By Patricia Choo, NTU
Driven by self-reliance and my controlling nature, I failed to open my heart fully to the Lord and allowed myself to struggle with the pain of helplessness alone. Yet, the Lord pursues my heart in new ways, even in the midst of a pandemic with all the restrictions in place. He promises renewal each day, that no matter how many times I push him away, He awaits patiently with arms wide open to welcome me home when I return. My past self has been crucified with Christ and a new self is born in his resurrection.
Growing up, I was independent and self-reliant. Having siblings, who needed more care and attention, taught me that I needed to be less burdensome by depending on myself. Even though I craved to be loved, I felt that it was selfish to desire it, knowing that others necessitated it more.
In my first encounter with the Lord at the School of Witness back in 2020, it was revealed to me that this self-reliance had manifested itself in my controlling nature and inability to completely trust in the Lord. Being self-reliant, made me believe in the lie that I had to know everything, and that I had to look out for myself, because no one else did. I feared too that the Lord would forget about me while tending to the needs of his other children, who seemed like they needed him more. But, it was also then that I came to know how personal and loving the Lord is. That he has never forgotten about me and has great and marvellous plans for my life. I began to deepen my trust in Him.
Patricia in School of Witness 2020
However, upon entering university, my faith was shaken. I was apprehensive. I had no idea where my life was headed, and I didn’t know my purpose. In comparison, the people around me seemed to have all the answers, while all my thoughts were still questions, which exacerbated my anxiety and insecurities.
It was then that I was lost and struggled to see what plans the Lord had for me. The lies that the Lord has forgotten about me and abandoned me began to creep in. I could feel the Truths that I had resolutely claimed for myself beginning to slip away. I entered into a period of spiritual dryness. I felt like I could not reach out to him nor the people around me, for I was simply too embarrassed of how everything panned out within the span of a year. But deep in my heart I knew that this could not be the end, and that I could not give up on my faith. I fought everyday in prayer to keep this faith that the Lord had won for me. I prayed for a renewed desire to love him and desperately sought to reencounter the Lord and to be close to him again.
In a session on the Father’s love during CUR 2020, I came faced with the fact that I will only know who I am and what my purpose is, if I knew who I belonged to. It dawned on me that I felt abandoned and forsaken because I had chosen to live like an orphan. In my fear of burdening him, I had pushed him away. I sought to rely on my own strength and knowledge to carry me through life, even though I was severely limited. I had trusted myself more than I trusted him. I had also been too prideful and insecure to let go of the control over my own life and surrender it to him.
As I gazed at the Blessed Sacrament through my screen, I had an image of myself as the prodigal son running home to the Father. It was liberating. I felt like I could finally breathe again. I was so encapsulated by the loving face of God in the Eucharist, that the fear and anxiety that hovered over me began to wane. It gave me the courage to ask the Lord, “where have you been?” And to that, He replied: “Here.”
He had been here all along, guiding me, even when I failed to acknowledge his presence. Regardless of how many times I stumble and fall, he continues to draw me back to him, and paves the way for my redemption. This was also a reminder for me about how easy it was for my faith to waver and also how important and necessary it is to be firmly rooted in the Lord, such that in situations like this, I will not be uprooted.
Although nothing much has changed in my circumstances and I still struggle to answer those questions, I choose to believe that this is where the Lord has called me to be, and when he desires for me to move, he will make a way. As of now, I can be rest assured that he holds my future close to his heart, and that he is taking care of everything. I reclaim today that he is trustworthy and dependable, and that he has the capacity to care and love me too.
He is a good good Father who welcomes us home to him everyday. He desires for all of us to return to him, in whatever state we are in. So, will you allow yourself to be embraced by the Father?