Watch: Noel’s testimony
Noel shares about how she longed for her parents’ approval as a second generation in a family business, and how God led her to see the truth about her family relations and led her to a vital reconciliation before it was too late. Praise God!
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We started by praying to remove all spiritual ties to many many idols my parents worshipped. After I did that, suddenly I could see how my parents felt.
Hello, my name is Noel. I came from a very humble family. My parents suffered poverty when they were young. So after they got married, “work non-stop” became the motto of the family. Usually working 360 days was a norm. They only took a few days off during the Chinese New Year.
In the 70’s, my parents started a wedding fashion business. This actually turned out to be a blessing but also a curse to the family.
My childhood was a very lonely and dark age for me. I was rejected because my parents spent most of their time at work. d
My grandmum and uncle took good care of me. They gave me a lot of discipline but missed out on the love part. I was so longing to see my parents and just be with them but work always won.
In school, I faced discrimination just because I don’t get good grades. This brought a lot of feelings of shame. By God’s grace, my mum saved me by transferring me to a Christian primary school where I finally found a little bit more care and love and encouragement, and I could feel secure.
From there, I came to know Jesus Christ. A seed of faith was planted in my little heart.
After university, I felt very lost even though it seems a lot of options in front of my life. I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in the future. There was no guidance, no direction. So I just went along with the flow of others and got into some legal training.
But God brought me back to my family’s wedding fashion business.
This was actually a very odd decision because I was not trained as a designer but somehow, I find the peace in making that decision. Maybe I have been surrounded by wedding dresses for my whole life.
I tried to work under my dad, a man who is very hard-working – trusts no one but himself.
On top of that, he worshipped countless idols because he only believed they will bring blessings to the family and the business. Our values were very different and constantly clashed.
Honestly, the business was okay. As a second generation, I never got any approval from them. There was so much misalignment in managing the business, and it became so painful and I almost get into depression
It hurt our relationship and left a big wound in my heart.
Come on, I just want my parents’ approval but what I faced was just more and more distrust.
At that particular time, I started to take my faith more seriously and pray and really trust and depend on God. I knew there was no one but Him I can go for hope, wisdom, guidance, love.
And after the six years of struggling in the family business, I desired to leave it and start my own wedding fashion brand.
I didn’t want our family to turn out to be a constant battlefield just because of work.
By doing that all by myself, I was fearful but God prepared a beautiful studio where I had a view of a church I could see every day. I felt His presence was so strong with me. I worked super hard, six days, never took one Saturday off.
I was so thankful for the support of my boyfriend, and now my husband, at that time, that he really supported me. I worked wholeheartedly. It was good.
The shop also turned into a place of worship where we opened up for fellowship, disciples training where I met my lovely sister-in-Christ. She taught me about how God sees sin and how we all need to confess and repent of our sins so God can exchange areas of spiritual death with new spiritual life.
On one of my birthdays, I invited her to pray with me to ask God to cleanse me.
Such a cleansing prayer was really new to me. It was not easy because it used God’s Word to search deep into my heart.. lasted a few hours, one of the longest prayers I have ever done. It turned out so good and so God.
I dug out every detail of my life from since I had any memory and I recalled a lot of sinful and painful moments where I was so wrong in both my thoughts and actions. It was really hard to recall such sinful moments in life but knowing God forgave me through the blood of Jesus., it gives me tonnes of comfort, even til now.
I can’t imagine what I would be like if I continued to carry all these burdens by myself.
So blessed I did the cleansing prayer. God cleansed me through the process and took away my sins.
I felt so much light and joyful afterward. I knew that God was making me new and that I could move on without any more shame or guilt. I felt more of God’s love in my heart and become more confident that His love would flow through me to my parents and even to those around me.
I can truly understand the power of the cross when I recall how much sin I have been forgiven for and been set free. God is full of mercy and grace. His grace not only covers me but also my marriage.
In my 40’s, I finally made my own wedding dress.
I had been waiting 10 years for my prideful boyfriend to become a Christian before I can say yes. He experienced God’s miracle of healing and desired to go to church to find God.
I witnessed his transformation from a man who was a little bit full of himself to a man of God. It is never easy for a prideful man to change but with God, all things are possible. By grace, my husband learnt to love not only me, but also my family. Five years ago, my mum had a huge stroke on a Saturday night and needed a serious operation with a lot of money to pay.
I was so touched by my husband’s response. At that critical moment, he was willing even to sell our flat to pay the bill. Again, he didn’t need to do so. Somehow, his action was not about the money, but the love of God I could see through him.
Honestly, seeing my mum paralysed was one of the most painful periods of my life but somehow I also experienced a lot of grace and peace.
God was so kind to my family. He allowed her to come back from the edge of death and give her five more years.
The family became united through love and not work anymore. We all focused on just how to take good care of her.
Even though she suffered physically, I thank God she became a new person – a Christian – during her last five years of her life. From her lips is only “praise God!” for His grace and mercy. And she has no complaints. God really turns ashes into beauty.
At that time, I was doing everything I can to support my family and her, and give them all the best, but I still felt unable to connect to them emotionally, especially with my mum.
It really made me feel so heavy because I knew my mum’s time was counting down.
On my birthday this year, I visited the same sister-in-Christ again and shared about my burden about my life. She asked me if I carried any guilt towards my parents. Maybe this is why I can’t love them freely. And I told her I didn’t think so because I did everything I can.
She suggested me to ask the Holy Spirit to show us the truth about my feelings towards my parents. We started by praying to remove all spiritual ties to many, many idols my parents worshipped. Like in the Bible, 2 Corinthians chapter 4 verse 4 says that the “Satan can blind the minds of those who don’t believe.”
After I did that, suddenly I could see how my parents felt the betrayal when I left to start my own business.
I broke down and cried because now, my heart could connect with them and how they feel. Things became more clear to me and I knew I had to ask my parents to forgive me for hurting them. That was the hidden guilt that I had to confess.
Within two weeks, I asked my parents for forgiveness. Although they didn’t expect that, I felt a peace come in between us. It was such a big relief. Like in the Bible, John chapter 8 verse 32 says, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
A month after our reconciliation about the business, my mum passed away.
The timing of our reconciliation could not have been planned any better. Only God knows what had to be done. Experiencing all these at halftime of my life, my priority has shifted. Work cannot be a curse to me anymore. I know God wants me to be free as His child. I understand my purpose in life is to love Him and bring people to know His love and faithfulness. Work is only a platform to achieve all this end. This brings me a lot of joy and motivation.
God can use me to create beautiful dresses but only God can create and redeem beauty in our souls.
If you are like me, as a second-generation from a family business, my encouragement to you is, seek God’s kingdom first before you seek any approval from man.
He will never question you, misunderstand or reject you when your desire is to do His will. God will personally lead you. God bless you.
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