Finding my identity in Christ
I have always believed that God exists, but I didn’t understand what it meant to have an intimate personal relationship with Him.
Growing up, I developed a mindset of always wanting to be accepted that resulted to insecurities and constantly seeking for love and attention. I can still remember the frustration I always felt whenever I didn’t measure up to the standards of the people around me.
Things got worse when my family and I moved to England at the age of 12. Throughout secondary school, I got bullied because of my weight and I was told over and over again that I was fat, ugly and worthless and so I started believing all the lies. My self-esteem was crushed. Longing to be accepted, I based my identity on what the weighing scale said. I tried to solve the problem by skipping meals until the only thing I ate for the whole day was a small apple and I exercised excessively. Soon enough, I suffered from mild anorexia nervosa.
At the same time, I was so eager to prove to everyone that I was worthy to be loved so I got into a long distance relationship. At the beginning of the relationship, I felt so loved. However, all of that was temporary. As our relationship progressed, his true colours showed; he became very aggressive and abusive. The happy relationship I thought we had turned into an emotionally and verbally abusive one. I was caught in a vicious cycle. I wanted it to end but I was terrified that nobody would ever love me again. My heart was in so much pain, filled with self-hate and self-pity. There was no way out. I even started contemplating of ending my life for good.
But all of that changed at Elim Bible Week on April 2012 during a seminar for women lead by Aspire. I heard the speaker talking about the scriptures on how God sees me, pursues me and I am His beloved. I was sceptical because the God I knew since I was a little girl was a far away God. He wouldn’t love someone like me who is so unworthy, ugly and dirty.
Before the seminar ended, an opportunity to be prayed for was offered and so I stood up. One of the lady from the Aspire team started praying in tongues then all of a sudden, I felt the love of God. I cried and broke down. I asked for His forgiveness and surrendered. I remember His presence embracing me so tight and hearing “Come to me my daughter, your soul will find rest in me. You are beautiful. You are worthy. You are priceless. I created you and your life has special purpose. I love you with an everlasting love”.
At that very moment, I laid down all my heartaches, burdens and my whole life to Him. (I took this from a diary entry dated April 24, 2012 that I wrote few days after my experience, testifying on how I personally encountered Jesus).
From then on, I discovered and truly felt the wonderful truth that Jesus delights in me, His everlasting love for me is real and He alone can satisfy me. My perspective on myself radically changed. I knew that I want to live my life not defined by this world and all temporary satisfactions it offers, instead I desire to live my life beyond myself where my identity is based and founded on Jesus Christ.
Since then, changes happened slowly every day as I got to know and fell in love with Him more. I became more aware that He has great plans for me and I am created for His glory. As of now, my desire is to inspire and encourage others especially young women who feel rejected, worthless and unloved. Truly, I am alive because of His amazing grace and mercy.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” Jeremiah 31:3
Testimony of Janina Mallari