I come from a non-christian family. My family does not prioritise relationships and we live independent lives. Because of how my family is like, I grew up being independent, believing that I had to fend for myself.
In lower primary, I excelled in my studies, but in upper primary, I struggled and found that I could not produce the results I desired. I soon gave up on studying and became a troublemaker in school, getting into fights.
When I was 13, a friend invited me to Impact Life church. I was interested to know more about this God they were talking about, so during one discipleship session, I received Christ. But my life did not change then. God’s love and acceptance to me were only concepts, they were not truth to me. In primary school and secondary school, I only had few friends. But soon after I entered poly, I lost contact with them. This made me feel unwanted and lonely. I grew accustomed to being alone, and I believed that I was meant to be alone.
In school, I adopted the same attitude. I remember only starting to study for O levels 3 months before the exam. It felt like I didn’t belong anywhere, and I would never amount to anything.
I was empty and lonely, and I turned to pornography to numb my pain. I fell into the cycle of sin, shame and guilt and slowly grew numb to sin. I condemned myself over and over whenever I gave in to the temptation of sin. Thoughts like ‘Why did it happen again?’ and ‘I could have avoided that’ replayed through my mind. I believed I would struggle with this for life.
I knew in my head that God loved me, but I wanted to run away from Him as far as possible. I felt guilty and undeserving of God’s love. How can God love someone like me? I didn’t understand what God’s unconditional love meant at all. During one of the night services at YI camp, I decided to honestly share about what I felt about myself for the first time. As I spoke, I started breaking down, and I cried uncontrollably for 1 hour. It was the first time I experienced God’s love for me. He showed me a vision where He was piecing my broken heart back together. I saw for the first time that God accepted me just the way I was.
Despite knowing that God loves me the way I am, I did not remind myself of this truth and soon fell back into sin. The pressure of school hit me and I relieved my stress by running to sin. All this while, no one knew about my struggles as I put up a mask in front of my lifegroup, only showing them what I wanted them to see me as. Deep down, I was fearful that I would be hurt again and my relationships with them would be broken if they knew the real me. Thankfully, my lifegroup member Jing Hao never gave up on me and he showed me concern and care as I started to share about my struggles with the lifegroup. It was also during this period of time where I met with my discipler.
She helped me recognise that I had bottled up all the disappointments I had towards myself and had not forgiven myself. Because I never forgave myself, I could never get healing and felt defeated in my studies and in my battle with lust. She then asked if I wanted to forgive myself. Cheryl told me the truth and I replaced the lies with the truth and made the choice to forgive myself.
There was no immediate big change that happened, but I felt a sense of heaviness and burden being lifted off my shoulders, and was able to smile for the first time in a long while. Through that conversation with her, I realised that I have never believed that I am a child of God that is forgiven and deeply loved by Him. God spoke and showed me that he already accepted me for who I am, and forgave me even when I did not know of Him yet.
As I took on identity as a child of God, I began to recognize that God has always been with me and that I was never alone. Even in school, God has placed people around me to encourage me. He placed a lecturer that impacted me through the way he taught and groupmates that I enjoy working with.
Though I am still struggling with lust, I know that God is always with me and I’m reminded of a verse that I have held onto the whole time. Isaiah 55:8-9 which says ‘ “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” declares the lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” ’. I would like to encourage those who are struggling to go back to God for He cares you