A Difficult Childhood
I grew up in a household where my mom did not allow me and my siblings to play outside the house. Because of this, we would sneak out to play. Whenever my mom caught us, she would beat us black and blue. Bruises, sores, and wounds covered our bodies. We’d tremble in fear, our pants sometimes soaking in our own urine. We’d kneel on salt, deprived of our meals and water. We would beg our mother for her forgiveness.
Aside from this verbal and physical abuse, my mother and father were not good providers. There were times when the only food on the table was salt and rice. When it came to school, my siblings and I became jealous over our classmates who had new clothes and new shoes. It came to a point that our parents discouraged us from studying because they did not have a stable source of income to support us.
A Change in Direction
I decided to quit studying and escape the abusive home. My two older siblings had already left, and fear gripped me as I thought of carrying the full burden of the beatings. I fled from the province and headed to Manila. I was fifteen years old at this time.
I took on the job of a household helper. It was difficult at first, but after a couple of months, I got used to it. I met friends who became my “family.” They taught me how to drink and smoke. They taught me how to take marijuana, and I eventually became addicted. I was lost and corrupted by bad company.
Another Change in Direction
Despite myself, I did what I could do to save money so that I could send myself to school. I ended up working a part-time job at a fastfood chain and was able to enroll in college. I finished school and was able to find a better job.
As I grew older, I still found it hard to process the abuse I received from my parents. I battled with painful memories.
One day, a colleague at work gave me a cd containing a compilation of worship songs. I was moved by these beautiful songs! When another colleague rode in my car, she heard the songs and asked if I was a Christian. A Christian? I thought. I didn’t even know that the songs I listened to were Christian songs! She invited me to Bible study groups and eventually to a church.
At that time, I was still in a bad place – I had a lifestyle of gimmicks, vices, and wrong relationships. I was also at the point where I felt the emptiness in my life. I was invited to a retreat and decided at the last minute to go. In fact, I came straight from a night of partying and had no idea what I signed up for! However, that retreat proved to be the avenue of my breakthrough. I encountered Jesus and never returned to my old lifestyle. I made the decision to declare my faith through water baptism. I was completely ready to give my all to Him, no matter what it took. After I made my decision, one of the things God taught me was to care for people and pray for them more. I learned to pray for my unsaved family, friends, and co-workers.
Going Back To Help My Mom
A year after I embraced Christ, I found out that my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I will never forget how I felt when she told me the doctor’s diagnosis. My whole body went numb. I called my siblings and asked them what we could do to help her. None of them were willing to help and sacrifice for my mom. It was understandable; they had also experienced pain from her abuse as children. Yet in spite of what we had gone through at home, I decided to help my mom. It broke my heart seeing her sad and worried. The pain in my heart turned into deep compassion, sympathy, care, and real love for my mom.
At the Hospital
Praying for My Mom’s Salvation
I cried out to God for the salvation of my family, especially for my mom, and yet this was His answer? I asked God, “Why is she going through this?” I started to doubt and fear for my mom’s life. I saw her getting tired and weak everyday.
I decided to bring my mom to Manila so that I could support her better as she underwent treatment. I helped her as much as I could. It was never easy for me since I juggled work and ministry.
Going Through Hospital Treatments
I stayed almost every day in the hospital for some of my mom’s laboratory tests and her check-ups before she went through her operation, radiation, isolation, and recovery. In my mom’s weakest moments, God reminded me of His promise, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor.12:9)
The Gospel of Christ offered both comfort and promises.
I started sharing the Gospel to my mom. Every morning, we read the Bible together as part of our daily routine when she was in the hospital. When she was undergoing the treatment process, the stories in the Bible about Jesus’ miracles and awesome wonders became part of our conversation. We also prayed together. During Sundays, we watched the livestream of church services in the hospital.
When the doctor said that it was safe for my mom to go outside after her radiation and isolation period, my mom excitedly asked me to bring her to church so that she could attend the Sunday live services.
Salvation for My Mom
It was the first time that I saw my mom having such joy and peace in her heart. As I watched her during the church service, I could hardly believe that after those sleepless nights and her surgery and treatment, her face shone with great joy. She joined the congregation in praise and worship of the Lord.
During the altar call, the pastor invited the people to repent and accept Jesus as their Lord and personal Savior. My mom was the first to stand and declare her faith. Tears were running down my face. I couldn’t explain how happy I was at witnessing the assurance of salvation for my mom!
After the service, we went straight to the Welcome Center together. Another pastor and his wife prayed for us. It was an amazing moment! I was thankful to be surrounded by such amazing people who really cared and prayed for us.
Right after my mom received the Lord
Waiting for Sunday service to start
Healing from God
Driving back home from the church service, God spoke to my heart saying, “My child, I did not just heal your mom from her physical ailment. I have healed you both from your emotional brokenness and wounds. My unfailing love overcomes barriers, softens the hardest hearts, and brings hope and healing both physically and emotionally.”
I cried because I did not immediately see the picture of God’s whole plan, His great ways, and His perfect will. I was reminded that Jesus cares about us. He’s a compassionate Lord. As Scripture says: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11) and “I will restore you to health and heal your wounds” (Jeremiah 30:17).
I can say that I have totally forgiven my family. I have learned that even when people leave us and fail us, my Heavenly Father never will. He promised He would never leave us nor forsake us.
With my spiritual family
God is My Comfort
Last October 9, 2019, my mom’s oncologist declared her cancer-free. We cried when we heard the news. My mom had fought and survived, but above all else, my Abba Father had fought hard for her. The battle is not ours but His.
God has the most beautiful plans, even for someone broken like me. At my lowest point, God embraced me. He was my Comforter during my difficult times, and He was my defender.
I was once lost, alone, and broken, but now I am deeply loved, greatly blessed, forgiven, accepted, and saved. I am not perfect and I still mess up, but God still loves me despite my failures. There’s truly no past too broken for Him to heal.
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ
. –1 Corinthians 1:3
Dianne April N. Abendante
Dianne April N. Abendante is a follower of Christ, entrepreneur, and professional healthcare representative.