Bible Verse: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” ~Exodus 20:12 ESV
At her young age, she had life going well for her. Until the only person who inspires her to keep going was taken away from her.
Samantha Suarez or Sam, as her family and friends fondly call her, is a very simple girl. If she is not busy with her work in the Philippine Army, you can find her training with her team in the Ultimate Frisbee. She’s an active Ultimate Frisbee player since college and has deep passion for this sport. Frisbee has been her way of keeping herself healthy and in maintaining overall wellness. This is also what kept her focused despite the longing to be with her family in the U.S. Sam’s family lives in the United States since her Dad was assigned there as a Military Attaché in the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC. It was difficult to live away from them but Sam had to stay behind to finish her college education. This year, Sam has completed her degree in Consular and Diplomatic Affairs from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde and is currently working as a researcher in the Military camp, under the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Command and Control Communications, and Cyber Systems, G6 Philippine Army.
Earlier this year, Sam had to overcome the most challenging moment in her life—the unexpected passing of her father, Colonel Orlando M. Suarez PA (GSC). Col. Suarez is Sam’s biggest inspiration and influence in her life. Her dad always guided her and gave her nuggets of wisdom that kept her going in her studies and basically, in life. So when he suddenly passed away last February, a few months before her college graduation, Sam felt her world crash. She became depressed and lost all motivation to study. She was mad at God for taking her father away.
The passing of someone you dearly love is something you can never cope with, especially when you have to deal with it at a young age. So it was quite understandable that Sam was struggling to make sense of his Dad’s untimely death. But her father’s words and her mother’s loving reminder, about how God has faithfully blessed them all these years because of how her Dad asked the Lord’s guidance wherever he goes, have helped her go through her day-to-day life. Talking to God through praying has helped calm her every time the sadness or the pain will overtake her. Her prayer life has deepened as she realizes that it is only God who can continually guide her and her family as they keep going without her father’s physical presence with them.
Sam is finally at peace that her father is gone to be with the Lord; recognizing that it is his time to rest for all he has done for his family and others, and that he is now ready for the room God has prepared for him in heaven.
She is now living independently and has experienced firsthand that life is difficult and full of challenges. But it is her close communication with God and her father’s legacy of wisdom and service to others is what keeps her going now.
“No matter how hard the situation is, always look at the bright side of life. Never say ‘No’ to problems and challenges because it will help you to be a better person. Never hesitate on the things you believe in because failing is not a bad thing. Failing in life is a positive thing because it will encourage you to do better in life. If you’re feeling down, let it out then think of the good things that can happen so that it will motivate you.”
These are the very words Col. Suarez has left her daughter, Sam. Sam is determined to stay strong for her mother and siblings, to achieve her dreams, and to become an inspiration to others, just as how her father has been to her. She promised her dad to strive hard and work in the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C., and hopes to be assigned in the Philippine Consulate in Hawaii. She wants to go back to Hawaii because it was the last place her dad was assigned before he finally rested.
There is no doubt Sam will go ahead to achieve more because of how her father raised her and how she has honored him long after he has gone.
Ms. TM says:
Sam is a schoolmate of my daughter, Monique, at De La Salle-College of St. Benilde and was former team mate at Benilde Ultimate Frisbee. I admire her respect and love for her father. It breaks my heart following her story on Facebook from her dad’s passing, and how she is coping with it each day of her life. I praise God for sustaining this woman as she carry out God’s purpose in her life and the lives of people around her. She is one person who demonstrated that there is life after death of a family member, to cherish and love them and remember their memories in their day to day life.
I encourage all the young people, to love and respect your family members. Honor your parents while they are still alive and let them feel your love and respect before it’s too late. Sam felt sad because she did not spend as many days with her father as she wanted to because of their circumstance. But I believe (and I speak as a parent) that he was so proud and truly honored to see how Sam has valued her studies and her talents through her academics and extra-curricular activities. And even with her father gone, every month she continues to pay him tribute by visiting his grave at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and posting messages for his father on her Facebook account. It is admirable how Sam continues to motivate herself in life how she is dealing with her grief every day.
Dear God, I pray that parents will always be guided by your Word and your Holy Spirit in raising their children to live out their purposes in life. I pray also that children will honor and obey their parents and experience Your blessings that come with it. May our children continue to grow in obedience and respect to their fathers and mothers, and fulfill Your purposes for them as they walk in the ways of our Lord Jesus Christ. Help us, parents, to raise a generation of men and women who will follow You and serve you all the days of their lives. This I ask, in Jesus’ name. Amen.