In today’s secular world, being a “woman of faith” and making it known (all for God’s glory) is no easy feat. I’ve known this month’s featured “female genius” (she’s actually my best friend! LOL) for several years now and I’m glad to say I saw how her faith journey developed (and continues to do so), the same way she witnessed mine.
Her name’s Nour. And here’s her story on how her faith helped turn her heartbreak into a breakthrough…
When I asked her when her “conversion” happened (as in her faith journey on how she became a devout and practicing Catholic/follower of Christ), she shared, “I grew up and was raised in a Catholic family. Attending Sunday Mass was a routine. There was a time in my life when it got boring. My mom is an active servant of the Lord in our church. I was secretly admiring yet curious where she’s getting all the fire in her heart. Until I heard myself telling God, ‘I want to know you more.’ It was a whisper within me but God heard it loud and clear.
“A failed (romantic) relationship left me devastated and broken. Little did I know that the cracks in my heart is where God’s light will shine. I finally decided to attend a Catholic charismatic community named Light of Jesus (LOJ), it has a weekly prayer meeting/gathering called The Feast. There, we pray, worship, and get free spiritual talks. It’s Sunday Mass done with a fun twist! But that was just the start. I can say that my faith journey was not a walk in the park. My relationship with Christ was one roller coaster ride. Eventually, God made a way for my stubborn heart to finally say yes in attending a Jesus Encounter retreat (facilitated by LOJ, too). In that retreat, I literally encountered Jesus. I encountered His love for me. Countless times, my belief was shaken, but God’s love remained unshakeable. That’s when I finally realized that it is no longer about how much I love Him but being still and knowing that I am loved.
“…it is no longer about how much I love Him but being still and knowing that I am loved”
“His Love changed my heart in every way possible. Today, I am still a work in progress. I stumble, I fall, I am imperfect. But God has made Himself known to me. In Exodus 3:14, it says ‘I am who I am’. He did not say ‘I was’ or ‘I will be’. He is not just a God of my past or my future. But He is a God of my present and all the seasons of my life.
“So, thank God for my mom! Indeed, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. My mom and I now share the same heart for Christ.”
ON BEING CATHOLIC AND PROUD
With all the struggles she has been through, including in her faith life, Nour is proud to be Catholic (just like me! Hehe!). When asked why the Catholic faith, she answered, “I believe in the Old Testament. There is a saying that the old is gone and the new has come; but the old is never gone. Because like our past, we don’t hold on to it, we learn from it. The ‘new’ would not exist without the ‘old.’ There will never be a plant without the soil. I came to understand Jesus in the ‘new’ through understanding the ‘old’ — the ‘old’ where my Heavenly Father has revealed Himself to me: strict, a disciplinarian, but also tender and loving. The Catholic Faith is rich in so many ways. The priests, the Sacraments (especially confession), the Saints, the love for Mama Mary, the Holy Rosary, and the Mass.
“Before there were prophets and kings, priests were the first messengers of God’s Word to the world, just like when He first chose Aaron to be the first priest because Moses stuttered.
“Then there’s the conventional celebration of the Catholic Mass; it is a divine appointment. To me, it is a weekly renewal of faith and a reminder of the salvation of the world and glorification to the Father. It is heartwarming knowing that God the Father speaks through the first reading, the Holy Spirit in the second reading, and Jesus in the Gospel. Wow, right? And of course, the consecration of the Holy Eucharist. Isn’t it amazing to be invited to witness God’s miracle with the bread and wine every single week? There is power every time the priest lifts the bread and says ‘this is no longer bread’ but ‘this is the body of Christ.’ The consecration and the power of the spirit are real and mind blowing! I am reminded that we are more in need of the bread of life instead of the food that perishes. When I took time to study the Catholic faith and how things work, I have never looked at the Holy Mass the same way again.
“…I took time to study the Catholic faith”
“Lastly, the Saints — I love them! They are my heavenly barkada [group of friends]. Saints are our helpers. And for me, it is good practice to humble ourselves and admit that we need help and prayers. This includes my heart for Mama Mary and the Holy Rosary. She has been a big part of the woman I am and thriving to become.”
Her favorite Saints include St. Jude Thaddeus, St. Benedict of Nursia, St. Pio of Pietrelcina, and of course, Mama Mary — the ultimate intercessor and example of the feminine genius. Nour believes that we don’t choose our Saints, rather, they choose us. “During trials, they show up through ways I never realized possible. They speak protection and hope in my heart.”
Having said that, it’s also no surprise that Nour reads the Bible! After all, it was St. Jerome (a Catholic Saint!) who once said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” Her favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11,
“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you — oracle of the Lord — plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.”
She mentioned that this verse has spoken to her in so many ways. Then, another verse from the same book eventually led its way to her heart, thanks to the Holy Spirit:
“When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart,”
Nour said, “It made me believe in the power to intentionally seek Him with all of me. And today, this is where I found His plan for me. No matter what season I am in, I am comfortable, contented, joyous, and living in peace. Remember, if your story is not yet good, then it is not the end. He is faithful to His promise.”
SINGLE AND BASKING IN GOD’S LOVE
As of this writing, Nour‘s making the most out of her current life season as a single woman. “I am single and I am 35. Some say it is late, some say it is a curse, some say it is better. I can either frown and sink into the world’s standards, or believe that delays are not denials but only God’s timing. I believe that all seasons are temporary, including our life here on earth. I am not in this season alone because I am in a ‘dating’ season with God —- enjoying and immersing myself in an intimate relationship with Him through studying His word, praying, journaling, reading spiritual books, committing myself to journey with my fellow women in need of God’s mercy, and practicing daily life with a heart like Jesus’. Is it easy? No. It is challenging just like any relationship. But my life has never been fulfilling and joyful as it is today. I learned to rest my personal desires on His hand, trusting and hoping in obedience to Him.
“So to all my fellow single women out there, learn to submit yourself to God because only His love will teach us to submit to our future husbands.” I say amen to that! 😉
Aside from single women, what advice can she give to fellow Catholics struggling with their faith? “The Catholic mass is a form of God’s grace but the Catholic faith doesn’t start and end there. God blessed us with free will. Pray to God that He may give you the will, way, and wisdom to read and understand the Bible. This is your ‘manual,’ your ‘handbook’ in life. Know that even the most expensive gadget has a manual for us to know how to use it. This is exactly my journey in reading God’s Word. I randomly catch myself saying ‘I should have known this earlier in my life.’ Being a woman and mastering my self-worth has been quite a journey. With mercy and grace, God led me to His Word. I have known myself better through knowing my Creator. The Bible is the most treasured gift the world has and my prayer is more people would really take the time to read it. It is God’s love for us — never forced, freely given, and always available.
“Remember that you are created in His image and likeness. You are amazing as He is! So spread the good news.”
Check out Nour‘s Youtube vlog channel HERE and continue to be inspired
(and laugh out loud at times! Haha!)
For more about the “Fiat & Faith” blog series, click HERE.