I appeared on the cover of a Christian magazine. The issue was about being Single over Thirty. I was actually 37 at the time and probably one of the very few who would have allowed herself to be so "branded" . I am now married and have a wonderful little boy. I believe God gave me His very best when He gave me Luigi as a husband. God gives His very best to those who leave the choice to Him.
Walking with God these past years has proven it time and again. When you leave the choice to God, He assumes full responsibility. Imagine ! The creator of the universe assuming full responsibility for my life ! In 1991, a year after I joined Ligaya ng Panginoon (Joy of the Lord),a Christian Covenant Community, I discerned whether God wanted me to get married or not. I was 34 years old, didn't have a boyfriend, and never had one. I have to say that in my family there was no pressure whatsoever to get married. However a lot of other people were getting anxious for me. " Maiiwan ka ng tren. Last trip na," ("You're going to be left by the last train!") the grandmother of my brother-in-law said repeatedly before she died. I was very happy with my family, my brothers and sisters in community, my friends, my job, and so when I did my state of life decision, or SOL as we call it, I was really free to decide either way. I really wanted to do what God wanted me to do. If I had a bias, it would have been to choose being single, because I was happy with my life just as it was.
After 4 months of praying and listening to the Lord, the Lord told me: If you choose to be single, you would be choosing for yourself and not for me. He also told me that I should look at marriage as like a rose. Not to look at the thorns but at the blooms. He said that I would bloom if I got married. Imma Belza, the handmaid who was guiding me at that time, asked me to list the qualities of the man I would choose. I came up with a very comprehensive list but the Lord said : disregard the list and just look for a man with a good heart. After I discerned and decided I was for marriage, I asked God what I was supposed to do next- what was I supposed to change? Surprisingly God had an answer for me too. I was not supposed t o do anything about it, not think about it, much less be anxious about it. That was exactly what I did till October of 1992. At that time, Dianne Escarro, a sister in my women's group told me that she had a message for me from the Lord. I was supposed to pray more, to go closer to the Lord, because something is going to happen very soon. I was quite excited about that and I did pray more. That same month the singles in Ligaya went on a retreat and at that time, before the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord gave me my first and only vision.
I was in this beautiful garden with the Lord. We were walking and He was talking to me. He said: "You know Patsy, I am the gardener here. I take care of all these plants. I prune each and everyone of them. I shall show you a plant I do not prune." And he brought me to this decaying tree, all brown with its leaves falling off. " I am sure you do not want to be like this tree." We walked on and Jesus continued: " I have to leave you now. Enjoy my garden. Where I go you cannot follow. I will tell you when you can come. I am building your house. It is not a big house but it has everything you need." That was extremely comforting because one of my favorite verses from the Bible is Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.
I had always been afraid of pruning and I was always praying that God would not allow suffering in my life. Amazingly God had always treated me like a tender plant, and now He was actually going to give me a choice! In December, again before the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord spoke to me: "If you are willing to be pruned, I will give you Luigi for a husband." My first reaction was: does God do this? Is this really God? After 4 days of praying I gave my yes to God.
Luigi was a friend. He was with Servants of the Word at that time, and had spent the last year attending several retreats in order to discern whether he would give his lifetime commitment to live single for the Lord. After 8 years with the Brotherhood, he left the Easter of 1993. It was a very difficult decision for him but God had also told him in a rather dramatic way that He wanted Luigi to get married. What amazes me is that He spoke to Luigi just a few days after I gave my yes to God ! To me it seemed as if God had placed Luigi in the Brotherhood in order to reserve him for me !
In January of 1993, the leader of my women's group, Cristy Vianzon, said we would start the year with prayer and ask the Lord His plans for us that year. The Lord had a message for me: learn to live without, He said. If you do not learn this, my plans for you will not be accomplished. So in the whole of 1993 I did not buy books or magazines, I bought just one skirt, and in general saved my money. Although I was so used to buying almost anything I wanted, my voluntary penny pinching was not that difficult. I was, after all, set on seeing God's plan happen in my life. And so it did.
In April of 1994, I married Luigi just as God promised. We had a beautiful double wedding with my sister Meldy and her fiance, Lito. I was so peaceful that day. I was where God wanted me, at the right place and definitely at the right time. Every day I thank God for my husband. I am still amazed at what God has done for me. God has shown that He works outside of the world's reasoning, outside of the law of averages. God truly gives His very best to those who leave the choice to Him.
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