By Rachel Tan, Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Throughout the past two and a half years, there have been many changes in my life. From starting my journey as a student in a polytechnic, moving from one job to another, meeting new people, to even living through a pandemic. Change has always been something I struggle with. Yet, it’s like that uninvited friend that just keeps showing up.
Before starting school in April 2019, I attended SHINE, an encounter retreat for polytechnic students. On the last day of the retreat, I remember being so afraid of starting out in a new environment that I broke down in tears and shared my fears with my facilitator. I had spent my holidays being active in my parish and growing my relationship with the Lord. Once I realized that the end of the retreat and my holidays meant the beginning of my journey in polytechnic, I was anxious and overwhelmed. I had heard stories from my friends and relatives about the secular nature of the school. I was scared of the challenges that were to come, and was preoccupied with thoughts about whether my priorities would change, my friendships would change or whether I would change and that it would affect the work I had put into developing my spiritual life.
Nonetheless, school began and I decided to join the Catholic student community in Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Joining the community was my way of clinging on to a sense of familiarity amidst the “newness” of this season in my life. Through the laughter, the jokes, the fellowship and the raw, honest conversations, I truly encountered what the joy of the Lord is. The campus community also kept me accountable in my walk with the Lord, assuring me that I am not alone in this pursuit of faith. Things seemed to be going well despite my initial fears.
Before the pandemic, I was that person who left the house early in the morning for school and came back late after school, work, a community session or an outing with my friends. Hence, when COVID-19 cases rose in Singapore and everything shifted online, these changes impacted me greatly. Once again, I found myself in a similar state of anxiety, fearful of the uncertainties of the future.
During an ANEW session in Easter 2020, I was prompted to reflect more deeply on the phrase “Talitha Koum”, which is a phrase Jesus uses in the bible in Mark 5. He uses this phrase to tell a little girl to rise from the dead. Similarly, I felt that Jesus was calling me out of the state of worry I was in, to be reminded of the goodness of his plans for me. As it says in Luke 19:10, “For the son of man came to seek out and to save the lost.” Jesus reminded me that he is greater than the worries of this world. He called me out of my distrust and prompted me to step into faith.
As I look back on the past few years, I recognise that change is inevitable. Change is something everyone has to go through over and over again. However, as I go through different seasons of my life, Jesus has and will always be there. Through the promptings to attend SHINE in 2019 and to join the campus community in Ngee Ann Polytechnic, or the more subtle promptings to attend weekly community sessions, these were how God showed me that he was always present to me. Upon reflecting on these invitations, I was able to recognise the Lord’s providence in my life.
These are just a glimpse into what the Lord has done for me over the past few years of my life. I will continue to go through changes and embrace the different seasons of life that I am called to. Although it may be uncomfortable, only through change can there be growth. In Jesus, I am empowered and reminded that I am not alone. He has placed brothers and sisters in my life to speak truth over me when the lies become too loud. Through the gift of community, I am reminded of my identity as a beloved daughter of the Lord time and again. No matter the season of life or the choices I make, Jesus still holds me in his arms and calls me his own. Jesus is my constant, someone who is there for me each and every day.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as I continue to embrace the Lord’s providence in my life, what is the Lord’s invitation for you today?