I grew up not comfortable in confessing my sins to other “appointed” people, aka priests. To be honest, all my confessions were only because I needed to – for first communion, confirmation, and marriage. There were times that I felt like I wanted to and needed to confess my sins but fear and shame always get the best of me. I always find excuses like, the line is too long, why would I tell my sins to a person who, most probably, is a sinner too, and why can’t I just tell ask God directly to forgive me. But, my marriage to my husband has made me go to the confession more frequently. My husband always encourages me to do it. At first, I felt like I was being forced into something I’m not ready to do. However, after each time, I always feel a lot better and at peace. Just like last week. He convinced me to go to the confession room as part of our Lenten preparation. Tired from work and traffic and with kids clamouring for my attention, I was, of course, hesitant. I did it anyway, to appease my husband. Unsurprisingly, I left the confession box feeling reborn and at peace. I confessed all the sins I could think of. Some I said point blank, others I sugar-coated, trusting God would understand well what I really mean. If you know what confession is, you’d know that towards the end, the priest will tell you what to pray for contrition/atonement. With what I was told to pray, I almost cried and felt so ashamed yet fully loved. I have condemned myself, on my own, for all the bad things I think I’ve done. Then, I was only told to say this much of a prayer. This was my realization; how huge God’s love is, how small my sins are compared to my Creator, how foolish I am to think how sinful I am and undeserving of God’s love and God must have been laughing or smiling at me, like a child who is so scared of her mother because she broke a glass of water. After that confession, I felt a lot closer to God, not only because I was forgiven but mainly because I realized that no sin can ever separate me from God. He’s just waiting for me to come back home to Him.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
Before I give away this book to my sixteen-year-old niece, I decided to re-read the stories/testimonies of faith. I realized that most of the stories were about young women suffering from insecurities. That’s how I can relate so much with this book. I, too, have suffered from insecurities and even had an inferiority complex for a long time. I was called negra, rabbit (because of my two huge front teeth), cheap/baduy because all my clothes were either form Divi or sastre-made with the not-so-nice fabrics. I was made to feel irrelevant by a few relatives. Now that I think about it, I felt so ugly and worthless at that time even though a lot of guys would try to woo me. Some of these guys I actually like. But, with insecurities, I didn’t have the confidence to interact with any of them. God is good. It’s good that there are people who liked me so I won’t completely feel ugly. Yet, my lack of confidence stopped me from doing possible stupid mistakes. Things changed with time and when I met my husband. His presence in my life vanishes my insecurities and it’s not even because of him or how he is towards me. It is because of how he is – a man with no insecurities. He may not be the most handsome, hot or even intelligent guy in the room but he is sure of himself and his confidence does not come from arrogance, it comes from his faith that he is a son of God.
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
For years, I’ve been planning to practice giving tithe and for years, I’ve failed. This year, however, I finally had the courage to do it one Sunday. To be honest, it’s not yet exactly our ten percent but, it’s a hundred percent increase from what we used to give to our church. We’ll get there, I know. Ironically, I did it at a time when we were computing and trying to pool our funds for our children’s tuition fees. It’s not that we’re not prepared, but, we are not fully prepared; that I got to admit. I gave to the church, still, wholeheartedly, without hoping it would be replaced or doubled and definitely not to test God’s promises and generosity. I gave because I want to experience God’s power once again. Some years ago, God made something out of my nothingness. Why I am not surprised that in the following week, we received a financial blessing. We were waiting for that money for three months, but, we doubt it would be released in time for enrollment. Then, it was. Aside from that, I sold my for-trading ALI stocks at a good profit. Tuition fee problems, solved!
I realized that one thing that hinders my spiritual growth is my fear of God’s tests. I fear sickness. I fear poverty. I fear loss. Why I have this feeling that to reveal His plans, one must go through trials. When will I be ready to receive God, fully? Will I ever be ready? Is that the only way to find Him? The way of the cross? Maybe I’m overthinking and I could still find Him without having to live the life of Job. I’m so afraid to take the leap and to shake my current situation. Because of that fear, I do not dare ask Him for more. The confusing part is that I know that for me to live the Godly life I always wanted, I need to step out of my comfort zone and be open to be shaken, so that a new me, the me that God always intended to be, emerges. I need the roughness, sharpness and the heat in order to transform. Am I ready for a transformation? Maybe I could transform without the serious illnesses and tragedies for me and my family, right? Perhaps this is my first test from Him – to trust Him with no fear.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)