Growing up in a Christian family, my parents were careful to bring me up according to the ways of the Bible. I was taught not to lie, quarrel, and always to love others.
Being the middle child, my issues with comparison and self-righteousness started from a very young age.
Though I looked up to my older brother who was extremely talented both in academic and sports, there was also a lot of jealousy and comparison because I felt that I could never match up to him. I also felt that my parents loved him more than they loved me.
As a result, I grew up with jealousy and insecurities that extended into every area of my life.
I believed that I had to prove my worth and would only feel wanted and loved if I performed beyond people's expectations. But regardless of my efforts, there was always a gaping hole in my heart.
As years passed, my home became a place of fear and confusion when my older brother developed Schizophrenia which lasted about 6 years, before he committed suicide.
After my brother's death, my father became depressed and hopeless. He blamed my mother and would verbally abuse her.
To add to all that was happening, my dad also had 2 transient strokes. This left him walking in a slow and unsteady manner, making it difficult for him to find jobs. The burden of financial support for my family thus fell on my shoulders.
During this period, I became angry with God. I didn't understand why He would allow such things to happen to my family.
Didn't He say that He was a good God? Everything that was happening seemed to contradict that.
But my Lifegroup reflected God's unconditional love towards me and constantly told me that I was loved, accepted, and forgiven.
Through discipleship, I slowly uncovered the many lies about God that I had believed in. I began to see that my understanding of God was not based on truth, but was based on my emotions and negative past experiences.
I cried out to God one night asking Him why He had abandoned me for so many years. He responded by showing me several scenes from my childhood; some significant events, others I didn't even quite remember.
But even when I couldn't remember, God did. God showed me clearly that He was always there with me.
That day, something shifted in my heart. I understood that no matter what pain and suffering I went through, or would go through in the future, my loving Father would always be with me.
That one encounter with our Father gave me so much peace and assurance; I was not forgotten and unloved!
I was also harbouring a lot of unforgiveness towards my father for what he was doing to my family.
While reading the bible, I came across a passage in Ezekiel 36:24, immediately I understood that Jesus was saying to enter the Kingdom of God. It cannot be achieved by human effort.
God was showing me I was spiritually bankrupt apart from what Christ did for me on the cross. He challenged me to abandon my pride and trust in Him completely for my righteousness. I had known this principle for a long time in my head, but this time, God's word became real to my heart.
Slowly, over the course of a few months, as I immersed myself in the Word of God and learnt how to receive His love, I was transformed from the inside out. I released control of my life. I realised that I could trust God with my life and the lives of people I loved. I no longer had to try to establish justice on behalf of my mother or brother, because God would personally uphold justice for them.
I found that I no longer hated my father, and I could now pray for him. This is the freedom that Christ has purchased for me.
Over the course of these 2 years, though I’ve stumbled at times but the difference now is that I am fighting from victory.
Because now I know my identity, my activity naturally follows suit.
I am a new creation in Christ!