I am 19 years old, a nurse and I come from a family of four. My life before SOW was not Christ-centred. I did not go for weekend masses or attend community sessions, and did not regularly pray to God. I felt that I would only call on him when I needed him like before exams. I would normally put on these masks of different personalities – as a cool guy, a people pleaser, and a bully, all of which would display unChrist-like behaviours. The feeling of loneliness, the thought of being a failure and the experience of being bullied when I was young culminated these personalities and has led me to hide my true self. These made it hard for me to listen to God’s will and to understand his purpose for my being as I led a care-free life, ignoring even my family’s concerns and advise.
On the first day of SOW, I was lonely. I felt that I was not good enough and out of place because I was the only one from ITE. But the people there were very welcoming and made me feel accepted.
On the second week of SOW, I took a verse from the truth box which really struck me. It said:
“I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments” – Psalm 119:176
That same week, I got injured and had a cast with my right leg. For reason that was about to be revealed, I remembered the verse and as I reflected on it, I realised that God was sending me a message, that even though I am lost and crippled spiritually or physically, he will not abandon me. He will search for me like a lost sheep and carry me home.
The SOW has led me to encounter Jesus and be healed of my inner wounds. I was emotionally in pain because of my relationship with my stepfather. My biological father left our family and I’ve never known him since birth. Later on, it grew on me that I never really needed a fatherly figure in my life though I still felt lonely and abandoned. This made me struggle with my relationship with my stepfather. I could not bring myself to accept him. I ignored him at home. There was this deep-rooted anger towards him. During the healing session, we were asked to speak out the areas that we wanted healing. I wanted to be healed of the pain and unforgiveness that I had towards my stepfather. As my brothers were praying for me, I felt something in my heart and I knew that God was there with me. I felt God was healing me, softening my heart of steel. The verse that I got on week two has happened. God did not forsake me. He searched for me and carried me home.
Since the day he created me, he was always beside me, walking this past 18 years with me through ups and downs in life. He was always there though I couldn’t see him. But I realise that God was always guiding me and when I got hurt, he was hurt as well.
God, Jesus and Brother; these were how he made himself known to me and that was the turning point with my relationship with him. My perception of God has changed because I felt this love that I was longing for so long. He was carrying me on his back like a lost sheep.
The experience of encountering the Lord has made me realise to seek him first before making a decision or action in my life. My deep relationship with the Lord has allowed me to see the positive things rather than the negative. He fills my life with great joy and freedom when I make him the centre of everything. I no longer need to wear a mask pretending to be somebody else. I don’t even need to hide my past because he has helped me to embrace it. He made me new and now, I can be myself to everyone. I am committed to share this love that I have received to those around me, a love that is simply overflowing. I have seen and tasted the goodness of God and there is nothing I would want more.
In this world, we encounter so many challenges and fears, one of which, is the fear of not being accepted for who we are. If you are facing any fear, Jesus is inviting you to come to him because he loves you and he wants to carry you. Brothers and sisters, are you ready to open your hearts to Jesus and feel his love?