making my body feels weaker, sometimes I can collapse. An experience like this is so difficult on me, especially when I love writing so much. My career as a beauty journalist is affected as well. I take a week off to fly to Singapore looking for the right diagnosis. The diagnosis process itself is horrible too. I am injected by blood-like yellow color liquid while they are taking photos the back of my eyes. My body reacts terribly too: itches, sudden nausea and sneezing. Thanks, God, it is over. The ophthalmologist says the gels around my eyeballs are starting to melt, causes the eyeballs move slightly. It happens naturally when we reach age 50 but it happens to me at the age of 22. Furthermore, my tears value is zero. I have very acute dry eyes. And I only can rely on my left eye to see.

Another Wave is Coming

The ophthalmologist gives me eye gel drops and a very hydrating liquid. Gradually I gain my normal sight back. I must take care of my eyes more than normal people do. I am advised not to see computer monitor a lot whereas my career as a journalist force me to do so. What is worse, the company monitors are very, very bad and flickering. I have to quit the job for the sake of my eyesight. Though I love working in media company, I accept my health condition. Not mourning too long, I have to make decision right away, and move on. I want to be a makeup artist.

I thought the raging storms (the breakup with an emotionally abusive 4-year boyfriend who destroys my dignity to pieces and this eye issue) have subsided. But, oh, there is another wave coming, more powerful. I lose a very good friend of mine.

I just cannot believe God let me experience these unexpected turning of events thrice in a row. I have no idea what shape of my heart is anymore. I blame myself for the mistakes I have done. For the hurt I may have caused. I have been so hard on myself. Oh, hello, darkest side of the ocean. I shout my prayers in anger, disappointment, sadness, wails, and never-ending whys. I no longer wear my Cross necklace.

Stand Strong!

Several days before I leave my job in Cosmopolitan magazine, I ask a friend to accompany me for lunch. After several conversations, he tells me that I have changed. I change into Irene that he doesn’t used to recognize. He says Irene he knows is a very cheerful person. I was like.. What? He adds, “Try comparing your previous photos with your current photos. You’ll see the difference.” I know my life has hit rock bottom that I keep swimming in the dark, even try to go even deeper. Then he says to me in the eye, “Irene, this is not you. Please go back to yourself.” I fall into silence. I am absorbed into misery.

“When you come to a wall in the road, life is telling you to make a turn” – Dr. Howard Murad

I am in a depression state.

He is right. I look different in my photos. At night after bad cryout and screaming in prayers, I tell myself that I will get better. From the bottom of this darkest ocean where I curl up, I look up. I still could see a faint of glistening light. Up there. Though my feet are weakened, I want to reach that light. I want to get better and move out from this breakdown. I make a big mistake by waiting for someone else to allow me feel happy, whereas I am the one who should give myself permission to be happy. I have to do something.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11

I start talking to Him again and trust His words more than I relying on my own understanding. I trade my sorrows and pain for His love, lay them on His hands. A friend in my cell group, Richard, sends me an encouraging sermon by Joel Osteen about ‘There is Ingredient Coming’. He has me at ‘What happens to you is FOR you’. I have learned that accepting is a very important and hardest phase, though it is a first step of moving on from any bad situation. I accept my imperfection and mistakes. I accept my situation.

After that, I start flipping my feet up to the surface. Well, It is a difficult push-and-pull process. The breakthrough is last June 5th, I promise to myself and God by writing down a pledge that from now on I will focus on greater things ahead and the present things I could take care of. Like committed on taking care of myself, sharpening beauty skills, developing character to be wiser, and nurturing family and friends that are around me. Whenever the dark tries to get me, I read my pledge aloud. Repeatedly.

How do I equip myself? I flip my feet and swim around, searching for tools that may benefit me later when I face the world up there. I seek support group and take personal development like leadership class in JPCC that empowers me with positive insights. I grow with people that desire to grow too. I am not alone. I learn myself more, about my personality profile, strengths, talents, holy discontent, and how to use my strength to reach out people more. I spend hours, days, and weeks listening to podcasts and gospel music, which strengthens my faith every second I listen. The lyrics are empowering the mind and feeding the faith. I know there is hope out there. I am amazed on my own potentials. I have never known they exist before. I fall in love with myself, and even more to Christ who patiently carries me up. I put on my Cross necklace.

You may be in the same situation like me. If you are in the midst of hardest situation of your life, maybe you are having a tough time in your relationship, that someone is leaving you, quarrel with family members, or academy problems, or that illness that never goes away, don’t ever ever give up! I am right behind you. Supporting you. Hold on tight to your faith. Spring comes after winter. There is hope. Pray boldly.

After trained enough with wisdom, now I am ready, surfacing to the top of the ocean with my strengthened feet. I go up boldly. Head first. I inhale the air, and slowly get into the shore. I have kissed goodbye to darkness. To the misery. I learn to walk slowly. I know I can stand firm on my feet. With renewed mind, empowered strength, and equipped with new wisdom, my feet now are directed to the light path. I want to catch the sunrise. I want to run for the horizon. I still have missions to accomplish. These are my glorious days.

When you choose happiness over anxiety or fear, all the membranes in your cells are starting to celebrate, making it firmer and leak water no more. You will look more youthful. And the skin breakouts will go away. Keep yourself away from stress. Live creatively. Be ready for explosions of colors. Because we are the artist of our own life.

He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. – Psalm 62:6

This post is written with heart. From Irene, with so much love.x

26 thoughts on “What Happens To You is For You”

  1. hello Irene saya sangat tersentuh dengan cerita kamu, pencobaan yang kamu lalui, mungkin saya hanya bisa membaca dan merasakan sedikit, tetapi saya mengerti bagaimana hidup ketika kita diperhadapkan dengan cobaan, seperti saya yang selama ini bergumul sendiri, banyak hal yang keliatan tidak normal terjadi dalam hidup saya, saya harus bekerja dalam usia yang muda, menjadi tulang punggung keluarga, dan hidup dalam keadaan yang serba kekuaranga dan hutang yang banyak, (hutang keluarga) tapi saya tetap percaya suatu saat Tuhan akan membuka jalan untuk mengubah hidup saya lebih baik, memang kami sekeluarga hidup dalam keadaan yang sehat tetapi kami sangat teruji dalam soal financial, saya mau bilang sama kamu tetap berserah kepada Tuhan, dia akan memberikan kesembuhan kepada kamu, ketika kita bertahan sampai akhir dan menyerahkan kepada Tuhan dia akan memberikan kesembuhan, percayalah semua orang diuji oleh Tuhan hanya saja berbeda, seperti saya teruji dalam kesusahan hidup dan kamu dalam kesehatan. semuanya ada rencana Tuhan,. terus berdoa dan berserah.

    1. Hello Miss S! Terimakasih banyak atas waktunya untuk baca cerita aku. Kadangkala pencobaan yang diberikan adalah untuk membuat karakter kita lebih baik lagi. Seperti bagaimana kita mau menaruh iman serta pengharapan di dalam-Nya, agar kita mau untuk selalu ingat, ada Tuhan yang dahsyat, lebih besar daripada problema yang kita hadapi. Aku percaya apa pun ujian yang diberikan itu sesuai dengan kemampuan kita. Pasti Tuhan mempercayakan kamu untuk menjadi leader dalam keluarga kamu, menjadi tulang punggung, dalam soal hal financial. Aku percaya kalau kita terus percaya dan melakukan yang terbaik, and keep honoring Him, suatu hari kita diberi kelimpahan yang besar dari-Nya. Sebab rancangan-Nya adalah rancangan masa depan yang penuh harapan (Yesaya). Sama sama berjuang ya ! 🙂

  2. ce Irene, I’m sure these days I started to miss you, a lot. Your name popped many times I blogwalked or just wandered around on Facebook, and kaboom you appeared today on my Home timeline and I glad to see it!! It’s like I got kind of feeling you will be back, and brighter than before. And this post proved me right.

    I used to also have the bad times in my life, when I lost the not-yet-a-boyfie along with some kilos of my weight. It was hard not to cry over myself every night. Stupid, but it was happening. I used to cry for losing someone who meant a mom to me, for forcefully receiving the responsibilities I never thought I could do it. but when hard times come, I suddenly got something popped out in my heart : did I ever pray like this? Did I pray when I go to sleep, or did I really pray when I was happy? Did I say grace, instead of making jokes and overly joyed when happiness caught me?
    I finally recognized and was very grateful for the hard times in life. I started to believe God was, and is always there for me–for us. I thanked HIm for the hard times I finally was able to lift up some prayers. Instead of blaming and accusing Him for all that happened, I started to accept things and thank Him for every single moment I experienced as it actually brought me closer to Him himself. Brought me to finally pray, and consider His existence in every single moment of my life.

    I’m glad you (and me, and all of us will!) experienced bad things in life. Nothing good and worthy happens for an instant process! Like diamonds, it takes the most difficult and best cut for a high price.

    Be strong, and welcoming the new you to the blogging world!
    a virtual big hug from your deary growing up friend,
    caroline.
    kisses attached too! x

    1. Aww Oline you are so cute can I have you as my little sister? Hihi.
      Love problems always make us down. I hope you don’t lose a grip on yourself, my dear. You are a daughter of a King, you are precious like a diamond. Put your head up and stop the condemning voices inside the head. We are here for a greater purpose. I am so glad you already have found the way to the light. Keep on walking, do it together. I am at your side. Let’s pray for each other so when one is down, another could lift up. Just like what you do to me. Your welcoming words to me are so heartwarming. I never know that I am missed and loved. I am here, not going anywhere again. Thankyou, thankyou so much Oline :’)

      Here teddy bear hugs special for my little sister <3 I love you.

  3. Thank you for sharing, Irene. You are like gold, refined for His pleasure.. God bless you, sister. Looking forward to hearing more testimonies to come! 🙂

  4. Ai, I’m so sad reading your story above and it makes me cry 🙁
    Seriously I never know that you experienced those things, you must have been in bad time. 🙁
    Sometimes I just saw you tweet but I thought you were busy with your job, that made you not blogging these few months.
    We all must have experienced bad thing in our lives in different ways that make us want to just disappear or have no passion in living.
    I have felt that way too but I struggled and after started blogging routinely, I finally found a way to cheer myself up again and meet many new friends and try to forget those bad memories.
    I miss you, Ai, and hope you can cheer yourself up again.
    If you ever need someone to talk to, you can always talk with me. I’m ready to listen or help you.

    Lots of love,

    Rini.

    1. Oh my dear Rini you are such a sweet person at the heart. You are a lady with full of loves. Yes, it is the actual story when that day you asked me why I haven’t updated a blog post for months. I was falling into pieces I could not write a single word. Words are my childhood friends. But I felt like they are running away from me. But I realize now it’s not them who are running away from me, it’s me who pushed them away with my egoistical attitude.
      I miss you too. I won’t stop here since I have promised myself I want to go for my brighter future ahead, there are things I haven’t done and accomplished. I still have missions.
      I will also follow your path, I won’t be discouraged again, I will make my own opportunities. Thankyou for being such an inspiring person and a role model to the rest of girls. You go for the Laneige brand ambassador okay. I know you can do it. I love you, I will talk to you regularly <3

  5. Hi Irene! aku sunsetdaze fd, dulu dulu aku seneng banget lihat fotd kamu… gaya fashion kamu, ternyata dibalik itu semua kamu dapet cobaan yang berat banget, tapi asal ikhlas dan percaya semua akan ada hikmahnya, aku yakin, Tuhan lagi nyiapin kado yang paling indah buat kamu yaa 🙂

    maybe I do not know who you are, in a real world…
    but I know you are a beautiful girl with a beautiful heart too
    I know you’re strong!
    you give us the lesson to be strong with these post and my heart is like crying now, but you are brave. Nobody can brave enough to share their “HARDEST” story to anyone like you, I feel you, Irene…
    *hugs*

    1. Hi Sha! Hi Sunsetdaze! 😀
      Iya aku juga seneng banget liatin fotd kamu, sukaaa. Warna-warninya selalu beda dan kreatif! Keren deh kamu, hihihihi.

      Amin banget, amin. There’s another great thing is coming.
      Though we haven’t met yet, I am grateful to know you too. Keep being such an inspiration too for the other ladies 🙂 We are more beautiful than we know too, when we are honest to ourselves, and to other people. It’s just a little piece of my thoughts. Thankyou for such sweet words x *hugs*

  6. Rin..love ur story..and ur strong statements 🙂
    I can feel the courage.. the freedom.. the growth.. of you.

    Be thankful for whatever you have today, and don’t take it for granted.. don’t let yourself turn to be sad for things you lost..or you don’t have. Let’s believe that all things work for good!

    He loves you just the way you are
    But He loves you too much to let you be the be same.

    Ur story is such a blessing for me. Keep growing & inspiring 😉 ♥ xx

    1. Ika.. Aku kira ReIka teh saha. Kamu toh ternyata. Hihihi.
      Thankyou my sweet and lovely girl, a friend, and a sister to me. I collect pieces of courage from here and there, then mold them with a touch of faith into one unshakeable courage.
      Yes I will not be sad anymore, thankyou for being all ears all this time, and patient with me. We believe difficult times is God’s timing to make us a better person, right? He loves to change us rather than change our situation.
      I am thankful to have you in my life. Sayang ika <3

  7. Irene stay strong honey, just like u said.. They are plans for good and not for disaster, I believe in that for everyone had they own problem with their own level. He believe you can through this because He know your level, you are a strong girl. Dan aku percaya melalu proses ini Irene menuju ke keadaan yang lebih baik lagi 🙂 Our God is Creative God, never too fast, never too late. His plan is undeniable beautiful. I love you Irene <3 thanks for sharing with us!!

    1. Thankyou thankyou I will stay strong too, dear Margaret. I have faith in that, that in any health condition or circumstances that He places us, He has a greater plan for a greater purpose in us. Yes, you are right. He is never too early and nver too late. I love you too Margy x.

  8. Wow!!
    Absolutely a “WOW”…

    Your story, your writing, your heart in it really amazed me..

    Many thanks for writing and sharing this message.
    Really inspire me.

    You go, Irene!
    Next time, I must listen the whole part of your story.
    🙂

  9. Terima Kasih Irene sudah berbagi cerita.

    Setiap orang akan diproses hidupnya untuk menjadi lebih baik dari kemarin. Selamat kamu sudah mengambil keputusan & memelihara keyakinan kamu untuk meraih hari depan yang lebih Indah.

    Manusia hidup untuk sesama
    Manusia hidup dalam proses

    Terkadang kita berhenti
    Terkadang kita tersihir

    Dalam kenyamanan
    Dalam pikiran kita

    Hanya satu yang pasti di dunia
    Perubahan, itulah yang pasti

    Kita yang memilih
    Kita yang dipilih

    Itulah pilihan, untuk sebuah tujuan

    Menjadi saluran berkatNya di dunia saat kita di bumi.

    1. Felix I learned so much too from every of your stories that you share each time we meet. Pengetahuan dan wawasan baru, from you especially issues about Indonesia.
      Yes, we live together, connect to each other, for one greater purpose!

      Thankyou so much!

  10. {Via email}

    Hi Irene..

    I’m so amazed and touched by your testimonial, your courage, faithfulness and never give up spirits.. They are really awesome.

    You are God given for every people who ever known you.. And I think that’s called generation of star and influencer/ impactor

    I’m really proud of you.. And of cos u should proud of urself..

    You’ll never imagine for these stories you wrote.. Would be touching so many people and more to come..

    Keep on writing and shining.. Cos these are you..

    I’m blessed by you.. And God Bless you 😉

  11. Airin, thx for being an inspiration and a light. Kelly bener tu you are a tough woman. Wlpn crt dr awalnya km uda crt tp the way you wrote the article it tugged my heartstrings
    Jgn sedih2 lg ya airin… I may never truly understand how you feel, but it will make me happy to only cheer you up… Thank you airin uda share ke kita, love u ai…
    Aku ga se fluent itu dlm berkata2,aku jg orgnya kaku n ga bs nunjukin affection, but I do care for you ai.. Sorry for not being there all d time..
    Ngikutin kata2 kelly ni, look forward and be positive ya ai…
    Keep on writing ya airin, you can inspire so many people with your writing, truly.

  12. Hi, Ai…
    I really admire your strength and faith in God.. Like what Icha said, you are indeed an inspiration..
    I am happy to be there for you when you need me.. You can share your stories with me anytime but I’m sorry if I can’t really help you..
    It’s great that you are moving forward now, leaving the darkness behind you.. Follow your heart to reach your dreams, dear 🙂

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