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Useless and stupid - that’s what he said

Over time, I accepted what my dad said over my life. My head was filled with voices telling me that I was too useless to stay alive.

*Names have been changed for anonymity

I lost my mum at seven

My mother committed suicide when I was just seven years old. My dad was unable to handle the stress from her death, so he became very abusive. He would scold and hit my sisters and I, and call us as useless and stupid. Over time, I accepted what he said over my life, and believed that I was, in fact, useless and stupid.

Some relatives stepped forward to help take care of us, but it did not last long. We were passed along from one family to the next. Because of that, I felt unwanted. I missed my mother, but at the same time, I couldn't understand why my mum would abandon my family just like that. It felt like she just left me behind and didn’t care about me.

Things were not any better in school either.

In school,I was constantly bullied by my school mates. There was once in secondary 2 where two girls made fun of my weight. I felt so ugly and rejected. This affected me so much that I fell into anorexia, losing 10kg when I was only 55kg to begin with.

I wanted to fit in so badly

I did not realise it then, but there was a big hole in my life. I craved love and acceptance from people. I wanted to fit in so badly so I succumbed to peer pressure easily. I was rebellious and skipped school to drink with my friends at void decks. We were even confronted by the policemen once, and instead of being sorry for my actions, I shouted at them. Thank God I was let off with just a warning.

I also started being very rebellious towards my dad. There was once I even shouted at my dad and accused him for my mum’s suicide. There was so much hate within me. For years, I learnt to put up a front. I never shared my innermost thoughts and struggles with anyone.

“I believed that I had to be strong and independent in order to be accepted.”

Without God, my life became even more of a mess

I first came to impact life church in 2007. Although I heard the gospel, I didn't really understand that Christianity was a relationship with God. It was just a religion to me. I didn’t pray to God or hear from Him. I left church 5 years later, and lived my life apart from God. But of course, without God, my life became even more of a mess. In 2017, I started to show signs of depression. I was crying without reason and I lost interest in the things I liked to do. I was desperate for help, so when Janelle, who used to be in the same life group as me, invited me back for Christmas bash, I decided to give it a try.

Coming back to church wasn’t easy

I often heard voices in my head telling me that my life group members didn’t like me, and that I didn’t belong. I was so fearful because I thought that these voices would never stop. I kept coming to church only because my lifegroup constantly encouraged and cared for me.

I wanted to take my own life… just like my mum did

Last July, Pastor Daniel Cheo preached the sermon on ‘Sticks and Stones’. In the sermon, he explained that words have power to influence our lives. When I heard this, I started to recall every single label that was placed on me since I was 7 years old.

As these memories resurfaced after so many years, I felt depressed and experienced pains in my chest. It felt like my world was collapsing, but I could not figure out what was wrong with me. This went on for 3 whole weeks. Every single aspect of my life just broke down. This included my relationship, my work, and my mental health. I wanted to take my own life, just like my mum did. My head was filled with voices telling me that I was too useless to stay alive.

Running away to Batam

I didn’t know what to do or how to tell anyone about it. so I ran away and went to Batam. My Life Group was so worried when I suddenly disappeared. They kept texting and reaching out to me. When they finally found out where I was, they came together to pray for me. After I got back to Singapore, I remember my Life Group member Amelia* sacrificing her sleep so that she could speak to me on the phone for two hours, just to make sure I was okay.

When I spoke with my Life Group leader, she pointed out that I had been holding on to unforgiveness and bitterness for the last 18 years of my life. She told me that my heart was like a house. Unforgiveness creates holes in my house, allowing unwanted things to enter and affect my life. She encouraged me to forgive.

Coming face to face with my bitterness

I knew that I had to forgive my dad for all the past hurts. It was very difficult, but what was more difficult was to forgive my mum. I felt that she owed me a happy childhood. Because of what she did, I had no one to help me, no one to protect me from bullies, no one to share my deepest thoughts and secrets with. But she wasn’t alive, and I couldn’t talk to her about it anymore.

After a lot of struggle, I decided to obey God and cancel the debt. I prayed to God and told him that I choose to forgive my parents. I asked him to help me, because I can’t do it on my own. As I prayed and forgave, I felt the burden in my heart lift. For the first time in my life, I felt joy in my heart. I was finally set free from the chains of bitterness and unforgiveness!

Since then, I saw my dad in a different light. God opened my eyes to see how my dad tries to love me in his own ways. He is getting old but still does the chores around the house. I could also empathise with him for not knowing how to deal with my mum’s death when I was younger.

So I started trying to spend more time with my dad. I went home more often because I know he misses me. My family even implemented a monthly family day just to eat together. I would never have imagined this happening in the past.

No longer the old me

Recently, I was tested at work when a colleague laughed as my boss scolded me. She gloated at my misery. The old me would have just decided that she wasn’t worth my forgiveness. This time however, I chose to forgive her, and I immediately felt so much lighter.

The reason I choose to make forgiveness a lifestyle is because Jesus died for a sinner like me! He accepted me despite all my flaws so that I don’t have to seek people’s acceptance. He closed the gap between us, so that I am not an enemy but a friend of God. If I have experienced such wonderful forgiveness from God, how can I choose to withhold forgiveness from others?

No longer a slave to those voices

Now I have stopped hearing voices, and I don’t feel suicidal anymore. I have joy and peace in my heart. What has changed is that I now know my identity in Christ. I have full assurance that God is my Father, and He is always here for me.

I am still a work in progress, and I still have struggles. But I know that God is always working in me, and He will never forsake me. To anyone reading this who feels broken on the inside, I’ve been there, I know how it feels... but don’t give up hope. Jesus is our healer and He can turn any painful situation around.

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