I remember that message of using our stories from one our mentoring sessions at The Feast Alabang district. How it changes lives, and how it could bless other people. This message recurred again, now in our annual camp along with other young leaders of our community.
A series of firsts. Meeting new friends. Learning about God and His love. Eating wonderful food. (or maybe exotic?) This post and more amazing things. These are the things we had every summer in each camp that happened. The weekend I made this post was the weekend of ALAB06 our leaders camp before anyone of you experienced the awesome Camp Calye.
This speaking to you, is Rey Mark or RM.
And this is my story.
I have been in the ministry for quite some time now. The whole of my college life was spent together with The Light Of Jesus community. And to those who knew me now, I will say that you’ll be surprised to know who I was before.
Silent. Reserved. Secretive. Emo. You know that kid in the corner, the boy who cried wolf, that was me almost all of my highschool years. I was a good child really. I followed my parents always, obedient and caring but mostly known because of generosity as people say.
The providers, my parents were. They gave everything me and my sister needed. They were the best. They are amazing even up until now. They love us to the point that they wouldn’t want us be exposed to any danger at all, and this had it’s toll. Being protected most of the time meant that I developed a spoiled attitude. I had that thinking that everything we want can be received right at this instant. My percieved definition of love is when you can give me everything I want. But that really wasn’t the case.
I was bullied. People abused my kindness. I got scared of the world. I always thought that it was against me. And it let me into doing selfish things. My self worth was at it’s lowest. I lost purpose. I thought happiness was giving people what they want and as a result they’ll love me back. I was wrong.
I felt empty. Even with all the things people did, I haven’t felt the love I much needed. It resulted into me being tactless, insensitive, being a arrogant, full of pride and worse I had friends who influenced me into such things I couldn’t imagine I would do. I had addictions of spending too much, a people pleaser, and also what some guys would know, porn, masturbation, and I almost had my first premarital sex but thankfully it didn’t happen (I super thank God for this really!). Yeah, surprising. It gets heavier with the fact that I was in the ministry back then even with these things. Whoa there. Who am I to love people at their worst if I’m also at my worst and needed loving?
But my turning point was this. There were people who still accepted me even with this. They loved me. True, it was hard to open up this worse, or if you put it in another way, disgusting life of mine, but I felt light afterwards. I was at the bottom, went up, and back down again.
Time with the family with all the shouting and the madness was a drag. School was worse. Then I came to the Feast Alabang, became a dance minister, a youth minister, a camp facilitator, a youth head, a campus head, had a girlfriend, all I thought was going good and well.
And in a few recent months all those were gone in an instant. All positions, removed. All I’m being secure with, left me. Gone. Nada. Poof. Away with. No more.
I broke down. Was at my lowest. In my darkest. I almost gave up. But I never stopped loving. There were people who loved me still despite this. My past campers whom I took care, the young people of youth missions in different feasts who I shared part of my life with, the mentors and people at The Feast Alabang where I started, and my family too who accepted me at my worst when I thought they’ll scold or get mad at me that time. They loved me. They loved me when I was giving my best and they continued to love me even at my worst.
You know, struggles will never leave us. This past of ours is part of our lives already. And that past, may it be comedy or a tragedy, is what makes you, YOU. Sharing my story was indeed scary. It opened me to being hurt by abusive people, but it also opened me to love from those around me. Either you receive that hate or that love. I chose love. I still choose love. Daddy God is amazing when it comes to love.
He loves you at your best and most especially at your worst.
Acceptance, to receive my whole being the good and the bad. Self-control, to maintain a simple life and stop all that’s abusive of myself. Integrity, to walk the talk and be consistent about it. Humility, to remember that all positions are temporary and all things are from Him above. And Love, that we should do everything in and out of it.
Now, I’m at the starting point again. With God beside me and with everything I learned so far. I bring with me all experience and all learnings from my mentors and the people I love and care about. With full gratitude I thank all those who were part of my life. My family I love them so much, my feast family you guys are no exception, my ex for breaking me and even with that you’re still amazing until now, the youth and campus my mission won’t stop with loving you guys, those I had CHILL/LST sessions with see you soon again and do share this love I have shown you, my mentors super thank you for guiding me, ates and kuyas and everyone else who taught me what I know so far you guys were amazing. It is true that love never fails.
If you may think that there are broken pieces of you, still share a piece of your life to others. You’ll never regret that. Although incomplete and in progress, we get to see that final output, which is closer to Christ. We fill up the holes with our faith, trusting that with each piece that’s within each and everyone of us, we can be whole in Him.
To you who have read this blog post up to this point. Thank you and probably we can have conversations over coffee so I can listen to your story may it be from the starting points, the conflicts, or the victories. It’ll be interesting and at the same time refreshing to reflect on things. I hope you’ll also use your story to bless other people as well.
Please do pray for me as I work and earn to live a good life, and maybe take my masters while serving God in our dear youth ministry at Light Of Jesus Family. I want the best for my future self having high hopes and dreams. Builder? Missionary? Designer? Teacher? Full-time? Lovelife? Family? Badluck, Goodluck, who knows? Only God knows.
Hope you’ll have a spiritual family of your own too! People that would love you at your best and at your worst.
And with this I end my entry. Friend, you are worth it. Read my previous blog post if you won’t believe me. (Click Here To Go To That Blog Post) You’re amazing beyond compare.
For the best version of us. Prayers up!
RM Cristobal is behind the blog RM Wanders. He's a multimedia artist and a blogger/vlogger. A guy who loves to travel, eat, teach, and use media to live and love for the Glory of God. Connect with him through the social media links!