Sarah Rose is a pseudonym. The story of this woman is such a sensitive matter, that we deemed it necessary to withhold her true name and change some circumstances in her story to protect her privacy and the privacy of persons involved in her story, whose names we also changed.
Sarah Rose opened up and agreed that her story be told to serve as a lesson to women who may be going through what she went through and, as she said, to glorify God for her amazing spiritual awakening.
I DON’T KNOW where to start so I’ll just begin my story when Jim and I met. I was working as a saleslady in a department store. Jim worked as a contractual clerk in another store.
I must admit, I was not religious. I was an Aglipayan but I did not take my religion seriously. Jim was what you may call a nominal Catholic.
Since we were not at all spiritual, Jim and I didn’t have qualms about engaging in pre-marital sex. I got pregnant and so we had to get married. Jim was 23 years old, and I was only 21.
Within the year we got married, I gave birth to our first baby boy. At the time, Jim’s work contract ended. His parents sent him to school. So he studied while I worked and took care of the baby.
After two years, I got pregnant again and gave birth to another baby, also a boy.
Young, unprepared for this marriage, Jim and I fought a lot. Jim acted like he was still single, going out with his buddies on drinking sprees and flirting with girls. I nagged him about his irresponsibility. He complained about my nagging.
Then, the squabbles stopped— for a while— because he found a job as a factory worker in Japan. He sent money enough for us to be able to buy a house and lot.
The job contract, however, ended. Jim came home, and since we were back to the hard times, the fighting began again.
He questioned me about the money he sent, insinuating that I squandered it. I countered that we used the money to buy our house and lot. I reminded him I was working and my salary went to the kids’ school expenses.
His accusations hurt, but little did I know, I was up for more pains.
I caught Jim having an affair with a woman he met in Japan. I was so angry, I told him I wanted out of the marriage.
Jim won’t hear of it. He asked me to stay for the sake of the children. He promised he’d end the affair. So I forgave him and we patched things up.
But nothing prepared me for the next blow.
I got pregnant again. I told Jim that we were going to have another baby, and was I surprised by his reaction. He got mad.
“You’re so careless,” he said, blaming me for not taking contraceptive pills. “Didn’t you know we can’t afford having another baby?” Then, what he said next was incredibly bizarre: He told me to have an abortion.
I was speechless. I couldn’t believe he’d even think of getting rid of our baby. But the following days, the heavy burden of bringing up another child tortured me no end. Jim was right. We could not afford to have another mouth to feed. As it was, with two kids, we could hardly make both ends meet. We were deep in debts, actually.
I was afraid of what would happen to our two children should we lack money for their needs. I feared Jim would put the blame on me should we end up bankrupt
I had an abortion.
But the transgression would not end there.
The following year, I got pregnant again. Again, Jim drove me to have an abortion.
Two abortions, struggles to survive the hard times, endless squabbles— and nine years to the day we tied the knot, our marriage was over.
We separated and decided to take turns in taking care of the kids, then aged 8 and 6 years old. The boys would stay with me during weekdays, and with Jim on weekends.
I went back home to my mother who warmly welcomed me. I worked six days a week, so my mother, bless her, took care of the boys.
At the time, I was only 29. And finding myself “single” again, I lived a carefree life. I missed the single life since I married early. So I rationalized I deserved to have fun. I lived precariously, drinking liquor, smoking even pot and going on gimmicks with friends almost every night.
Around the time Jim and I separated, I was working as a makeup artist and was making good money. But I didn’t have savings because my money all went to my vices. What’s worse, I started borrowing money to be able to enjoy my nightlife.
But then, somehow, I soon got tired of gimmicks, especially when I realized my money was dwindling and my so-called friends started to keep their distance when I asked for financial help.
When I had money, they flocked around me. Why not, when I was so generous and led an ex-travagant life. But when I had no money, my friends were nowhere to be found.
Finding The Feast
I never told anyone about my abortions, except when I confessed to a priest years later when I found The Feast.
In my wanton life, there seemed no place at all for anything spiritual. It didn’t help that my day off from work was on a weekday. I worked on Sundays. So I really had no time to go to church.
Yes, I strayed away from God, but now I realize, God never strayed away from me. It is said that deep in our heart, there is a void that only God can fill for us to feel complete. This is so true for me.
One day, I got tired of smoking, drinking, and partying. I decided to quit my vices and start a new life. But how?
This was when, out of the blue, a cousin invited me to The Feast. I got curious and went by myself.
I couldn’t explain the joy I felt the first time I at-tended. It was like finding something which I lost a long time ago. So long ago that I didn’t even remember losing it.
Suddenly, I felt this hunger and thirst for God. So I kept going back to The Feast. After a year, I couldn’t be satisfied by just attending The Feast. There, I heard Bro. Bo Sanchez preach that we need to be like Jesus, to love and care for others, just like He loves us and helps us especially during our trying times.
My heart ached to serve the Lord.
But at the time, I was still working on Sundays. I just had enough time to attend the morning session of The Feast, then I hurried to my job. So I didn’t have time for service in a ministry.
Still, I felt God was calling me to serve Him. So I did the unthinkable. I took a leap of faith. I quit my job.
I started scouting for a job that won’t require me to work during the weekend. And at the same time, happily, I began serving in a Feast ministry.
But, as we are often told, God will not be out-given.
Through Facebook, I happened to reunite with a colleague who works in a foundation. When she found out I was looking for a job, she referred me to her boss. Five months after my resignation, I got a job as a secretary in the foundation— which did not hold office on weekends!
Finding The Catholic Church
I learned about the Catholic Faith as I attended the Holy Mass during The Feast, and listened to the talks of Bro. Bo. So I desired to be baptized as a Catholic— which happened one sunny day in September 2015. I was confirmed on the same day.
The best part of my conversion process was the Confession. The day I confessed my grave sins remains my happiest. I broke my silence. And that’s when I heard the sweetest words from the priest, “Child, you are forgiven.”
Afterwards, I even offered a Mass that I may learn to forgive my ex-husband.
Eventually, hearing Bro. Bo’s preaching on God’s love and mercy, I’ve learned to forgive Jim— and myself.
Jim and I continue to be civil towards each other. He is supporting our kids’ schooling, so I am grateful about that.
By God’s grace, my sons have become regular attendees of The Feast. During the weekends when they stay with their father, Jim drives them to the venue. Once, my sons were able to persuade their father to attend one Feast session.
“But he won’t stay put inside in the plenary hall. He kept going out to the lobby,” they reported to me.
Oh, well, this is already quite a long story. But I know it has not yet ended. I believe I’ve gone this far because God has been with me all the way. He didn’t give up on me— even as I’d been such a wreck. And I know He is not about to let go of me. No, never, not at all.