There comes a time in everyone’s life when circumstances bring about a revelation. This is my revelation.
Every girl dreams of having her own “happily ever after” – I was no exception for I am an idealist by heart. The problem was, I harbored so many insecurities as a child, which I carried on to adulthood. I never thought I was pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough, rich enough, or good enough for anyone. Hard as I try, efforts were always short of any reassurance from the people around me. I went to an all-girls school where the pressure was to fit in was tough. More so, there was that proverbial girl who was perfect in every way. Boys were naturally drawn to her and her group, casting a shadow on people like me.
I’ve always had a chubby frame, yet I managed to be invisible. My insecurities eventually led to a full blown case of anorexia and bulimia combined, which I battled with for many years, resulting to a yo-yo weight pattern. I wanted to be and stay thin so badly that I substituted healthy food with cigarettes and diet pills. When I did binge, I would expel the food by forcing myself to throw up or take laxatives and diuretics. Still, no one noticed. As far as family and close friends were concerned, I was just finally losing my baby fat. When I invited my brother’s friend to be my prom date, he said that he was scheduled to have surgery that same week – which I later on found out was just an excuse to not go with me.
The insecurities led to the deterioration of my health, which resulted to bad grades in school and eventually having to repeat junior year in high school, and then later on failing my entrance exam to the only University I applied for. But thanks to my family’s connections with the school, I got in.
Moving from an all-girls’ school to a co-ed University made the desire to be beautiful and accepted become like an obsession to me. Academics were my last priority. And because being with the popular crowd meant more to me than anything else, not only did I smoke even more, I also learned to drink, cut class, lie to and steal from my parents.
My struggle with my weight continued, and after a long period of abusing on pills, I found myself in the hospital emergency room in 1992 due to the total depletion of my potassium. It was a very close call, but I did not learn my lesson.
After an extended stay in College, I eventually graduated and landed a job in a multi-national company. This time, I was surrounded with new faces from different walks of life; a new and different set of rules. The desire to please others and to be accepted remained but this time, not by peers, but by management. I worked really hard to deliver what was expected of me and went 10 extra miles if needed. After a couple of years, the hard work paid off and I started climbing the corporate ladder.
In spite of the growth in my career, there was always that hollow feeling inside. I was searching for something. I kept searching and tried to find answers in so many places – I even consulted fortune tellers and Buddhist monks. I was convinced that the emptiness would only be filled by a husband. Each time a man came along I hoped for him to be “the one” but they all turned out to just want to “have fun.”
A few years later, I fell in love for the first time. I wanted the relationship to work that it became my one and only focus. We were together for 2 years and then got engaged. But because of my insecurities, I made things up about my past. And once I confessed the truth to him, the dishonesty and my messed up emotions caused the relationship to end.
The lies of ugliness and unworthiness continued to fill my head, and so continued the vices and the eating disorder, creating havoc on my thyroid, which was taken out through surgery in 2003. My doctor said it would be next to impossible for me conceive come the time I decide to have children. Desperate to feel loved and accepted, I got into one relationship after another, clinging on to the hope that I would find love again.
A couple of years and several relationships later, I was far from healing completely but met someone and believed he was the one I’ve been waiting for. It was a whirlwind romance. He swept me off my feet and proposed after 3 months. I was so desperate that I believed. Wedding preparations were underway immediately after that but when we were required to obtain a Certificate of Non-Marriage from the Census office. His civil status read: MARRIED! That botched my second engagement.
My world was shattered! There was no way we could get married, much less continue the relationship! It was too late, though. I was 6 weeks pregnant.
At 34, I found myself face to face with a blank wall. I felt trapped. I had no where to go. I was with child and unmarried. I was also unemployed having recently resigned from my job, as we had talked of residing abroad after the wedding.
The months I carried my child went by like a blur. I couldn’t even cry for fear of affecting my child’s emotional health. I was clueless as to what tomorrow would bring.
I gave birth to my son and went through a lot of trials with his health, going back and forth to the emergency room. I was living each day with hopeless despair, which resulted to the worst post-partum depression. There was so much pain and bitterness bottled up inside that I went back to smoking and drinking.
Shortly after my son turned 7 months old, as I quietly put him down for his nap, I burst into tears. My life’s savings was almost gone because of all the expenses and I still had no plans or direction. But there was this whisper in my head assuring me that God is there – that everything will be alright. I desperately needed someone to talk to, but I had already exhausted all my friends with the weight of my problems. Something urged me to talk to my younger brother, who was the only Christian in the family at that time. I needed someone to help me figure things out and find peace in my situation. He asked me if I was willing to talk to his Pastor. I was desperate so I agreed.
The Pastor and his wife met with me and talked to me about God. But I was too preoccupied with my problems that I did not listen to a single word he said. The only thing I remembered was his invitation to join their weekly bible studies.
And so I did, although not really understanding anything. I felt better, because I felt more “religious” by making an effort. It was a few weeks later when as I listened to everyone’s sharing, someone mentioned this verse:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Then it hit me. Nothing I can ever do will earn my salvation. I went home that night and read the bible, and searched and prayed, and read some more. Until I understood.
What I read in the bible, however, contradicted everything I was taught at home and in school. I am wretched! I rebelled against God in my heart and in the way I violated my body. Regardless of my “good deeds,” all I deserved was death.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
He loves me! Regardless of my past; regardless of how I saw myself! To this day, I am still amazed by this unconditional and all-encompassing love and mercy.
And then, by His grace and the faith He has given me, I surrendered and repented. I still do everyday. And He has been faithfully teaching me and molding me into the person He wants me to be.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Immediately after my surrender to Jesus, I developed a bitter taste towards cigarettes and alcohol. I threw all my stash away and by God’s grace, I haven’t had the desire to pick up the habits again. After a few months, I was baptized and publicly declared who Jesus is in my life.
As I am still living in my earthly temple, there are struggles and times of weakness. There are still days when the enemy reminds me of my past to try and convince me that I’m not good enough.
But God has been faithful to pick me up each time and show me His mercies and grace. He gives me hope by reminding me to fix my eyes on Him who gave me a new life – a life that I have committed to live for Him. I am reminded of this in Galatians 2:20,
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
He has given me the kind of hope and fulfillment that doesn’t come from earthly desires. A hope that I will be with Him one day, and see Him face to face. He will wipe the tears from my eyes and the scars in my heart. I will be with my Savior for eternity.
I am a single mom to a boy who has been a tremendous blessing. His birth in itself is a miracle and a demonstration of God’s love. All these years, God has been faithful to His promise to be a Father to my fatherless son and has continuously been using my son to encourage me and make His presence felt in my life.
My life did not turn out to have a fairy tale ending, but with Jesus always leading my path, I know it will have a “happy ever after.” My insecurities and rebellion brought me to a dark situation. A darkness that had to come to break me and reveal something beautiful – a revelation that my life is not mine to fulfill my desires, but to fulfill HIS will.