Hearing life's testimony of other people before, gave me the impression that my testimony was something uninteresting and nothing extraordinary. Until God made me realize that my life is not about My story but His story of greatness, love and grace revealed through me.
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I was born to a Christian mother who consistently bring us(me and my siblings) to Sunday school, Vacation Bible School and retreats every summer. During my younger years, I've heard bible stories and the gospel several times. I knew that Jesus died for my sins. I knew. I just knew. But I didn't understand enough. I knew that Jesus died on the cross but I didn't grasp the power of the cross and how it should impact my life as a believer. I remember, genuinely accepting Jesus as my Savior countless times. But every time I commit a huge sin, I felt that I'm no longer worthy of God's love thus separates me from His love. As soon as I realize my mistakes I repent and accept Him again.
Growing up I wanted to believed that I wasn't a bad person at least compared to others - I obey my parents, does household chores, takes care of my siblings, excel in my studies and even go to church every Sunday. Pretty clean life. I even consider myself an independent, tough person, rarely asking help from others and solving problems on my own.
After I graduated in college, I had a prompting to give back to our church through service. I prayed and was lead to volunteer in Sunday school as a teacher. I was okay with the Lord, at least I thought, I read the bible, attend services and serve Him in the ministry. In my Christian walk, I consider myself a "lone ranger" Christian, I was never comfortable in discipleship.
My principle: Nothing really matters as long as I'm okay with the Lord, in my world there's only Him and I.
For a few years, this 'lone ranger' setup seems working for me, but after some time I grew tired of serving Him maybe because I was trying to work things out on my own strength. I felt that I was consumed by my Christian routines and ministry work that I overlooked my personal relationship with Him which I never intended to happen, I just caught myself drowning in this situation. There seems to be no way out.
This time I seek God and asked Him to direct my path, I acknowledged that I can't do all things on my own anymore just like how I've been trying to live my life before.
By 2009, God led me to a group of ladies who desire to grow in love with the Lord. I was blessed how they spend time with God, read their bible and fellowship with other ladies. In this group I met a beautiful lady, inside and out who cared enough to mentor and disciple me. I find friends who encourage me with their stories, struggles and devotion to Jesus. Sisters who make time to be there when I need someone to talk to. Companions who listen to my grumblings and frustrations in life but graciously reminds me to pray and ask what God is trying to teach me in those times.
Then on I understand better, only by the grace of God. One by one my misconceptions growing up was unfolded before my very eyes.
First, that Jesus died in the cross only once, that when we accept Him as our personal Saviour, our sins are forgiven - past, present and future...
Second, that God is a Holy God, and for Him a small sin is still a sin and that I'm no better than others...
Third, that He is more concern with our relationship to Jesus Christ more than our ministry and other church activities, I find more peace and joy now every time I pray to Him...
Fourth, that we are not meant to be alone in our Christian journey, God appoints leaders to disciple us, people to grow with us in Christ, people that encourages us to persevere in faith, people who will not condemn us but graciously corrects us when we are in sin...
Lastly, that accepting help from other people is not always a sign of weakness, but sometimes an opportunity for others to bless you.
My story may not be as extravagant as the others, but God meets us, every.single.one.of.us personally and intentionally even in the simplest things of life. Our adventures despite its simplicity or complexity, can be used by God so we could minister to others with the same story and ultimately marvel in His power at work in everyone's life.
I am still a work in progress, my story may need some rewrite or editing in the future. But I am and will always be infinitely grateful to God. For His patience with me. For not giving up on me. For persistently changing me to be the person He wants me to be. As I continue to rest in His promise,
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. --Philippians 1:6 (NLT)I am Girlie Abad Mangalo, just a simple girl with an ordinary life living for an extraordinary God!