With a smile, Sheila Romero tells us she had just turned 50 years old this month.
It's the first time she's revealed her age publicly. She’s proud to do so—not only because she knows that life is finite, but also given she's survived circumstances that threatened her life.
On February 17, 2020, Sheila felt a lump on her breast. When she had it checked the next day, she was shocked to know that she had stage three breast cancer.
After constant prayers to God asking what she should do next, the answer became clear: when given the right opportunity, she will spread wisdom to others and share how Jesus saved her life.
I have been contemplating for quite some time on whether I should share my story or not, Romero, the vice-chair of carrier Philippines AirAsia, shares. “Because what God gives, he can take away. God didn’t heal me to keep it to myself. It’s meant to be shared that cancer is not a death sentence.”
A SHIFT IN PERSPECTIVE
Like many of us, Romero never expected that a global health crisis such as COVID-19 would happen in her lifetime.
“This pandemic definitely gave us a lot of realizations that life is short, that family's important, as well as our personal relationships with others—it allowed me to take a step back and really examine where I was,” she muses. “You'll never know if you'll have tomorrow to say all the things you wanted to say.”
With her actualizations during the quarantine period came a lifestyle change. Instead of picking up her phone to check messages the moment she wakes up, Sheila now prays and gives thanks for the safety of herself and all she holds dear.
The pandemic was also the time she decided to dive deeper into her relationship with God. She wanted to know Him more and internalize that God thoroughly guides her life. With that thirst to further strengthen her faith, Sheila began reading the Bible daily and prioritized time for weekly Bible study.
“It occurred to me that I put a lot of focus on things that didn't really serve my higher purpose, and this is when I realized what mattered the most, and that is God above all else, then family, my loved ones, and my health, she says.
With the past year bringing unavoidable anxiety triggers, she relies on a Bible verse that helps her achieve peace of mind when she's not only anxious but also uncertain about life: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
It is through His promise of salvation that I am comforted. I realized that no problem is big enough because my God is bigger than any problem. Time was also something I took for granted before the pandemic, she recalls. Now, I value it so much that I carefully choose what I spend time on.
Sheila admits that before the pandemic, she took her health for granted. However, the shift in her perspective helped her wholly understand the importance of exercise, taking time off to be in nature, and unwinding by spending time with her family.
By asking Jesus to control her life and lead her to the purpose she must fulfill, Sheila yearns to glorify God in all the work she does.
Sheila and her husband Deputy Speaker Congressman Mikee's hospitality, aviation, and port operations enterprises generate jobs, livelihood, and provisions for hundreds of Filipinos. Romero shares that working from home has allowed her more time to fit in the big shoes Mikee turned over to her years back.
I am grateful to God for all our business ventures, and my goal is to help more and more people by generating jobs and uplifting lives, the chairperson adds.
With Sheila's significant career responsibilities, she makes a conscious effort to achieve a balanced personal and professional life, which, she admits, was not always the case.
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