By Samantha Lye, RCIY
Before meeting Christ, I was someone who was careless with my words and actions and wrestled with many broken friendships. I tried to portray the ‘best’ side of me, in order to gain the trust and company of my friends, and from the people around me. I wanted to be known as a fun friend – the life of the party. As a result, this led to a life of partying and drinking to fit in with the friends around me while I was studying overseas. Unknown to me at the time, the Lord was already calling me to him amidst my studies overseas. As I travelled through Europe, I somehow found myself sitting in silent prayer and quiet contemplation in the beautiful cathedrals of Europe, even though I came only as a tourist and did not yet personally know the Lord. I was drawn to the serene peace that I felt in my heart while sitting in prayer at these cathedrals. One night, I found myself having one too many drinks and unknowingly found myself in an unsafe situation. However, my hazy cloud of drunkenness was suddenly replaced with total clarity of mind. It must have been God protecting me, and allowing me to leave the place safely. This deep and personal encounter with the Lord came as an awakening for me to mend my ways. I realised how fallible my own moral compass could be and how easily I was swayed by the YOLO lifestyle the world offered – one that taught you to try everything out there, no matter the consequences.
After my encounter with the Lord, as I returned home to Singapore, I decided to take a bold step to find out more about the saving grace and peace that I had encountered. The Lord had already planted a seed in my heart to find out more about Catholicism, since I irregularly attended mass since I was 17. I took a leap of faith and signed up for OYP’s Combined University Retreat (CUR) in 2019, an Advent retreat in preparation for Christmas for university students. Initially, I did not feel like I belonged there and felt like an imposter. I was also filled with many doubts and questions that seemingly were not answered. However, on the second day of the retreat, my heart began to slowly open up as I met others who were searching like me and I felt less alone. By God’s grace, I was able to be more attentive to the gentle promptings of God. I realised that my doubts and questions were always answered through the sessions at the retreat. I left the retreat resolving to know more about God, and to reach out to those I’ve hurt in the past with my words and actions.
Samantha (bottom left), together with sisters she met in RCIY
7 months after CUR, I took a leap of faith yet again, and signed up for RCIY. It has been a wonderful 9-month journey of growth and discovery, as I learned more about God and built a personal relationship with him. The interaction with other faith-filled brothers and sisters, and those who were searching for God just like me, has inspired my own personal faith journey as well. Since coming to know Jesus more personally, He has showed me how to live a fuller life in Christ, one where I do not need to satisfy others, or to fit in, but to be proud and happy as a child of Christ. Instead of just being a ‘better person’, I now also hope to be more Christ-like in my thoughts and actions; to forgive and love those who have hurt me in the past. By His grace, I have also mended some of my broken friendships and no longer am pressured to be the life of the party. My identity is rooted in Christ, and I know that his love is enough for me. Although I’m far from perfect, I am now excited to continue learning more about God and knowing Him, and to experience Him work in my life.
Brothers and sisters, if you are struggling to make sense of the trials and struggles that you are facing now, do not despair for God is always by your side. Will you take up this invitation to go through it together with God? 🙂