Desiree, 32, chose to tell her story under the cloak of anonymity upon her parents’ request, who are active church servants.
I grew up reserved and always trying to please people, especially my parents. I am the eldest of our brood of four, so my parents had high expectations of me to be a role model to my siblings. I toed the line but I felt I didn’t measure up to the standards set especially by my father.
I wallowed in low self-esteem.
I felt like a failure, especially when I didn’t pass the board exams for Certified Public Accountants, and couldn’t get a job.
I asked God to help me, but I felt He didn’t answer me. So I blamed Him for all my troubles. I accused God of playing favorites, of not listening to my pleas.
I rebelled. I stopped going to our parish church in 2005. Never mind that I neglected my duties as servant-lector commentator.
I also rebelled against my parents. I spent more time with my friends, went on drinking sprees, came home late at night, and even indulged in pornographic materials.
My parents tried to correct me, but I simply answered back. I did that at every chance I got, blaming them for the hurt I had kept in my heart.
It happened that after I turned my back on God, I finally got a job as accounting consultant. So I didn’t give Him credit for my success. I became conceited thinking I didn’t need God. I did get a job by myself anyway. So, I continued straying away from Him— and the Church.
In 2007, I met Patrick (not his real name), a work colleague. I fell in love with him. Finally, here was a guy who appreciated me for who I was, or so I thought. We became a couple. My life for once turned rosy.
I showered Patrick with undivided attention, cared for him, bought him stuff. I gave him everything he asked for, including sleeping with him. I did these things just so I could keep him as my man.
Then I found out he was cheating on me. As foolish as it may sound, I turned a blind eye at his blatant unfaithfulness.
And again, I felt like a failure because I chose the wrong person to love. Yet, not knowing any better, I clung to him, afraid that without him, I would drown in loneliness.
Finding The Feast
Three years into this unhappy relationship, I attended The Feast at Valle Verde in Pasig City. I finally agreed to go with my sister Candice, who had been inviting me to this prayer gathering for almost a year already.
I remember that day in April 2009 when I heard Bro. Bo Sanchez talk about eagles soaring the skies, how a mother eagle teaches her young to fly, and not giving up even at times the young bird fails to soar. Bro. Bo pointed out that God is like the mother eagle. He said our failures are not God’s rejection but redirection. I felt his words pierce my heart. I felt God was talking to me through Bro. Bo’s teachings.
The Monday after I first attended The Feast, I found out my boyfriend resigned from work —because he was going to Singapore with his other girlfriend!
I didn’t know of the other girl, didn’t know of his plans, of leaving me until then.
I was devastated. But it must be providential that I went to The Feast the day before and heard Bro. Bo’s message. Otherwise, I would have completely lost my mind. Bro. Bo’s preaching prepared me for that ordeal.
The next Sunday, I went again to The Feast and this time, after years of silence, I spoke to God again. I asked Him to take me back and I felt overwhelmed when I sensed God telling me that despite my turning my back on Him, He never left my side. That He was just there all along, catching me every time I fell.
Eventually, I started attending a Light Group (LG), enjoying the company of members who have accepted me, the way I am. And I also became a happy servant at the LG Secretariat.
The Feast has made me a stronger person. Another Patrick, I would say, came into my life. I entered into a relationship with a guy who acquired the qualities I was looking for in a lifetime partner. But I was cautious this time around. My vigilance paid off because later, I found out he was married and he and his wife have three kids.
I was dismayed, to say the least. But I was thankful I discovered his deception.
Back to the Church
The Feast made me appreciate my Catholic Faith more. I never miss a single Mass now. My Sunday is never complete without attending Mass in our parish in Marikina City, where my family and I live. And I now regularly go for Confession.
I have learned to love myself and truly love God, my family, and friends.
In his Feast talks, Bro. Bo said our trials are just “detours” in our spiritual journey, but that ultimately, God, with His unconditional love, would bring us back to Him and to a life of peace, abundant blessings, and joy.
I know now that God allowed me to “detour” for me to realize that without totally surrendering to Him, I cannot succeed in life.
Now I am confident, I have high self-worth. I’ve recognized my aptitude for accounting. As an accounting consultant, I’ve been enjoying a substantial income.
Whereas before I used to think the whole world about Patrick, now I am bidding my time about going into another relationship.
I believe there is that someone I best deserve on his way to me.
I am just enjoying life, and learning to love myself more.
I’ve joined a mountaineering group and an international organization whose philosophy is service before self. We conduct medical missions we conduct and hold Christmas parties for indigent children. With such advocacies, I now feel complete.
Like a vase, I was broken but God carefully put back together the pieces of my life. Now, I am healing. You can see the cracks, but these cracks have become part of the vase like its ornate design.
Like cracks on the vase, the scars of my past might stay with me forever. But never mind, for I know these scars make me more beautiful.