實在難以理解這一切是如何開始的。我在一個充滿愛的、完整的、看似完美的基督教家庭中長大。我的父親是一位牧師，他在我童年時期全職在一間教會工作。在童年時，我每晚聆聽聖經故事，與媽媽一起進行靈修。我清楚地記得，誠實和正直是我們家庭的重要價值觀，因為我們相信「你可以欺騙老師和父母，但上帝總是知道真相。你無法隱藏, 你只能順服。」 我在青少年時期每個星期日都去教會，參加兒童主日學。我一直相信上帝是真實的，耶穌確實為我們的罪而死，並從死裡復活。我也接受了效仿基督為使命，盡我所能地過著像基督一樣的生活。總之，我是一個被基督徒包圍的好孩子，在一個基督徒的環境中長大，甚至上基督教學校。我沉浸在上帝的愛中，感到自己非常蒙福。
New Chapter – From Desperation To Hope
This is my testimony, my story of how Jesus Christ saved my life. Of course, not to mistake me for being dramatic as he saved everyone from our sins; but very literally, the fact that I am here telling my story is a miracle from God.
It is difficult to think about where it all began. I was born and raised in a loving, complete and seemingly perfect, standard Christian family. My father is a pastor himself, and he used to work fulltime in a church during my childhood. Throughout my childhood I have listened to bible stories before bedtime, had devotion sections with my mom; I still vividly remember honesty and integrity was a big thing in my household, because “you can lie to your teachers and parents, but God will always know the truth. You can never hide; you can only submit.” All through my youth, I go to church every Sunday and have children’s bible classes. I always believe God is real, and Jesus did die for our sins and live again, rising from the grave. I have also accepted the difficult task of imitating Christ himself, to live like Christ and be as good as I possibly can be. To say the least, I was this good kid, surrounded by Christians growing up, and went to Christian schools. I was submerged in God’s love, and I consider myself to be very blessed.
Though I wholeheartedly believe in Christ, I did not truly feel his presence until when I was in high school. For most of the time, God felt more like an entity that I randomly pray to, that I thank for food instead of a loving father figure as portrayed in the bible. I yearned for that connection, and I prayed for me to feel something, anything. I want to be deeply touched by the holy spirit, but nothing seemed to spark that, and me as a young teenager wondered why. I always see people crying during sermons, during praise, or during their baptism and while sharing their very epic testimony. I really wanted to have that.
As days went by, nothing seemed to happen. Going to church seemed more like a routine and responsibility. I looked at church more like a workplace instead of a sacred holy place where we have connection with Jesus Christ. As my responsibilities piled up at church, I understood the importance of guiding younger tweens into Christ and I know God had given me the power to change lives, but I never knew how to wield the power, to use my tongue to praise God’s name. Time went by, I started to lose the will to pray. I stopped opening the bible; for most days in a week, I almost forgot the fact that I am a Christian and lived just like any other. I used to believe the fate of my life would be in my own hands, and I arrogantly believed I could have complete power to determine the person I could become. It was a path going further and further away from Christ, and clearly a very wrong path to take. I turned my back to Christ and walked down this dark road.
Growing up in Hong Kong and going to public schools mean you’re always in an extremely stressful and competitive environment. I was sixteen, studying six subjects, failing four of them. The pandemic hit, and we were stuck in our houses, I lost the connection and social circle I needed at church and at school. The daunting public exam that your life depends on was creeping in closer and closer, and I felt like I was drowning, sinking in endless waters of stress and pain. I was in a bad relationship with my parents, and we would argue all the time. I was also in an abusive relationship at the time, where my then boyfriend would call me fat, ugly, stupid every day, or completely neglect me by not responding to my texts or phone calls for days. I was severely depressed, I suffered from anxiety. There were days when I felt completely okay, but some days I could not even get out of my bed. I was constantly crying for no reason, sobbing until I was out of breath, like I was choking and suffocating on my own sorrows. I lost interest in art, in reading, not even having the strength to take out my laptop to watch a movie. I was always so fatigued, hungry all the time but felt immense guilt every time after I ate. There was no faith in me; I did not pray for a long time, forgot the meaning of living that God has bestowed upon us, even forgot how much Jesus loves me because there was no love in me. The dreadful loneliness weighed so heavily in my chest as I was constantly reminded by myself that there’s no one who cares about me, not even my closest friends or family members or my boyfriend who was supposed to love me!
My life did not get any better after I decided to take my life into my own hands, my own orders. The endless sadness and anger lingered with me every single day; it made me hard to breathe. I remember one time I had a big argument with my dad. He was angry that I was not trying to improve my academics, while I argued that I was already trying my best. After times of slamming on the dining table, pointing and screaming, I ran back into my room sobbing. That was the first time I noticed the box-cutter knife sitting silently on my messy tabletop. A moment of silent anticipation I reached out, trying to grab the knife. It was the time, and I’ve had enough. The thought had lingered in the back of my head enough times to let me know this is what I wanted. It would be easy; you’d know what to do. But right before my fingers touched the knife, I heard the little voice in me saying ‘no’.
Just a small ‘no’. My whole body went numb, and I was shaking. I was sure that was not my conscience or my hesitation, but something much greater in power. That one little signal held the power to pause my entire body in motion, froze me from harm’s way. That moment, except from the fear and sorrow, I also felt wonderment, and love. Love.
That night, I did not harm myself in any way. I still ended up crying my heart out until well past midnight where I cried myself to sleep. Before I slept through, I prayed for the first time in a very long time. This is the most memorable and heartbreaking prayer I have made so far, and I will remember it till the end of my days:
“Dear heavenly father. I am sorry, you’re seeing me in a state like this. I am a mess, and I’m a horrible, horrible person. I am so full of sins. This world is so full of sins, and I am so, so lonely. I’m tired of the world. I know my life was supposedly a gift, but I have never asked for it. So, God, if you love me, if you are real – take me in your arms tonight. Let me leave the Earth, end my life here, tonight. Bring me home where I can be with you, because I see no purpose in me being here anymore.”
Now that I think of it, how rude was I to question God and to test him. But back then, it was as if I was desperately pleading for the end. Well, obviously, I did not die that night, and the next morning I woke up distraught and confused, emptiness in my chest weighing. For weeks it stayed the same, but one thing different was I found myself beginning praying again. Sometimes I would beg to die, but sometimes I would just “check in” with God. Sometimes I apologize, sometimes I ask for help. For the first time in a long time, I felt like Jesus is close to me, that he’s like a friend that genuinely cares about me. The love and care I had not felt in such a long time.
Summer rolled along, and I decided to go to the church summer camp. Weirdly enough I felt something was pushing me towards going, and that I needed it. I went, and it altered my path forever. It was not the sermon or a testimony that touched me, but rather, a game of truth or dare. It was a time I finally laughed, felt joy with brothers and sisters, and felt the love of Christ in us as a group. That night, I shared my experience of my unhappy relationship (unhappy could be an understatement here), confessed about my behaviors, and the fact that I was not a happy person. After sharing, I found the connection with my brothers and sisters lost in months of zoom services, I found the people who really cared, who genuinely were worried about me. My eyes were opened, and all this time I was amid angels who are true and good, who care about me, love me despite my mess. It’s not just any regular friendships – it is love in Christ. If I had taken my own life days ago, I would’ve never lived to feel the love God has arranged for me all along. God chose the right moment to open my eyes, to see the truth, and to see how blind I was being. God let me see Jesus’s love, alive in the compassion and kindness of my friends, and I knew my life was saved that very day.
The healing process from a mental illness is very long. But I did not take any medication and see any therapist, I was miraculously getting so much better in half a year’s span. The fact that I allowed Jesus back into my life filled the empty void I had. Jesus’s love is a gift for me. I do not deserve him dying on the cross for my sins, and I am forever in his debt. Even though I am an arrogant and selfish person, he still loves me for who I am. I am nothing but a weak human who desperately needs Jesus in my life. Jesus’s love is a gift that can be mine as long as I accept it, and it is a gift that I need and can never live without. I have learnt that in a hard way.
I got better in months, and I am still on the healing journey right now as I am looking to resolve my other issues. After the summer camp, I broke up with my abusive boyfriend shortly, and decided to only look for men who are in Christ instead. I had the motivation to study and to learn, and in the end got really good grades in my public exam and got into my top program in the college in Hong Kong. A connection was started between me and a friend ever since the summer camp truth or dare; he cared, he asked, and treated me with dignity, respect, compassion and kindness. He is my boyfriend of two years, and we have been so blessed in Christ’s love, bringing out the best in each other and loving each other in promise and devotion. I have gotten closer with my parents, though sometimes we still have ups and downs, I love them with all my heart. I began to think about having a serious pursuit in art, and I made a bold move of moving all the way to LA and studying in an art school, to pursue a career in animation. Before I did all that I promised God I would find a church, of course. Though I am all alone in this foreign country, Christ is constantly with me, he is my strongest backup force and my constant reminder to treat people with love and kindness.
If this is a movie, then it has a very happy ending indeed. But I would say this is a very happy new chapter in my life for me, because my new life with Christ being the pilot of my life is just beginning, and I cannot wait. I am so far from being a perfect Christian. I am a sinner; I have sinned, and there is a very high chance I am going to sin again and again in the future. I am forever in Jesus’s debt, all I can do is to commit my life into his hands, into his love. I wish for him to take over my life, to be my guidance and the light on the road, to be the ultimate truth in my life. I will commit to following Christ, to die with him and rise with him from the dead, and wholeheartedly, joyfully accept the gift of salvation from Christ.