I used to be a cheerful and playful kid who hardly got into any trouble, often passing my exams with flying colours. However, all these changed when I was 10.
In Primary four, I wanted to play some games on my dad's phone, but halfway through, I saw a text on his phone from a woman he met online, I found out that he was cheating on my mum. I was confused and lost and didn't know what to do at all. Everything that I've ever achieved or done just didn’t mean anything anymore as I experienced this rush of helplessness. I did not dare to tell my mum as I knew she had high blood pressure.
For the next two years, I bottled up this secret. Life had to go on as per normal, but this matter was always at the back of my head. It took a hit on my studies as I went from being in the best class to the bottom few. My behaviour also changed drastically as I became more aggressive and rebellious.
At that point of time, my friend invited me to his church. I attended it quite regularly, even responding to the altar call to receive Jesus into my life. I called myself a Christian and tried to abide to the 10 commandments each day. After a while I got frustrated and left church. I completely gave up being a Christian because I could not match the unrealistic expectations. I tried, but being religious didn’t work.
Eventually in Primary six, I decided to tell my mum about my dad’s adultery, as my Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) was coming up and I couldn’t focus with such a thought at the back of my mind. I will always remember that day, because it was also the day my life would change. Our household no longer experienced peace. Instead, constant screaming and shouting filled the house at night. My parents blame me for everything that happened at home. My mum said I was the cause of all these issues at home because I didn't tell her about the affair earlier. At the same time, my dad said that if I kept my mouth shut, nothing would have happened.
I grew bitter and angry towards my parents and stayed away from home as I did not want to face the fights. I mixed with bad company and picked up bad habits such as smoking and drinking. These vices gave me a sense of belonging and I would partake in them just to fit in with my friends. I wanted these friends because they were the people who approved of my freedom even though it was not right. Even in this mess, God was already working.
My school realised my family situation and sought external counselling for us. In a link up to an organization, I met Sean Ravie who was from Impact Life Church. One day, he invited me for Big Day Out 2018. I turned it down as I had something on. He later invited me again, and I said yes because I wanted to see him play his guitar. When I came to Impact Life Church, I visited Youth Impact and was very annoyed at everyone's friendliness. I was hosted by Xavier who was from Lighters 3. I later followed Sheryl to IL because I thought I might be better off with adults who weren’t so enthusiastic. However, Sheryl’s Life Group took care of me and hosted me just the way Lighters did! I realised that it was the culture of this church to take care of their guests with all that they had.
Eventually, I joined Lighters 3.Because I found myself being loved by others, I gradually experienced the Father’s love through them. Lighters 3 accepted me for who I am and what my past was about. They knew me, yet never neglected me or make me feel left out.
I finally felt like I belonged somewhere.
From that day on, I made a decision to stay in Impact Life Church and call it my home. As I continued, I got to know God as a Father even more. I realised God loves me no matter what my flaws were.
One major breakthrough was in freedom from my smoking and drinking habits. Previously, I've tried many methods like eating mint, drinking water, cutting down slowly, going cold turkey, yet none of them ever worked when trying to cut this addiction. However, I heard God tell me once that I am no longer a slave to my worldly addictions and it's time to come home to Him. Since then, I broke free from my smoking addiction. I then realised that it wasn't because I didn't try hard enough. I had become so good at relying on my own strength that I had not actively ask God to help me with it. When I did things His way with Him, I got His results, not mine.
In school, I made an effort to do well in my studies and stop using vulgarities. I left bad company and decided to spend my time with people who would help me grow in my spiritual walk. There was a freedom in a way that I could never describe.
'Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.'
-Philippians 4:7 NLT.
When I chose to surrender my life to God and recognise that he is in control, I found that I was at peace and did not need to worry or be anxious about things around me. God is not a taskmaster but a Father. He wants me to know Him and trust Him. Though my earthly father may not be the best but it comforts me to know I have a heavenly Father who loves me unconditionally.