How Did I Come to Believe

Originally published as a friendster blog on August 14, 2006 by Mini May Markie B. Medel – pen name “giylah-nshar” (giylah: rejoicing, nshar: eagle)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Is He indeed
real?”

Something within me says YES… for I am amazed whenever I see my hands
moving… for I am awed each time I see nature’s beauty…

Now… _IF_ He is real…

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Begotten by pure love and growing here. This is who I am now.

I’ve been through a lot… before I finally came to believe.

Read on,
’til the last word… you’ll not regret it. 🙂

I was still young, that was before I entered grade-school, when I first read from the Holy Book… words that left me wondering…

Amidst other experiences as a child… amidst some unwanted memories… this is among the best positive ones:

It was when a friend of my father told me that the GOD who created us is called by people in different names… some call Him Allah, some call Him Yahweh, some call Him Jehovah, some address Him simply as ‘GOD’…

but that whatever we call Him, He is Who He Is… and that He wants full reverence ’cause He is really the LORD above all. Although I haven’t fully understood it yet back then… I’ve learned that He doesn’t want us to have any other god before Him -and that He made this known when He gave His ten commandments.

Those were the first text that I’ve read in His Word: His commandments as written in Exodus 20. And what He wants about pure worship is in
Exodus 20:3-5


“You shall not make yourself any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

Those were the first words I’ve read from His book.

I cannot remember if I was able to talk with my father’s friend again after that.

My heart wanted to seek GOD since then… although I did not know exactly how…

I asked
myself…


“Is
He indeed real?”

Something within me says YES… for I am amazed whenever I see my hands moving… for I am awed each time I see nature’s beauty. What I learned in school about the universe… and the beauty of the sky, the clouds, the trees, the birds, the seas… declare that an intelligent, organized Person is behind all these.

My parents were of the Catholic religion. We grew up attending masses -that is… usually. And I prayed the rosary with my siblings.

Once I was in front of a big cathedral I read the ten commandments written near its door. But I noticed that it’s not exactly the same with what I’ve read in the Book.

I found that some are missing…

-the text about making for yourself a graven image in the form of anything in heaven
above or on the earth…

I wondered about it then.

But then I became busy with school, friends, etc.

So I didn’t bother much about it that time.

I continued attending Catholic masses with my parents and siblings.

Then when I was in High school, we were encouraged to attend a “Life in the Spirit Seminar”. It was held in a Catholic church.

I felt great as we were enjoying the charismatic fellowship. We danced, sang, played games. Those were happy memories. But the thing on my mind regarding images was bothering me back then… we were not “worshiping” the images… but we were bowing to them… and for that matter, I left the group.

Then when family problems surfaced… when father left our family to live with another… we (my mother and siblings) transferred to a house near the Bilibid prison in Muntinlupa City… and there we met Baptist friends. We went with them to worship meetings/fellowships and I noticed they don’t have images so I was happier whenever we sing about Him.

But for financial reasons, my mother decided to transfer to Los Baños in the province of Laguna… yet I had to be left in Muntinlupa City since I was studying in a nearby town that time. ‘had to stay in another house (still in Muntinlupa)… in the place of my godfather’s sister, aunt Esther.

I stayed there until I graduated high school. They were Methodists. Sometimes I join them when they read the Bible. And sometimes I go to their church building with aunt Esther. They also have no images. I’ve seen that their worship approach is a little different from the Baptist friends I had been with… but I like them for  being well-organized. That time, most of the members of their church were old people.

They were kind and patient with me as I stayed in their house for free.

When I graduated high school I went to be with my mother and siblings in Los Baños Laguna. My sister found a Puritan Baptist church in town and she invited me to come with her. There I met brother Jun Folledo, the one who invited me to take the UPCAT (University of the Philippines College Admission Test).

But we left that Baptist church when we were encouraged by one of our neighbors to join Jehovah’s Witnesses.

I found that Jehovah’s Witnesses are very diligent people. I like their very informative magazines too. I am no longer with them now though… why? please read on 😉

I became very studious of the Word -but mostly about Jehovah’s Witnesses’ books that time. And I was baptized as a Jehovah’s witness in 1998. Then I became one of the Auxiliary pioneers (though not a Regular pioneer, I wanted to be a Regular pioneer later on)-pioneers are those who devote more time to share their faith to others.

When I was baptized, I prayed to Jehovah: “I want to surrender my life to You. I want to serve You.”

I actively practiced the faith of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They do not celebrate Christmas, fiestas, and birthdays; and they do not sing the national anthem -for reasons I found strong enough then.

But there was a time when I was in a meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ student org -IBSA
(International Bible Students Association) when I just felt that something is missing. It’s not about relationship among us members… they are all good to me, they’re all caring and friendly.

But my heart was seeking for something more, something deeper… not just head-knowledge and lists of things to do… a heart-to-heart connection with Jehovah Himself – a true knowledge/experience: I wanted to really know and experience HIM… my heart and my being was seeking for a real connection with God, the Creator – if He indeed exists.

Then I had an unforgettable teacher in one of my history subjects: I liked her ideas… she opened my mind to the facts about discrimination. She once said: “We are saying that those who come from Bombay do not smell good, but we are not aware that we do not smell good to them too. For them, we smell like rice grains and fish.” And she taught that “there is no right and wrong perspective.” If you are in UP (University of the Philippines) at Los Banos… can you guess who she is? heheheh. I like her although she’s an atheist.

Then I declared that I myself am an atheist, just for fun. For she was able to convince me that people are just making their set of… of what they call…

‘truth’.

And so I came to the point of simply doing whatever I want to do. I left Jehovah’s Witnesses.

At that time, my identity crisis surfaced. The fact that I have been hiding ever since I was young… I found myself as a lesbian… I never had a relation with a girl though -just ‘crushes’; but I was sure I was a lesbian for I truly wanted to be a man. And I know that I had committed indecent “acts” towards people, though not in the physical realm but in the world of my imagination.

This was the time that the person within: the liar, and the vile was manifested, unbounded by rules.

Though at that time, I did not declare to the world that I was lesbian, I know my countenance reflected what’s inside. Especially because I told myself that I’m no longer bounded by religion, and that I can just do whatever I want to do.

But there’s one thing my history teacher wasn’t able to tackle and dump: the authority of the Bible.

A college friend of mine, a classmate in some of my subjects, one who loves Jesus invited me to their fellowships…
But… I attended not to accept what they believe, but to criticize. And I did not attend all the time. Also, when I’m there, I do not participate. I just attended to watch, and again I say… to criticize.

Then when we graduated and I became a teacher in the University, my college friend invited me to have a Bible study with Dr. Grace Barroga -she was also a teacher in the University of the Philippines at Los Banos (UPLB) Biological Sciences (on Entomology) that time. I responded by saying ‘ok’.

When I first met pastor Grace, I felt like I’m going to be struck by lightning -there’s something about her that makes me quite nervous… She has a very gracious but holy countenance that even if she doesn’t speak a word or make a move, I feel that there’s something in me that needs to be changed.

There was a time that she was discussing something about “The Parable of the Sower” when I really wasn’t able to focus on what she’s saying because there’s really something in her presence that makes me feel that there’s something wrong with me. So I told her… “I would like to ask something… but I am quite shy about it…perhaps I would just send you a text message about it…”

But I did not txt her my question after that.

Until there came a time that I could no longer hide what’s inside me. I was convinced that I’m “in-love” with a girl -a co-member in my academic organization, The Computer Science, Applied Physics and Statistics Triangle (CPS). She was one of my students then.

And so I txtd pastor Grace: “…I want to be honest, this is my prayer: ‘Lord, let me wander, let me live my life my way. I know at times I’ll need You, just please be there when I need You.’”

And she replied: “Thank you for being honest Mini, God knows your prayer and He knows exactly how to answer it. I’m just wondering about the question you said you’ll ask …”

And I thought for a while…

how would I tell her? I was somehow ashamed to ask…

But then I txtd:
“is God against gender change?”

She did not answer my question. She just said: “I knew it, Mini. I’m just waiting for you to open it up.”

I did not reply. Then she just txtd “I’m still your friend. You can call me anytime you want.”

I “went my way” and did not bother her again then.

I just focused on the girl -the one to whom I had been attracted to. I txtd her almost every day, I gave her flowers.

I declared my lesbianism to my academic organization and they accepted me still, as a person.

I wrote her letters in the org’s logbook.

There was a time when I was so frustrated telling myself that “If I were only a real man, she would have liked me!”. I was so down and feeling so low I really wanted to kill myself.

I got plans to commit suicide. I thought of sipping sulfuric acid at night in our office at the Institute of Computer Science in UPLB.

But one thing hindered my plan: I know my mother and siblings are counting on me. I’m the bread winner now that I have finished college. They are more valuable than my vanities.

So I tried to make myself feel happy.

I wanted to think positive.

One weekend, I was in a room at home when I wanted to write something about love. And I wanted to quote the verses: “Love is patient, love is kind…” but then I thought those verses are written in Romans… Romans 13, I thought.

So I opened a Bible and went to Romans 13. I found “owe no man anything but to love one another for he who loves another has fulfilled the law” but it’s NOT the verse I was looking for so I turned the pages scanning the text until I finished Romans. But I was not contented ’cause I did not find it. I searched Romans starting from chapter 1.

And a verse
caught my eyes:
Romans 1:26.
“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women
exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.”

The context
of the verse: idolatry.

And I was struck. I felt it physically. As if my heart was stabbed. And I prayed and confessed. “Lord, I’m sorry… utterly sorry”

But then after some time, I told myself: “I will have to forget what I have read… otherwise… my plans for her would be thwarted; I like those plans.” Obviously I wanted to “cancel” my confession.

Some days after, I stayed in the area where my org-mates stay in-between classes and I was there almost whole day. There was a co-member who was seated in front of me at the table and she was reading the logbook.
She’s her friend and I knew she was reading the things I wrote for her/about her.

I invited her to talk with me as I saw her reactions to what she’s reading.

We talked in an empty classroom room nearby…

And there
she told me… “Ma’am it is very difficult for her… you are in a position of authority… You are her teacher and you are one of the advisers of our academic organization. May we then just request you… please… whenever you give her flowers or gifts, please don’t do it in public… because she doesn’t know how to react towards what you do…”

And at that time, God was telling me: “See, I told you… you’re going nowhere.”

So I told her: “Alright then, I will never again give her flowers or gifts… whether in public or not” Then I shared to her what happened to me that weekend. And she was glad.

Later I also talked with the girl I was courting about my repentance. And she was also glad of course.

Then I went to pastor Grace and told her what happened. And she was grateful to God. Since then I started to surrender myself to GOD… to seek Him with ALL my soul… Him who is the Creator of heaven and earth.

“And eternal life is to know You, the Only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You’ve sent.” -John17:3

As Jesus continually reveals Him to me, every idol in my life is being crushed by His overflowing love, His love expressed through the sacrifice on the cross/pole.

He changes me from within… not through a set of rules but by His transforming grace.

Ever since I truly acknowledged GOD, He worked and continually works to make me the woman as He designed me to be…

a new creation being molded by grace… through His Spirit and Love.

Not by human teaching but through GOD’s Word, I’ve learned that idolatry is not only about
images but that everything that is _not_ of Him is against Him.

Now I am
seeing that Jesus’ words are faithful and true…

“I have
made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the
love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in
them.”-John 17:26

After surrendering to God, there was a time that I accidentally met a Jehovah’s Witness, an elder in the congregation I was member of… he tried to win me back to the group.

But I am very sure I do not need to come back to being a member of the JWs although they now see me as part of what they call “Babylon the Great”/”The empire of False religion” and that for them, I am now “blinded by the ruler of this world”, Satan, who pretends to be an angel of light.

I am grateful that I’m now free from human-established set of thoughts regarding Him. Now, when I read the Bible, I read it as it is. My eyes are unveiled now… no longer interpreting it according to the flow of thought or context of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Watch Tower Society.

Father, now
I know that it is You who is GOD, not only of a single human-established
organization, but of all who truly live in Love.

For in Your
Word, it is written: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”
-1John4:16

You have been made known to me by Him who is the exact representation of Your being, Your Son Jesus… through Your Spirit whom You give to everyone who asks of You -now I understand this well, through unveiled spiritual eyes.

And indeed You exist,
You are real. It is You who answers my questions exactly the way they are to be
answered… ’cause You know best.

And now it is You
who have fully captured my heart.

I love You,
my Father, I love You,

*, I am Yours and
Yours alone.


_____________________________________________________________________________________

*

is God’s Name as written in the Bible in the original Hebrew.

These Hebrew letters are YHWH which some pronounce as Yahweh and commonly
read as Jehovah in English. The real pronunciation is unknown because
God’s Name has been traditionally unspoken by the Jews.

_____________________________________________________________________________________


And
now…


_IF_
He is real…


“…

‘Of
all the commandments, which is the most important?‘

‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this:

‘Hear,
O Israel,

our
God,

is one.

Love


 your God with ALL your heart and

with ALL your soul

and with ALL your mind

and with ALL your strength.“ [Mark 12:28-30]

We love
because He first loved us.
🙂

__________________________________
[1 John 4:19]

GOD loves us so much…
that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not
perish but have everlasting life.

Let us return His embrace…

:):)

Add a comment July 2, 2010

Where do I spend the rest of my life?

One life and soon this will pass…

I want to put my energy, time, talent, and treasures into that which would matter for eternity.

Seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness — those words ring in my mind.

What then shall I do but that which is right and just each day? As I live in the joy of God’s presence, I’ll delight in the leading of His Spirit – and I’ll know… yes I’ll know what to do with the rest of my life.


Add a comment April 10, 2010

Hello!

Welcome!

This blog aims to record moments’ snapshots of a learner’s joyful voyage;

sharing with her co-learners and co-voyagers!

Enjoy! 🙂

Add a comment March 28, 2010

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