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Always By My Side - Janine

Updated: Jan 10, 2020

I grew up in a christian family, and would attend church every Sunday. However in Secondary 1, I stopped attending church as I felt no connection with God and wanted to use the time to study. My family also had very high expectation of me when it comes to grades.

In Secondary 1, I didn't do very well academically and just passed the promotional criteria for Secondary 2. because of that, I was sent for many tuition classes in hopes of improving my grades. I believed that if I studied harder and got better grades, I would be able to make my mom happy, and receive affirmation from those around me. With this belief, I would stay up every night studying, sometimes until 5:00am in the morning. However it was never enough. My mom's expectation of me seemed to get higher. I constantly felt like a disappointment and grew to be even more depressed.

Around the same time, my mom made an insensitive remark about my waist size. Because of that, I developed an eating disorder, starving myself to lose weight. I would always compare myself with other people who I thought looked skinner than me, and I would be angry at myself for being fat. I wanted to be perfect, not just in my studies but also in the way I looked, so that the people around me would be happy with me.

Whenever I did badly in school or gained weight, I would hide in my room and hurt myself. To me, it was punishment for not being good enough. Sometimes it was just a temporary means of distraction from the thoughts in my mind, as I couldn't find another way out.

Even though I wasn't in church , I prayed to God for my grades to be good. Even though I never had any real connections with God, I was desperate for change. I was tired of constantly not feeling good enough for anyone.

I shared my struggles with some of my friends, but no one could really understand what I was going through. The struggle went on for 3 years. I also blamed my mom for what I had to go through. I also blamed God, because I believed that if He really loved me, why would He put me through this pain.

The turning point came when I was invited to Youth Impact in 2018 by Yi Heng. I felt a sense of prompting to come to church. During worship, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace that I hadn't felt in a long time, I decided to rededicate my life to Jesus. I stayed as I was hopeful for a change in my life.

During discipleship, I was asked to write a letter to Jesus, I felt a prompting in my heart to forgive my mom. I had a thought in my head that unforgiveness was the root of many issues in my life. On hindsight, I realised that it was God speaking to me.

My discipler led me through the forgiveness prayer and i felt like a huge weight lifted off my chest.

After forgiving my mom, it opened my heart for God to work even more in my life. I was able to hold proper conversations with my mother, and any resentment I previously harbored towards her slowly faded. Her attitude towards my grades also vastly changed after she came for my baptism in October 2018, she told me that she is proud of me no matter what grades I get, which is something that I never thought she would say. I now enjoy spending time with her and am praying for her to re-dedicate her life to God

As I forgave my mom, that wasn't the only weight lifted off my chest. I've experienced true freedom, as I am now 1 year clean of self harm!

I realized that I do not need to change the way I look to meet anyone's expectations, and God loves me for who I am. I am made perfect in His love God gives me strength whenever struggle with those thoughts - All I have to do is pray for strength and peace.

My perception towards my studies changed. I know that I am not defined by my grades but on who God says I am. I still aim for good grades but I know that as long as I try my best, it is good enough.

I learnt that God is always near and that there is nothing too big that He cannot do. Even though I previously thought that He was unable to heal me of my hurts, I now know that He does. Even when He felt far as I struggled for many years, I now believe that He walks with me not only in my good times but also my darkest valleys.

God has placed friends around me that are always there for me to share my troubles with, and that encourages me even when I feel like giving up

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