Jesus comforts missionary
J grew up longing to please her mom and feeling that she didn’t do a good job. This affected how she related to people and to God. The Holy Spirit revealed her hidden emotional wounds and helped her release her buried hurts and disappointments to Jesus. Praise God!
As a child, I grew up wanting to be just like my mother.
My parents divorced when I was about six years old. Despite living apart, my mom and I continued to stay connected. I always held her in high esteem as my role model and friend; someone I can confide in and seek comfort from. I longed to please my mom above all else.
My mom has had health problems. I found that if I let my negative emotions out, she would immediately blame herself and react impulsively, hysterically saying really negative words about herself, such as “I am the one to blame,” or “I am the bad person”. There have been moments when her blood pressure sky-rocketed and her heart started hurting.
As a result, I would avoid getting into conflicts with her at all cost, even if it meant submitting to her opinions and decisions when I do not fully agree with them.
Whenever I shared my struggles, my mom would try to offer me solution-based advice.
Instead of feeling understood and accepted, I felt misunderstood, judged, and inferior to her. I began to feel as if I always fell short of her expectations, that there was something wrong with me. So, I resolved to fix myself by striving for perfection.
I began internalising beliefs that I must suppress my emotions because it was a sign of weakness. More than anything, I wanted to prove to my mom that I had it all together.
This began to affect my relationships with other people.
I would avoid sharing my personal struggles, and withdraw and isolate myself. I told myself that “I’m fine.” I didn’t want to become a burden or let people know about my weaknesses.
I signed up for a renewal prayer because I felt as if there was a disconnection between knowing the truth of God in my mind and believing it in my heart. There is this recurring belief that there is something wrong with me, and this wrong affected my relationship with God. I desired to truly know God and who I am in view of God’s eyes – not just in my mind, but believe it in my heart.
At the prayer session, I realised how emotional suppression is an unhealthy coping mechanism. God has wired us to feel and express our emotions. When I suppress myself, it may seem like a quick-fix but it does not really deal with the underlying issues and why I am feeling the way that I do.
By not addressing my emotions, I was not giving God the space to meet me where I was and allow Him to speak truth into my life.
I realised that instead of seeking Jesus as the ultimate Physician who can heal me, I had been trying to ‘fix myself’ out of my own strength. A large part of the session was spent releasing my emotions in tears and inviting God to minister to my wounded heart.
I also repented of striving to live a self-righteous life apart from God’s grace.
Matthew 9:12-13 ESV But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
God reminded me that He is the God of all comfort. He is our ultimate Refuge and Comforter in times of trouble. Instead of running away when I feel ashamed of the struggles I am facing, I can run towards Him into His loving arms. I can be completely vulnerable and raw with my emotions and pour out my heart to the Lord.
I can be confident and assured that He accepts me and will meet me where I am at.
Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
In the past year, I struggled to release some negative emotions to God. I had this expectation that a mature Christian would not vent or struggle with pain and frustration and that I am not a good daughter of God if I vented all my pain and frustrations to Him. I’m not sure if I learned this because it has not been acceptable or safe to release my own pain in front of my mom.
I had desired to go overseas for missions but God called me to stay in Hong Kong. I was devastated and grew bitter.
I dutifully and reluctantly submitted to God without expressing my emotions. I knew in my mind that God is good and His plans are always the best, but I struggled to believe it in my heart. I felt God had disappointed me and I unknowingly held a grudge towards Him. There was a wall between God and me.
The prayer counsellors gave me space to go to God and release my disappointments to Him and repent of holding on to bitterness towards Him. During this time, God revealed that He had called me to be in Hong Kong to be Jesus’s faithful witness in my family and my relatives. This was not the time for overseas mission yet.
The Holy Spirit also revealed to me that I had set high expectations on my mom and people close to me.
When they do not respond in the way I had hoped or expected, I would be disappointed and avoid sharing with them the next time. The more I isolate myself, the more I become prone to falling for the enemy’s lies. I realised that I should not hold onto my hurt and disappointments but instead extend forgiveness, so I don’t give the enemy any opportunity. Satan can use our disappointments to draw us away from community and I am to be alert to his schemes.
Ephesians 4:26-27 ESV Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
God understands everything I am feeling and going through. I do not need to face my struggles alone. I can turn to God and the church community He has blessed me with. People are not perfect but God can still use them to comfort me when I face struggles in life.
The Holy Spirit also revealed that I have a strong affinity with women of strength and authority.
Instead of seeking to submit to the Lord, I can be easily affected by the words spoken by my mom and other strong women that are close to me. I would have a tendency to submit to their views and plans as opposed to God’s view and plans.
I repented of yielding myself to the plans and views of human beings rather than to God. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit revealed how I have been living under the shadow of my mom. One of my prayer counsellors encouraged me with Isaiah 40:31. I no longer need to live under the shadow of my mom.
Isaiah 40:31 ESV but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
When I come out from under my mom’s shadow, I will soar on wings like eagles.
I often lived in fear of my mom instead of a life submitted to the Lord.
I can never meet my mom’s expectation and I was never meant to be like her. God has called me first and foremost to be His beloved daughter. I can rest in God’s grace because Jesus has filled the gaps whenever I fall short. I do not need to strive to be perfect and have it all together. God gives us sufficient grace to face troubles in life.
My weaknesses do not define who I am. I am defined by God and my identity is rooted in Christ alone. No one, nothing and no weakness can take away my identity in Christ. Jesus is my ultimate Role Model whom I am to look up to and follow.
I only need to submit to the Lordship of Christ and yield my life to Christ.
A prayer counsellor shared a word she had received from Isaiah 60:1, ‘Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.’ The shackles that have been holding me in bondage are broken. I can rise up and stand firm in who God says I am, by meditating daily on the Word of God which is always true.
Like the image my prayer counselor received, I can be like a baby joey in a kangaroo’s pouch, I can rest in the warmth of God’s presence that envelopes me, and He will bring me to places in leaps and bounds.
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