NEW COUNTRY, SAME GOD
The Great Unknown
There’s a lot of excitement in knowing someone who has lived abroad. There is a certain exhilaration that comes with moving to another country. Sometimes though, I feel like people overlook the internal changes a person must go through to adapt.
My family moved to the United States five years ago. I found myself questioning a lot of things about my identity, having been pushed into a society with a totally different culture. I found it unnerving to be the “outsider” because of things like my Hello Kitty bag or my enunciation.
I didn’t want to be seen differently. I wanted to adapt and blend in.
Within a couple of months, I learned to be a local. I wore sundresses, shorts and flip flops like my SoCal counterparts. I replied with an, “awesome!” to positive statements just like everyone around me. I also wanted to get tan because my friends wanted that skin tone.
Keep My Eyes above the Waters
At that time, I was devoutly religious. I went to church regularly, prayed and thrived on doing good deeds. However, I did not understand that as Christ’s follower, my love for Him should go beyond that. I needed to imbibe His words into every aspect of my life and not just in the convenient areas.
With my identity not anchored in God, it was easy to fall prey into the temporary highs that this new home gave me.
I justified all the things I did, especially drinking, which started out with a few drinks and gradually moving up as I got accustomed to it. I took this lifestyle with me even as I moved to NYC.
I was so overworked that going out and drinking became the solution to my exhaustion. I looked for alcohol each time I had dinner or brunch with friends. There came a point that I always had a bottle of wine at home. This was also the time wherein I would go out with girlfriends and dance the night away in scantily clad dresses.
I was out of control but I loved every single moment of it.
Grace Abounds in Deepest Waters
”For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do – living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.” – 1 Peter 4:3
By the grace of God, the height of my debauchery was also the time when I started to go to Hillsong services regularly. Head Pastor Carl Lentz said once,
“Are you in control of your world or is your world controlling you?
It is a Christian’s job to push their borders so that God can invade that space…
Make room… [and] make more space for God.”
Finally, it all sank in. I cried out my heart to the Lord in anguish. What I was doing was sinful and wrong against He who saved me.
God is always good. He answered my pleas by uprooting me. I moved out of NYC because of work circumstances. In one move, He took out all the things that distracted me from Him. He provided the strength for me to face the pain I had inflicted on myself and hold on to Him in repentance – the only solution that my world-weary self ever needed.
Lead Me Where My Trust Is Without Borders
It’s glorious that God chose to remind me of who I am in Him by taking me back to my motherland, the Philippines. I always told myself that the MA degree I completed in CA would be for my countrymen who had no voices. I let my NYC jaded heart forget that.
Today, I pray every day that God keeps blessing me so that I can be a blessing to and a voice for others. No amount of stress and ephemeral things will deter me from this when I once again have to leave my country. For I know who I am now.
I am His.
Writer’s Bio: Aisa has lived in many different parts of the world but the one place she considers home is the solace of God’s love. He blesses her everyday so she in turn wants to be a blessing to other people and lives by the Genesis 21:6 verse, “God has given me laughter and everyone hears about this will laugh with me.”