#YouAreLoved at #TheFeast
I’ve been to the darkest of places all my life. I grew up without a father. My brother was the typical bully to his younger sister. I ran away from home a couple of times because I felt nobody understood me.
I had a boyfriend without my mother’s consent. I got pregnant at the age of 17. I got married because of the pregnancy. I dropped out of the university. I cheated on my cheating husband. I tried to commit suicide.
I had no direction in life even when I had my own children. Though I knew I was supposed to be a good mother, I didn’t know how to be one. I scolded and hit my kids when they did wrong particularly my eldest. He would get hurt every time he went home with bad scores on his tests.
I served my husband like a slave as a way of punishing myself for my sin. He made me feel I deserve it. I lived like this for 15 years of my life. I was so unhappy. I was looking for something, but I didn’t know what.
THE ONLY HOPE
Once, a co-parent from my youngest daughter’s school asked me, “Do you know Bro. Bo? Panoorin mo s’ya. Magaling ‘yun!”
That night, I tried to google Bro. Bo. I browsed through the videos and watched one. There was this lean man wearing a suit, holding a Bible, and raising his other hand in worship. I didn’t continue watching. I am a Catholic, but I would cringe when people worship that way. For me, you don’t have to shout your praises. It’s enough that you pray in silence.
Years passed, I was flipping through the channels of the television when I chanced upon the same man. That time, I listened. We were rock bottom. Our finances were zero to negative. Feeling ko si God na lang talaga ang pag-asa.
After a few weeks, I found myself looking forward to watch the next episodes. I shared this excitement with my kids and husband. ‘Yung palagi nilang napapanood, siguro nagustuhan na rin nila. We would watch and worship at the same time. Nagkakaroon din kasi kami ng discussions after ng talks. Somehow, we all felt the messages we got from The Feast were words of enlightenment for us. Ito rin ‘yung time na nag-open ako sa kids ko about my sins and their dad’s drug addiction. Not for them to hate us, but hopefully to understand what is happening in the family. The kids were aged around 12 to 18 then.
I could vividly remember the feeling when, for the first time, we were able to attend The Feast live at the PICC. There was a sense of belonging. So every chance we get, we go to The Feast and I would always come out crying. Each talk feels like God is personally talking to me. Even as I watch the live streaming on days we don’t have money for bus fare, I still find myself teary-eyed after the worship. I don’t cringe anymore; instead, I gladly jump up and down and raise both my hands in worship.
When my husband attends or watches The Feast with us, I’d see him crying. I know he is touched by God’s words. However, addiction is really a disease. He can’t manage it alone. I am also not equipped to help him. This is why we decided to have him undergo rehabilitation. He was at the peak of his addiction when he was retrieved.
My husband didn’t want to go to the rehab then. Iniisip n’ya siguro ang expenses. Somehow, nakakayanan naman namin ng eldest ko. I am a minimum wage earner and so is he. But God provides. He sends angels to help us with our finances.
I found my happiness in God. The Feast led the way. I learned to accept my flaws and forgive myself for the sins I have committed.
I don’t tell my kids what to do anymore; rather, I try my best to show them what to do by being a good example. We don’t engage in arguments but in conversations. One conversation with my son was that I wanted to share my story. He told me, “Saka na, Ma. ‘Pag okay na ang lahat.”
I told him, “Anak, hindi naman magiging okay ang lahat dahil pagkatapos natin sa isang problema, siguradong may darating ulit na isa pa. Ang mahalaga ay nalagpasan na natin ang isa at may natutunan tayo. At ‘yung susunod na problemang darating, siguradong kakayanin din natin dahil hindi tayo pinababayaan ni God.”
‘Yung huling pera mo na ang nasa pitaka mo at nagdadalawang-isip kang ibigay ito para sa simbahan, pero pagdating ng offering basket ay hinulog mo pa rin. ‘Di pa man nagtatagal ang misa ay nakatanggap ka ng tawag ng order na ang halaga ay higit sampung doble pa kaysa sa inalay mo. ‘Thank You, Lord! ‘Di Mo kami pinababayaan.’
‘Yung araw-araw na gigising ka at makikita mo ang mga anak mo na mapayapang natutulog. ‘Thank You, Lord, sa mga anak ko na patunay na mayroon nga pala akong nagawang tama sa buhay ko.’
‘Yung akala mo wala nang pag-asa. Pero marami pa rin palang maganda sa paligid mo, ‘di mo lang makita. This is why I shared my story. Napatunayan ko how amazing God is. Makasalanan man, pinatawad at binigyan ng panibagong pag-asa.
P.S. I also shared The Feast sa rehab. Hindi ko lang alam kung pinapanood nila doon. Pero sana maisipan nilang ipanood. Iba kasi; kahit ‘di naman kami kakilala doon parang pamilya pa rin.
* Photo by Wennie Landicho (used for visual representation only)