071230.mp4 - Brian Loch: Ask In Faith
Greetings in the name of our precious Lord Jesus Christ! it's about time I post my personal testimony here in PF. This testimony is a copy of what I wrote for our church's website- CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS. It is a bit lengthy but I hope it blesses you all. Thanks.~ Kaye
I am a firm believer in testifying about how the Lord moves in His children's lives, I believe that our experiences with God should not be kept under the bushel, but it should serve as a light of hope and encouragement to everyone. So, when I saw the testimonies section I was excited to read what the brethren shared, as led by the Lord. It warmed my heart that He is ever present in the lives of His children and that He continually manifests His wonderful attributes to us. I know we all have stories to share about our journey with God and that is just so wonderful! although each one is unique, the truth about God's nature and how He is- remains the same throughout, after all He truly is the same yesterday, today and forever, praise the Lord. The same theme of God's grace, mercy, faithfulness and love resounded in my own life, and I am forever grateful to Him because without Him I wouldn't be here. I wrote this, as the Lord leads me and may His goodness serve as a blessing to you.
CHILDHOOD: My family was introduced to the Bible when I was eight years old and we joined the United Pentecostal Church. My dad was the one who initiated the Bible studies in our home and yet in the end, he became our greatest persecutor. Family life was tumultous, my dad was an alcoholic and a womanizer and domestic violence was the norm in our house. My mother was the one who had a stable job, she's put food on the table and her faith stood unwavering despite my dad's anger and oppression. He banned us from going to church or meeting with the brethren, if we disobey- my mother gets beaten up. However, we still found ways and means to secretly attend services and so we did. I suppose, I was too young to really comprehend the Scriptures but somehow I understood most of the basic truths- I guess He spoke to my heart first, because even at that tender age I remember that God has endeared Himself to me. I recall how I was always praying, singing songs of worship and even conducted my own Bible study at school during lunch breaks for my classmates, and we did this where no teacher could see us because it was a Catholic school. In my youth, I have backslidden many times- I tried alcohol, I joined a dance group and my friends became my life. I did what the world did but that still, small voice is always there...in my dreams, in my conscience, and in my heart. I thought it strange at the time, how that did not leave me despite my wayward ways.
YEARS ROLLED ON: I met, fell in love and married my husband Peter, I was only 16 and he was 18, we were quite young. After several months, my parents have separated- my dad went away with his second wife and my mother left for NZ. I remember that it was one of the saddest days of my life because I was just starting to build my family and my own had broken up. My older sister Christine and her husband went to live with my brother (in another town) and our youngest went over to NZ with my mom. I lived under the roof of my In-Laws for 12 years, and there were plenty of heartaches and despair as a result of that, as well as a consequence of being married young. I won't go so much into details but I would say that I felt like I was in bondage and abandoned, left to fend for myself. I have never felt so alone in my life- with no parent, no friend, no one to run to. My children's attention and discipline were a constant tug-of-war between my in-laws and me, it was a very difficult time. I was overcome by hopelessness, depression because I cannot comprehend what is happening- I felt I was being punished for something I hadn't done. I tried to commit suicide by gulping a bottle of pills- but the Lord didn't allow it, as I survived by His grace. The desire to come back to God was burning in my heart but shame took over and the thought that 'I am not worthy' nagged at me till I gave up on myself and ignored that stirring in my heart. I was full of indecision, despite the truth that I know where I truly belonged and my walk was an on-off relationship with God. Still, He remained patient and faithful.
We went to NZ year 1997 with our hopes high, we wanted to stay permanently. However, we weren't given residency and we had to go back to the Philippines. I was pregnant with my fourth child then and I was bitterly disappointed because it meant we have to go back to our in-laws. Things were worse for me when we came back - my marriage was rocky, caring for Joshua was difficult because we didn't have enough finances and he often got seizures, I was struggling to be independent from my In-laws who were persecuting me, my health was not good at the time (I was in and out of the hospital because of my asthma) and there are still so many other things that I had to go through, but those are just between God and me- which reminded me of the saying: "The greatest victories are the ones no one knows about, the ones that only the heart and it's Creator knows". Amen, but they are victories indeed.
OFF TO NZ: I have really desired and prayed about going back to NZ. I often dreamed that I was back there with my family and in His time, the Lord granted the desires of my heart...although yet again we will be tested. Peter came over first and after he has acquired a work permit, we were to follow. All of us were given visa's but Joshua was declined, we re-applied and he was declined the second time due to his medical condition (microcephaly). We decided that I come over first until Joshua's paper would get approved. It was heartbreaking for me to leave my children behind especially when I know that the time that may pass from then to them coming over, is indefinite. When I left them at the airport, I put on a brave front but I was completely broken inside. I just can't stop crying in the plane.
Once I was here, my pillow was soaked with tears night after night, I missed my children and was worried about Joshua. I prayed every hour, even at work I was uttering prayers under my breath. That time Peter approached an MP to help us with our situation, I told Peter I was prepared to go back and stay with Joshua and the girls can come over and live with him here because they have a better future. Although in my heart, I knew that God's perfect will would be for all of us to be together as one family. I know that all our friends and family were praying about it too. Then the Lord gave me a dream: In my dream, there was a bridge I wanted to cross, under the bridge is a stream but in the middle of the bridge sat a huge mountain, I looked up and it disappeared into the clouds above, it was humongous. I rebuked that mountain, I kept rebuking it in Jesus' name...then I went off around the corner I started sharing to the other people who were there. A man suddenly called me to where the mountain was and when I came back it was not there anymore, it sat on the left hand side and it was cut, only the base of the mountain was left. I was able to cross! To me that was an answered prayer, that Joshua and the rest of the children would soon come over. After a couple of months, Joshua was granted a medical waiver and he was allowed to come to NZ. Praise be to God! The Lord indeed can move mountains!
SURRENDERING: One day, I was in the middle of another storm, so to speak, and everything within me was struggling, I was beyond desperate, I gave up on everything. The idea to just pack up and leave was getting more tempting by the minute, then I heard that familiar still, small voice in my head- "Stay", then it told me to 'forgive'. That was a hard call for me, my flesh and my mind resisted and I asked the Lord 'why?' but there were no more replies. By God's grace and strength, I was able to set aside my will and emotions and do what the Lord asked me to. That was the day when I surrendered my life to Him. I remember when I laid down my will to the Lord, it was a moment of realization for me. God broke down all my personal idols- all my temporary comforts and He made me realize that He is the only one I need, He is my anchor in this life. The greatest fear I had, happened over and over in my life until I realized this truth. It was a long process but he was faithful to go through it with me.
In retrospect, I now know how precious those sufferings and persecutions were because I came to know God for who He really is. He began to manifest Himself to me, His many attributes...the Lord became my everything- my father, my mother, my friend, my Lord and my God. And although at the time I resented all the sufferings, now I can see that all the paths I took were for my own good. I realized that only in suffering will I ever see God in all His glory, because in my weakness He becomes my strength. In the midst of evil, there was unconditional love. In the midst of the storm He became my anchor, my rest and my peace. His grace truly sustained me until the time when revelations of the Scriptures came to reality in my life. My eyes were slowly opened to truths that before only served as words from a book. Line upon line, word upon word. It began to dawn on me how I can truly cast all my cares upon Him for He careth for me, that He is the ONLY faithful One, He is the Jehovah-Jireh, He is my healer, the source of all strength, He is my friend and comforter, that God answers all our prayers. All the truths that God showed me were all precious and they served as strength in my journey with Him, but there was more to come!
When my own walk to Emmaus experience came, the truth that the God that I have walked with all this time was the very same person who created heavens and the earth, that He is the same God that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob served, that He was the same one who carried the sins of all men and was nailed on that cross to make way for someone like me to attain eternal life- was very, very sobering and humbling. Calvary became the dearest thing in my heart. It was humbling because the word 'Calvary' and the 'shed blood of God' easily slips out of the tongue, but it's true meaning has not yet been revealed, but when it was, to me- it is just overwhelming. Human words and letters cannot capture the glory of Calvary, it goes beyond all my ideas.
Again, the truth that Jesus Christ is my potter and I, the clay was another turning point in my spiritual life- when that revelation came to me I began to trust Him with an unconditional trust. I saw my trials and sufferings in a different light too...my fear of suffering was stripped away, even the fear of death. I can now see it for what it truly was- a tool in God's hands, a teacher, the fire to bring out the gold. Suffering is a friend and not a foe, I have to partake of the same cup that the Lord has taken, albeit in a milder form perhaps. Although, I still get mind boggling experiences every now and again- this truth serves as a reminder to me and I have learnt to accept them (sometimes reluctantly) with joy.
God's loving-kindness and mercy:
There are so many things I wanted to share but I'll just pick a few:
Jehovah-Jireh: "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."~ Psalm 37:25
* One time, back home we ran out of food and we have no money- my cupboard was empty, I have not a cent. Our allowance for the week ran out. I was very worried because I have four mouths to feed. Peter was here in NZ and I cannot contact him for some reason. I tried to loan but there was nothing. So, while we were eating lunch (our last meal) I prayed and asked the Lord to provide food for tonight. Later on, my brother-in-law came and handed money to my daughter, he didn't even go into the house because he was just passing through our town. I remember being really happy and thankful to God, I went off to the market and bought food. That was a quick reply- I thought. He knows our needs and He will supply them.
* During the time when I was lodging another application for Joshua- my daughter Patricia and I have to travel 4 hours in a bus to get to Manila, where the NZ embassy was. Joshua was to have his medical done, but he was burning with fever and he was vomiting, Patricia wasn't feeling all too well either and the rain was pouring really hard. We were an awkward bunch to look at- as I was carrying Joshua with one arm, a big bag of clothes in another hand, Patricia was carrying another heavy bag and a folded pram. So, I knew it would be difficult because we still need to ride three more jeepneys from where we are at, to reach our destination. So, I asked the Lord if He could stop the rain for us...and it was good because every time we rode on a jeepney the rain would pour and every time we hop off to walk or to get another ride, the rain would stop and it did that like clockwork so I know it wasn't a coincidence. On our way home, a stranger helped us carry our bags and assisted us, even paid for our fare, all the way to the bus station. God is good indeed for He answers our prayers and uses willing vessels to help us along our way.
Healer: But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. ~Isaiah 53:5
* I have worked in a cafe' and my feet began to get really sore from standing all day long. It was so sore, it got to a point where I started to limp when I walk. It was awful because it was not just an uncomfortable feeling, it was really painful and no medication relieved the pain. One morning I was limping along the footpath, on my way to the shop when a thought (revelation) broke into my head- The God that I serve is the healer! so I prayed a simple prayer, not even a long one- I just asked the Lord if He could please heal my foot. On the spot- the pain went away! the next steps I took weren't limps anymore and from then on I walked normally again. Praise God! I was just overjoyed because although I knew that truth and believe it- having my own experience transformed that belief into reality and that was so precious.
* When Sarah my daughter, was a baby- her fever got really, really high and out of concern my mother-in-law called for a traditional healer without my consent (a cultural belief that when a baby is sick, dwarves and other-worldly creatures got offended and has to be appeased by elderly healers), I adamantly refused for her to be treated by the so-called healer, much to their disdain. That night, I was in tears and was crying to the Lord, I felt led to place my hand on her little head and I prayed and Sarah got well instantly. The heat left her body immediately and I felt it under my hand. Glory to God!
* Another time, my husband was already in NZ- I have to rush Joshua to the hospital because his seizures did not stop, he was turning blue and a jumble of emotions just welled up inside of me- 'not yet Lord, please not yet' I remember praying, pleading to God. He went limpless in my arms and I was just bawling my eyes out, I believe he was near death at that time. The doctors were injecting him with all sorts of medication, he was on oxygen and on IV drip, it was a mother's worst nightmare. I never stopped praying although I have to say, deep within I felt that a peace came over me. After awhile, Joshua came back to normal and he was alright, the next day we went home. I know that can only be God.
Comforter: "The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." ~Psalm 34:18
* I was feeling really weighted down by my problems, I was depressed and was ready to give it all up. I was sitting on the edge of the bed and crying my heart out. That night, I had a dream: my dream was that I was sitting on the edge of my bed crying and I heard a voice say " She thought I have abandoned her, she thought I have left her but I am always with her". Then I woke up, and I almost thought it wasn't a dream but it really humbled me and gave me genuine comfort and hope. It was God.
* Again, in the middle of so many sufferings and persecutions, the Lord gave me a dream - I was standing in big boulders, and as far as the eye can see it was just boulders. When I looked up, there was a great, big eagle circling above me- my first thought was: "I never thought eagles can fly this low...if I lift my hands up I could touch it," for it was just an arm's length away...then the eagles face went close-up, and I could see how swift it is because of the movement of it's feathers, but what really caught my eye was the look on its face, it was looking really determined and focused. It's wings were big and spread, circling, circling above me...then I woke up. The Lord was telling me that He is always within reach, to lift up my arms and He will always be there, protecting me, guiding me.
* Another time, my boss and work mate was making my work difficult, but I stayed and endured the treatment... I was feeling a bit low and don't really feel like coming to work. Just when I walked out on our street, I saw a bearded man on a bicycle pass by me and he said in a loud voice- "the meek shall inherit the earth!" I was startled for a minute then I started to weep because I recognized that it was the Lord's encouragement to me, through a stranger but nevertheless there was a message for me.
The Lord worked through my life indeed and has healed the broken relationships that I have had with my In-Laws which really made me happy. He has provided well for my son's needs and has kept him happy and healthy. He has kept His Word and promises in my life and I am truly grateful. Praise God!
Oh, there is so much more to share but that would be all for now...
I cannot say that my life now is perfect and that there are no more trials, sufferings or sorrows, or that I don't need to go through any more. In fact, there are plenty to go through and I know that I needed breaking all the time. But what I know in my heart is this- that God is real and I believe He is faithful to finish what he started in me. He became my everything and He gently taught me to trust in Him. The love that I have in my heart for Him is but a minute reflection of His love for me and without God's grace, mercy and love I am absolutely nothing, I am a mere heap of dust. I know he is the same with everyone...and words are not really enough to explain nor utter this experience with Him but I know His bride understands this love language. He truly is worthy of all of our praise!
I hope you were blessed and encouraged. Looking back made me re-visit all the times that the Lord moved in my life and I realized it was all the time! even in moments when I thought I lost my way, that I lost Jesus, He is there, ever present...moving, moulding, chiselling my rough edges off. Although, I am far from perfect, I know for certain that I am a work in progress because He is faithful to His Word and because He does not change His mind about anything. There are still plenty more to chisel off but I know by His grace and only by His grace, I will meet you in the great by and by. Amen.