Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Testimony of Faith

I was a school girl in the 80′s when I learned that it was God created the universe, all the animals, plants, trees and yes, including me. He created everything good until sin entered the world. Eve believed the devil’s lies and took a bite of the forbidden fruit. She then offered the same fruit to Adam and soon they felt shame and hid from the Lord. Our teacher then told us that every time we commit sin, our heart gets filled with black dots and I became very conscious of this at that time. I tried my best not to stain my heart with black dots. But because of my sinful nature and living in a sinful world, the concept of black dots filling my heart did not bother me anymore. I thought maybe I could do something to remove those black dots.
3 The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”
“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”
“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”
The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. Genesis 3:3-7
During this time my mother became a believer, a follower of Jesus Christ, a born-again Christian. I would know that she spends her mornings praying because she would lock the door in her room and would not be bothered for hours. She didn't want to be bothered. There were also times when I would wake up and see her laying her hands over me or my brother. She would take us to where she attends church service and my brother and I would just spend hours playing in the parking lot. We didn’t know what they were doing, all we know is that it was boring and the pastor talks for a very long time.
In college, my mother continued to live a life as a born-again Christian but moved to another church.Pastors from that church would visit us and have bible studies at home but my brother and I would make up a ton of excuses not to join their session. I would often hide quietly in my room until their bible study is over. My mother would also drag us to church every Sunday probably hoping that we too would be committed followers of Jesus. 
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16″
One Sunday morning in church, there was an altar call. The pastor called on those who want to commit their lives to Jesus Christ and asked them to raise their hands and step forward. My mother, raised my hand and my cousin’s hand, who was living with us at that time, and literally forced us to go to front and become followers of Jesus Christ.
We were taken to a room after the altar call and the person in charge was trying to explain what had just transpired but I guess my heart was never really in it. I mean, I understood what the gospel is. I know what Jesus did, dying on the cross for sin but it never really struck a chord at that time in my life.
 After that, I was pushed to continue to doing bible studies after church. I thought of becoming part of the choir. You see, our church choir was very popular those days because of our praise and worship style. It was lively and would guarantee to bring people to tears! I had a different goal then for joining the choir. And because my motive was not really to please God, my stint as a choir member ended early. I just left the choir because I didn't get what I want and I was too busy hating God for ruining my love life. You see, during this time in my life, I thought I had met the love of my life, my soul mate. The one I am supposed to marry. I was dead-set on marrying this guy but God has other plans for me. Because the relationship didn’t work out, I rebelled against God. I stopped attending church. I stopped doing anything for God.
I would seek my happiness elsewhere. I was always on the lookout for someone to love and love me in return, someone to fill the void in my heart. A friend  once said I was desperate to find love and I would search anywhere for it. 
Years passed and I finally found someone who would love me and that was in 2002 when I married my ex-boyfriend (my husband now). He was raised from the traditional religion and I said might as well go back to the same traditional religion. We got married in a quaint yet beautiful 400-year-old church and had our first child a few months after. Sundays became a “routine” for me as we head to our community church. Somehow during these times, I felt a strong tug in my heart. I miss the old way of worshiping God. I miss singing my heart out in thanksgiving to the God of the universe. I respect what the priest was saying during his sermons but it did not affect that much to change my ways and live my life according how God wants me live.
Retracing my story, while pregnant with our first child, my husband and I attended a breastfeeding class. There we met a couple who taught us how to successfully breastfeed the baby and more. Later as they followed up on us, we found out that we have a lot of things in common, we live in the same village, same work setting and they were Christians. I already shared with the wife that I used to attend a Christian church and I somehow connected with her. We became friends instantly and they initiated a bible study for us in their home. We were still attending the community church while learning about God through the bible study. It came to a point, one Sunday as I sat there in the pew, I need to look for a church that would help me find God and help me change my ways because I knew I needed to change badly.
   We studied “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren in our bible study. This book was used by  God to finally open my mind and my heart to Him. I am filled with information about being born again, about the significance of Jesus’ death and the need for salvation but it never really went down to my heart to change it. I believe it was God’s appointed time that my husband and I decided to turn back on our old selves and follow Jesus. The process of transformation is not easy neither is it completed. There was a lot of resistance in the beginning, a lot of questions, and struggling for control. But whoever said that following Christ is easy? I am still undergoing this process and the journey is exciting.
All that we are now is because of God, because of Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can change a person a sinner like me. He is the only one who can lift my downcast life and give me a new life that is totally surrendered to Him.
I heard of the Lord when I was a child. He became an acquaintance in my youth. Now he is my Lord, my Savior, my friend, my bridge to the Father and my makeover professional.

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