Before I came to know the Lord, I was living a broken life. My family looked great from the outside, but people didn’t know that inside, we were struggling to keep it all together. We grew up comfortably, my younger brothers and I, but that couldn’t make up for the hole that I had in my heart. You see, when I was 13, I found out that my father had been cheating on my mother with a woman who lived nearby. I watched from the sidelines as my parents’ marriage crumble because of his infidelity. My most vivid memory of this time was seeing my mom plead desperately to my dad to stay and not leave us for another woman. I stood there helplessly as I watched my father pack his bags and without saying goodbye, get into his car and drive off. That was my first major heartbreak.
Because I wanted to fill that void in my life, I started to obsess about dating when I was 15. From then on, it was a nonstop cycle of bad relationships one after the other. Why did I allow myself to go through it? Because being with someone gave me that sense of security that I desperately sought after. I wanted so badly to feel complete that I compromised on the important things that I valued. I became reckless with my heart and freely gave it away, hoping to find that one true love. But I was always disappointed because nothing ever sufficed.
In 2009, I decided to live in with my boyfriend who I had been in a long distance relationship with for 4 years. We had planned on getting married that same year, but because of conflict with our families, the plans were set aside. I honestly thought I had found the one but as months passed by, problems started to surface and reality slowly revealed itself. He became abusive as he was known to have a bad temper and the sad part was, I just let it happen. I allowed him to hurt me, physically and emotionally, because I couldn’t admit to myself that I gave up so much for nothing. At that point, I had given up my family, my career, even my friends and chose to live in the delusion that he would someday change if I held on to the relationship tightly enough. I should’ve known that I wasn’t capable of changing anyone. For it is only God who is in the business of changing hearts and lives.
For 4 years, I lived behind an image of having it all figured out, but the truth was, I was miserable inside. I resorted to alcohol and drugs to get over that agonizing feeling of having nowhere else to go. I wasn’t living life anymore, I was merely floating from one temporary high to the next, just waiting for the circumstances to change. It became so unbearable that thoughts of killing myself constantly filled my head. I praise God now that He never gave up on me even when I’ve already given up on myself.
It was March 25 of this year that I started to feel God work in my life. I woke up that day with this voice inside that kept on telling me to pack my things and just leave. I don’t know how I was able to get the courage, but after 8 years of holding on to that relationship, I finally let go. I left behind all material comfort, our money, the cars, the house and made my way back to my family’s home with nothing to show for. I look back now and realize that God was definitely in control that day, because after years of being away from them, my family welcomed me back with open arms, no questions asked. My story had become that of the prodigal son’s.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
10 days after, on April 6, I attended my first Connect service at CCF Alabang. I remember feeling anxious about it because I didn’t know what to expect. But as I stepped into the darkened hall and “Mighty to Save” started to play, I knew I was taken. I broke down into tears and cried for all the unfulfilled dreams, the wasted years, the sleepless nights. I cried for all the times that I felt I was alone on my darkest hours, times when I had no one else to turn to. I cried for wanting to be strong on my own, for making myself believe that I was invincible and unshaken. I cried, because for the first time in 28 years, I felt God’s overpowering love surround me, and at that moment, I knew I have come home. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour that same day, and with that, the hole in my heart was filled.
I realized that even when I denied His existence, He had been constantly pursuing me. Even when I threw blame at Him for letting me suffer, He had already set out the plans for me. His love has always been there, even when I refused to recognize it, even when I gave others the credit, even when I tried to run away from it. While I was barely living my so-called life, He was rearranging the circumstances, changing my outlook and orchestrating the perfect homecoming for me. I wish you could see it from my perspective so that you can see how surreal it is.
1 Corinthians 2:9
But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him”
He had to break me apart just so He could put me back together again. And it is only through His grace and mercy that I am able to be here with you and open my heart for you to see. It’s only because of God’s love that the heart that was once scarred feels no pain and has no regrets. I have embraced this new existence that He has laid out for me and even though there are days when the past still haunts me, I keep still and hold on to His promise.
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I know now how it feels to be unconditionally loved, there is no reason for me to settle for less.
7 months after that fateful day, I am still in awe with how God is working in my life. Even though I left that relationship with nothing, God has faithfully provided me with everything I need in this new life. I now have a career that I am genuinely excited about and friends who have extended their love and support in my Christian walk. I’m also truly grateful for the way that God is working in my family, because even though progress may seem slow, I know that my relationship with my father is being restored. I pray fervently for my family’s salvation. I am currently serving in the ushering and outreach ministries of B1G South Alabang, because it’s through this act of service that I am able to show how loving and merciful our God is. I lift up my life to Him and every day I am grateful for the opportunity to love and serve Him. My name is Nina Danielle Morales, an unworthy sinner saved by His grace and this is my testimony of how God can make broken things beautiful again. Lord, without You I am nothing but an empty shell. All praises and glory to God.
Day I made the B1G commitment 12/01/2013