Annika Hapip: A Better Plan
By Sarah Morris
What seems like a good thing isn’t always the right thing. At least, that is what Annika Hapip has learned through a painful situation. Through the storm, she was able to see the sun burst through at the end of it all, being nourished and refreshed by the rain of God’s grace.
At the age of four, Annika accepted Christ into her heart. It was more for fear of being separated from her parents and going to hell than anything. But at age thirteen she really stepped into her faith. It was winter and she was at a retreat with her church. Nick Hall was speaking, and there were many things that Annika was dealing with at this time. But at that retreat, she began to really know who Jesus was and what He had done both for her and to her. Gone was the idea that she was just going to be a Christian to escape the fires of hell; now, she found something beyond that.
“It was more of experiencing Him and knowing Him, than just knowing about Him,” Annika said.
After the retreat, she was water baptized at her church. This is when she really started living her life for Jesus. It was hard—this was happening all throughout middle school, a time where many people struggle with transitions. She was not a rebellious child at all, either due to being a people pleaser or for fear of what her parents would think. She wanted to make good decisions, not hurting others. With this mindset she didn’t drink or party; instead, she became involved with theater throughout high school. She was friends with many people during this time, learning from everyone’s different ways of life. But there was one person in particular who would really stand out.
She met a guy while doing a play. He was from out of town, and they became good friends. Best friends. And they started dating. He was a Christian, and their relationship was pure and admired by many of their friends. But even though it seemed beautiful and good, there was something that was just not quite right.
“The problem was, I was putting my identity in him, before Christ,” Annika said. “And I didn’t really realize that, because it was like, ‘well, I have a Christian boyfriend, and I am supposed to uplift him, and I’m supposed to encourage him.’ But I wasn’t putting Christ in the center of our relationship because I was just more focused on him.”
Things became clear at another winter retreat in February, a little bit after her birthday. She felt God was speaking to her, telling her that this wasn’t the plan, and that she needed to break up with her boyfriend. She didn’t want to, but she knew that God was calling her to do it. She was afraid to hurt anyone though; their relationship was a model to others, and she feared that people would think a pure relationship was a failed model. But March came around and Annika and her boyfriend had a talk—God had been speaking to him as well, saying that they weren’t supposed to be together. They broke up, cutting off communication. And what seemed like a rain shower of happiness in their relationship had now turned into a storm, a dark storm of depression for Annika. Her happiness had been dependent on her boyfriend for the past seven months; now he was gone and so was her joy.
“I’m a bubbly person by nature, but I was not myself at all,” Annika said. “My sister actually, Merete, had went to UG for maybe a couple of months and it was right at the beginning of summer. She tried to get me going there for probably about a month, but I mean, I was literally in our basement watching movies all summer, and I just couldn’t get myself up to doing anything. It sounds really stupid, because it was just a relationship, but that is where I was at. I had never experienced anything like that, especially depression in that sense, and feeling like I didn’t know who I was because I had put my identity in him for so long.”
Her sister finally dragged her to UG, though Annika was afraid to go, because she knew that her former boyfriend would be there. Not ready to have a conversation with him, she was also afraid to have old feelings of attachment flood back. But she went anyways, and she did run into him. They tried to have a conversation, but Annika just couldn’t talk with him for very long.
That night, Pastor Josh, who was the young adult pastor at that time, started a series that had to deal with emotions and heart break. And this is just what Annika needed to hear. She was a tad skeptical of the people there though, thinking they were crazy, with all the hand lifting that they did during worship. But things started to change inside of Annika.
“Eventually, God started to heal my heart, heal my emotions, heal everything within me that was so broken. And that guy was in the same room, and it just seemed so unreal to me, because I had never experienced the healing of God before. Because you see people, or hear stories about people who are physically healed,” Annika said. But she would still ask and doubt, “‘(A)m I actually being healed because it is not even a physical thing, just my emotions, just my heart?’”
But her sister was with her through all of this, helping her on her journey. Annika came to a point where she was just not going to focus on guys anymore, but she was going to search after what God would have for her. But God had an unexpected plan.
The third week that she was at the UG, the team that went on a mission trip to Chile was there, and they were showing a video of what happened on the excursion. But there was something, well rather someone that really caught her eye.
“I saw this cute, blond, guy. … I saw him, and because of where my heart was and that it was already receiving that healing, I started noticing qualities in him that I had seen in my former boyfriend that I had really looked up to, and things that I knew I needed, because my heart was completely for missions and still is because of my former trips to Guatemala,” Annika said.
God was revealing something to her, something that she had to first let go in order to see.
“When I saw this extremely happy person, who had no eyes it looked like because he squints a lot, I saw him and in my mind I was like, ‘I’m going to marry him someday.’ And that’s nuts, because I’m actually married to him today, because of God’s goodness and His plan. And it sounds crazy that I actually said that, but God was showing me a very early start to all of this healing that He was going to provide, not only the things that people usually need provision for, but He was going to provide a plan.”
His name was Sam, and they started dating around two years ago; now happily married. They went to Guatemala together during their engagement for missions, living in separate housing. Each had been there individually before for missions, but now they would be a team. They learned how to interact with each other, and work with those who had nothing in material possessions. So much happened, and Annika is thankful for God and what He has done by bringing them together through a Thursday night young adult program.
“I don’t think I would be the same person if I didn’t go to the UG. My identity was so lost in the things of this world; I would have never met my husband. … It’s not just the UG, not the program or group, but the Lord using the UG in people’s lives. And I am a complete testimony to that, because I was so lost and He found me, and He led me to His plan through the UG.”
God would take her out of a situation that seemed perfectly good in the eyes of the world. But He had something better for her, something that she would not have imagined for herself. This promise of God is the hope of Christians—not just in this life, but for all eternity. This promise lets Christians confidently say that the best is yet to come.