I AM Judith. I am a solo parent to my 17-year-old son. The Light of Jesus Family has been my family since I was 17 years old.
The LOJ Pastoral Care has been my ministry since its early years at The Lighthouse, the LOJ headquarters at 60 Chicago Street, Cubao, Quezon City, then the Maya Building on Montreal, also in QC, then back to Chicago St.
At the time, I was also at the height of my career as a financial planner in a reputable insurance company.
Yes, I was enjoying a single life in the sales industry, serving in LOJ community and parish ministry.
My life dramatically changed when I welcomed motherhood at 36 years old— as a solo parent. Being solo in the plight of childbearing was challenging in all aspects of my being.
With God’s provisions and my earnings, I was able to go through all my pre- natal needs, hospitalization, caesarian delivery, and other nursing needs of my son
— with help only from my family and close friends. That’s because I did not tell my struggles to my LOJ Family, extended relatives, or colleagues.
Soon as I recovered from the caesarian delivery, I went right back to work. I didn’t have a nanny for my son so I brought him along when I went to work– from my prospecting, closing a sale, client services, attending seminars and meetings. I was multi-tasking– as a mother and a provider.
My generous and motherly agency manager offered help to get me a condo unit and a car to ease my burdens as I started building my life with my son. But I politely declined the offer, thinking that I would be tied up with work which would limit quality time with my son.
I just followed her advice to hire a nanny who would take care of my toddler while I do my work.
Everything seemed well– until transition struck our company. My agency manager left– she transferred to another company. The transition affected me badly, as it led to a series of setbacks for me.
First, thinking that our company was no longer stable, some clients pulled out their investments.
Second, yes, I lost clients. Actually, I could not join my agent manager when she transferred to another firm because I’d pledged loyalty to my clients. But my clients could not stay with me.
What broke me to pieces was that point when my clients lost confidence in me, questioning my integrity– and as a result, discontinued sales from me.
I took it by heart and decided to end my 15-year career as an insurance agent.
Third, as a consequence of my reduced sales, my savings depleted. I tried independent selling— peddling various brands. But the income was not sufficient– especially with the growing needs of my son, then already schooling.
Earning less was the lowest point of my life. It was heartbreaking for me not being able to provide well for my son.
So, fourth, I developed low self-esteem– poor self-worth. Stress choked me, affecting my mental health. At the time, I also had skin allergy and it worsened.
Fifth, I had conflicts with very close relatives. I had no peace– only too much deafening noise.
And sixth, distracted by my series of concerns, I decided to go on leave from the LOJ Pastoral Care ministry.
With those setbacks, I would have been a wreck. But by God’s merciful grace, at the same time
I was suffering, my faith was deepening– as I continued to attend faith gatherings of our Light of Jesus Family, where I heard inspiring, encouraging talks about Jesus’ unconditional love.
So, I held on to Jesus for strength during my trying times.
At the time, I brought my son to school. So, from there, I passed by a nearby church for morning Mass and praying the Rosary.
And yes, through those spiritual nourishments, the Lord rescued me from the pit of my trials.
God Really Cares
Indeed, the Lord never leaves us. He wakes us up each day with miracles.
He sends good people, each with a generous heart, sharing their blessings to us.
I can well say this because receiving blessings from God through His people has been my experience for years.
Allow me to give you an amazing example of how I experienced that God really cares.
One night, a friend called me up, informing me that one of our sisters in Community—let’s call her Jullie– passed away. So sad with the news, I remembered the last conversation I had with Sis. Jullie.
Actually, it was a mistake. She inadvertently sent me a text message, inviting me to attend the annual retreat of the LOJ Pastoral Care for the pastoral carers. But little did she know, technically, I was not supposed to attend the retreat because
I was on leave from the Ministry for almost five years already.
I told Sis. Jullie so, and I remember, she told me, “Maybe it is the Lord telling you to come back.”
I answered, “Soon, maybe?”
Then, at that moment, I remembered another sister—let’s call her Mely– who also passed away few months ahead of Sis. Jullie. Sis. Mely regularly called me up, giving me updates about the Ministry.
Sis. Mely never got tired of asking me to come back, to continue my service, and I would just say,
These two sisters close to my heart, who patiently invited me back, had left me– without seeing me serving again in the Ministry.
Now, at the wake of Sis. Jullie,
I happened to meet again my fellow pastoral carers– after many years that I’d been away. Bro. Vic Español, longtime LOJ member and Feast Ortigas Builder, also happened to be there—with his wife, Sis. Ditas, directress of LOJ Pastoral Care.
We said “Hi” and “Hello,” exchanged pleasantries and updates on the Ministry.
Back to Caring
Then, Bro. Vic and I had a heart-to- heart talk. He told me that the Pastoral Care Ministry lost two of its faithful servants, sadly leaving one after the other.
Bro. Vic said there must be at least one immediate replacement and he and Sis. Ditas had no idea who, until they saw me– unexpectedly.
Bro. Vic requested me to try coming back, and he asked me to join the Carers’ Growth Seminar (CGS), a refresher course for pastoral carers, then to be held in January 2017.
I attended the seminar and from there, my journey as a pastoral carer has continued. I am back for good — and even better– for the Lord equipped me with sweet victories from my battles.
Today, I continue to serve as pastoral carer. I’ve been working from home– meeting my clients online– since March 2020, the start of the lockdowns to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
In every client session, I’ve learned that more than helping others, it is I who is being helped.
The brokenness I hear and feel from others has helped me deal with my own pain, sorrows, and difficulties. The aches of my past helped me to understand where people are coming from, and to show compassion listening to other people’s cries.
As a pastoral carer, I also learned about self-care, to appreciate and value my worth—that I am
That’s Pastoral Care—God’s merciful way.