When Ate Lolita Flores, our Bible study group leader, asked me to do a testimony, I tried to think of a reason why I couldn’t. But you see, that’s just the thing…when you are part of a Bible study group, the “I can’t” becomes “I can”.
So I thought I’d start with an introduction of myself before Christ (my “B.C.” life). I’m an only child, born and raised in the Philippines. I grew up attending an all girls’ Catholic school so I can say I have always known OF Christ. But my understanding of Him was confined to the usual “head” knowledge. Unfortunately we all know that mere head knowledge is not enough to get that deep joy and peace that only comes through a personal relationship with the Lord.
After my first year of college, we migrated to the US. The following month, I enrolled at a computer school in San Francisco where I met my husband who was my instructor. We got married the following year. Yes, it was fast and I was only 18 years old. And my husband will tell you (as he tells everyone) that I wrote him a note (on a Hello Kitty stationery) saying, “I came to America to find a blue eyed American with a Harvard education, and you’re it”. Looking back now, I can’t believe I did that. But you see back then, my motto was: “what Imelda wants, Imelda gets”. I’m telling you all this to make a point at how shallow my then mindset was.
We started our family right away. We are now blessed with four wonderful children. But as a very young wife and mother during my “B.C. life”, I was focused on the accumulation of wealth and I led a “trying-to-have-it-all” kind of lifestyle. We moved several times in search of the bigger and better home. But my level of happiness and satisfaction was all superficial. There was no real deep joy and contentment. In other words, as Pastor Sun Hee so cleverly preached, I felt WEIRD rather than WIRED and FRIED rather than FIRED.
Well my opportunity for that came in 2004 disguised in the form of financial difficulty. The kind of opportunity which, as Pastor Sun Hee described, took me from being bored, bland, and burnt-out to being bewildered, amazed and astonished.
In the spring of 2004, after 18 years of lucrative computer consulting business, my husband lost his major consulting contract and we also lost our entire savings. So there was no means to replenish the pot (no job), nothing to draw out from (no savings), and our eldest son was then entering College. For someone so focused on material wealth, I was in total despair and it brought me to my knees and I wrestled with God with my why, and how, and what questions. And in my “wrestling” came the beginning of my enlightenment and transformation.
Around that same time my mom met an “angel” in the person of Tita Rose Agana during one of her walks. Tita Rose became instrument of my spiritual journey. She introduced us to Ate Lolit Flores and the Fremont Bible Study Group. God started to slowly reveal Himself through the study of His Word.
I remember the very first verse that God impressed upon in my heart: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” Psalm 37:4. Through the study of His Word, I slowly came to know the incredible love of God through Christ, giving way to a deep hunger and delight for His Word; and He started changing the desires of my heart.
My husband continued to be without a consulting contract for 2 years. In 2006 we were forced to sell one of our homes (the big one which I thought was my dream home). As I continued to delight in the Lord, my focus turned to HIS promises and the positive effects of my husband’s “joblessness”. I saw how it allowed my husband quality time with our children.
We ended up moving back into our smaller home, our then rental property. It was a Divine appointment that not only rescued and released me from a superficial and exhausting lifestyle (cleaning a big house is not all that fun; no wonder I felt “fried”), it turned out to be the best course of action after all. We sold our home for so much more than what it would have sold in the economy that followed, allowing us to purchase a home in Pismo Beach close to Cal Poly where our eldest son attended College.
It was there where He revealed to me the kind of life that He came for us to have, one that is overflowing with riches of the heart that nothing and no one can ever take away that causes us to get bewildered, amazed, and astonished, even in challenging times.
And it’s only by spending time in His Word that I get to really know HIM and learn to hear His still, small voice, to release control, to “let go and let God, to “be still, and know that He is God. And a Bible study group allowed me that opportunity. I look forward to Fridays when our small group enjoys fellowship, sharing praises and burdens as we study and get filled by the Word of God. I love my small group and I am in awe of their unequalled and instant support. Like when I recently suffered a back pain. One quick text and they were all praying for me. And as if their prayers were not enough, they personally came to visit me to lay healing hands including healing massage…I am truly grateful.
I may not be where I need to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be (as Joyce Meyer would often say in her messages). Through my Bible study group, I have come to enjoy quiet time, reading devotionals, and listening to inspirational talks, allowing me to continually take delight in the Lord.
In closing, and in conjunction with Pastor Sun Hee’s recent messages, through the study of God’s Word, the power of the Holy Spirit took me from feeling WEIRED and FRIED (from relying on my own powers and pursuing treasures on earth) to feeling WIRED and FIRED and having the courage in declaring the awesome love and saving power of God. Thanks be to God.