You’ve never seen me write a very long post in my blog… except today! Believe me this is worth reading! This is the story of my good friend Nikki (and Ian) who allowed God to write their love story. =)
WHEN GOD SPEAKS
This Love story is meant to encourage people to trust God because He is the Perfect Author of Lovestories.
Nikki: God Speaks and is Faithful to His Word.
IAN: Before I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior in 2008, I was a self-centered, liberated individual who loved to engage in immoral activities and relationships. But when I surrendered my life to Jesus and committed to follow and serve Him, He changed the desires of my heart. I also sought God and asked Him to take part in everything I do. When I truly grasped and understood His amazing love for me, building a relationship with Him became my first priority. But it was not easy to surrender my sinful and bad habits.
My first experience in a Christian community came in 2008 at the BIG4 retreat. I was amazed by How God works differently in every person’s life. I heard testimonies of changed lives and saw people who were deeply and passionately in love with Him. In that retreat, I experienced love and acceptance from God’s people.
NIKKI: Although I grew up in church, I surrendered my life to Jesus when I was 18. I had attended several retreats before, but it was at the third day of BIG4 Singles Retreat in 2008, when I had one of the most memorable, intense encounters with God in prayer after watching a video on missions. I prayed to God: “Here I am; send me.” God clearly and undeniably spoke to me through a deep, strong impression: “I will not send you to a place but I will send you to someone.”
That was the first time I surrendered to His clear calling for Marriage. You see, I dreaded the thought of spending time with a guy, more so getting married. I never had a boyfriend and had very few close relationships with men. I always told God that my dream was to be a missionary, meet different people, experience different things, and travel the world! I wanted to do great and mighty things for Him. I wanted to live a life of excitement and share the gospel to the lost for the rest of my life. So I said to myself: “I can be independent and I don’t need any man in my life.”
But God knew beneath those dreams and feministic views were hidden fears and insecurities. God showed me that I was fearful of men, of intimate relationships and had so much insecurity about myself.
Jeremiah 18:1-4“… But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seem best to him.”
I was a shapeless, damaged lump of clay in the hands of My Potter. He healed me of my past hurts and restored my relationship with my father. He gave me a confidence and self-worth based not on what the world says, but on His truth: that I am fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. I learned to embrace this new, godly femininity.
Since the time I surrendered and said yes to the Lord’s calling, God gave me a new perspective on relationships, men, and marriage. Through books, people, pulpit messages and His Word, I learned that Marriage is anchored on God’s kingdom agenda, which is to build generations of godly offspring who will continue the work of the Lord until the time He comes. Whoa! This is something big, exciting and lasting! We have a generational God.
In April 2009, my work contract expired and I was told that God can use me elsewhere. It was certainly painful at first, but I knew that God was simply moving me forward …again. His revelations about marriage were becoming more consistent and frequent during those times. Different people I knew and didn’t know would blurt things like “baka ikakasal ka na.” I remember a missionary couple telling me, “Perhaps God’s plan for you is marriage”. It was strange, because I didn’t tell them anything about God’s Word to me.
IAN: In 2009, God allowed me to be part of the NXTGen Children’s Ministry. I enjoyed the company of people I worked with and just loved being with them. I embraced my newfound faith and loved serving God and His children. It was also in NXTGen where I found my spiritual family and got to work with Nikki. But being in a romantic relationship was not a priority then. A common friend of ours gave me a vision in late 2009 from Ezekiel 24:16 “Son of Man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears.” I just ignored this vision and said “I’m single anyway paano yun? Wala pa nga papatayin na?” Nevertheless, I just lifted it up to the Lord as I knew His plan is perfect and far more pleasing than I could imagine.
NIKKI: Two weeks after I left my job, I entered CCF as a fulltime worker in NXTGen Children’s Ministry because it was God’s clear calling. There I met Ian who entered NXTGen at almost the same time. He was our special events coordinator. I never thought at that time that he would be significant in my life because. I assumed God was leading me to someone else. I racked my brains by over-analyzing and predicting things that could happen between me and this other person. But the guy I thought to be my “God’s Best” never showed any sign of interest or made any move. At about the same time, I started seeing Ian in a different light. I saw him as a strong and decisive leader, hard-working, responsible, fun to be with and good-looking. I saw that I could work with him on events and submit to his leadership. In short, “nabilib ako” and we worked effectively together.
There were only five of us in the office so we developed close, family-like relationships. I learned that Ian went through so much in his childhood as well as his adult years. I saw that God can use him mightily, especially in working with the underprivileged kids for whom I also had a very strong burden.
I developed a secret crush on him. Then I started asking God “Lord, si Ian ba o yung isa?” I was struggling with God for the answer I wanted to hear, but He kept silent. He would not reveal yet. All He was telling me was to wait for the surprise.
Habakkuk 2:3 “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”
Nothing romantic happened between us during that time.
IAN: In April 2010, God took me out of fulltime ministry work. I rested for a month and sought God’s will about what He wanted me to do next. It was an extremely difficult month for me. Then I was reminded of the vision that was given to me and it was only then that I understood that the apple of my eye was the Ministry. God had to take it away from me to fulfill His will in my life.
NIKKI: It came as a painful and sad surprise to all of us. After a month, Ian and I were both quiet. No communication nor contact at all. I started missing him badly. I missed my co-worker, my friend and my “makulit na kalaro”.
IAN: Then in one of my quiet times with God during those days of not communicating to each other, He led me to Genesis 2:18 “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone’…” I asked God if the next chapter of my life would be marriage. My prayers began to change: I asked God to bless me with someone who would unconditionally accept me and my past. A person who will not have a problem with what I had been through, who will not condemn me, but love and accept me despite my imperfections and someone who will show me respect.
Nikki and I met again during a Christian concert in Araneta with our friends from NXTGen. Our friends teased us in a photo they took. No one knew that I started developing an admiration for Nikki …but I was still very much in denial. What followed after, however, was the start of something new. We began communicating.
NIKKI: Ian began texting me once, twice, three times and more often each day. I started getting more emotionally attached to him. It was exciting but it also caused me so much worry and fear. “What if this is not God’s will for us? What if it is not Ian? What if this is not the right time? Is this how it should be done? What if I just end up getting hurt?”
IAN: So on June 28, Monday, we decided to talk. The “DTR talk” to Define The Relationship. In our conversation, we revealed how we felt about each other and agreed to pray and seek the Lord’s will for us.
July 2, Friday- I asked the Lord if I could pursue her. God said “go” so I formally expressed my intentions to pursue her to which she said, “Sige but you have to talk to my discipler and to my parents.”
July 4, Sunday- I met with Nikki’s discipler to seek her blessing, which she graciously gave.
July 6, Tuesday- During breakfast right after Dawnwatch, I talked to her parents and expressed my intentions. They gave their blessings as well.
NIKKI: Then it was my turn to give my final verdict but I knew that I could not give my “sweet Yes” until God had given a personal word about whether He wanted me to commit my heart to Ian or not. You see, in every point of my life, for every change, God has always given His clear spoken word to affirm His will.
July 7, Wed- I went up with the NXTGen staff to the prayer mountain. God was still silent. He told me to “be still.”
July 8, Thursday-I told Ian that we should not text each other or see each other until God makes His will clear to me.
July 9, Friday- I sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to read the book Relationship Principles of Jesus. So I did. While reading the first chapter of the book, seated in the middle of a dark, empty CCF sanctuary, God finally spoke without any hesitation.
“In the beginning, God created you for relationships. He made you to relate to Him and to others. Miss out on relationships, and you are missing the core reason for which God put you on this planet. And in the end, nothing is more important, because nothing will last longer than relationships. Your relationship with God and others will last all the way into eternity. Jesus knows full well that the swirling wonder and pain of our relationships tempt us to move them down our priority list. “Who need this? We say, and so reduce our lives to simple hobbies, tasks, and entertainments. That’s not the answer…A life without relationships may well be a simpler life, but it is also an empty life.
The path to the greatest life possible and the greatest joy possible is found in the priority that Jesus taught us to keep at the top of the list: Place the highest value on relationships.”
God speaks. Oh yes, He spoke with clarity, power, authority and love. In my heart was a whisper “Nikki, I want you to learn how to love at this time in your life.”
July 9, Friday in the afternoon – I gladly shared to Ian God’s Word…. to his relief. Then, we started dating and called it official last August 13, Friday the 13th.
IAN: It was a fruitful journey with the Lord. Before, I never saw myself going through a formal courtship process, but since we are encouraged by the church to be accountable to people, I wanted to do it right and be obedient to God this time around. Thankfully, I gained the blessing, acceptance and respect of my future in-laws.
NIKKI: Things went by so fast. By the time I had somewhat adjusted to a new relationship, I was prodded by the Lord again to move forward to the next phase. Weeks before the BIG6 retreat, God would speak in His word “Come follow me.” In my prayer I said, “Lord, if you want us to get married, though I don’t think and feel I am ready yet, I am saying yes to you and I want to move forward with you.”
November 29 at the BIG 6 retreat, came the biggest surprise of my life.
IAN: The B1G Switch happened in the B1G retreat.
NIKKI: It was a moment and experience I will never forget. I knew the proposal would happen anytime soon but I never imagined it would happen on stage before 980+ cheering people! It was an event that I believe only God can orchestrate. I have always dreaded being at the center of people’s attention, but during that moment, I experienced His real calming presence as I walked up to the stage and stood before a huge crowd. By God’s grace, I was able to stand confidently in front of people and say sincerely with my heart- yes to Ian.
Looking back, I am completely in awe of how God had written each chapter of our amazing love story. It was at BIG4 when it all started and at BIG6 when God fulfilled His promise.
I encourage you dear friends, be intimate with the Lord. He is a God who speaks and when He says something, trust that He will make it happen. God speaks and He is faithful to His Word.
IAN: God created us for relationships. Dying to ourselves is never easy but it is very rewarding. Whatever is your past and wherever you are right now in your walk with God, be assured that He knows the plans He has for your life. He allows all things to happen for His good purpose. Our part is to heed and answer His call. Allow Him to write your love story.
To God be all the glory and praise!
What a love story! Thank you Nikki and Ian for sharing this testimony to us! (You guys never fail to make me cry!) God is indeed the perfect AUTHOR of our Love Stories! Love you tons!
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