Coney Reyes is an award-winning film and television actress, host, and producer spanning a showbiz career of over forty years and counting. She says she will not “touch” her face [medically]! She will only accept roles which are suitable for her age! But when you look at her, she looks so fresh and young, no need to even consider any inats! She is a true timeless beauty inside and out!
The first time I met her was when she shared her life story at our Bible Study group with Beth Sanders in 2009. Coney has a sincere warmth, kindness, and authenticity that does not feign perfection; but you can see her genuine love for the Lord and her life has borne much fruit as she draws towards Him men and women in and out of showbiz as well as people literally in her path.
During that brief encounter in 2009, I was a face in the substantial crowd but Coney did not waste any time from planting seeds of edifying and encouraging words in my life by saying, “You have the gift of bringing people together as well as the gift of expressing yourself in words.” Today, I’m seeing those words come to life.
Last year, after Kata Inocencio mentioned that Coney played an important role in being her mentor and encourager to align her life with the Lord’s will, I asked Coney if I could get a faith encouraging message for this blog too but she was in the thick of filming so many projects that we never quite got around to scheduling a meetup until June this year when God allowed us to cross paths right at the Shangrila Mall guard checkpoint when I was on my way in and she was on her way out. And so we agreed to meet up na talaga.
That day came and God gave us a bonus of having a trio meetup with Rica de Jesus who blogged about that blessed m-eat up! (No picture of Rica here because she was on her way to a spa and said she’s not ready for a picture!) Coney shared with Rica and me truths and lessons she learned through the years.
Then we met up again within the last few days for a baby shower party she joyfully organized for her wedding godchild, Ethel.
I then remembered that I had the treasure trove of sharings from our July meetup and I would like to share that Chat with you:
CRN: It’s important to have people around us whom we know are really followers of Christ that’s why di ba we have mga small group with people we can trust. No one can walk the walk alone. Accountability is very important.
BUTTERFLYINTHESPRING (BITS): What’s the … one hardest thing you’ve ever faced?
CONEY REYES [NUBLA] (CRN): One of the real major things I encountered was to turn my back from the relationship I had (my adulterous relationship). Even if he was already separated and my marriage was also annulled, his marriage was not annulled yet that time. I don’t want na to make ungkat ungkat pa the past but really it was my decision to turn my back from sin to follow Jesus. People thought it was easy. Siempre it wasn’t easy. Because at that time, siempre he didn’t want.
BITS: He didn’t want to let you go?
BITS: Of course it was hard also for you…
CRN: Oh yeah, super hard. It was a day-to-day thing, you know, I really learned to take one day at a time. [Coney begins to say these verses without batting an eyelash with much conviction] Di ba He says, “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” That’s in Matthew 6:33-34, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and everything else will be added unto you.” And Proverbs 3:3-6, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you. Bind them around your neck. Write them on the tablets of your heart and you will win favor in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him He will direct your paths. He will make your paths straight.” I have to hang on to the Word of God. I have to hang on to God’s promises because when you hang on to the Word of God… God’s Word is so alive that it helps you. It sees you through. You just really need to trust God talaga with all of your heart. Many times, I couldn’t see how was I going to survive. Parang impossible. But I just put my hope in God. I just trusted in God, take one day at a time. I wake up and say, “Lord, I can’t go through the day without you. Help me through the day. In everything I do, I offer You all my work, all my joys, my sufferings, everything… Help me as a mother, help me in my work, in my dealings with people. Tapos He gives me the grace and strength for the day. And then night na I can’t sleep; I’m troubled, thinking thinking again di ba ang hirap? Parang you’ll go crazy. And I say, “Lord, help me. Put me to sleep, God, hug me; I need a good hug. Lord help me, help me…” Before I know it, nakakatulog na ako. And then I wake up again in the day. I’m praising, worshiping God, singing songs to Him, reading [the Word]… There are times ’cause you’re so sad because you’re so troubled, depressed, you can’t even think straight, you can’t pray, it’s so hard to even read the Word or to worship God I just say, “Lord…mamamatay ako.” Pero one day at a time, look it’s 2015 na nga. God has been faithful even when I was unfaithful, even when I was faithless. In my weakness talaga, His strength is made perfect. His grace is Always sufficient for us. Di ba for us, you look not at what is seen but look at what is unseen.
BITS: From a human standpoint, it seems impractical…like “What for? Why would you have to give up that relationship?” What was that process like that you reached that point when you were set [to turn your back on that relationship?]
CRN: I had no peace.. I had no peace. You had success, you had money, you think you have that relationship. Parang wala, e. You just know… maybe because since I was a little girl, I was already talking to God. My mom also taught us how to pray. My parents brought me up naman in a good, proper way. Kasi di ba the Word of God is printed in our hearts. Andyan ang conscience mo. You know if what you’re doing is wrong. You know what is right and what is wrong. I wasn’t happy. I know that what I was doing was wrong. Sino’ng niloloko ko? It’s hard for me to lie. I can’t lie. I was cover of magazines and stuff like that but for a while, I was already turning down interviews left and right because they will ask…”
[Our conversation was interrupted by the arrival of guest, Jay Madamba when he brought his dessert-loving daughter, Denise over. I had just met Jay that afternoon and realized I saw him at the heartbreaking wake of his nephew Liam Madamba months earlier. Turns out Coney and Jay know each other too]
GOD USES TRIALS
CRN: The trials I’ve gone through like rape when I was younger, cancer, physical ailments, God uses everything. They helped me to be stronger and gain more wisdom from my mistakes, to be able to understand and help others who also go through the same things.
I’ve ministered to rape victims; I understand why they don’t say anything. Some people are cynical why the rape has been a long time gone but they didn’t say anything. They’re scared people won’t believe them. Or they get intimidated by the person who raped them or it might cause complications. In my case, I was afraid my papa would kill the rapist and he will be the one to end up in jail.
When I went through cancer, it helped me to minister to cancer patients also. Sometimes, we have taping at a hospital or when I’m visiting someone and I see some patients along the way. When I can, I share the gospel because you never know… Sometimes you hear that somebody just died. What if you had the chance to share the gospel and you didn’t?
We are not supposed to be ashamed of the gospel. It’s the power of God to bring salvation. It’s the truth, it’s alive. We don’t need to dilute it or add to what Jesus has done that He died on the cross for our sins. He rose again from the dead so we could have eternal life. We are forgiven by the Father, we have eternal life with the Father. That’s the same old truth that we are saved by grace through faith not by good works so that no one can boast. It’s the power of the Holy Spirit that will work. I feel kasi… I just need to say it… I just say it. If people reject, it’s not me they’re rejecting. If they don’t receive, I don’t push. Bahala na si God do’n. He can use whatever way, He could use somebody else to complete that.
When I talk to wives naman, I tell them… if you think that other woman is happy, they might have happy or ecstatic moments because of mga sex or whatever pero hindi happy yon because ma-kokonsyensya ka kahit ibigay sa ‘yo money, kahit ibigay sa ‘yo kung ano (well, sa amin naman it wasn’t like that di ba) but I’m always thinking, “I’m not the wife.” Even if he’s separated, hindi ka pa rin wife. There’s something in us na you want to be the wife. You want to be the legal. You don’t want to be hidden, kept or just a Number 2 or 3 or 4 or 5. I’ve ministered to many Other Women, they’re not happy. Maybe for a while, maybe a year or two but even that year… kawawa lang. So I tell the wives, “Don’t leave right away… not unless you’re being physically abused or hurt, ibang story yon, di ba? The wife really needs to pray and ask God what to do pag ganyan. Pray. Ask God to help you.
FOR OTHER WOMEN
When I talk to Other Women naman, I ask “Are you happy? Until when? You know you’re hurting somebody. Do you think you’re making God happy or doing what He wants?” When I was in that situation [before I really came to know the Lord] I used to say, “How can love be wrong?”
[Dapat pala kasama si Kuh sa conversation na ‘to kasi sabi ni Kuh “Kala ko in-love ka na. Hindi ka pala in-love (kundi)… in-lust.]
You really have to pray for them kasi no matter what kind of explanation, if they don’t have God, they won’t understand. Now, I like to pray for people first even before I explain anything of the Word to them so that the Holy Spirit will open their heart and their mind. After I pray for them, that’s the time I explain.
Hay naku, more chika pa sana but between shuffling around the shop and guests coming in and out and my cell phone videocamera running out of battery, I wasn’t able to record more…
Of the most difficult challenge Coney experienced to die to herself and turn her back on sin to follow Jesus Christ, she mentioned, “Many times, I couldn’t see how was I going to survive.” It was a time of great suffering to give up what she wanted but she hung on to God’s promises. “Lord, mamamatay ako.” The ashes from the old life she caused to die have been turned into evident lasting beauty and fruitfulness. She has indeed won favor in the sight of God and man and radiates the glow of a true Princess Bride of Christ.
She is one of the wisest investors I know, investing in God’s kingdom in what will surely outlast this life span. She is so inspiring, bringing hope and light, being a good steward of her influence for good wherever she goes. Her generous spirit is so detached from her celebrity status except when people from wee little kids to grandmas in their twilight years call her by the name of her TV character.
I thank the Lord for allowing me to reconnect with Coney at my humble little shop. Lord, Thank You for such a wonderful gift of her beautiful life! May You continue to bless and use her for Your glory in Jesus’s name amen.
Ang sarap nyang tularan. At sana maging kasing ganda ako ni Coney when I grow up na past 32 heeheee. Fresh and green ikanga sa Psalm 92.