THE ARROW THAT WAS: A Testimony inspired by PSALM 32:8
Updated: Jan 14, 2022
Whoa, it's been a while since I have written an article. And since it's the first day of a brand new year, I just thought of sharing this testimony I had during our Church year end worship celebration. It was an overwhelming experience.
When Pastor Sam posted in our Church group chat about someone who would want to give a testimony, I think I was or if not the first one who volunteered. But as he replied to me, let's pray for it ATE. And although I prayed for it, I did not take it seriously for I thought it was too early for me since I am just new in the congregation or there could be someone who is more deserving to speak on their testimony, and I never heard from our Pastor since the day we talked about it. But the other night, Wednesday, while I was at the back booth with the technical team, I heard someone saying, TE ready ka na ba on your testimony, and when I turned around, it was our Pastor, so I asked if I was the one he's asking to and said yes. At the back of my mind, I am hesitant to do it since I don't have enough time to prepare, but there was a part of me telling yes I will do this. And again on the next day, he asked me if I already prepared and written my testimony and I said not yet but I will surely find time and work hard on it. But as I always tell before, I love writing but it's not easy when it comes to writing about my personal life.
What really drove me in to speak in front of all these people? Am I here to talk about the dramas of my life, or boast about it or do a show off, or most probably I have really have the guts to do so. The main point of the testimony is how God had change our life this 2021. Our Pastor said that it should only take five minutes, but how can I compress a life novel like mine into a short time?
On a serious note, I did not stand in front of them just to talk on how melodramatic my life had been, for that part of me had all been in the past. For that day, I humbly stood to speak about VICTORY - a victory over a struggle, finding self direction; a victory for letting go and of course a victory I had because of FORGIVENESS.
My life in the past few years had been a struggle. I have been struggling with anxiety and depression that I kept for myself for so many years, not even my family knew about. For the people who had known me, sa kabila ng kaliitan ko, alam nila kung gaano ako katapang at ala ring inaatrasan. Yes I am strong, in believing that Yes I am. Pero sa kabila nang panlabas na katapangan na yon, maraming beses na halos bumigay din ako sa mga pagsubok, actually I don't remember anymore how many times it came to my mind of ending my life. And what made these struggles worst is when you are just there by yourself, fighting and no one seems to care kasi alam nga nila na matapang ako. Na kahit me sakit ako or kailangan kong dumaing eh hindi ko magawa dahil no one would dare to ask if I'm still okay or If I'm still fine. But of course, I have to be tough, not for myself but for my kids. So kahit gustong- gusto ko nang bumitaw, I need to hold on because of them.
Mental health conditions like Depression and Anxiety is unexplainable. Marahil karamihan sa inyo nakakapagsabi na arte lang yan, OA lang, kulang sa pansin and worst is me SALTIK SA UTAK. Sa tulad ko na dumadanas sa ganitong kundisyon, sana nga ganoon lang kadali to describe ang mga episodes na UMIIYAK ka palagi, na halos sumabog ang utak at puso mo dahil sa sobrang kalungkutang nadarama.Sana ganun lang kadaling tanggapin na Yes me problema nga kami sa UTAK.
And then another big setback in my marriage life came. And struggles after another came inevitably after that, sa trabaho, sa emotions, sa finances and so on and so on. From being an achiever , I became less confident, insecure and loss my self worth. Andami kong questions, bakit ako, bakit ganito, at marami pang bakit?
Para akong nasa balong malalim, madilim. It was a feeling of sadness, it was emptiness and it was a feeling of lost direction. Yun bang me hinahanap ka pero hindi mo alam kung ano or kung saan ka pupunta. All I want is to get lost of this world. Yung galit ka sa mundo, galit ka sa tao and worst is nagalit ako sa sarili ko. Insecurities came after that, yun bang bakit sa ibang tao pwede ang ganito, or ang ganoon pero bakit sa akin hindi. Pakiramdam ko noon life is TOO UNFAIR.
And the way I cope up with all these was to overworked my self with my job. Yun bang ang naging outlet ko sa stress eh stress din pero sabi ko at least kahit stressful ang work eh kumikita naman ako. I worked too hard that even my co workers had misinterpreted it, so they had an ill feeling towards me. Akala nila I'm doing hard work just to prove myself or me gusto akong patunayan. Pero dumating din sa point na I have to take a leave from work because I was burn out, I can not anymore perform normally, like upon waking up, eh yung stress level ko mataas pa sa pagkatao ko, at pati health ko ay naging at risk na rin; there was one point in time that my blood pressure had reached 165/110, and I don't even know how I was able to survive that. But believe me when I say natakot din ako that moment. I felt I need to do something to help myself, but again by myself ALONE.
Growing up and even when I already had my family of my own, I know I believe in God. Hindi ako ganoon kareligious but I know where my faith in Him stands. Kasi kung ala akong Diyos sa katawan, baka ala siguro ako ngayon sa inyong harapan sa dami ng pagsubok na dumating at pinagdaanan. Akala ko okay na ko sa ganoon.
But not until one day, in early part of January this 2021, I got to reconnect with Mamu and she invited me to join one of their Bible Study. Hesitant pa ako noon dahil medyo aloof pa rin talaga ako sa tao dahil nga sa nangyari sa amin at ayaw ko na rin talaga makisalamuha sa iba, kungbaga the less people I know, the less they will know about my dark story. In short nahihiya ako sa ibang tao dahil sa nangyari sa aming pamilya. And even Mamu could attest that I looked miserably still broken when I confided to her because I want to give up on our marriage, because of a mistake that still haunting me even it happened a long time ago. And even Pastor Sam's impression of me is MAREKLAMO raw ako sa buhay, toinks! And when I opened up to them about my struggle, he asked me ano nga ba mas mahalaga, ang asawa ko or ang pera, I bluntly answered Him, it's Money. Kasi naman paano ako tuluyang makakapagpatawad eh kung regularly na lang eh me magpapaalala ng nakaran. But when I went home that day, nagmuni-muni ako, and it came to my realization yes hindi pa pala ako totally nakakapagpapatawad, hindi lang sa kanya kundi mas higit sa aking sarili.
Sabi nga ng isang koreanovela, It's okay not be okay. Kapag pala nasaktan ka, okay lang masaktan, pero sa akin kasi kaya lumalim ng lumalim ang sakit na yun eh hindi dahil nasaktan ako, kundi I became too hard on myself, like I thought na okay lang makaramdam ng awa sa sarili dahil ako ang sinaktan. Na valid naman talaga na magalit ako. Pero hindi pala ganoon, I should have forgiven myself first. Dapat pala yun muna ang ginawa ko. Ganoon pala dapat.
On my first Bible study, there was a line in the song that touched my heart saying"Lord I give you my heart, I give you my soul...and at the end.."Lord have your way in me." I was so touched by the message of the song that I was already crying that day, I don't know if someone had noticed.
It started with Bible study, then joining WOW (Women of the Word), and eventually attending service worship every Sunday and have been baptized later on. But it is not actually the first BS, nor the first worship experience, or meeting new people. It was this yellow arrow on the floor that arouse my attention, that for others in here is just an ordinary sign telling you the flow of traffic so we can have a social distancing in the Church. But for me this arrow led me to the Bible Passage Psalm 32:8, that says "I will teach you the way you should go."
For some years, I have been searching and looking for directions, pero itong arrow lang pala na ito ang isa sa magbibigay ng direksyon sa tulad ko na feeling lost at that time, the direction towards Him. (the arrow was pointing directly to the cross in our Altar Church)
It's just almost a year, but finding Jesus through this Church and to His people deepens my relationship in Him eventually. Noon akala ko sapat na me paniniwala ka na me Diyos or nagdarasal ka. Pero iba pala talaga if you allow yourself totally to let go, to Let Him rule your life entirely and surrender all to Him. Isang taon lang pala yun. But if I could testify how great and how faithful our God to me for just this year in simple terms -Yes from being EMPTY, I was overfilled with HOPE; from being SAD I found joy in His LOVE and from being RESTLESS, I definitely found PEACE in His ARMS.
Ngayon, tuwing minumulat ko ang aking mga mata sa umaga, imbes na magreklamo, PASASALAMAT ang namumutawi sa aking diwa at puso. My life is far from perfect, I know there would still be challenges, but at least I am fully aware now that I have my God who is bigger than anything else. Basta ang alam ko lang tuwing pumipikit ako noon sa mga worship service natin eh ang prayer ko eh Lord lead me to the directions you want me to take and kung saan ko pwede marealize ang PURPOSE niya para sa akin and HERE I AM INFRONT OF YOU. And me BONUS pa, I have my whole family, worshipping and serving our LORD through His CHURCH.