Me, talk about discipleship?
I’ve been asked to share about discipleship. And if there’s anything I can surely say about me, I am the prodigal daughter who is constantly lost and is still finding the way – much like a mobile phone trying to search for a network – to get to Him, our Lord, our creator, our lover, our giver, our everything and to follow Him with my whole heart, leaving everything behind just like He specifically asked us to.
So how come I am still typing?
Because I want to share to you how much He loves. I want to share how much love He has given me – an unworthy daughter – so that you, too, can believe that no matter how much you have turned your back at Him… the important thing is to go back. And stay in His presence because I can honestly tell you, when you let go and let God… He does wonders! He will sweep you off your feet, and when you thought that was enough, He will do give you so much blessings, even more than your human mind can comprehend.
I’d like to begin by telling you how shy I was when I was still a child. I had really low self-esteem. If you ask why, I have always been teased for being a fat kid, not just chubby, mind you, but an obese fat kid. It didn’t help that I was constantly compared to my elder sister, who was graceful like a swan, thin as a waif, with a bright mind that everyone was conveniently always trying to point out. I grew up thinking I was not beautiful, that I can never be worthy to have beautiful friends, beautiful things and all things beautiful. It was already late in my high school years that my self-esteem boosted a little… and more when I started my walk with the Lord. I’ve realized that through the series of “unfortunate” events that happened in my childhood, it would make me realize how wonderful and how beautiful I am in God’s eyes, and that no matter how the world may think otherwise, it is in His eyes that I should always focus on because at the end of time, my body will turn into ash, and it is my soul that He will find most beautiful.
After my high school years, a new me has started to develop. When he bought me to FCCY for the second time in 1998, that event marked my discipleship and honeymoon stage. After accepting Him in my life, a storm came into my life. My Papa had a stroke – and was in ICU for a month. I remember vividly the day the neurologist told my family that Papa had little chances of recovering, that he would be a vegetable soon, that as each day passes that he does not wake up from his coma, the more likely the chance that he will not recover. I remember going to the chapel and crying my heart out. I can’t believe that this was happening to my Papa. All I could think of is how will we live from now on? How I wished I spent more time with him! As I cried my heart out, my brother told me to “let go and let God.” I saw his cross, his frail body hanging on the cross, his eyes boring into mine, and I remember repeating those words in my mind… “Let go and let God.” And I did. After, the Lord gave me more miracles than I can ever think of – He helped my dad wake up after one month in ICU, he has given us financial blessings to help pay for the hospital and medical fees, He has given me a newfound strength that made me serve Him in FCCY St. Peter for five straight years. I remember while in the hospital, I had a “direct connection” with Him… it was like we were having a conversation all the time. I completely trusted in His will and let Him do the driving in my life.
Remember the shy, fat kid? Well, to this day I’m still fat… but I just have to tell you how I know God was doing something in my life and how He has paved me to become who I am today. I had to present to the regional meeting in my work, and at that time, my weakness was public speaking. I never did good in that department! So, I was praying so hard on what to do, and I’d ask Him to help me. He helped me prepare, when everyone was sleeping, I’d type in my computer what I will be saying the next day, to help me gather round my thoughts. And before I presented, I said, “Lord, I’ll let you speak.” And after the presentation, I got rave reviews on how well I presented, how even at a young age, I could impress them – country managers from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Australia – the lot of them! That started motivated me to become a better speaker. And to this day, I use the gifts He has given me. I now prepare the module, write the module, and present the module to the youth in our Parish! Let me tell you, there were presentations that I really flopped! But upon reviewing those events, there were the many times I did not let Him speak for me… that I depended on my human capacity.
So, it has been eight years since 1998… but why only five straight years that I served? Now let me tell you one more story. This time the prodigal daughter story is starting to take place. I experienced my lowest point – to date (you can never be too sure) – last 2004. I had everything taken away from me – financial security, emotional security – my friends in the Parish and my “bonding” sisters. They either left the country or the friendship just dropped out. I was left with no one, not even my family – who at that time I felt antagonized me. It was surely the toughest part of my life… even though I had friends who constantly tell me that it was a stage and that there will be rainbow after the rain – I chose to stay depressed and wallow in my depression. I would sometimes feel that I had moved on, only to realize that no, some things still shatter me and left me picking up the broken pieces again and again. I would pray, but I felt no one was there to listen. It was such a dry moment. Before this depression, I felt I was so complete… that I’m successful in my work, I serve the Lord dutifully, I felt really beautiful that I am so convinced that I will lead a single-blessedness life! But after the series of unfortunate events, I felt so unloved, so shattered that I did not know what to do with myself. I was so unsure of everything! And my heart was so fragile that little things would scrape it and mar it for weeks. There even came a point in time that I did not want to trust Him! That I began to doubt His will for me. One thing was constant, I would always remember God saying to me, rest with me. But I was so zealous before! How can I just rest? Those five years, everyday, I placed Him on my priority list… I had no eyes but for Him alone… or so I thought.
Until I realized I had become somebody that was so into Him, that my standards for serving were so high, I forgot how to love. I forgot to love in the process of perfecting my discipleship. I was humbled. I had to start again at the beginning. But God is so merciful. After a year and a half of wallowing into depression, I finally went back to the Lord. I let go and let God direct me again. I can honestly tell you how much blessings I have received.
I found myself again. I began to have a more forgiving heart. I became more loving. I now understood my family loves me despite my shortcomings. I began talking to Him again. He has blessed me by giving me the opportunity in touching other people’s lives again with His gift to me of voice – singing and speaking in modules again – and this time, I really felt I had nothing to do with anything, that it was all Him! I was just an instrument He used! And it felt totally great! He has taken a turn into my career and made it flourishing. My love for travel has been realized. I was sent to countries I’ve never been before – Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangkok. I’ve been blessed with new friendships. I have been blessed with another ministry to give glory to God again. And I feel more are coming to sweep me off my feet.
As I realize all these things happening in my life, I’ve realized a lot of things. Discipleship is certainly a journey and a walk with the Lord. I’ve learned that “Letting Go and letting God” is the only philosophy I should live for. I’ve realized in “unfortunate” events comes His blessings. I’ve realized that I might fall again… but the important thing is to rise again. And you know one more thing? That He loves us so much that everyday, our call to love our neighbor increases, because to whom much is given, much is required.
And you know one benefit I’ve gained? I’ve become more happy. Because everyday as I try to follow Him, I see more beautiful things, and more reasons to say that indeed, He loves me, as sure as He loves you.
I had been hungry all the years;
My noon had come, to dine;
I, trembling, drew the table near,
And touched the curious wine.
‘Twas this on table I had seen,
When turning, hungry, lone,
I looked in windows, for the wealth
I could not hope to own.
I did not know the ample bread,
‘Twas so unlike the crumb
The birds and I had often shared
In Nature’s dining-room.
The plenty hurt me, ‘twas so new,
Myself felt ill and odd,
As berry of a mountain bush
Transplanted near the sod.
Nor was I hungry; so I found
That hunger was a way
Of persons outside windows,
The entering takes away.