When I was younger, I begged for love.

I compromised my values. I submitted myself to a cheap bargain just to make him stay.

I am not proud of this.

I  hated despised myself for the choices that trampled my worth. I beat myself up for years.

I was too obsessed with my failures to a point of obliging myself to fulfill a penance I have to pay… FOREVER.

I made my failures, a pseudo-god. It became my compass to my every decision; how I present myself, how I should deliver things perfectly, how I should please God. I presented my best self in order to hide the guilt I’ve been carrying. I staged a good show, I did it so well that people around me barely noticed. But at night, when I was alone with my thoughts, I could not overcome the guilt robbed my joy.

Even if I gave everything in serving God and in fulfilling the ministry I am called to do, it was still not enough, I STILL feel unworthy. I STILL see myself as someone who betrayed God and the people who genuinely cares for me.

To top it all, I made myself believe that I am not worthy to be loved. For years, I voluntarily subject myself to suffering.

A YEAR OF REDEMPTION 

Then, 2012 came. The year that God brought me from glory to glory.

I served at a conference where I met amazing people, who I made memories worth keeping. I went to a short mission in Singapore, my first trip outside the Philippines.

There, God was so clear when He revealed this to me in prayers, “you will see greater things than these. You are not there yet”

I fully understood what He meant when, 4 months later, I was greeted by a cold breeze of Fall when I arrived at Taize Community, South of France. I went to the country of romance to be romanced by my ultimate Lover, God.

One afternoon, my feet brought me to the top of a hill where I had a good view of an old French village, a vast vineyard with a river beside it and a golden sunset. Mesmerized by the ethereal beauty in front of me, I asked God, “what had I’ve done to deserve all these?”

Through the cold breeze of late fall, I heard God whispered, “You are my beloved daughter, you deserve all these”.

Right at that moment, it dawned on me that I made myself suffer for a failure, God already paid in full. I despised myself for hurting God only to realize that it is no longer my sin but my self-hate and unforgiving self that isolated me from God.

To be objective about it, I was just too unforgiving with myself. Or maybe I just can’t accept the ugly truth: I failed. I was too frustrated that I did not meet the “standard” I set for myself.

GOD’S GRACE TRANSFORMS OUR FAILURES

Failure is not the person, it’s an event.

St. Augustine, St. Paul… These men were notorious sinners but they became great saints. They fell hard but they were redeemed gloriously by God. My failures were just speck compared to their “colourful past” but the difference between them and me is that they fully embraced the indisputable truth: they deserve God’s love and mercy.

Knowing more about these great saints made me believe that maybe God allowed these people to fall that bad so failure-obsessed people like me will look up to them as a redeeming symbol of God’s mercy and compassion. God definitely knew that through them, I will be reminded that He still loves me despite of who I am and who I am not.

When I fully embraced that nothing can separate me from the love of God, I became more free. I became fully alive. The years of beating myself up, of being too stiff in correcting my mistakes were years of sinning against the Holy Spirit, because I denied myself from fully receiving God’s mercy.

I don’t know about your past, whether it’s colorful or not. But even if you had a "festival of failures" I am very certain that God has set a beautiful future for you. He is inviting each one of us to forgive ourselves, to let go of despair and be assured that God’s grace will fill whatever mistakes or sins we’ve done in the past.

While writing this, I am reminded of the dark nights I went through those days when I was too obsessed with my failure. it was God's grace that led me through those dark nights it is also His grace that enables me to write this story with a hope that you will be reminded of this truth, "our sins are already paid in full." Our failures are catch basin of God’s grace. What we needed to do is to fully open our palms to receive God’s mercy and love.

God’s desire for each one of us is to live in peace, love, and joy with Him.

You are worthy of love. You are worthy to be loved.  Let us walk our journey guilt-free, allow God to hold our hands as you walk.

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“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

-St. Catherine of Siena

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