Today, Trudy dives deep with us into her testimony. She talks about prayer and fasting, and how God makes all things new.
Also, don’t miss the piece she wrote for us, called: Sometimes, The Best Prayer Starts With: “Lord, I’m Not Okay.”
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: God recently led me to the book of Ezra. I am particularly blessed by the verses in chapter 8 verses 21 to 23 where Ezra says:
“There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, ‘The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.’ So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.”
Ezra proclaimed a fast for the purpose of two things: that they would humble themselves before God, and that they would ask God for their safe journey. This is a great reminder of how prayer and fasting is at the core of authentic faith.
Prayer and fasting is a manifestation of dependence on God. Ezra did not want to depend on their king for protection or provision; He was sold-out to what God can do. He believes in the power of God’s gracious hand!
The reason why I find this inspiring is because as a follower of Jesus, it is sometimes tempting to pour out my heart into doing things for God more than being with God. So, it is humbling to be reminded of how and why it should not be that way. I am reminded that sure, I can share God’s word to people as regularly as possible and disciple them too. I can also post it online to inspire others or write a blog about it, too. However, if I do not cling on to God in prayer, I am nothing but someone who is claiming righteousness by works thus spiritually dry.
“Prayer and fasting is a manifestation of dependence on God.”
Profession: I have an eight-to-five corporate job (as an Organization Development practitioner) during the weekdays, and a part-time teaching job on Saturdays. I work for an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) company and a well-known University in the Philippines, respectively.
How do you incorporate your connection with God into your daily, secular work?
Incorporating may also mean prioritizing. I used to have a hard time prioritizing God over the things I do such as my corporate job and part-time job. I used to underestimate the call and promise of God in Matthew 6:33. I used to easily choose extending time at work over ministry schedules, and performing well at work more than serving well for God’s kingdom. The lordship issue of my heart that time hindered me to grow inwardly and outwardly as a Christian.
The most important lesson I learnt in the beginning of my walk with Christ is that He is either Lord of all or not at all. I had to realize (through God’s word) that I did not only believe and receive Jesus for salvation but all the more for who He truly is!
Since then, I learnt to take risks by faith. If I have a Bible study schedule with someone during lunch break or after work, I can choose to be faithful to attend to it even if an urgent work suddenly piles up or even if I am asked to attend to a high-level meeting. If our church has a worship service, discipleship conference or fellowship schedule, I can choose to be faithful to attend to it, even if I am offered a much-wanted vacation. I have turned down promotion opportunities knowing that it can result to me spending more time in the office. I have also turned down offers to earn more money knowing that it is not an opportunity from God but perhaps just a counter-offer by the enemy thus a hindrance to fulfil Christ’s Great Commission.
“The most important lesson I learnt in the beginning of my walk with Christ is that He is either Lord of all or not at all.”
I learnt to trust God when He says that I must seek first His kingdom and seek first His righteousness. And I am still learning it, more and more. The Lord has been faithful in keeping His promises. In fact, the things He had led me to say no to, He has returned in many folds for His glory. We truly cannot outgive God, but He surely looks at the condition of our hearts.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I grew up in the Philippines, which is predominantly Catholic. Many here know Jesus out of religion; not personal relationship. I used to be like that. I would go to masses (even do the first reading for the audience) every Sunday thinking that God would forgive my sins through it. I used to memorize prayers even utter the rosary thinking that doing it will make me morally good or a better person thus accepted by God. I grew up trying to earn God’s favor and thinking that we are capable of earning God’s favor.
I had a God-concept, but clearly I was living life according to my own terms and desires. I was living in sin but was too blinded to acknowledge it. I knew God but what I had was just a head-knowledge religion and a righteousness by works perspective.
I rejected the gospel twice in 2013. An acquaintance shared to me in May, then a pastor shared to me in August. I did not want to reject the their invitations so in order to not sound unpleasant or arrogant, I accepted Jesus by merely a paid lip service. I had no heart to admit my sins, and I was too proud and self-sufficient to open my heart for Jesus as well. But little did I know, Jesus was already planting seeds into my heart that year through these people.
September 2013, I hit rock bottom. I was forced to resign from my job because of a moral violation I committed. My boyfriend of 4 years also broke up with me because of that moral violation. Few months before that, I was kicked-out of grad school, and was not able to play my last year in collegiate sports because of my own doing. I burnt so many bridges. A year before that, I also rebelled against my single mom and decided to live on my own, so I could continue living in sin. Having no job, I was broke and I owed money from people. I had nowhere to go since I exchanged friendships and even family for sexually-immoral and self-absorbed relationships. People did not want to trust me and I can’t blame them for that.
I wanted to end my life. There was no hope. I was so depressed that there were days when I wasn’t eating at all, sleeping properly or even taking a bath. I was just in a condo unit on my own, waiting to be kicked-out by the owner because I could not pay the rent.
I tried to win the favor of a person who had every right to be mad at me. But instead of forgiving me, he brought me and then left me at his sister’s church – the place where the gospel was shared to me twice.
I was sobbing relentlessly but the people there welcomed me as if I was part of their family.
The pastor came in, asked me what happened and shared to me again the gospel. He said to me:
“Trudy, you have been driving your life for a long time. You are tired, hopeless and running out of gasoline. Would you like to let Jesus be the driver of your life starting today? He promised us that if it is He who drives our lives, we won’t get tired, hopeless and we will never run out of gasoline. He loves you and He is willing to accept you. He is just waiting for you to surrender your life to Him including your past, your sins and your mistakes. Would you like to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Saviour?”
I still remember how I genuinely and desperately said, “Yes”.
On October 7, 2013, I surrendered my life to Jesus. I acknowledged all my sins, guilt and shame before Him, I thanked Him for His life, death and resurrection, and I committed my life to Him since then.
Today, as I look back, that day and that decision changed my life forever. Religion did not save me nor did my “good” works and deeds. Jesus Christ – the only way, truth and life – saved me. He changed my life forever.
The job I lost was replaced after three months of patiently waiting and praying. God changed my career path to something I am truly thankful for until today. I prayed for new friendships, but God directed me to a church family who would encourage me to grow deeper in the love of Christ. At the same time, He restored my broken relationships through forgiveness. God healed my brokenness, as well. He secured me with His love and promises. He also restored my relationship with my family. We now serve the Lord together. God also provided incredible ways so I could get to study a Master’s degree again, and to compete for tennis again. God purified me as well – physically, emotionally and spiritually.
“God purified me as well – physically, emotionally and spiritually.”
He promised me that I am now a new creation – the old has gone, the new has come. He assured me and promised me of the eternal life that I now have because of His one and only son Jesus. Jesus is now my point in living.
God has used my trying circumstances and everyday learnings as ways to reach out, to share who Jesus Christ is, and to minister to young women today. He has used so many people as well. I still face challenges and testings, but God has promised me that I won’t ever have to face it alone again because He is faithful – He will not leave me nor forsake me. God is still pruning me in so many aspects, but I know that God is still not done with me yet.
“God is still pruning me in so many aspects, but I know that God is still not done with me yet.”
For more Trudy:
Check out the piece she wrote for us: Sometimes, The Best Prayer Starts With: “Lord, I’m Not Okay.”
Until next time, keep witnessing!