Tuesday, November 29, 2011

God's Healing In His Time

Another powerful sharing of God's healing love from 'Piologs', an Ichthus Community brother.

I almost didn’t make it to this training for financial reasons, unable to decide whether I’ll be spending wisely on this. But with the encouragement of a friend, I agreed to attend the event. Also, I wanted to encounter the Lord in a powerful way and understand why I had been acting out again even after the 25-week Living Waters program. I was living a double life as an elder member of my Singles for Christ community. Secretly I was addicted to porn, masturbation and casual encounters at spas. I wanted to escape; I quit my job and found it difficult to look for a new one. I know I needed help and with a heavy heart I sought the Lord’s intervention. He didn’t disappoint.

Days before I went to the retreat, my mom had an emotional breakdown. She went home drunk from a family event and started crying and scolding my dad - a stroke survivor – and how all of us demanded so much from her and what would happen to us if she died (she’s so emotional after seeing her sister whose health is degrading from cancer). I thought to myself how this was so unacceptable, how she continued to reveal her insecurity and what would my siblings think and get from this. During the first session of the retreat about mother wounding I recalled this recent experience and it validated my lack of sense of being. Mama was so young when she conceived me before they got married. I sense a lot of hostility from both sides of the family even before I was born. She was so naïve she didn’t even know how to breastfeed me. I always saw her insecure and absentminded with her glassy-eyed stares. It must have been because of her worries about her relationship with papa who was not ready for a married life and was busy with his friends, work and other 'extra-curricular' activities. I brought this to my small group and it made me feel the anger and how I blamed my mother for all this but was redirected to offer this feeling to the Lord.

The following session was about father wounding and I remembered how Papa was so absent in my younger years and how busy he was reliving his singlehood. During the ministry session, we were showered with affirmation from the men of the Living Waters team. I remember getting the message “I’m proud of you” thrice, “pinag-mamalaki kita” whispered to me at the end as if to drive His message I desperately needed to hear! I broke down and thought to myself this is what I sought for the longest time now. I remember weeks ago I had argument about my father about me not appearing busy or being busy for the wrong reasons. I participated actively in my SFC community and was out of the house most of the time. I defended myself and told him, "You don’t even know what I’m up to!" While he was walking away, he told me ‘despite that, I love you’. Instantaneously my response was a defensive, "Yeah sure, it’s just not obvious." I felt guilty rejecting him and I thought this must be how strong my defensive detachment was to any of his affirmations: any form of love reaching out to me. This must be how I had been rejecting God’s love. I brought this to my small group and acknowledged my mistake in rejecting God’s love. I felt my palms for the first time truly opening up ready to receive His love. My small group leader affirmed and told me that God had already placed a solid structure in me, “a real maturity and spiritual wisdom” that just needed an in-filling of God’s love. But still I wondered, "Why am I like this?" It is as though the cup of my heart had a lid unable to receive God’s love."

The next session brought me to my memories of abuses. One by one, episode after episode, my abuses came to me and I felt how real the pain was. I was shaking and unable to contain my anger. Then I was gently asked by my small group leader to reveal and specify the most hurtful experiences. I remembered a time when I argued with my Mama about buying something and she called me ‘bakling’ and I defended myself and got mad at her. She told Papa what happened and he sided with her and scolded me and called me "bastos." I felt so alone and defeated. I remember the many beatings and humiliations I got from my Papa. One time, I argued with him and he didn’t like how I defended myself from him and he hit me with a monoblock chair in my forehead and told me he wanted to kill me. I ran away and was called back to realize my godfather visited us and I acted as if nothing happened. I remember one time they told me that papa used to lock me in the bedroom as he watched porn and I didn’t know why he did so. I remember walking in the same compound and seeing my relatives watching porn and how terrified I was. I remember being traumatized by my papa accidentally shooting our roof while my uncle tried to take a gun away from him when he shouted threats of shooting a neighbor he had a spat with. I remember the time while doing my chore when he showed me a gun and tried to teach me how to use it and I told him, "I don’t need it." He told me, “Wala ka!” He also called me "shit," scolding me for something I forgot to do. These experiences made me vulnerable to physical beatings, humiliations from both sides of the family. It made my self-esteem dive down so that I got further bullied outside of home, in elementary and high school. I felt so unwanted. I got exhausted with all this and just cried out to the Lord, "I’m tired!" I started grieving that the people that were supposed to protect me were my ultimate attackers. I grieved that my voice was always shut down and not valued. I grieved for the loss of a secure and happy childhood that could have made me a different person. I got stuck in this vengeful spell. I was thinking, "Could it be that I’m just a difficult kid?" I felt like I was abnormal as a kid, but I was comforted by my small group leader that these were not right and these were real violations. I realized this must be the reason why I had been rejecting my Papa. I made a vow that, one day, I’d be so self-assured, I would not get any form of love from him. I’d reject anything coming from him, and he’d feel humiliated. Well, it didn't happen, and I grew clingy and emotionally dependent on 'friends.' I realized this was how I had been treating God as well: how I would justify my sinful spending and told myself I deserved to be satisfied. I would get my satisfaction and no one had to give me any. I’d get it myself. I confessed it before my small group and how I realized the gravity of my offenses.

During the night session, I came to the forgiveness session with a heaviness in my chest. We were asked to write down the names of our abusers and surrender them to the pool of ‘blood’ at the foot of the cross. As I dropped my paper with names of Papa, Mama, my relatives and classmates, I got fixated on the pool. I felt my eyes burn with anger. I was invited to look at the cross and just surrender everything to God, no questions asked. I felt God telling me, "Give it to Me, NOW!" After the session was over, I went to the chapel and cried out how difficult forgiving was. I gazed at the altar and saw the image of Mama Mary holding the kid Jesus. I thought to myself, this was what I needed; this was what I had been longing for. I asked the Father to hold me, to lift me up, to take care of me and keep me safe. I longed to be held in my father’s arms. I brought this to my small group and was affirmed how the Father was reaching out to ‘parent’ me now. And I opened myself and received God’s love and tried to respond to His embrace. During the afternoon session on restoring masculinity, a representative of our Father asked for forgiveness, for the many hurts and humiliations he caused, for being absent and rejecting. Finally I said to myself, "Yes I forgive!" I felt the love of God rush through my body. I felt His justice and His mercy overcome me and I received it all.

During our last small group session, my small group leader told me he felt like a rebirth took place in me. And that he was confident that deep change had filled in me that I would never go back to my old ways. He made me stand and he continued, “You have enough now to stand and fight. I see you with a sword in your hands and you plunge it into the earth, to say, 'Enough! This is where I stand, this is where I fight, this is what I choose and I will live for, here is where I will stay.'” So my five days in Living Waters Leadership Training ended full of hope. A brother asked me, why only now? I told him I don’t know, but who can argue with God and His ways.

I feel that the Lord is asking me to step up and use this experience to reach the broken. Last Sunday I testified in my SFC community with all these experiences and called the broken to admit the pain and seek healing from God. I feel liberated and reconciled. I am still in awe of how the Lord has worked and is working. I ask for your prayers as I aim to share this experience with my family, my parents. I would like to bring this encounter into a completion and really solidify the grounds I’m standing. Thank you for your time, and I pray for your protection.

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