Growing up, I was not a cradle Catholic but was in a Catholic school for more than 10 years of my life so I sort of knew that there was a God.
Pretty much a rebel in school, skipped school whenever I wanted, was in bad company, drinking, hanging out late, disobeyed and quarrelled with my parents a lot.
So I graduated from secondary school without finding a love or direction. I was feeling restless, felt that there was nowhere I belonged or even wanted to belong, that whatever stories my friends and family had found to live in, my own was meaningless chapters with no plot other than filling in the days.
Searching for some kind of meaning in my life led me to join RCIY – a place where unbelievers/non-baptised could learn more about the Catholic faith. Attending RCIY classes weekly was a routine, but at the back of my mind there was this fear – fear of the unknown. I wanted to know who this God was but was afraid to really open myself up. I was sceptical of this God and the plans He had for me. Honestly, I did not think He even had any plans for me. I was a socially withdrawn person that kept to myself all the time.
Why me, why me? Why did I have to go through this at such an age?
At one point, my dad was introduced to gambling and many times, he came back losing more than he won. Months later, he lost his job and we fell deep into a financial crisis. We did not have any income at all. Mom was not working and there were bills to pay. The following months were very painful for the family and in that period, I saw in my dad’s eyes a sense of fear and hopelessness, one that I never saw before. That really broke my heart.
I was asking God, ‘Why me, why me? Why did I have to go through this at such a young age?’ I was very bitter and angry with Him.
Slowly but surely, I built a wall around me. A wall so high, I could only see myself, my problems, my struggles. I could not care less about others around me. I was selfish and ignorant, cutting myself off from others, pretending to be someone else I was not. I did not want to be vulnerable, afraid of letting others see the weaker side.
It was on one night at a camp which I attended that I felt God spoke to me for the first time. It was part of a night reflection that invited us to question what were the obstacles which hindered the relationship between ourselves and God.
“You were never there for me.” These words struck me and whatever was spoken were exactly the thoughts that I had against my dad and that just left me speechless… He showed me how broken I was a person and how desperate I was in need of love, God’s love… I cried a lot that night.
Then I began to share, with my facilitator for the very first time, what was going on in my life. He did not judge, but listened and prayed for me. As he prayed, I felt God’s love for the first time, as if I did not have to hide any more from who I am and what I was feeling. Something changed that night, I felt a sense of peace that I never had known before. I did not really know what to expect but I made a decision to open my heart up little by little to this God that I was slowly beginning to know.
Risking It All
Getting to know who this God was not easy at first, it required me to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable is risky because the possibility of rejection is real. I am not by nature a public person, nor am I outgoing, one that thrives in the spotlight. I am far more comfortable sitting on the sidelines. God, however, seems to place little value on my comfort. Over and over, He has put me in places that force me to open myself up and put myself ‘out there’.
If I will not risk my heart, then I will never know what God has in store for me.
I am glad I risked opening my heart that night because little did I know that as the days and months passed my family grew closer in that period and in retrospect, it was something that I treasured a lot, a lot.
I praise God for bringing our family closer through this ordeal. And that He has given me my family, indeed He makes all things new!
I thank God for letting me find my earthly father and re-establishing a relationship with him, and in the process I have found my Heavenly Father as well. And that my self-worth comes now from not what I have achieved in my life, but from my identity in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who has made me to be and to embrace it fully. I am now a wholly changed person, secure in God’s love and promises.
God is indeed alive and my prayer is that you will come to know who God is, if you but open your hearts to him. Open your hearts to him, you will receive.