Watch: Elaine’s testimony
Elaine shares about how fear used to grip her. Nothing seemed to help until she humbled herself before God and repented of all her bitterness and judgments, as well as the ancestral idols her family worshiped. She is no longer as anxious and can celebrate the gifts that God has given her. Praise God!
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Fear was my foe. I couldn’t sleep. Most of the nights I tossed and turned. I felt I was in a shipwreck.
Hi. My name is Elaine. I grew up in Asia and moved to the U.S. when I was very small. My family and I had a hard time at first adjusting to a new life in the U.S. During the second year in the U.S., a good family friend took me and my sister to church in Chinatown.
I learned about Jesus and His love for us, but His love never got through to my heart and soul. In the meantime, I worked really hard as I was taught to be excellent in things. I vowed I needed to be the best of the best. This helped me to succeed in school, but I was really prideful. I built my identity based on my work.
There were times that people made big and small comments, as well as constructive and negative criticism.
But I did not have the discernment what to take in and what not to take in. I would just take them all in. Their words actually accumulated as time went by, like a song on repeat that kept looping and looping in my mind. I was really full of shame.
Instead of looking to God for healing and comfort, academics became my coping mechanism for the shame, hurt and struggles at home.
Maybe because of my pride and the focus in school, I was not able to connect with other people. My relationship inside, with my sister, with my parents and outside of home were not really working very well.
When I attended law school, I think that was it. The trap of performance drove me to a brink.
I became really, really depressed and extremely anxious. Some of the symptoms would be sleeplessness, ruminating thoughts, excess exhaustion. I would sleep like 15 hours in, very low motivation, I would skip classes. I couldn’t finish my project on time and even at times suicidal thoughts.
I remember one time, I was waiting for my train and I really wanted to jump into the track. So those are the thoughts that I had at the time. So I would make my escape by really watching TV like 24/7, bingeing on food.
So when I saw a counsellor, they thought that I actually have a bipolar disorder because I would be on high and then suddenly I would be on low.
But our friend suggested that I should read Psalms and pray to God at night so that my mind would stop running in a loop. I would think about events.
So when I sleep, I would think about the events that happened during the day and what did I say, how did I reacted. Then I would just be really ashamed of myself because I didn’t say the right thing or I thought I didn’t say the right thing. And then the thought would just keep running and running, and then the cycle would just keep going and going and going.
After reading the Bible, miraculously, that would give me peace and I was really able to sleep for a few hours.
But I continued with that struggle with anxiety and depression for the next ten years or so.
So I really doubted God because I thought that He would cure other people but not me. So I doubted His goodness towards me. I hit rock bottom a few years ago.
I felt really an evil or devil presence was really surrounding me.
Even my husband said it felt like you were being possessed by a devil. You’re not a Christian.
So my mind became really foggy. I wasn’t able to function at work. Every day I just woke up like a zombie but I would just go to work. I could not read the Bible. Somehow it’s just… they are words but just didn’t make sense.
So physically, I gained 20 pounds and exhausted all the time. I couldn’t take my daughter to a short walk, 10 minutes walk from my apartment to the park, because emotionally, I was always on the edge. I was just really on alert, and my temper would just explode.
Anything would just trigger me, especially to my husband, to my daughter, to my helper.
I was not healed until I did a healing ministry that I really came to God and then humbled on my knee. And I told God that I repented for my quick, judgmental thoughts and my bitterness against others. I particularly confessed for my judgment against my sister, my family. I also forgave them for the the words and the wounds that I felt was hurting me or that that has opened a wound inside of me.
I repented on the idols that my family worship, their ancestral worship… There were 觀音, 八掛, 土地公 … all these things.
After all the repentance, somehow I felt a burden had lifted up and my head got clearer and I felt the life and hope that was given from Christ.
I began to read God’s words and I was able to read God’s words. I no longer really take my daily devotion as part of the checklist that “to do” list.
This time, I took His words really seriously. I really took the time at home and listened and really thought about and meditate on God’s words.
I guess growing up, because of my experience such as being bullied in school and also inside of home and my sensitive character, I was not able to understand God’s love and grace. I always thought that He is a God full of wrath, that He is going to punish me whenever I did something wrong. But that’s just not true as I really dive into Bible study and my daily devotion, God is really so much more.
I realise He is compassionate, gracious, merciful, slow to anger and abundant in love. And He just wanted us to come to Him.
He is relentless in pursuing of our hearts.
I really used to hate my sensitive character and I thought that this is the cause for my depression and my anxiety. But I really now praise Him for this gift because I was able to relate to other people, other mothers and other people in similar situations, as led by the Holy Spirit.
As I learn how to forgive and bless others, the love of God kept flowing. I was able to feel, I was able to love and help others really, truly from the heart.
And more importantly, I realised the power of forgiveness and love must be from God and through the cross by the Holy Spirit, and not by my own doing, it is not by me. Dying to the old self is all by His grace and timing.
Reconciliation with God helped me to rebuild my relationship with my husband, my friends, and my family.
I have become more understanding to my husband. I used to call him up, I just would dump him. Basically, he was a trash can that I would dump my thoughts, even in his work schedule or he was in a meeting. But now. I would be able to, I would be able to go to God and I was able to journal my thoughts and I would give this through prayers and God’s words always comforted me.
I’m less compulsive at pouring out my emotions and anxious thoughts to my husband.
For a very long time, I was not able to share my sister’s pain when she shared her stories.
Miraculously, there’s one time that she shared her pain with me and we cried together. I think that is amazing.
I started to pray for salvation and for my parents, and I thanked them for just their support throughout the years, good days and bad days.
As I close, I wanted to share a story in 2 Kings 6:8-23 when the king of Aram sent his soldiers to capture prophet Elijah. Elijah’s servant was really afraid and he informed Elijah about the encircling troops.
Elijah calmed at his servant by telling him that God’s forces outnumber the foes. And Elijah prayed that his servant’s eyes would be open to see the angel army that protected them.
So often, we only see the visible, instead of the unseen promises that God has for us.
The enemy uses ways to distract and discourage us from seeking our good and perfect Father in heaven. I learned when I fixed my gaze on Him that God is stronger than anything else on earth.”
So I encourage you to study the words of God and see what He is doing in the unseen for you. Don’t be disheartened when things aren’t going right and there are hard times.
Keep persevering and you will taste the goodness of God as you learn what it means to die to yourself and take up the cross and the life that He has for you and me and others. God bless. Thank you.
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