Tuesday, March 5, 2013

God creates hunger in our hearts for a purpose

We lived in a small and old apartment when I was young.  I grew up in that room on the second floor of a row of apartments somewhere in Quezon City.  It was similar to the studio units that we have now in condominiums wherein everything is found in one room.  The receiving area, dining area and kitchen are all near each other.  The sleeping area would have been in sight if not for the partition that my parents built to provide some privacy.  We didn't have our own toliet and bath unlike the studio units we now have.  There were units like ours in that row of apartments that didn't have this facility.  Instead, there's a common toilet and bath at the end of this row of old apartments.  Since the apartments were already old, the toilet and bath was also old.  In fact, it was already dilapidated.  The floors of our home then had some cracks, big enough for me and my younger brother to play marbles in them. 
I lived a happy childhood in that neighborhood where some of my cousins were our neighbors, too.  But I think there was a part of me that kept on telling me that I could live in much better place, in a more beautiful house.  And so from then on, I started dreaming of having our own house that is beautiful, spacious and has it's own toilet and bath.  Daydreaming, sketching and looking at books and magazines with pictures of beautiful houses were my favorite past times.  I even considered becoming an architect or a civil engineer.  I eventually changed my mind.
Then, that row of old apartments had to be renovated and all the tenants had to leave.
My parents didn't know what to do.  They couldn't find another apartment that is being rented out within the same range that they were paying in our old apartment.  They couldn't afford newer apartments either.  They didn't want to go back to their province because both of their jobs were in the city.
They eventually decided to build a house in a land that wasn't ours.  The land was owned by the government and they found out about it through my mother's friend.  So from living in an old apartment, we ended living in the slums for years.
My desire to live in a more beautiful house with a much better environment became stronger.  Deep inside I knew that it wasn't God's Will that we lived in that place.  I knew that it was beneath our human dignity.  So I asked God why He allowed it to happen.  He didn't give me an answer right away.
Then, one evening, after coming from school and just before eating dinner with my family, I heard screams from outside. "Fire! Fire!"  I looked to the left.  I looked to the right.  I could not see the fire but only people running.  Then, I looked up and I saw that the house just behind the house in front of our house was on fire.  We tried to save as much possessions as we could but most of them were burned in less than an hour I think.  We were blessed to have survived unharmed with only my brother sustaining a few small wounds on his feet as he ran back and forth from our house to the street barefoot trying to save as much as he could.   
I remember crying to one of our close family friends then telling him that we no longer have a house.
Old apartment, slums then no more house because of fire.  It was really beyond my limited understanding.  There were a lot of times then that I struggled with God because I could not comprehend what He was doing in my life.  I got angry with God and got depressed.  For a while I didn't like to go to church or pray.  I even bought a small book entitled May I hate God?   
But God's grace truly abounds that no amount of anger or depression can separate me from His love.  God eventually healed me from those pains.  Then, He used those pains and experiences to fuel my passion and determination to buy/build a house that my family and I could call our own.
That dream became a reality shortly after I graduated from college and started working.  We found a small village which I thought was affordable enough given my parents' income and my income as a management trainee in a fast food restaurant.  From then on, I spent most of my money paying for the amortization, renovating it and decorating it to make it beautiful.  Finally, my dream became a reality.  It was not a big house but it was our own.  It had three small bedrooms - one for my brother, one for me and one for my parents.  It has a kitchen separate from the dining area.  It has a small receiving area and a small yard beside it big enough to park a vehicle or have a garden.  And we had our own toilet and bath. :)
Then, I got married.
My fiance and I didn't have enough money to buy a single detached house so we decided to buy two condominium units instead.  We put an adjoining door and those two units became the first home of our young family.
It was really our plan to buy a bigger house and to sell our condominium units eventually.  But we were not in a hurry since we haven't found a property or house that we really liked.  Until, I saw this property that had almost all that I wanted in a property.  It was beautiful.  The neighborhood seems nice and quiet.  And it's literally a stone's throw from the church.  I liked it right away as soon as I saw it.  But we had one big problem... we didn't have enough money to purchase or even reserve it.  Then, God made a way and so we got to reserve the property and to this day we continue to pay for the property and we look forward to moving to it soon.
Have we sold both of our condominium units? Not yet. Only one.  This moved me to ask God why once more.  Recently, He made me realize that one of His reasons for this is so that I would have a hunger in my heart once more that is so strong, strong enough to move me out of my current comfort zone.  God also answered this question in my heart through Brother Bo last weekend when Brother Bo said, "God wants you to use your talents to solve your problems.  God will provide for your needs but He also wants you to be part of the solution."
God has blessed me tremendously in my career.  He has blessed me with abundance through my previous jobs.  Then, when I decided to become a stay-at-home mom, shortly after that, He blessed me with opportunities to earn from home through one of my hobbies (writing) and do consulting work on a per project basis.  I had been doing this for years now and usually, I would only choose to work whenever I feel the need to contribute to the family income.  That was not very often because God has been enabling my husband to provide for our needs and even some of our wants and because consulting and speaking in corporate events is a highly-paid service; so I simply wait for clients to come to me.  Again, God has been so gracious to me that I don't run out of clients and projects even when I don't market my services.  I relied mainly on word of mouth, repeat business and referrals from people in my network.
Until we found this property that we so badly want to get because God promised us that He will give it to us.  (You can read more about how God spoke to me through this property here and here.)  At first I was disappointed with God because we are still selling one of our condominium units until now.  But God made me realize that this was simply His way of creating hunger in my heart once more to use my talent and skills to earn and contribute to our family income.  And in the process, God led me to discover His higher calling to me in scaling up what I had been doing for years. He made me realize that He wants me to do this not just for my immediate family or extended family or to purchase this property.  He knew that if I make that my reason for scaling up my current business, I would easily become complacent and stop working again as soon as I reach my goal of paying the property in full or furnishing it based on how I dreamed about it.  Having my dream house and dream vehicle simply would not be enough to keep me going.  So God placed a much bigger dream in my heart for a much greater, bigger reason.  He made that big reason much bigger than me or my family's needs.  You can read imy ultimate big why for wanting to scale up my business here in my previous post.

Now, that I've discovered God's purpose and accepted His invitation, He has provided me with mentors.  As Dean Pax Lapid said, "The teacher appears when the student is ready."  I'm now ready to learn how to serve more people through my gifts.  May God bless me and my efforts as I respond to His call and follow Him.

The new books I bought at the Truly Rich Club Wealth Summit last weekend.
I praise and thank the Lord for creating in me this much hunger now enough to make a turning point decision in my life.  I thank God for disturbing my already comfortable life a few years ago to be in this wonderful adventure with Him.  What started to be a family adventure with God has become a much greater adventure which will involve more people.  Amazing!  God truly works in mysterious ways and I am awed at how He chooses to use very ordinary people like me to move His purposes forward.  It's humbling and at the same time amazing! 
Are you hungry for something now (other than food)?  Have you paused to search your heart and ask God why He has created this hunger in your heart and soul?  This season of Lent is one great time to pause and ponder on your life events.  I pray that in the same way that God has revealed much to me this season of Lent, He too would reveal much to you as you take time to seek His purposes in your life.
God bless!

Update: This post is linked to the Catholic Bloggers Network Monthly Link-up Blitz for March.

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