My family is part of the 92.5% of the population in the Philippines who identify as Christian in the Roman Catholic denomination. I grew up with the image of Jesus Christ and the Holy Family hanging on the wall. By custom, we had to do the sign of the cross whenever we were passing by to that corner of the house. I still do not know the exact reason why, I just know it is a religion thing. We seldom attended Sunday mass due to the distance from home to the church. All I knew was that praying, attending mass when we could or joining religious processions were enough to be called Christians. I was a Christian because my parents were Christians and because I was baptized in a Roman Catholic church when I was a few months old. That is all I understood of my faith.
After years of working in Kuwait, I once almost converted into Islam. I started to read all about the Quran and did some research about it. My purpose was to know the difference between Christianity and Islam and to find out how many adjustments I would have had to make if ever I decided to embrace Islam. In the end, I did not convert. I felt like I would have had a lot to give up and I was not sure If I could really practice Islamic teachings and faith all my life. I went back to attending different Christian denominations’ service. It’s like I was on a search for a group where I would belong.
It is true that when you are at your lowest point, circumstances might break you or make you. In my case, my lowest point really helped me to understand what I needed in my life and made me realize what I was missing. I was diagnosed with cancer in the year 2016. I felt like that was a wake-up call. It was so awkward to pray and ask God for anything, because I felt that a weak person like me did not deserve to ask. I realized then, that if you do not know God and you do not have a strong relationship with Him, you will not know His vast magnitude, His grace, and His power. If I had that hesitation to call His name and beg for mercy, then I really did not know Him enough. It was that same year that I met my husband, Charles. Looking back, I realize that God made sure that I wouldn’t face that battle alone. He sent him for me, a person who was willing to share God’s word with me. A person who showered me with God’s words every time I felt weakened by my worries. Through my husband sharing the Bible, I found out what I was missing. Day by day, God’s words opened all the answers that I had been questioning all my life. Five years ago, I hold on to this verse:
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness”. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest on me. That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2.Cor. 12:9-10)
Five years ago, I was at the lowest point in my life. Little did I know that five years after that, I would be in a completely opposite situation. Here I am standing in front of many witnesses ready to publicly declare my faith to God. This will be my second baptism; the first was just a sprinkle of water when I was an infant- a choice made by my parents without my understanding. This time around it is completely my personal choice, here I am conscious and ready to be born again.