by Adrian Pantonial
I was a great pretender when I was younger, like a clown making everyone happy though deep within me I was so lonely. I was seeking security and belonging from others, something I didn’t get from my parents who quarreled almost all throughout their married life.
The Turning Point
On December 1997, my father died while I was taking care of him in the hospital. I was only eighteen years old then. My mother left us for another family shortly after that. We tried everything to win her back but she just kept coming back to them.
I’m the eldest among five siblings: two boys and three girls. It was hard living on our own. We lived an “instant life.” We fed on instant noodles and canned goods because we were all busy studying and working. I pretended to be strong for my siblings though I felt helpless inside. I was very critical of others and had a strong inferiority complex then.
For all my questions about life, I turned to books but they didn’t suffice. During that time God was at the bottom of my priority list. One afternoon, my friend Jesusa asked me to join her at church but I told her, “If this lifestyle I have now is what you call worldly, so be it. It’s not yet time for me to be a serious Christian.”
Not Another Fork In The Road
A month after that, July 1999, my youngest sister, Aniecar, who was then three years old, got seriously ill with a disease which usually takes over a month hospital confinement for full recovery. She was confined at Charity Ward of National Children’s Hospital due to our financial constraints.
One night as she went through blood transfusion there I was crying, singing “God will make a way…” I vowed to God that if He will just heal my sister, I will serve Him wherever He calls me. I got too scared to see death in the face again because my father died when I was taking care of him in another hospital before. Thank God she was miraculously healed after only a week.
A Friend In Need Is A Friend Indeed
From among friends I called for prayer assistance, only my friend Jesusa with her mother, voluntarily visited us in the hospital and gave us financial aid. Deeply moved by her Christian love, I visited her church one Sunday morning in September 1999 at Victory-University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.
Eventually, I gave my life to Christ and asked Him to forgive all my sins and take control of my life. Soon, I began serving God as Volunteer Teacher for Junior Kids Church.
My life changed in the process of going to church and attending a weekly discipleship group, daily Bible-reading and prayer, and living a lifestyle of obedience to God. I learned to forgive my mother and I moved on taking charge of responsibilities for my siblings, thus, I gain genuine confidence. I became less of a “chronic worrier” to becoming a “prayer warrior” while becoming more positive about my future, sincere in dealing with people, desiring to help them succeed in life while growing their relationship with God.
Romans 8:28 says: “For we know that all things work for good for those who love God and those who are called according to His good purpose,” which I found very true in my life. After all the bad things that happened, God made me a stronger a person and He continues to change me to be the best that I could be–for His glory.
A Series of
Fortunate Divinely-Orchestrated Events
Now, I’m living an abundant, more meaningful and fruitful life while helping others do the same. Our Single Men Smallgroup Outreach at Philcoa have birthed six other smallgroups and we’re still growing!
Early last year, after eight years, my mother came back to us and she is also now being discipled in a local Christian Church. She has devoted her time helping us at home and I’ve seen how she changed to becoming a better mother for us.
Our family now experiences abundance of blessings. In fact, my sister, April just graduated from college last year and my other sister, Jack, graduated this year. I’m so in awe with what God has done for me and my family and I’m sure He still has more in store for us—as we put Him first in everything—He will provide more than what we need so we can continue being a blessing to others too.
A Call To Action
Wherever you are, whatever you’ve done and whatever your problem is–God is saying: “How may I help you today?” Jesus Christ died on the cross that you may not only have forgiveness of sins but also for you to have “a life and have it to the full ” (John 10:10). His love is greater than all loves in the world and He wants you to have a “growing relationship” with Him. He was hung on that cross with arms wide open inviting us to come to Him NOW and we will find joy and peace in this life and the life hereafter. God made a way for me in my darkest hours. I’m sure He will do the same for you too! -Adrian Pantonial
First posted at my Multiply, August 16, 2006; Last updated: June 1, 2007