A Journey Worth Remembering
I stepped out of the van with not much expectations. I only thought that would be a big break for me. I thought it was only a long-deserved vacation and an opportunity to commune with God and nature, and probably a great chance to discovering the long-sought state of life I was constantly praying for. I thought that was only a perfect temporary get away from my busy and hassle world.
I may have my own purposes for that 5-day discernment workshop, but I never knew that God had His own.
Upon realizing that it is only through silence that God will be able to speak to us, I prayed silently that I would hear God's voice in the duration of my stay. I have already established my own prayer time with the Lord before that, but most of the time I was the more talkative person in our conversations. I willingly submitted to the rules and regulations, to surrender my cellphone and camera, and the usual tendencies to really talk to people.
Good thing, there were many familiar faces in the workshop - Sue, who was my Lingkod sister, Leah, Daffy, Mayessa, Rex, whom I already met while taking the exams and the search-ins and one sister whom I saw in the World Singles Congress of the Singles for Family and Life in Batangas early this year (I found out later that her name was Raine). There was only one co-searcher by the name of Aiza, who was ultimate stranger to me. With all these homey people plus the warm welcome of the CM sisters I felt I was really home. I was in for a great surprise as my journey towards discovering God's great plan for my life began...
The first days were spent in restlessness and struggle as I tried all human reasoning and logic to defend my stand. I used my family and their seemingly feel-good dependence on me, my blooming career, my joy in serving the Lord in my various communities and some other alibis to try to block the possibility that I will eventually give up everything (as in literally everything) to the Lord. While my passion for service has been very great, I never really thought that I could possibly do such a very radical thing. My prayer was that of Jacob's: I will not stop wrestling with You Lord, unless You bless me. Stubborn as I was though, I also asked God to give me an open heart and the gift of enlightenment..
The activities went on and we were led to heal memories and let go our past hurts and wounds especially with concern to our family, including our late ancestors (God bless their souls). It was at that moment where I shed my first tears. It was all grace I believe that I have forgiven my parents for their sins to me, and all the pains I have also brought them, but most significantly, I felt a special assurance that He is going to take care of them. I felt inner peace and serenity when I finally offered my family to the Lord. All these times when I was desperately asking God to bless me, I never realized that the blessings were already there. I just needed to open my eyes with faith, to see... The alibis slowly became too trivial. I was struck by the greatness of God in my life, and was overwhelmed by His great love for me.
Soon, I found myself, just star struck, and speechless. I stopped talking too much, and just allowed the Lord to simply talk to me. I used scripture passages through the daily Bible readings to guide me through my reflections, and to assure myself that whatever realizations I will have, it won't be based on my biases and my own emotions. And I was even mystified to see that the mere clouds which were so ordinary and commonplace in that part of the world seemed to talk to me, same with the sun, the crickets, the grasses and the swaying trees.
There were times when I wake up early in the morning before the usual bells, and tried to check if everything was real. That I wasn't dreaming. That I wasn't deciding on impulse as to my decision to take up the great challenge of changing my way of life, of getting out of my very own comfort zone.
But in the end, after all those questioning, struggles, and fears of the unknown I have come to believe that I found joy, peace and serenity in surrendering everything to the Lord. Sometimes, I try to ask, why me? I am unworthy of His love. But I believe God wasn't calling me for this special vocation because He simply needs my service. He is the God of the universe after all. My response is only out of genuine gratitude for His greatness and goodness to me.
I thought I could plan my own life and simply be contented in giving a little of my time, a little of my talents, a little of my self to service. But I realized God has a grander plan for me. I probably already knew that even from the start but I was just too consumed by the little opportunities I have "outside" that it never occurred to me, that indeed God is preparing something greater for my life. Thanks to the discernment workshop, I saw God's glory. I felt God's leading. I eventually learned to submit and obey Him in my calling to soon be His for life. I literally embraced His will in that memorable, life-changing Tabor experience and eventually gave my sweet YES to his invitation.
My journey has only begun. I can only look back and rest assured of His love. But the world is not always amenable and supportive of my decision. I'm preparing myself for the persecutions and more struggles that await me, while excitedly waiting for June 2011 to come.
Only God can make me faithful in this calling. And only in His hands that I entrust everything.
Let His will be done.