SPIRITUAL FORMATION LEVEL ONE
Wild Awakening Testimonials
My Spiritual Formation Year at a Glance
PRAYER AND AWARENESS
The question that had the most impact for me was, “Do you feel the encouragement to let go of some preconceived ideas in order to embrace a new truth?”
To let go of the belief I had for 30 years—that LOVE is not freely given so I need to pursue it.
This probably has been the greatest surprise I’ve received from Spiritual Formation and I consider it as a gift. The blind spots have now become a vision of a whole. For all my life, there have been circumstances that I simply know about but I wasn’t aware that these have been affecting my choices, both the wise and the I-shouldn’t-have-done-that decisions.
The module on True Self and False Self helped me in unlearning my distorted definition of love back in childhood which directed my attachment to people. It guided me in remembering a kind of love that unites my True Self with the Body of Christ.
Our Discovering the Inner Child retreat made me realize my inner child needed nurturing that may not have been provided enough by parental figures. I was able to acknowledge I can reparent my inner child, that she is safe, cared for, and ultimately loved.
In times when it could be a stretch to see that ever-present love, I’ll remember God’s goodness as reflected in this stanza:
“Your promise I won’t forget
If ever I should lose my way
If ever I deny Your grace
Remind me of the price You paid.”
THE TRANSFORMING PRESENCE OF GOD
This brings me back to the reason I joined the SF in the first place: To answer God’s call through an advocacy for the Unborn children. It has been God’s invitation for me to provide a support community for the bereaved, a safe place to honor the Unborn.
As I say “yes” to this call I had to see God in all things, in all situations, in each second of contemplative prayer, in spiritual direction sessions, in my expressive artworks, in every soul I’ve been blessed to journey with—the OTTD ministry and other formators, in nature, in silence, in listening.
I saw God in acts of surrender, in doubts and fears, in visions of hope, in mountaintops or valleys, in tears and joy, in grief and letting go, in childhood memories, present wounds, and faith to a future.
This is powerful lyrics to sum up the journey for this advocacy with the accompaniment of SF this year:
“As far as heights reach from the depths
As far as east is from the west
So far Your grace has carried me
Until I see You face to face
Until at last I’ve won my race
Remind me You’re not finished yet”
GOD’S TENDER TOUCH
I wasn’t expecting that my experience on sexual assault would become part of my healing through the formation. Accompanied by my spiritual directors, I was able to step into a safe place where I am more hopeful of my recovery
I can see now how God is re-creating me, transforming my mind, enlightening the eyes of my heart to see that I am forgiven, that I can walk in purity, that I am made beautiful out of the brokenness.
I declare this truth embraced in graceful tears:
“Broken for all my sin Your body crucified
To make me whole again As Christ is formed in me.”
How do I move forward coming out of the spiritual formation?
From this whole experience, I am allowing God to be God—to be comfortable with the unknown, to press on the process of becoming, to be Spirit-filled as I continue to DISCOVER.
“I’ll live my life in remembrance
You’ve been so, so good to me
Oh to think where I would be
If not for You
I’ll live in remembrance”
Thank you, OTTD.
My Grand Examen
I am grateful for how God has led me into SF Discover. I see how precious this journey is for me. It has not been easy amid this pandemic with all the demands at work and other responsibilities. I am grateful for the abounding graces of God that have been helping me to push through and grow in this journey.
One of my significant God experiences was during one of my reflection times in the Discovering Inner Child retreat. As I imagined myself in a peaceful place, praying and contemplating in silence, I felt the love of Jesus. His mere presence gave me such joy, comfort, and safety. God met me where I was and knew my desires too well. He knew what my inner child wanted. I saw how God was neither controlling nor pushy, but rather patient and accepting. I sensed the invitations for my inner child to spend more time with Jesus to build trust and intimacy.
I have always thought that there a lot of things wrong with me. But as I connected with my inner child and with God, I remembered the truth of who I am. I may have wounds to heal, coping mechanisms to unlearn, and new behaviors to learn. But at the core, I am made perfect in God’s love.
I am gaining deeper understanding and compassion for my parents. I am learning to accept how they expressed their love for me. I have also come to an awareness of my true self and false self. It led me to pay attention to my deepest needs, desires, and feelings.
I also experienced God in my reality. I sensed God’s movement in the midst of conflicts. In the middle of my SF journey, I had some conflicts with my mom where I felt judged and inadequate. My inner child felt hopeless of the freedom she desired. I have questioned why such things should happen but with the help of my reflections and spiritual direction, I saw how God turns things for good. There was an acceptance and allowing of things beyond my control.
I realized it was part of my becoming and freeing. The experience taught me to be firm and to trust the process as I individuate. My mom was made aware of my repressed emotions. Our encounter allowed her to understand me and the impact she had on me. There was God’s invitation to compassion, humility, forgiveness and an expansion of our capacity to love. As I allowed myself to feel my anger, hurt, disappointment, and frustration, I allowed my true self to be seen and be loved unconditionally. In turn, my mom went on a spiritual journey of her own. With God’s grace, my mom and I were led to a greater awareness, deeper healing, and acceptance of each other.
The things I learned along the way helped increase my awareness that allowed God to show me the blockages for me to meet my true self: unhealthy coping mechanisms, unhealed childhood wounds, fears, guilt, and shame. It is an ongoing process. God has been showing me what needs to be released from my life. There was the realization of the importance of grieving for my losses. With the accompaniment of my spiritual directors, I was led to reach a deeper and more genuine relationship with God where I can be truly myself, where I may “wrestle” with Him amidst my confusions, pains and fears. As someone who has repressed emotions, these open conversations with God have been new to me.
Upon sharing my discernment case in our module on Spirituality and Reality, I sensed God’s affirmations and invitations through my SF community. My creative gifts have a purpose and I can expand through sharing these gifts outside of myself. The stories shared by my SF classmates and directors inspired confidence in me to embrace my full potential, put my dreams into action, and transform my life in alignment with God’s will.
My God Experiences
FROM ALONENESS TO BELOVEDNESS
I felt so alone at the start of my journey with OTTD. Choosing not to let my siblings know about my darkest secret made me feel isolated. I did not want to burden them with my problems.
The Discovering the Inner Child retreat made me miss my dearest parents so much. If they were alive, would I not tell them too? Oh, how the question left me feeling like an orphan! I started to cry and sob like an abandoned child. I was seated at the edge of my bed that time. I could not see anything. Tears were blinding my eyes. All of a sudden, I felt someone in front of me. Through my tears, I saw a mini version of myself standing. Behind her stood my daddy and mama with their hands upon the child’s shoulders. To her left were my paternal lolo and lola, all smiling ever so sweetly at me. All of them looked deeply into my eyes with so much love and compassion. Not a word escaped their lips – neither from mine. In the silence of their hearts they spoke. They knew. And I knew. I need not say anything more. Their eyes said everything will be alright. And for me not to cry anymore.
GOD’S HEART AND MINE
My husband was caught in an affair five years ago, When nothing has been resolved after five years, I felt hurt and betrayed once more. He was totally insensitive and uncharitable to me and our children.
I shared the incident with my spiritual director this year. I poured out all the anger and anguish in my heart. My spiritual director listened attentively and then led me to an encounter with our Lord, Jesus Christ. I saw our Lord, His most Sacred Heart on His right hand and not in His chest. Extending His right hand to me, He gently said, “I give you my heart.” Then with His left arm outstretched, He said, “Will you give me yours in return?”
O, Jesus! Your heart that knows no sin and loves unconditionally I gladly and humbly accept. May your heart beat in me with much compassion and mercy for me and my family. Receive, too, my broken heart in return. Mend it with your mercy that it may once more beat with love eternal for you and my family.
Yes, my Lord! Your love alone suffices. You alone suffice.
IN THE EYE OF THE STORM
YES! Jesus alone suffices. Ever since the Lord and I “exchanged hearts” I have been given a new lease of life. I breathe easily, walk more sprightly, and smile more often. There is a new lightness in me that I have not felt in a long time. I am starting to make plans for a small vegetable patch in our backyard and go storytelling for kids. I am excited!
“Where is the Lord taking you?” my spiritual director asked. Once more she led me into an encounter with my living God.
Our Lord, Jesus, approached me. Reaching out for my hands, He said, “Come! Do not be afraid!” A storm came and right smack into it we entered. Our Lord cradled me tight in His arms while we fought against the current of the wind and rain. Suddenly, the surroundings were still and quiet. We were at the eye of the storm. “We stay here and ride the storm out.” the Lord said. What he did not say was He himself maneuvers the storm.
“O Lord, you taught me a very important lesson here. You showed me where to seek shelter in the many storms of our lives. Not only is it quiet and still in the eye of the storm. That’s where you are Lord. You are my security and fortress.”
God, Heavenly Father, soon our SF will come to an end. I thank you from the bottom of our hearts for taking me this far in my journey. Without you, my journey would have been meaningless. You are central to my experience that has been profound and life-changing. I got to know myself more. And most importantly I got to experience you. The love and intimacy I seek I found in you, O, Sweet Jesus. You indeed O, Lord alone suffices. You alone I will pine for the rest of my life. Stay with me, Lord, till eternity.