FLASHBACK: MY OLD SELF
Looking back, before I knew Jesus, the meaning of life for me was different. I came from a simple middle class family. We’re not poor, we’re not rich either. Ever since I was a child I have this dream of becoming rich; I want to have a big mansion with my family, cars, and I really to be a millionaire someday. I thought that if I will have all the riches in the world, I’ll be happy. You’ll have a lot of friends, you can go anywhere in the world, you can buy anything that you want, all the latest model of phone, technology and you’ll have power. People will treat you differently if you have money. That’s why I study, finish my college even if I didn’t like my course, I don’t like BS Entrepreneurship but since I thought I don’t have any choice I’ll just grab the opportunity, and if I cannot be employed, I’ll just create employment opportunity. At the early age, I enter into business, selling from pad paper, to tissue, to cosmetics, to apparel. Save money as much as I could. I can say that money was my motivation during those times. I became proud, arrogant, materialistic and workaholic. My ex-boyfriend was one of my business partners. But then it was not a good idea. I won’t tell why. During my college years, I thought that I’m the wealthiest college student on that State University. Relying on my own strength, on my own knowledge, were my ways before.
It didn’t even come to my thoughts that the Lord already planned His actions to reveal to me who He truly is. He let me with my old ways, he just let me work my own way. When I got my job, I became worst. I became more prideful because I was earning more than my dad, and I was the one who’s supporting our youngest sibling’s high school tuition that time. I became boastful, disrespectful towards my dad, and it added up more pressure to him because during those times he didn’t have a job. He made an unwise decision that made him lost his job abroad. Out of four kids, I can say that I was the most hard headed, hard hearten and the only revel in the family. I learned how to drink liquor and be with the wrong crowd, I got addicted but not on drugs, but on online gaming.
Worse came to worst when I got my credit cards. At first I enjoyed using them because I can get what I want in an instant, and pay later. Little did I know that I was hooked by those credit cards with all the perks and freebies that I can get? It’s like me digging a pit and didn’t know that I was digging a pit for myself. Then one day, I woke up that I was in terrible debt. I thought I was having a nightmare but it was real. My paycheck was no longer enough with all the bills that I need to pay. I can no longer pay for my mortgage so I need to give up the house that we just acquire from Pag-Ibig. I tried hiding my situation to my mom because I knew she’ll get terribly disappointed in me when she found out that I was broke and I had a lot of credit card debts to pay for. So what I did was loaned from a bank, and put myself more in trouble.
I felt depressed, I was so stress, and I wasn’t able to sleep at night about this. Still trying to make it on my own, trying to escape the haunting thoughts, I shifted my thinking on online gaming, and became addicted to it. I lost a lot of weight that time. Every body’s asking what my secret of losing weight is, I just told them problems.
When I can no longer stand the stress, I burst out and cry to my mom. And of course, she was so mad. Ironically speaking, when I was mad with my dad, I didn’t realize that I did the same mistake that my dad did. And my mom was so disappointed. Then there came my dad, telling me “It’s okay, you’re still alive. We have hope as long as we live. Sometimes, we made wrong decisions in life, its okay. Just do your best and get up.” Tears burst down from my eyes.
It’s really a humbling moment for me. Then, I felt the emptiness inside of me. My heart is so empty. I wonder what can fill up the emptiness. Those people who I thought were my friends, left me. And when everything fell apart, when you don’t know where to turn to, that’s the time when I thought of God. When people have problems, I saw them in churches and crying to God. Then the search for Truth began, I’ve been to different churches in the Philippines, Antipolo Church, Kamay ni Hesus, Peñafrancia in Bicol, Groto in Baguio just to name a few but I couldn’t found Him there.
During those moments when God took away everything that I valued, I realized that money was not everything. When you ran out of it, those people who’ll stay should be valued. There is more to life that the pursuit of making money and it only lead to temporary happiness. He’s not yet done removing all the material things I possess, He also sent me in an island where there are no malls, away from the city life that I grew up with, and surround by lots of churches. He sent me in a foreign land, on the end of the Earth literally, far from my family and love ones. I don’t know His plan but since I was drowning in debt, my choices became few.
My auntie who’s in the island of American Samoa, gave me an opportunity and I just grab it rather than to go elsewhere. So I left my city life, I gave up my job, I left my ex-boyfriend (it’s hard for me because I wasn’t sure if he’ll be stay loyal to me… we’ve been 8 years in relationship and we didn’t know if long distance relationship will work. ) a lot of things that I gave up. Well…I cannot point fingers to anyone because after all, I was my entire fault.
With some few dollars on my pocket and almost negative three hundred thousand pesos in debt, I promised to myself that I will get back up again
In my hopeless situation, I found hope in the loving hands of God through Christ Jesus. That Jesus life, death and resurrection is the proof of God’s love towards men. That He gave His life for me so that my sins will be forgiven. It’s far more than a religion but a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
It’s not about what I did, but it’s about the grace of God towards me.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–Ephesians 2:8
September 30, 2012 I made Jesus as my Lord and Savior, repent of my sins and promised to Him from that day, I will never go back from my old self ever again. He taught me that I can only serve one master, God or mammon, and I chose the former than the later. He gave me wisdom that the love of money is the root of all evil. Money is a need but I should not be valued more than God, relationship and a lot of things money cannot buy.
My problems didn’t disappear immediately when I received Jesus, but I had this unspeakable joy and peace in my heart in the midst of trials and hardship. Knowing that God is with me and He has plans for me, not to harm me but to give me hope and the future.
After the entire long search, I found God in this island of American Samoa. Little by little, after three long years, I paid off my debts. He set me free from debt and addiction from online gaming. A lot of things happened that I never thought off, my ex-boyfriend didn’t became my husband, instead I found the man that God gave me here in the island, and gave us an angel. And life has never been the same.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Cor. 5:17
Hope my story inspires you, and if you are in the difficult situation right now, God wants you to know that you are not alone, that He loves you just the way you are and He’s willing to help and forgive you. There is hope in Jesus and He is the only one who can fill that empty space in your heart. Just be humble enough to come to Him “God, I cannot do this on my own. I need You. Please show me Your way.” My prayer for you is that may you find your way towards Him and find rest in Him in Jesus name!
To God be the glory!