by Clara Lim, 31 years old
Saved by Jesus 4 years ago, I desired to serve Him faithfully. My post-conversion life was characterised with much responsibilities and busyness; juggling growing work and church commitments, anchoring my family. Being told what to do, how to carry myself, right down to how I smiled, I felt manufactured, and believed that no one valued Clara just the way she is. To compensate my inadequacy, I placed my worth in the doing, rather than being.
At the height of my career and service, 2019 left me drained and uninspired. I assured myself I was happy – seeing visible fruits of my hard labour, embracing myself and Jesus. It appeared well, but only God knew, I was held captive by myself. I had lost the wonder of life. My relationship with Jesus while moving upwards, hit a glass ceiling. My heart that had the foretaste of freedom 4 years ago, yearned for a deeper expression of freedom now.
During one adoration, I broke down, pouring out unfamiliar grief and anger towards God the Father. If he was the perfect Father, where was He when I needed Him? Prior to attending the School of Witness (SOW), I painted a picture of myself swinging freely, enjoying the bright and sunny day. While it looked complete, I knew something was missing. In a praying over, this exact image was revealed to me, but this time, God the Father was pushing and encouraging me to soar higher. This began to crack my image of Him as a typical Asian father, distant, only attending to my basic needs, and one whom I needed to earn his time for. Although I entered the Father’s house that night, I still felt like an orphan. However, God literally broke my leg to save me.
Healing week was excruciating. My childhood was robbed from me at a very young age, but I was always too ashamed and guilty to talk about it. As we were invited to surrender to Jesus anything we wished for healing, I saw little Clara playing around my legs. Reaching to touch the Blessed Sacrament, I carried little Clara and offered her to Jesus, with the words of faith ringing in my ears – “Do not fear, only believe”. I believe something powerful happened that night.
In another prayer, I saw my hand reaching out for help, and a strong hand reached back to grab mine. As both hands met, my hand changed into a chubby little hand. I now saw a baby girl smiling, knowing she’s loved by the Father. However, I struggled to claim that the baby girl was me. Thus, I checked in with little Clara again. As we looked at a mirror, I said, “I don’t like what I see”. But little Clara said, “I do! Because it’s ME!”. Exasperated, I said to her, ‘I’m stuck, what can I do?”. Then, little Clara tapped the mirror, and the glass shattered. Then, I realised that my self-rejection and self-hate blocked my relationship with Jesus. As we ended the conversation, she said, the little girl you’ve been seeing is you.
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Some days, I still find it difficult to believe that I’ve been given new life. And just like my recovering ankle, I still can’t do run/jump. For now, I need to strengthen the muscles in small steps. Likewise, in moments of doubt, I choose to cling onto the belief that I am chosen not forsaken, restored not broken, precious not worthless, free not captive, daughter not orphaned. I choose to believe that I am the baby girl born into new life, and cradled in the arms of my father.
I’ve also experienced again the carefree nature of being a child; taking naps without guilt, to laugh and scream, to be in awe of leaves, stars and sunsets, to be happy in the present moment without the burden of the future, to receive love and hugs without the need to earn. My relationship with God the Father has deepened. I’m grateful that I, Clara, am chosen and loved by my Father, and I’m excited to start living out my new identity in Him.
My friends, we do not need to earn our Father’s love, his love is poured out for us. It is in Him, that we are his sons and daughters. He welcomes you home with open arms, will you come home today?
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