“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”~ Psalm 16:11 NIV
Rejected at the womb, she began to question why she was even here.
Christine “Tin” Cabangon faced her most challenging moment in life when she was 12 years old. Her mother admitted that when she was one month in utero, she tried to abort her for two weeks and decided to keep her when it did not happen. Tin’s mother opened this up to her to ask for her forgiveness. She did forgive her mother, but this realization has left her questioning God’s purpose why He has kept her alive and why there is so much pain and emptiness in her life.
Tin’s father worked abroad when they were growing up, so his absence added to the angst that she was already experiencing. The family struggles increased in her early teen years, which made Tin develop bitterness towards her parents. Because of this, she was disrespectful towards them. And as Tin navigated through her early teenage life, she became indulgent to sin and gave in to every fleshly desire.
Two years later, God would turn things around for Tin. Although she grew up knowing the love of the Lord and the truth of the Bible, it was only when she was 14 years old that she fully understood what Jesus did for her. In the course of Tin’s young life, she has been through very dark and painful situations having to grow up in a physically, emotionally and sexually abusive environment. Her parents’ constant fighting also weighed heavy and deep in her. With her heart searching and aching from all these things, Tin found Jesus in the confines of her room. Tin encountered Jesus Christ in her brokenness. The Gospel of Jesus began to make sense to her. Finally recognizing her sinfulness, she surrendered her life to Jesus, knowing that only He can save her. It was the first time she actually felt God’s embrace.
However, Tin continued to struggle with her relationship with her parents. The bitterness she had for them resulted to a chain of damage in her personal and spiritual life. She also admittedly battled with lustful thoughts towards the opposite sex. But God, in his mercy and grace, slowly and gently softened her heart through his Word. Knowing God as the perfect Father/parent allowed her to realize that He is more than enough and moves her to let go of her disappointments with her parents. Tin slowly learned to respect them according to God’s commands and forgive them just as she has been forgiven. And the Lord completely restored her relationship with them.
Tin has also learned to turn away and flee from sin by memorizing verses, and by God’s grace her past struggles are now overcome in victory. Whenever she encounters trials, Tin turns to God and simply trust Him and His word.
Accepted and transformed by Christ, she now lives her life to pay it forward.
At 23 years old, Tin is living independently from her parents and is now involved in CCF-Elevate Alabang as a campus missionary, helping other young people to reach higher level of values, excellence and leadership. She is inspired by people with genuine passion and who finish well what they started. She is drawn to people who seek to find the deeper meaning of the joys and pains in this world.
Being part of Elevate, she has learned the importance of putting others ahead of herself. She discovered that selfishness could easily disunite even the strongest team while humility allows us to contribute further. She loves what she is doing now at Elevate and how it requires all of her and at the same time teaches her to be humble and to work harmoniously with others.
Tin lives by Psalm 16:11, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” She holds on to this verse because it her faith that God will guide her in his will and will find fullness of joy in his presence—not in a relationship, successful attainment, and material or monetary gain.
With all that has happened, Tin has only one thing to say, “Don’t be afraid to “lose” your life if you give it to God because that’s the only way you will find it.”
Ms. TM says:
Tin is a fulltime ministry worker at CCF Alabang for Elevate (ELEVATE is a nationwide student organization which aims to take students to the Next LEVEL). They do not earn any salary and are sustained through financial support. Monthly, I send financial support to contribute to the ministry of ELEVATE. This was how I came to know Tin.
I was honored to have coffee with Christine “Tin” Cabangon and listen to her story. In her early 20’s, she has made decisions and choices that people her age are not willing to do. As a parent, my heart breaks learning that she was sexually abused in her teenage years. She also discovered that she was unwanted as a baby when her mom told her she tried to abort Tin when she was pregnant with her. Suddenly, I remembered how fragile my mind and heart when I was young. I can only imagine the grief Tin felt when she was going through all these in her young life.
But she chose to lose her life for Jesus. In return, God has blessed her with His grace and she found her herself filled with peace. She reminded me to always look at the world through God’s perspective. It is encouraging to see how she is living a full life at a young age and have prioritized serving God over usual teenage stuff. Tin is a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology graduate and has been offered many corporate positions. Yet, she chose to volunteer to work in a ministry. It may not be a grandiose career, but Tin is definitely most happy and fulfilled helping other young people excel in their studies for Christ.
I was in tears when Tin and I were having this coffee talk. I have a daughter too, and through Tin’s testimony I feel blessed to witness the fruit of a young life who is devoted to God. I told her how I wish I came to know Christ when I was her age. However, no matter how old or young we are, may we all learn to lose our lives daily for God and not be limited by our past situations to rob us of the full life ahead in Christ.
Lord Jesus, let my life and identity be always rooted in your great love for me. I surrender to you my plans and ambitions in exchange for the fullness of life that you promise. Help me Holy Spirit to do the will of God everyday and live my life for God alone. Allow me to lead other people to find you so that they too can experience a life of joy and peace. May they know that life in you, Jesus, is a victorious reward that no past or worldly gain can ever compare. Thank you for this life that you gave and may I live for you always. In Jesus’ name. Amen.