by Petrina Lew (above photo, left), 26 years old
Before coming to SOW, I would only pray, visit the adoration room and attend daily masses if I was praying for something. When problems arose, I would always first attempt to solve them myself. Only as a last resort would I turn to praying, asking God for some miracle or answer.
I also struggled with going for regular confessions – the last time I went was when I got confirmed in 2010 because I was forced to. I did not feel the need to confess as I did not commit any serious sins like murder; and I worried about feeling judged by the priest especially if I would see him in church frequently. I felt like a good enough Catholic since I served as a Catechist and imparted faith to the children in my class. But the strength I was running on was always my own. Eventually, I grew tired of the negativity and politics from the people around me and was severely burnt out. That led me to doubt God’s presence. I was doing His work, but it seemed like He wasn’t helping me.
During the first week of the School of Witness, I was struck by the truth that God the Father is always faithful and forgiving. However, I felt a deep sense of emptiness and a void that was preventing me from moving closer to the Lord and hearing His voice. I really desired to be able to recognise His voice, be His true disciple and to drink deeply and live fully. So for the next 2 days, I kept praying and offered up petitions, asking the Lord to reveal the truth to me.
During the sessions on Sin and Salvation, it didn’t take long for Jesus to reveal sins that I had kept locked up tightly. Coming to an awareness of my sins stirred my desire to reconcile with the Lord through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It was something very unusual because I had shunned the concept of confession for so many years.
The next day, during a session on healing, I rested in the spirit and felt peaceful. However, as I lay on the floor, I began sobbing as I recognised my sins and surrendered them to the Lord. I wanted to be forgiven so badly. Truly, the Lord knows me through and through. In a vision, he reassured me by holding both of my hands tightly as we walked with the sun shining brightly over our heads. I absorbed the heat from the sun, which signified his strong, fiery love. My body and hands started to burn up, but I did not break into a sweat. That was the affirmation from Jesus that He had begun the healing process in me.
More testimonies on healing and forgiveness:
Truly, no sin can be kept secret from the Lord. I have learned to recognise situations that cause me to sink into habitual sin. In these times, I cry out to Him, “Save me, Lord”, just like St. Peter when he was drowning. Even when I fail, the Lord does not forsake me, but cries for me and is there to catch and embrace me again and again. I have learned that I need to continue to draw strength from the Lord. As I continue to place my trust in Him, I am learning that all things will fall into place in His time. My love and faithfulness for the Lord have been rekindled and gives me the strength to continue walking this journey of discipleship. I am still learning to recognise His voice more and to trust and act upon the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
My brothers and sisters, you do not need to continue bearing your sins and burdens on your own anymore. You do not need to survive on your strength alone and walk with your heads hung low. Jesus wants to and can set you free. He invites you to trust Him and depend on Him. He came to me in my sin and rescued me. Today, He comes to do the same for you. Will you let Him?