Singapore, Singapore

My walk with God

Gloria’s story   I was born into a Catholic family and baptised at a month’s old. I grew up with my family initially serving the parish in various ministries. However, as things would pan out, my parents got cheated by their business partner and were made bankrupt overnight. All their dreams were shattered and were left to pick the pieces with my brother and I being barely in primary school. I remember moving to a house so much smaller and endless quarrels over money issues. My growing up years was wrought with financial difficulties and there were many things which I had wanted but we simply couldn’t afford them. To make things worse, my mother decided to leave the family when I was about thirteen years old. Being young and approaching puberty, I could not make any sense of all that was happening at home. God, to me, was distant, non-existent and remote.  As I grew, I dealt with the pain by numbing myself. I channelled all my energies into activities in and outside school. As a teenager, I spent loads of time in NCC and dance. I used to spend all my time away from home because only my grandpa would be home and I really could not deal with the fact that my home was really dysfunctional. For most part of my life I lived with just my grandfather, father and brother. Over and above that we were still dealing with the debts that were chalked up. So I grew up being a person lacking of love and very insecure. I tried, over the years, to find my security in friends and in the very things I did. But only to be greatly disappointed and feeling even more rejected. These hurts just kept piling up over the years and I was really left not knowing how to deal with them. This went on right up to university and along the way I also got into unhealthy relationships, relationships which I only wanted to find love but which also only left me empty.  In 2007, I was going to graduate from university and I was feeling very empty and scared. The people whom I was hanging out in university were all not going to graduate yet and so I felt so lonely and lost. I didn’t have the courage to take the world on. The insecurities in me starting acting up and I was constantly telling myself that I wasn’t good enough and that I would never make it in life. Armed with much doubts and fear, I frantically started searching for something for me to cling unto and started wondering what else is there to life. Luckily there were my catholic friends in the university, one of them introduced me to attend a Catholic seminar. In the seven weeks of the seminar, I came to learn about whom God the Father was, His amazing love that He sent His only son Jesus to save us and through His Holy Spirit, everyday I’m being made new. The experience of the Holy Spirit was so tangible and for the first time in my life I really came to know who this Jesus was. He was a real person whom I can speak to whenever and wherever.  This new relationship made me realise that there was much more to life than I thought. There was actually a more attractive way to live my life and so I devoted more time to Jesus by going to church more often and always looking out for ways to serve His church. As a person, I now had more meaning to why I’m here on this earth and where I would be heading to when I close my eyes on this earth for the last time.  Many times, I look back and am completely amazed with just how God has protected me all these years despite me not being faithful to Him. There are endless stories about how children from dysfunctional families have gone astray and fall victim to drugs, alcohol and many other vices. But I thank God that His hands were on me as He kept me away from the streets and had me in good company all these years. Through His mercy, I had the chance to go to university and am now fully capable to serve Him and his church. The series of events that unfolded in my life has shaped me to be who I am today.  But the journey with Jesus didn’t stop there. I started work in a Swiss private bank with good boss and colleagues.  At the same time, i also started teaching catechism at Church of Divine Mercy and things were starting to look good. But unknown to myself, i still allowed my identity to be based upon the job i held, the credentials i have achieved and the relationships i forged. I was still trying to find fulfilment in people and situations i was in. Alas, after a failed relationship last year, and after much tears and pain before the Blessed Sacrament, i felt Jesus calling me to the school of mission in New Zealand. So basically it’s a five month school where we spend the first three and half months in formation and then three weeks of preparation and the last three weeks to do outreach. We went to Christchurch to do parish missions and outreaches like these.  But it was really a tough decision to go. I had to quit my really comfortable job, take a break from the ministry i love so much and deal with parting with my family and friends here. But i never regretted my decision. What i went through in NZ was so much more valuable than all my life put together. Through the unconditional love of the mentors at the school, i came to discover the Father’s love again! I was free to become who i was truly made to be and not what others expect me to be. Through the school, i also found my true fulfilment and came to see how precious i am in the eyes of God and that He alone is sufficient for me ;) So five months passed, and so i was praying what to do when i return to Singapore. I quit my job and basically have decided that i will not go back to banking anymore. So what next right? I prayed and told God that i was ready to serve Him in His church but where when and how i really have no clue but i happily left it as it was and went on my holiday before returning to Singapore. After i returned, the following week my parish priest spoke to me about working as a youth coordinator at Divine Mercy. What perfect timing! A job fell right into my lap..and so now im working as a youth coordinator at Divine Mercy.. truly God is awesome! So i stand before you today my dear young brothers and sisters to share this treasure that i found and He is Jesus! And i want to share it with as many young people as possible. I went through a hard time growing up as a youth and so i understand whats like..but to those who are struggling, i want to say “Be not afraid!” for Jesus will truly be all around you and give you strength as long as you allow Him to enter your heart and trust that He is there..He will amaze you! For those whose lives seem smooth-sailing, i want to challenge you if you think you are living your life the way God wants it. You were made in His image and likeness and only He can tell you what your purpose is. Jesus came to give us life and its life to the fullest..there is definitely a more meaningful way to live our life here on this earth. SO i leave you with this quote from Acts 1:8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the earth”. Truly, at confirmation, this same spirit will come upon you and you will start to share this good news. Question is ARE YOU READY?
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