Jesus reassures project manager of His relentless love
V had been a Christian for most of her life but struggled with forgiving those who had hurt her until she humbled herself before God and trusted the Holy Spirit to help her uncover the things that blocked her from experiencing spiritual freedom. In the process, she began to understand God’s love more fully. Praise God!
Trauma, burdens and hardship.
Until I completed my renewal prayer and repented over many sins and inner vows before God, I never realised how much sin had weighed me down and how much hurt had scarred me for most of my life.
When I was three, my dad carelessly left me in the car inside the garage after picking me up from school. I watched in horror as he left me and went back into the house, forgetting that I was still strapped to the back seat. It was complete darkness when the garage door closed.
As I struggled over to the driver’s seat of the car to open the door but failed, I cried till I fainted.
I woke up crying in my mother’s arms. It was a horrifying day that I did not want to relive. This resulted in two things. One was growing up feeling insecure. Another was struggling really hard to forgive my neglectful father. The things that I dislike about him just accumulated over time and never came to a resolution.
For example, he was incapable at work and home, and failed to bring bread to the table. This burdened my mom heavily, who strove to extreme lengths in her career to providing my brother and me with a good education.
My dad was always “absent” at home, addicted to playing video games since I was young.
While my parents are not the typical Asian type of “tiger parents”, their expectations of me becoming independent, self-sufficient, and successful undoubtedly shaped me and burdened me mentally. It was only until I came to understand and comprehend God’s perfect fatherly love over me that I felt free from all the frustrations and negative emotions that come with family burdens.
This realisation only came to light recently, after being Christian since I was a kid.
For me, truly understanding the depth and meaning of God’s love and mercy came with life experience. This faith would be just a religion or label otherwise, not alive nor run through my blood. I had to struggle my way through painful and broken relationships to realise that this world will not give me the answers I want.
I was always the emotional, sensitive kid.
I grew up understanding the world by my feelings, how things made me feel, how things made others feel. Hence, I’ve grown to become an empathetic person because I learnt things the hard way; by getting bullied at school by peers and not being liked by others throughout most of childhood throughout primary school to university.
But my parents provided close to zero emotional support.
On some occasions, my parents would even deliberately ignore my depression symptoms and asked me to go “fix it somewhere else”. There was a period of time that I suffered from strong pessimistic and suicidal thoughts every day. I knew that this was not usual and turned to counselling for a few years.
Over the past few years, I had to endure the pain of seeing people that I held dearly in my heart leave me for various reasons. Broken friendships and relationships left me doubting myself and wondering whether I put too much trust and faith in people. I still cry whenever I mention people who were once so important in my life.
These were friendships that I thought would last, relationships that I thought were sincere and true.
Hence, I struggled long and hard over the word “forgiveness” towards my parents, people who have hurt me, and also myself.
I’ve always doubted God’s forgiveness for me because I know how disappointing it is when I make bad decisions. I have started relationships with non-Christians, done things that were okay to the world but definitely not okay in God’s eyes. Deep down, I was striving for love and affection from others, while not believing in God’s unfailing love for me.
I felt depressed, alone, frustrated, and exhausted.
I was not aware of my inner vows – promises that we make to ourselves that deviate from the truth that is taught in the Bible – which drew me farther away from God, because I was relying on own strength to choose my way in life because the world tells us that we need to be strong, decisive, independent, and self-sufficient in order to survive and thrive.
These included thoughts such as “I need to take care of myself because there will be no one for me” or “I will die alone.” These were literally curses that I had put on myself, without acknowledging and fully understanding that God is with me at all times, from beginning to end. These inner vows became my spiritual strongholds.
We are actually never alone. It’s only that silver lining that gets us over our struggles.
One of my life struggles would definitely be believing that God is there for me, that God loves me. In times of hardship, I question His presence in this walk, His will in my life.
As a lifetime Christian, I do not doubt His powers or His mercy but then there was this block between me and that truth I’ve learnt from the Bible since I was a kid. Rationally, I know that God is my Shepherd and Guide.
Yet too many times it was easier for me to go my own way and figure things out for myself.
I ended up in a spiral of not knowing how to forgive myself and those who have hurt me deeply.
The fact that I was not able to forgive my father was definitely related to how I always ended up in broken relationships – because I did not know how to love others and love myself.
I wanted to fill that hole in my heart, I wanted to felt secure, I wanted to feel love, and I turned towards the world instead of God.
I have to be honest that I had my doubts about renewal prayer and wondered if it would actually help me, given all the trauma and mess I have been through. But I decided to do it as a start; I cannot fix any of my problems if I did not make an initial step. I was certain I had already exhausted all my own ways, trying to find answers from the world. It just got me more broken compared to where I started.
During the renewal prayer session, I had to spill out all the anger and frustrations I felt about my father and explicitly pray to forgive him for all the wrongdoings he had done throughout my life. I was really reluctant to do so at first.
It was brutal, I did not expect myself to cry so much.
It was not just crying but feeling devastated, “I do not want this person to be my father. Why is this neglectful, irresponsible person my father?” There were things I had forgotten but God brought up again, memories which caused scars on my mind and my heart. My heart was shattered having to think about all the pain that my parents have caused.
I’ve always had a passion for writing and on-stage drama or plays. I was involved in drama productions for a few years, just to learn and pursue my passions. I spent evening after evening after work at these productions busy learning. Also, I spent time writing short dramas for church as well as at rehearsals. As a result, I was constantly sleep deprived doing things I loved to do.
My dad got extremely upset with me for being absent-minded at home. He yelled at me and accused me of “wanting to be famous”.
It broke my heart, I never thought that my own father could have misunderstood me in such a way.
Aside from the emotional distress, there were times when my father failed to meet his sales target for his insurance job and would ask me to sign a couple of insurance policies which I clearly did not need. If I refused to sign them, he would yell at me for not being understanding and say “this benefits you and would never harm you”. It did harm me in a way. I still bear the financial stress until this day and the burden will last for at least 10 more years.
I struggled so much to see my father as a reliable and responsible figure in my life.
I witnessed my mom’s unhappy marriage my entire life. All of this contributed so much frustration and anger over the household which did not do anyone any good.
Some of these burdens on my mental mind has been suppressed for many years. The anger, frustration, and dissatisfaction turned into desperate tears during my renewal prayer. It was so painful that I went on crying and couldn’t stop. It was definitely by God’s grace that I was able to finish that prayer.
It was the Holy Spirit who helped me to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
My parents did not mean any harm. They are also just sinful people like us. Deep down, I know that I do not hate my parents and I actually spend quite an effort to love them.
When I had to pray to repent for my own sins and accept that God has already forgiven me, it helped me understand forgiveness a bit more. It was hard for me to truly accept the truth that God has forgiven me because I focused on the wrongdoings, the sin and the pain. I had to focus on His mercy upon me instead.
I had to embrace the fact that my life struggles and experience define the very core of me today. Understanding the suffering of this world draws me closer to people, helps me understand others’ pain, and relate to heartbroken people. It keeps me grounded. I know that all of this is not for nothing, it will not be in vain. God is here to rescue lost souls and give us a purpose that will cast away the shadows and break the dawn.
I would never be able to forgive my father if it wasn’t for God.
I needed to accept God’s forgiveness for me first before I could fully understand it and extend it to others. I needed to forgive myself for all the bad decisions that I had made that left me questioning God’s love for me.
God wants us to be joyful and He wants us to be set free. There is nothing in this world that can block us from His love, not death or sin. He shall never stop loving us. After deciding to forgive my father, I was able to receive and understand God’s relentless and perfect love.
I was being set free from the struggles that had haunted me for a lifetime.
After renewal prayer, I started to instill God’s truth in my day-to-day life, to hold every thought captive. If I start to have those same old thoughts again, thinking that “God does not love me”, “I can only rely on myself”, then I know that these are Satan’s lies that have crept into my mind.
I needed to accept myself for who I was because that is how God created me.
I needed to understand that not just from my mind. This fact needs to be anchored into my soul so that it will be the truth in my spirit as I continue my life journey.
Even on days that I wake up feel defeated, lonely, and sad, I remind myself that God is with me and He will be with me through this. I can sense that God is not giving up on me, I was made for a purpose and I shall go find it.
Life is tough, and I would never sugarcoat it. We all struggle to find a place in this world. We will find it only by knowing that the only place you have to be, is right here, right now, acknowledging that God entirely accepts you and has already forgiven you for all the wrongdoings in your life after you repent.
God will not trade anything to have another son or daughter like you and that is how much He loves us.
I had to start believing in God’s relentless love for me even when I am weak.
After renewal prayer, I feel much lighter and freed in the sense that I can finally put one whole lot of my life behind me. That part is fixed and sealed, and I can now anticipate what God has planned for me ahead. I can get going and focus on what I have wanted to achieve and do for God’s Kingdom before my days are over.
It never felt so good to be sincere and truthful to myself, knowing that I have accepted myself, believing God has accepted as well.
I have to be completely honest that forgiveness was not just one decision to make. It is a constant process, a long-fought battle that I will still face. I still get angry with my father and we still fight, but then God has made me understand that I need to honour my parents. Honouring them is not just accepting them for who they are, but also respecting that they have their struggles in life as well.
As I was filling in the renewal prayer form, I had to go back in time to write my mom’s and my dad’s life stories. They also had their fair share of a tough life in this broken world.
It made me realise that my parents needed encouragement not criticism.
As their child, I will choose to forgive and understand, and I will always choose love over hate, acceptance over bitterness. I would have never been able to do it without the Holy Spirit’s guidance because I know that I can no longer rely on my own strength.
Knowing that there is nothing that I can do to stop God’s love for me has reassured me and anchored my trust in Him. The struggles we experience in life will prompt us to ask questions. Bring them to God, and God will show you the things that you have to deal with.
For me, it was unforgiveness. It was not something that I could not understand or even come close to doing. But after pouring my heart, crying to God about all the pain that I lived through as a child, I was set free. I am no longer a slave to that memory or hurt. God heard and He understands. I felt accepted and I shall not turn back and doubt God’s forgiveness over me in my life again.
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