By Suzanne Eguilos, Temasek Polytechnic
My name is Suzanne and I am 19 this year. Since young, the Catholic faith has played a role in my life in one way or another. My parents baptised me at birth, and over the years, they would get me to attend catechism classes and Masses. However, I did not like doing so because I found them boring. Although I knew about God, I did not have that personal relationship with Him and I could not see how God was important in my life. To me, God was just an idea that people believed in and I did not understand why people would believe in Him. There was a point I was resentful to my parents for forcing me into a religion that I wanted nothing to do with. I questioned why they did not allow me to decide my faith for myself. The anger and the frustration made me hate going to Church for anything, and I carried that resentment with me for a very long time.
During the beginning of my confirmation year, I tried to build a relationship with God but to no avail. The turning point only came when I attended a retreat prior to my confirmation. In an experience of prayer, I felt a stirring in my heart to place my full trust in Jesus for the first time in my life, even though I did not know fully who He was. Despite my fears and nervousness in approaching the Lord, God granted me the grace to share vulnerably with the brothers and sisters who were praying for me. I had really wanted to experience who this God is for myself. In the time of prayer, I rested in the Spirit, cried uncontrollably and felt a strong movement in my chest. I spoke to God in that time of prayer, saying: “It’s You, it’s really You. I finally see You.” Although a part of me was still unsure and doubtful of what was going on, there was something I was sure of: that God is real and that He is a Living God. My heart was fully convicted in that moment. In a time of praise and worship that followed, I sang for the Lord for the first time in my life with so much joy and praise for Him, and I began to dance because I have finally found Jesus. My belief in Him was set in stone – there was nothing that can and will ever change my mind about Him.
In the days, months and years after the retreat, I began building my relationship with Him and took intentional steps to know Him more and more. I started becoming more active in Church by attending Mass regularly and going for sessions with the OYP TP community. I also started to involve Him more in my life and I began to see how God is working and moving. Coming to know and love God changed my life entirely; I became a more patient, understanding and loving person towards everyone around me. I started to see the light of God everywhere in my life, including and especially in the darkest areas. In times of trouble, I used to wallow in despair as I felt lost and had no one to turn to. Now, I know I have God who I can go to for my every need. Having Him in my life means that I can be certain that I will find peace even in the darkest storms, so there is no need to fear. Through it all, I realised that God was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I finally understood the reason why I was even a Catholic in the first place. I now see that my identity in God was not born out my choice to love Him but out of God’s choice to love me. What an honour it is to be chosen by God, the king of Kings and the Lord of all! It is because of God that I am who I am today and I can never go back to not believing in God and His love for me. I can never see myself ever again without God in my life and I thank Him every day for revealing Himself to me so that I can know Him and love Him for all the days of my life.