Watch: Teresa’s testimony
Teresa describes how she has come to see that the struggles she faced in her early years had a higher spiritual purpose. Praise God!
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I see now that my life has been a journey of ascension, to the holy mountain of God. God is emptying me of myself and my dependence on my own flesh.
Hi, I am Teresa. I had a wonderful childhood. The best times were from before I was 12 years old. I had everything that my peers envied: best grades at school, frequent traveling with my parents, great friendships, and being loved by everyone in my social circle.
Things took a turn from high school onwards, which I would describe as a Job-like experience, until my present adult life. The things I thought I had wanted and possessed so easily before, became far out of my reach. Life seemed to spiral out of my own control.
My grades became mediocre as I felt a lack of direction. I was not able to find much meaning in my studies.
I still remember the rebelliousness within me against what I felt was a mechanical system of schooling that produced exam-taking robots.
My close group of peers succumbed to this system. I was so disgusted by it that I deliberately chose the opposite direction of whatever they were doing. I didn’t want to chase after extracurriculars that could boost my resume. I didn’t want to choose subjects that most people thought could guarantee a straight path into the best universities and majors. I was completely lost, disoriented, and unable to get the basic satisfaction out of my life.
At that point, I felt my parents didn’t understand me and were not able to show me the warmth and love that the vulnerable me so desperately needed.
I felt constantly frustrated, fundamentally ashamed, and occasionally depressed at the condition of my life.
I knew I was looking for something more in life, but I even didn’t understand my own actions.
For the majority of my adult life afterwards, I tried many different ways to grab hold of what I thought could compensate for my lack in life. For years, I worked while I studied in my spare time and I recently even got admitted to a medical school in Italy. I thought being a doctor was a good career path, guaranteed good pay, and was also a good way of helping people. I felt very happy that finally, there was some kind of stamp of approval on my life, that I’m not a useless person.
Then I thought to myself, “Is this what I really want? Or am I just trying to measure up with my friends? And trying to gain the approval of this world?”
In a small still voice, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “My child, do not go to the school. Stay where you are for now, for there is still a work to be done.”
Looking back, much of what I did was quite futile, because it was not really worth the time and I realised that was actually not God’s plan for my life.
I have always been a Christian, as far as I can remember. I really loved the Lord ever since I was young. I would remember Bible verses that touched my young heart, such as, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.” ( Psalm 119:11) I endeavoured to walk closely with God at all stages of my life, and my soul sought depth and meaning to my life. This is perhaps the one constant that has kept my sanity during the wilderness of my adulthood.
I questioned God countless times, “Why Lord? Why did You choose me to experience all these disappointments and problems?
I have loved You so much and I have pursued You with all my heart since I was a child.” I felt so desperate to search for God, because I did not understand that all this time, He was actually doing a good work and building me up spiritually. As I look back, I realise He caused me to walk the narrow path.
A path which had me seek out to look to Him as my Provider for every step of the way. A path to cleanse me from the inside out and make me a holy vessel, set apart for His purposes. A path that does not include participating in the culture of this world. A path that looked weird to others, standing out from the crowd, not being able to fit in, and constantly making conscious choices in life, choosing to live purely and holy unto the Lord.
Of course, there had been times I felt like deviating and making a way out for myself. But time and time again, God would place me back on track.
He would bring friends into my life, who are on the same path to seek God’s righteousness, as my support group.
By God’s grace, I came to know and encounter the Holy Spirit in a dramatic way during the lowest point in my life, when nothing seemed to be going well for me. Together with a group of fellow Christians, I would fervently seek God by attending revival meetings, some even overseas, where we worship together, receive ministry in healing and deliverance, and hear timely messages from prophets and generals in God’s Kingdom.
Everything in Christianity seemed to make so much more sense to me, when I came to understand there are so many spiritual realities that were alien to me, such as sowing and reaping, speaking in tongues, miracles, spiritual warfare etc. I came to know God in much more depth. In the recent past few years, I felt I’ve matured much in my own spirituality and had the privilege of experiencing an intimate walk with God.
I reflected on why God authored my life the way He did. One conclusion I had was that, our lives are not our own.
We do not exist to make ourselves the heroes of our own lives, but rather, to make Jesus Christ, our Lord, the ultimate Hero.
In fact, I came to understand that many of us Christians are destined by God to be born as the end-time generation for a special purpose. I learnt the importance of developing a rich inner life through communion with God. The sacrificial lifestyle I witnessed from prophets and apostles also influenced me to pursue the Kingdom of God, through more generous giving of my time and resources.
Now, my primary goal is to do God’s work for the Kingdom, because my rewards are not earthly but heavenly. My riches will be stored up in heaven for eternity. God’s timing and design are never wrong. The Kingdom of God has its own needs, and we, as the Bride of Christ, need to discern and understand that blueprint, through different seasons of our lives.
I now understand there is a purpose for my suffering, or for that matter, suffering in general.
The past experiences in my life caused me to feel unworthy to be pursued, just like the Shulammite woman woman in the Song of Songs, who thought “Do not gaze at me because I’m dark…” (Song of Songs 1:6)
But in reality, in all our weaknesses and sinful nature, our heavenly Bridegroom still sees us as “lovely.” I came to know that God appreciates and loves me deeply, for even though, sometimes in my walk with Him, my spirit is willing, but in my flesh, I’m weak.
I see now that my life has been a journey of ascension, to the holy mountain of God.
God is emptying me of myself and my dependence on my own flesh.
As Jesus’ bride, we have to differentiate ourselves from the daughters of Jerusalem, who do not know the bridegroom intimately. As Jesus’ bride, we are no longer ashamed, because we know we are clothed in His righteousness and His glory. We have His fragrance upon us, as Song of Songs says, we are overshadowed by His love, like a lily growing in the valley.
“Yes, you are my darling companion. You stand out from all the rest. For though the thorns surround you, you remain as pure as a lily, more than all others.” (Song of Songs 2:2)
So, we no longer need to operate from the shaming accusations of guilt and nakedness.
His Kingdom is within us, so by faith, we can operate from and we walk out what we see through His Spirit.
In the past, I have come under severe spiritual attacks in the areas of friendship and family relationships, but I came to know that is only because the enemy knows our destiny and wants to pre-empt it. In the past, I went through much confusion about my own identity because of these setbacks. Now I understand that I was made for revival, intercession, and peacemaking in God’s Kingdom.
I clearly know my identity as God’s warrior bride and that I have nothing to fear because my inheritance is to co-reign with Jesus, who is called the Lion of Judah, in eternity.
Now, I see my setbacks in life as a call to worship and trust God.
As in Psalm 23, I’ll continue to worship my Lord, even though life seems tough, because He will prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies!
Lastly, I would like to encourage all those of you who feel like you are going against an uphill battle in certain areas of life to not give up, and not let the negative emotions stop you from following the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Always persevere to do good in the Spirit of Jesus against whatever comes against you. Do not develop a fear of man, but cultivate a fear of the Lord in all that you do.
For the Bible says, the humble and the contrite in spirit will dwell with God in the high and holy place. And in due season, those who sow with tears shall reap with shouts of joy! (Adapted from Isaiah 57:15)
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