God in me… God is with me.

My Family.
My Family.

I recently lost my mom due to her very short battle with cancer. It was not an easy fight for the whole family. I still tend to question God why He had let this happen to me, to mom…to US. Mom is one of His faithful servant but why was she not given a good life? Why did it have to end so soon? Why her? Why not the others? Why? Unending whys, sighs and whines. Up until now, I still have the ache. I still have unanswered questions. I feel that I am consumed with so much darkness. I am blinded by the pain the loss of a loved one has caused me. I am struggling to see the light. If there is. If it is really there.

I am craving for love – love that only a mother can give. It will never be the same, I say.

I have tried to divert my attention through numerous activities. From dining out with friends, to meeting new people, to dating, to trying new things… then, at the end of the day, I am just exhausted.  I fervently prayed to God that He may give comfort to His helpless daughter and pour out love & solace to my momentary spiritual dryness.

My SFC family is an answered prayer, as always. The weekly gatherings, the ongoing Christian Life Program, the teachings and House Hold meetings are, somehow, my tools for survival. The SFC members held the Tongues Workshop last 11th Aug, which started at around 8 pm. This activity is not new to me so I planned to skip this teaching. But my plan did not work. God has been whispering in my ears for the past few days. So, I gave it a go. I said yes, as expected.

We started the activity with a prayer and worship led by Bro. Nicky Egnisaban. At first, I felt the dryness from the inside, like I needed more empowerment from up above. The speaker, however, is one of my favorite speakers of all time – Bro. Joel Egnisaban, so, I eagerly listened to every detail, tips, techniques and experiences during the talk, it is as if the angels are singing a lullaby. Then I knew that this will be different from the previous Tongues workshop. I felt God’s presence right there and then. I felt His warm embrace that made me cry.

The bridge that didn't seem to end.
The bridge that didn’t seem to end.

On the first part of the workshop, we were led into a prayer followed by a song – Great God. I closed my eyes and envisioned my mom’s last days. I saw our house, my mom lying in bed, sick but alive. I thanked God for showing me my mom on that very moment. I missed her so much that I wanted to hug and kiss her but was not able to do so because the song ended abruptly yet I continued praying. During the song “How Great is Our God”, I saw a vision of myself on a never ending bridge, in a port, in the darkness… alone. I was crying. I was scared. Then there came a light trying to snatch my whole being. It seems like the light is taking all the negativities, extracting every painful memory in me. On each step I take, I can feel the gentleness of God’s miraculous hands trying to lighten up my heavy baggage. I walked and walked and walked until I reached my next destination on a bright new day. The view is astonishing – a mountain with snow on top, a lake surrounded by trees and an empty road. There was a cold breeze while the sun is up, I was enjoying the journey, so surreal. The serenity of the place, the calmness of the lake and the extravagance of the mountain made me feel so blessed. It is as if God is telling me that “these are my masterpieces, these are all for you, my child”. In search for greater happiness, I continued walking. I was getting tired, the melancholy is trying to grab me by force. I was about to lose hope. But then again, God has surprised me, now with an image of a lady. There, waiting for me is the Our Lady of Manaoag / Peñafrancia – patroness of the sick, helpless and of those seeking for miracles. She wrapped me in her arms while I cried myself to sleep, like a baby sobbing on her mom’s shoulders longing for warm hugs. Then I woke up, I woke up from a deep slumber. When I opened my eyes, I am in a different picture, however still on a woman’s embrace. A lady in black… that is Sta. Monica, mother of St. Augustine. I was comforted by a mother, a mother whom I longed for. (My mom used to serve our Parish Church, Sta. Monica Parish, as the Parish Pastoral Council President.)

Our Lady of Manaoag.
Our Lady of Manaoag.

The next scene is on a busy street somewhere similar to Manhattan or Brooklyn. It was again dark. I was so confused. I was again questioning God why. Why are there so many darkness in my journey? I am asking Him why He has forsaken me. I demanded an answer, NOW! On that same street, I was just standing, frozen in time, looking at the road ahead of me. It looks terrifying. I wanted to move but I cannot. There was a very strange atmosphere… creepy… haunting! Then I closed my eyes and prayed, asking God to take me out from this turmoil. As soon as I opened my eyes, I saw a silhouette of a lady walking towards me. She was on a white dress, with a very long hair. She stood right in front of me and whispered, “It will be alright”. The moment I realized who she was, she’s gone. That was mom during her younger days. My mom hugged me and walked away. On that instance, I felt a familiar touch. The same feeling I have whenever I hear the mass and pray the Lord’s Prayer. The position of the arm and fingers on my chest are so comforting, reassuring me of His divine love. That touch is from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, saying that I shall prepare Him my heart because He will be my strength. (Exodus 15)

The road where I met my Mom.
The road where I met my Mom.

The last song was Heavenly…Heaven, one of my favorite song. While singing this song, I was really crying.  I was again in a dark place, somehow similar to Angkor Wat. In my day dream, I saw my departed loved ones. I saw them dancing in the sky, one after the other. I really wished I could fly and dance with them. I can see on their faces that they are extremely happy and peaceful in heaven. Then one by one they were gone.  They left by showing me a fireworks-like effect in the sky – My grandmother, grandfather, dad and lastly, my mom… all beautiful sets of fireworks display. My family love fireworks. It signifies good luck and colorful, new beginnings. They made me understand that they are now in a blissful place and there’s nothing to worry about. I need to let go of the sadness and grief in order to move on. At the very end, the most magnificent set of fireworks lit, I saw Mother Mary and Christ with their arms wide open, smiling back at me and said “we are always here for you, do not be afraid”. Our God is much larger than your worries and all uncertainties.

The dark sky where I later on saw the firecrackers.
The dark sky where I later on saw the firecrackers.

This made me realized that in my life’s journey, no matter how difficult and dark the road is, God will always be at my side. I may have doubted Him, but He will always, always be faithful. It is also a beautiful reminder that only in darkness I can see light and God is light, in Him there is no darkness at all. I just need to believe, have faith and trust Him fully.

God truly worked in mysterious and remarkable ways. The tongues workshop helped me express the thoughts words cannot utter. And because of this, I will continue praising and thanking God for His ways are always wonderful.

Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Article by: Sis Roe Anne Gonzales

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