I am writing at the request of the owner of this blog, believing that according to her judgement I qualify to contribute to her blog series which is mainly about “letting go”. My part is specifically situated in the area of “letting go of my own plans finding the right person and waiting for God’s timing”. So this is something that I’m doing for the very first time and of course for this topic since I myself is not keen on doing a blog, not even had any inch of experience writing an article of this sort. Nevertheless, I intended to give it a try for certain purposes which I hope readers could get in a very meaningful way. I hope you’ll enjoy reading this section in the blog. It would be beneficial that as you read, you keep in mind the scope of the topic I am relating to you here. So my story, or rather I prefer using the word “testimony”, starts here.
I cannot speak in behalf of other people’s feelings and experiences about love. But at least I can share my own relatively rich, meaningful and unique account on how God has let me encounter His own version of love story for both me and someone whom He has prepared for me.
I would say that this was never a straight forward process.
Like, I suppose, any other ordinary people, I have also longed for somebody whom I could be with in a relationship. If my memory serves me right, I had that sense of feeling when I was yet a grade-schooler and I know this sounds funny but I felt so serious about it before. However, much as I wanted to realize such a longing, I was also so sure that I didn’t have that courage to actually approach few individuals I truly like and have a relationship with at my young age and consequently, it only left me with just infatuating yet dreaming that someday I could finally find that person.
Not until I went to study in Mindanao State University (MSU)-Main Campus in Marawi City, a place that is over 800 kilometers away from the City where I was born and raised and completed my primary and secondary educational levels.
It was on this place that I met Aiza.
Who would have thought that I would be studying in a place I have never been before, not even any single prior information has been made known to me about it and that I would be able to meet someone whom I believe God has beautifully prepared for me.
Instance of letting go of my fleshly desire to get involved into relationship
So I hardly could remember the exact instance how Aiza and I met. But I supposed that because we were attending to the same church in MSU, it may be during one of those related occasions that we came to know each other but as to what extent and specific moment (?), I could no longer remember.
Nevertheless, what I could recall was that there were several instances, including church-related activities, that we enjoyed each other’s company as “brother-sister” in Christ and as a friend in general.
We somehow became close to each other as friends that was easily made possible because of the fact that we’re in the same church and her older brother, who was my batch mate, board mate and a cell group mate during that time, and I were too close to each other as well that I almost seemed to treat him as a brother too. I could even recall that I had the opportunity to visit their home in Butuan City during one holiday season and spent several nights there with Aiza, her brother and the rest of the members of their family. It was during that time that they also let me join them visiting a relative from their father’s side in Jasaan, Misamis Oriental. It was on occasions such as these that my feelings for Aiza was developed, not to mention the other experiences we had had during our initial engagement in church-related activities in MSU where we both actively serve God through our resources, skills and talents. Without her knowing, I started falling in love for her for a lot of reasons ❤
But just as my feelings for her was starting to develop (I couldn’t fully remember the exact year but it was between the year 2008 and 2009), God had made me realized that I need to immediately cut off the feelings I have for her mainly because He has let me evaluate that I couldn’t surely maximize my time and opportunity serving Him and fulfill my commitment as a worship leader in the church during that time. That He made me thought I would become more susceptible to making her as my main motivation to serve God than Him being the primary reason and nothing else. That He allowed me to reflect upon the possibility that I could affect her and influence her act of service to God too if I made any clear step for her to know that I already had liked her and wanted to court her (which I thought would be the possible case because she confessed recently that during that time she was also feeling the same thing to me :D).
Deep within, I know it wouldn’t be right to proceed for that desire for her because God impressed that it’s not the right time yet given the context where we both existed. I had to follow Him.
Valuing the meaning when you let go of things (submission to full authority of God, serving Him above all else)
At first, it was a decision that I had a struggle arriving at because in all honesty, I really desired a win-win situation. Would it be alright to just serve God while courting her at the same time, I asked. Would it be okay to just make subtle steps in a plan to court her so leaders of the church could not see my agenda and therefore would keep me still serving God, I asked. Or could I either just hide my feelings for her and not let her even know this while I serve God, I also asked. But all these questions were rendered insignificant and proven to be all lies from the enemy when God kept on impressing on me that partial disobedience is still disobedience. All He wanted me was to completely cut off my feelings for her, period. Again, as I said, it was truly a struggle but eventually I followed Him without reservation. Though I felt it was a hard thing to do, that sort of “red light” He has switched on upon me was a call to submit to His full authority. Serving Him above all else significantly became my dominated reason for letting her go and started trusting God.
This then pressed me to finally inform Aiza about my predicament, albeit she really didn’t know in the first place that I was in that struggling state. I had to do that so I would be able to do my first step towards overcoming my struggle, and that was through confession and breaking of any form of assumptions that may have formed out of our experiences together. So in a very long SMS/text message, I informed Aiza about what has been happening to me and telling her that it would be necessary for me to shy away from her as part of redirecting my focus to God alone (both of us completely forgot the exact content of the message I sent her) and I got a “healthy” reply from her which had helped me moved forward and did what God wanted me to do. After that, we hardly could remember any instances that we talked and communicated again. We just realized recently that God completely and intentionally allowed us to forget each other as we served Him in same church doing each of our own commitments in the Lord since that time, and this went on even after we both parted ways, I went ahead of her, due to the fact that we already have accomplished our respective degrees (year 2012 and 2013) and started working.
Living our lives as workers in our respective disciplines, we had too few opportunities of chatting each other mainly through FB and even then, those were barely too short conversations, enough just to say “hi, hello, what’s up and our friendly exchanges of greetings during special occasions. We remained too distant to each other. We spontaneously and completely forgot that we had such an encounter during our early years in MSU. It was as if He completely erased from our minds and hearts those specific accounts we had shared together including that encounter of letting her go as God directed me.
Some thoughts and experiences that have helped me abandon my fleshly plan/desire and shaped my love values
From that moment onward, it has been God who has showed the way and taught me some values that have underpinned my responses concerning love and relationship and these demanded my full cooperation for them to work. Though after such encounter in MSU, I have to admit that as a normal individual, I started to notice and appreciate some other individuals whom I met along the way and have almost ignited a desire deep in me again to start getting into a relationship.
For after all, I was no longer a student and that the environment which I found myself during the time was no longer the same as I had in MSU. I could have used the liberty of doing it but it was because of the following thoughts/feelings/experiences that made me continue trusting God and believed that He was preparing a treasure in store for me, a gift that He was willing to provide.
#1 God authors genuine love
Effort to search for my one true love didn’t ever occur as a struggling phenomenon to me again because God has deeply caused me to be still and secured in Him, believing the fact that God himself is love and He authors genuine love and with that same truth I relied that He is in control of everything. I’ve got to trust his dealings and leading in me. Never again did I experience that I was deeply bothered by the teasing and tempting of the past circumstances. Prayers have become my propeller in order to keep me on track and secured in this truth. I must say at this point that finding the right person can be a pitfall, a trap. Instead, I have believed that I should be the right person for someone whom I’m going to be with in the future. So while embracing the fact that God authors genuine love, I made it a point, by the grace of God, that I was training myself to acquire right characters that would qualify me suitable for someone God was preparing for me while I wait and trust Him.
#2 My parameters of getting into relationship: Anchored in God’s will, way and time.
These parameters have guided me to keep on asking myself that I would only be ready to commit to a relationship if I know that He already wills it, provides ways to make it happen and sends wisdoms to determine if it is already His time for me to have it. So in my case, I was blessed by God that He provided ways for me to recognize that Aiza is what He wanted me to be in a relationship through His impressions on me, dreams, pronouncement and revelation from at least 2 significant people I know affirming that Aiza could be a potential long-term partner which all had happened just in time when I was praying, more intense than ever, for someone He was preparing for me. I know that He already willed it because He helped me check myself concerning item No. 4. And that it is His time for us to commit to each other because He let me realized that given my current status, capacities and readiness to enter into relationship, the time is already ripe for me.
#3 Love goes beyond vows and commitment. It speaks accountability.
I have always been a believer on the power of action/accountability more than the pronouncements and words beautifully packaged in vows and commitment. I could always say favourable words to someone and present myself in ways that someone would wish to see from me and be impressed. Yet no matter how well-intentioned these may seem to be, I can only prove these things if I could translate them into action. Accountability, to me, is weightier than these two. So I kept asking myself, “am I ready to be accountable to someone in all aspects of her life?” Am I ready to be accountable to someone for good? Again, this prompted me evaluating myself on the basis of item No. 4.
#4 Love is not just the monopoly of the heart. It is rather equally a matter of the mind, body and soul.
Love has always been associated with a person’s feeling. But truth is it is not just a matter of the heart. In fact, conversely, the bible is clear in saying that the heart is deceitful above all else (Jeremiah 17:9). Though emotion is real, love is not just a monopoly of the heart. It is rather equally a matter of the mind, body and soul. So it is on these measures as well that God helped me check myself at if I was fit at all and ready to get into a relationship vis-à-vis my emotion, mental capacity, physical/sexual and spiritual aspects. I checked, could I effectively master my emotion now when circumstances seem unfavourable and invoking ill feelings? Was I already capable enough to handle difficult situations and think of better solutions to problems especially those that which have to do with relationship? Am I financially ready for this? Am I capable enough to control the urge of my physical/sexual desire? And lastly, I asked, how was my relationship with the Lord? Was I spiritually prepared for leading a family? All these were some of the questions I asked myself of. These gauges had truly helped me on my decision to get involved into a relationship.
#5 Vicarious learning about love is significant too.
The learning I got from people in various relationships has also helped me develop love values on a personal and spiritual levels. As I trusted God and waited for the one He prepared for me, I had the privilege of asking people about their relationship, witnessing and hearing stories of love from people whom I looked up to and learned wisdom from them. This also included stories of unsuccessful relationships and the factors that have triggered and caused the failure. In Proverbs 1:5, the bible provides related wisdom on this, “let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance”. Indeed, these had helped me informed my reasons and values to love and in getting into relationship.
#6 Feeling of security in not being in a hurry.
I experienced that one of the perks of completely trusting and relying on God is that sense or feeling of security or not being threatened by the temptations and demands of the environment I was and am in. Because of the fact that I know who I was trusting and relying on, I never find it burdensome nor a big deal to easily get into relationship even in spite the fact that there were so many tempting circumstances that could have “reasonably” permit me to get into it but I was fully aware that they were not spiritually driven. For me this has become my mark of being on the right track while continually trusting God. The verse in Ecclesiastes 3 (there is always a time for everything) always cheers me on and renews my excitement about God leading my love story.
So after 7 or 8 years, I find myself fell in love with the same woman again whom God let me “abandon” before in exchange to such great reasons. But everything takes on new meaning now because God has readied us to finally commit ourselves in love and be accountable to each other in ways we know and capable of doing. Before agreeing to commit ourselves to each other, there were three significant occasions/events that I and Aiza were permitted by God to be reconnected again after that long years of almost total disconnection from each other.
First, I believe the reconnecting point started when I saw her in one of our common friend’s wedding on 2015. It was the first time I saw her again after going out from MSU and it brought special kind of feeling deep within me again, seemed igniting something deep in me again. But during that time, I still managed to control that feeling and immediately cut it again for I was not so sure about that feeling.
A month later, the second reconnecting point happened. It was when I was invited to sing to another wedding and I had the chance to visit Aiza’s family again and be able to spend few nights at their home. I have experienced the same feeling again, something inside was already bothering me. Then I prayed and asked God to clarify that matter to me. Meanwhile, I had no idea that Aiza was also experiencing that same unexplainable feeling too. In fact when we parted our ways again (as I need to go back to my place because I was still working that time and Aiza has to go to her work too), she confessed that she cried to God that time for me, asked for protection, guidance and leading for me as during that time I was about to go to Europe for my masteral studies.
In spite of this, we never had the chance to confront each other and talk about those feelings not until we had our third reconnecting point when I finally started communicating to her (I was already in Europe by this time), right after her brother’s wedding. And from then on, we were already communicating to each other on a daily basis (thanks to FB messenger :D). It was on this third point that we started to recall our past experiences together and only during this time that we remember that particular instance of our past when I sent her that message informing my struggle and my need to let her go.
The third point happened amazingly after I received wisdom and impressions from God through intense prayer, dreams and affirmation from people I believed used by God as part of revealing to me that a gift was already wrapped and beautifully decorated in the person of Aiza.
It took us almost 4 months confirming each other’s desire, led by the dealings of the Holy Spirit in us, and decided to talk about it in person and finally agreed to commit each other for good.
Today, we are into “Long distance relationship” (LDR) due to the fact that I am still completing my master’s degree here in Europe while she is also completing her masters in the Philippines. We both believe that LDR can be a challenge, depending on how we nurture and let it as it is. It can be a problem or not, or both. As for me, I still consider this as part of letting go– of my limitations brought about by being physically separated from each other. Nevertheless, I strongly let God keep our relationship secured in Him in prayers. It is our finding of true security in Him that makes our LDR a rather productive and beautiful love phenomenon.
I am a fervent believer that God has already orchestrated my love story even before. I enjoyed (and still am) going with the process He uniquely designed for me and Aiza and nothing is more rewarding than experiencing absolute security in our relationship because we completely know and understand who is He that authors genuine love.
Now, we are more than excited to continually wait for the next chapter of this God-led love story, expectantly and prayerfully.
I would like to end this article by saying that each of our love stories is designed by God in such a way that is unique and according to His timetable and plan.
It will always be worth our discovery after we fully entrust this area of our lives to Him; that while waiting, we may never receive an immediate and categorical response, and that’s perfectly fine and part of it.
Just keep on being expectant of what He is able to do and accomplish (I wait expectantly, trusting God to help, for he has promised–Psalm 130:5 (TLB)).
Finally, our love stories will always, at some point and in our unique circumstances, challenge us to let go and let God or let go by letting God. Let’s then find our security in Him!
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint-Isaiah 40:31 NIV
Raffy Vigil was born and bred in one of the Cities in mega Manila, Philippines but spent considerable years since late 2006 completing his bachelor degree in the Southern part of the county and having initial field work engagement as government employee. He is currently on his last legs in the process of getting his Master’s degree in Europe, being a partner country scholarship holder of the European Commission thru Erasmus Mundus Program.
He has chosen and by that fact becomes a social worker by profession/training and heart. He loves and enjoys getting involved with people, individually and in groups, in communities and help them discover their inherent capabilities and advocate people’s rights in many respects.
Talent wise, the author is a music enthusiast. He has been involved in Music Ministry/Group in several churches as one who leads and encourages people in times of congregational worship thru singing and playing some stringed instruments. He loves and enjoys offering every talent he has to God, for His own glory.