A little background about my family. I grew up in a family of 5 with two sisters who both have impaired hearing. One had impaired hearing from birth while the other suffered a high fever and had impaired hearing as a result.
That meant that communicating with them was very difficult and I even had to pick up sign language in order to understand them. However, I always felt outcast-ed as I couldn’t understand what my two sisters were saying despite learning sign language. I felt lonely and hurt and no one knew that I was going through this.
At home, my parents also compared me in two areas to my sisters. One was academics and the other in the amount of house chores I did. My two sisters always did better than me and were more hardworking than me and it pressurized me. My parents expected me to do as well as my sisters and because of that, I would unwillingly ditch my friends and go home early just to do household chores or study but I could never match up to their expectations. I wanted was to win my parent’s approval but all I got was disappointment. I started to blame myself for not being the ‘good and smart’ daughter that my parents wanted and I hated myself for that. I slowly grew to dislike my parents too. I felt that they were just being biased to my sisters and just making my life difficult and that they didn’t care for me as much.
Because of their busy schedules at work, there was no one to take care of me at home and thus I had to follow my sister to her church. Without understanding anything about God and who this God was, I just went. I received Christ there but never had a real relationship with God. I could not see any purpose in going to church and felt lost and overwhelmed. With that, I left the church in 2016. Thoughts of condemnation came as I felt like a failure and worthless whereas my two sisters seemed to be doing well. These thoughts came everyday. I wanted attention from my friends so that I could feel better and would drink and smoke to fit in and be a part of them but it didn’t help. I felt the same as before and eventually stopped contacting them.
As I entered my new secondary school, Hua Yi Secondary, I got connected to a school senior who found out that I used to be a christian. My senior invited me to Radical Conference 2018 and I decided to go. Initially, I was shy and fearful, yet something inside of me just prompted me to go. With that, it marked my first service in this Church. Entering the service hall, it was a totally new and difficult environment for me. Looking back, I now realised that God had been speaking to me even from the very start. That very service, I decided to rededicate my life to Christ.
As I attended church regularly, it became increasingly clear to me that I didn’t feel free. I still felt that there was a huge burden on my shoulders. During one of the weeks, Becky spoke about how unforgiveness can actually destroy relationships and that was when I realised how unforgiveness and bitterness I had towards my sisters destroyed our relationship. I was angry at them for their lack of ability to communicate and for out-casting me. Deep down, I was scarred by the loneliness and hurts and it developed into this bitterness that I had towards them. I felt that my sisters did not deserve my forgiveness after all they had done to hurt me and all the things they put me through. However, God continued speaking to me and when I was spending time with him one day, I chose to take the step out to forgive my sisters. After praying the forgiveness prayer, I felt a burden lift off my shoulders.
Although I forgave them, things didn’t change at home. My parents still expected me to perform as well as my sisters and their expectations weighed me down.
Their expectations of me became my identity and I did not believe in my identity as a child of God. I believed that I was just someone that was a failure and someone that will not match up. It was only during a meetup with Cleo, she made me realise I had been believing in all these lies and false truths. She prayed with me and told me to exchange the lies for God’s truth. I am loved, I am His child and I am who God says I am.
I also begun serving in Ushers after DNA BMT last year. It was a tough journey as I struggled with comparison. I compared myself with other ushers and felt that others were better than me and that I could easily be replaced. On the outside, I looked like I was doing well but deep down I was drowning. I couldn’t see myself as a child of God and could not understand why God would love someone like me. However, During YI Camp, God spoke to me so clearly that I need not compare because I am unique and because he has made me this way. He told me that all he needed was my best and there and then, I was set free from comparison
I still do get pressured by people’s expectations of me but each time, I’m reminded that I am a child of God and I am who God says I am.
Through my life group, Lighters 2, they showed me care and concern that my family never showed me before. And Through them, that was when I caught a glimpse of God’s love.
By God’s grace, things in my family have also gotten better. From parents who were strict and always harsh on me for not being good enough, they have learnt how to accept me for who I am and are more understandable when I fail to meet up to their expectations. My relationship with my two sisters have also improved. They have started to include me in their conversations and would constantly check up on me. I was also invited to their gatherings with their friends! Now, my sisters and I can have a meal together, sharing and doing life together.
Throughout this whole journey, I held on to this verse, Jeremiah 29:11
‘ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ‘
God has changed my life drastically and I know He’s not done with me yet.