Empower21: Thanksgiving – Natalie

By Natalie Low, Temasek Polytechnic

I entered Empower uncertain of what to expect: I was not open, and was also weighed down by the many baggages and hurts that I was carrying into this retreat. I recognized that I was at a spiritual high after SHINE, and yet my walk with the Lord spiralled since starting school. The lies of the world, the opinions of other people, and my attachment to grades slowly led me to lose sight of my identity. I felt lost and hopeless. I also believed that I am small – that God didn’t see me and He has left me on my own because I am sinful and others are more important than I am. It was with this awareness that I signed up for Empower – I knew I needed the Lord to reassure me again that I am worthy and I am loved by Him.

However, during Empower, through the sessions, sharing and prayer ministry, I continued to encounter the lies that I tell myself everyday: I am not good enough, I am alone. Even with the reassuring voices of my CG that told me that I am enough, I struggled to claim this truth because the feeling of hurts and fear that I brought into this retreat held me back. I remained clamped up for a big part of the retreat. However, the Lord pursued me relentlessly, even when my heart was not open to Him.

During one of the prayer ministry sessions, the Lord revealed the image and words that touched me to my core. A sister shared with me an image of me exploring a beautiful and exciting swamp that God made for me. As I was exploring and figuring out where to go, my foot stepped into quicksand – and the first reaction that I had to myself was to blame myself for not looking carefully, and struggle to get out on my own. Yet the Lord invited me to simply look up and say “Lord, save me”. As the sister prayed over me, I felt deeply in my soul: God knows me through and through. He knows all my thoughts, said and unsaid. He knows my struggles, and also my struggle to ask for help. I started to realize how much my self-reliance and pride had gotten in the way of my relationship with God. Jesus spoke to me and reminded me of His immense love for me, and also the truth that my battles belong to Him. I learnt to surrender all these lies and burdens, to take His hand and choose to follow Him.

Now that Empower is over, I want to commit to walking with the Lord in small ways – such as journalling and prayer! A truth that I hold close to my heart is this: I am not a problem to be fixed, but a person to be loved. I desire more of the Lord in my days ahead, to begin to live in a new way to claim my belovedness. Amen!