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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Welcome to the "New Normal"!

Our "new normal" is more joyful, more peaceful, more playful :) -- May 20, 2104

You've seen and heard other people's testimonies, that probably made you go, "Wow. God is so good! That's a miracle!"

Ansel Beluso, a former Philippine showbiz writer and talk show host, and now a full-time servant of Couples For Christ, has a life story that makes me marvel at God's Grace and Mercy. In his own words,

"Yes, for all the four decades of my checkered life then, I had come to accept and embrace and live out the homosexual orientation, basically because I thought that was the only way for me to gain my freedom. So clueless I was then about the evils that my rabidly gay lifestyle actually wrought on the world in which I lived. At the time, I thought that being gay was just that – being gay, which meant being happy.

The pursuit of happiness was the chief purpose of my life then. And I thought I was a success. In my career, I was the creative director of several top-rating TV shows and I even became a showbiz talk-show host. In my love life, I enjoyed the juiciest flesh around and conditioned my mind to believe I loved them and they loved me back.
Former showbiz talk show host, turned full-time servant of God 

Back then, sex was a commodity that didn’t run out. Every weekend, I’d hie off to some nearby province to taste the native delicacies. At one point, I participated in an orgy. I remember also having had sexual relations with six brothers pimped to me by their own father.

Each time I look back on those days, I cringe – both at the enormity of my transgressions and at how totally unaware I was then of how much I was offending God.

All I thought was that I was just having a good time. Besides, I rationalized, the boys whose innocence I purloined badly needed the money I gave them – I was simply sharing with them the blessings of my material prosperity!"

He was a very promiscuous gay person till the Lord convicted him. He has since turned over a new leaf, gotten married, had children, and is now one of the active workers of the Couples for Christ Ministry. He even has a ministry for the "pastoral care and spiritual nourishment of active homosexuals who struggle to step out of the enslavement of their flesh." You can read his full story here.

* * *

In one of my earlier posts, I shared with you about the Machine Gun Preacher, Sam Childers. He was a drug dealer, a drug user, a sex addict, and a lost man before he turned over his life to Jesus. Now, he is not only a preacher, but he has also taken to heart as his main calling in life, to save the children in the Sudan from abuse.

Augustine before he became a saint, (His mother Monica incessantly prayed for his conversion!), was a promiscuous man who could not control the urges of his flesh. It took 17 years before he turned his life over to God. Previous to that, he was even famously quoted as saying, "Lord, let me be chaste, but not yet!!!"

Amazing stories.


From great sinners to great servants of the Lord.

Simply WOW.

Then, there's me.

When I tell others about having let go and let God on September 1, 2013... When I share with them that I have submitted to my husband, as unto the Lord... When I witness to Jesus' amazing Mercy and Love, I do not get even half the response as any of the above mentioned people would have probably garnered upon their conversion. 

Theirs is like the Saul of Tarsus experience. 
It's fantastic! It's miraculous! It's astounding!

Ansel Beluso was transformed from a "raging homosexual" to a family man and servant of God. 
Sam Childers was a great sinner who became a courageous savior of hopeless children. 
Augustine was a great sinner who became a VERY GREAT saint!

And then, there's the 'Nikka story": "My whole life changed the day I decided to submit to my husband as unto the Lord.", I would start... and nobody and I mean, nobody has ever said, "Wow." :P

I guess by other people's standards, my life is not that "dramatic". Yes, I had an eating disorder. Yes, I was suicidal. Yes, I had depression which led to my possession in the past...  But, my story NOW, of a biblically submitted wife is not astounding at all.  Even with all those trials in my distant past,  I did not do drugs, did not engage in promiscuity -- homosexually or heterosexually, did not smoke, did not steal, did not commit abortion or adultery... did not really live a life of nearly utter contempt of God. 

I could even be categorized as "good". I have been called Ms. Goody Two Shoes several times. 
I have been told by at least four priests that I had the "aura of a nun".

When I divulge to people my change of heart nowadays, I do not get a great reaction.

I think, to them, I have just become WEIRD (or weirder). Haha!:)

Some people probably think I have gone loony tunes!

Some people probably think I have "regressed" by biblically submitting to my husband! I mean who does that these days, right? It's totally against the grain of today's modern Cosmo fun and fearless female!

Some friends even dared ask if I was depressed!
Nikka 2012 - pre-submission to God and to Dong

Depressed? Before I turned over my life to God, often. But now? Never. :)

Sure, there are those hormonal days when it's harder to be cheerful or to maintain Christ's Peace. But, even on those days, since I have started holding captive every thought for Christ, my emotions no longer have the power to boss me around, the way I allowed them to before.

I wish I could really explain the change inside my heart. But words will not be enough to even grasp its entirety. It's one of those things that's better left unsaid. It's a private matter between my God and me. Having a blog though, and documenting this journey that I am on, I am encouraged to share it with others in the hope that my own experiences can touch someone else's life. Sometimes though, I feel that my "merits" are lesser because I have to write about them (Matthew 6:4), but then again, I write this blog for God's Glory, and I am just His "useless servant!", so He can do with this blog any way that He pleases, including taking it down entirely in the future, if need be! (Luke 17:10)

Peaceful Wife Philippines Nikka - Dec 2013

I do know that I am living my "new normal." Initially, it was awkward, odd and felt fake, but as I practiced it day after day, it has taken on a feeling of normalcy, familiarity and even of comfort.

What is the "new normal" for somebody who has given up her life to God for real and has submitted to her husband
 as unto the Lord? (Ephesians 5:22)

- I live every day without fear and worry, knowing that I serve and love a Sovereign God Who works outside of time, and Who is already in the future. All He asks of me is to trust in Him, knowing full well that everything that will happen to me will be filtered through His Able Hands. What?!? That's possible?! I am not worrying myself silly with what will happen tomorrow, next week, next year, in ten years?!?

- I enjoy being biblically submissive to my husband. Who would have thought that to be possible?!? Me?!? I am so Type A, opinionated, domineering, a go-getter, perfectionistic, couldn't stay put in one place... am now keeping still, and following my husband's leading. What?!? That's possible?! I also am being very patient as I wait on the Lord to manifest His Will for me and my life, under my husband's headship. Really?!?  I am not getting ahead of Dong or of God?!?

- I revel in the simplicity of my life now and the obscurity that goes along with being a full-time housewife and mother with some businesses on the side. What?!? I am not feeling envious of my contemporaries who are having the time of their lives with their careers on full-swing?!? (Note: I do have a job offer as we speak, for a new TV program. I have asked my husband to help me discern on what to do with that offer. It came out of nowhere! But nothing is definite yet.)

- I read my Bible daily. The more I get to know Who God is because of His Word, the more I get to know how "nothing" I really am in comparison to Him, and yet He loves me, Jesus died for me, and the Holy Spirit was sent to help me! Wow. The more I get to know who I am in reference to our Sovereign God, the more I rest in His Promises. What?!? That's impossible!!! A Catholic Christian reads her Bible?!? Haha.
I cannot go a day without reading God's Word. I am thirsty for His Promises.

- Dong feels safe with me. It used to be that he was very uptight and defensive about everything. I was always quick to point out his weaknesses or hasty to share my disagreement with his plans. Now, my husband has become more and more manly and has taken on the reins in our relationship. I find myself feeling more protected, more feminine, more peaceful, since I gave up my controlling behavior, and have decided to fulfill my God-ordained role as helper in our marriage. He shares with me his ideas, his dreams, and his hopes, and I support him 100% in them. What?!? That's possible?! I do not feel the need to control my husband or our lives?!?

- I love wearing modest clothing. It used to be that I felt the need to look and be sexy, in order to be validated for my looks. I did not mind the wolf whistles or the salacious stares, even if they were inappropriate and bastos (lewd)! Now, since my conviction and conversion, I find myself dressing in longer clothes, and not obsessing anymore with weight nor beauty. I am almost always without makeup now, my toenails and fingernails are cracking and have not been painted in months, and my hands are becoming rough from too much housework, and yet I haven't felt this great about myself ever! :) What?!? That's possible?! I do not dress like a teenager anymore?!? I do not feel the need to starve myself anymore so I will drop pounds?!? What? I have many dead toenails?!?

- I do not feel the heavy load of always wanting to please people or to appear perfect in front of people.  It used to be that I feared the disapproval or low opinions of others towards me or my actions. I always wanted to appear put together and 'perfect'. Well, nowadays, since I know now who I am ( a great sinner in need of God's Grace daily) I am no longer fazed by my mistakes, weaknesses and sins. I expect them! But, I also am quick to repent and turn to God because I am no longer a "slave to sin" but of God. I am already dead to this self, and to all the opinions others have of me. What?!? I no longer hyperventilate just knowing somebody thought badly of me?! That's possible?! That I will not defend myself to people who have maligned me?!?

- And lastly, I no longer engage in unnecessary "sharings" or gossip. If I do get some nasty bits of info about others, instead of believing in them or making "gatong" (adding up to the story), I immediately think of the good qualities of the person and lift those up to God. I also do not engage in derogatory remarks about other people, whereas before, I enjoyed making "okray" (making fun of people!) especially those whom I particularly disliked or who disliked me! What?!? That's possible?! Can I even keep silent on those juicy tidbits about others?!?
* * * * * * * * * * * *

These are only some of my "new normal" behaviors. :) I wish I can point out every single one of them but they are too many to share about.

I claim nothing from this new behavior, or pattern of thinking, or speaking.

It's all a God Thing. Not a Nikka thing.

All I have going for me are my sins, my repentance for those sins, and my having accepted Jesus into my life. Even though people do not consider me a "great sinner", I KNOW in my heart that I am, that I was. I was self-righteous, prideful, envious, judgmental, condescending, controlling, bitter, etc. etc. Every one of those sins, the Lord saw in my heart. Every one of those sins, I repented for and emptied my heart of (and continue to do so now).  

Jeremiah 17:10
 "But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives.
              I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve."

Because of my decision to let go and let God, Jesus has indeed changed my heart and freed me from all my bondages! Praise God! :) 

It is no longer I who lives but Christ in me. (Galatians 2:20)

I am dead to my former self, and I am a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Therese's First Communion - Dec 2013

There is this adage that says, "Past behavior is indicative of present and future behavior." Partially true. But only if one is judging one's worldly behavior now from one's worldly behavior before.

But, and this one I can assure you about, once God changes you -- how you will think, react, speak, and be --- will no longer be how the old you would have thought, reacted, spoken or been. Even you will be surprised to find out that what used to enchain you and hold you captive, no longer has power over you, now that you have turned your life over to Jesus! :)

The old problems that used to drag you down so fast no longer seem insurmountable.
The old worries that used to make you feel depressed and hopeless, no longer bother you.
The old petty things that used to make you so irked and impatient, no longer irritate you.

Why, you say?

Because in its place is no longer your spirit, but the Holy Spirit. God has transformed you! God has given you His Spirit!!! 

John 14:15-17

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[a] to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[b] in you.

Your past behavior is just that, the past. Leave it there. Good riddance. :)

Today and the future are much, much, MUCH  brighter! Because God is in charge now. What was once normal, no longer is the norm. :)

The old is gone, the new has come!

And the people around you have better get used to this new joyful, peaceful, radiant you because Jesus has saved you! He is living in you. You have already said goodbye to your old, worldly, sinful self!

When that time comes, do not be ashamed to say:

(And the new normal, with God's Help, is here to stay... Yay!!!)

Happy birthday Reuben!!! (May 20, 2104)

May we all be richly blessed! :)

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