by Anggit Fernanda (above photo, middle), 25 years old
I grew up in a family of six. My mum is a stay-home mum and my dad works hard to provide for my family. Growing up I took up the role of the responsible and independent older child because my only older brother lives overseas. I was helpful and felt the need to protect my two younger brothers due to the fear of getting scolded by my mum if anything happened to them. When I was 6 years old, even though I wasn’t feeling well, I had to get ready for school on my own because my mum was busy with my younger brothers. I relied on myself since young because I didn’t want to be a burden to my parents.
I coped with my problems by undermining them, telling myself that my problems are nothing. I took pride in being strong, so that people didn’t have to worry about me and wore a lot of masks. This impacted my relationship with God because I felt that I didn’t need God to help me. I also believed that my problems were too small for God, and other people needed him more than I did. In truth however, I was broken and tired.
When I attended Treasure retreat (a retreat for young working adults), God revealed to me that I flee when I feel discomfort be it in my personal or spiritual life. I would retreat into the comfort and darkness of my shell like a turtle. After Treasure retreat, I told God that I was ready to be uncomfortable and boy, did He take me on.
In the School of Witness, God revealed many things that I’d buried a long time ago, things that I thought I’d already reconciled and things I was unaware about. I’d buried the hurts that one of my loved one had done to me, and buried the pains of my self-hatred and condemnation. During one session, God revealed to me that He wants to be my protector. This revelation was a little weird to me because in my life I didn’t see God as my protector. I thought I didn’t need the protection. I brushed it aside but as the days passed, the word “protector” kept coming up in my prayers. I finally realised that God really wants to be my protector. As the big sister, I was always the one taking care and protecting my brothers, so I didn’t know what it’s like to be protected. I brought it to prayer and asked God what I needed to do, and God responded during the outpouring of the Holy Spirit session.
After resting in the spirit, I felt weak and didn’t feel the same peace that I’d felt before. As I tried to pick myself up from the floor, I heard God’s voice as someone prayed over me. Through that voice, God’s invitation for me was to stop leaning and holding onto myself, and to lean on him instead. I don’t have to rely on myself anymore. No matter how big or old I get, I can always rely on God. I rested the second time and this time I felt the peace that I haven’t felt in a while. In that powerless, vulnerable and peaceful state, I felt protected by God. God taught me that under His protection I may be still, vulnerable, powerless, yet there is a deep sense of peace too. I no longer need to be strong all the time, but can seek refuge under His warm embrace and protection.
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I’m still learning to rely on God and allowing him to be my protector. In some areas of my life, I still struggle to rely on God but I know that God is only capable of good so he will not put me in a bad place. I’m still a work in progress, but I want to claim the truth that I’m worth being protected by God and that I can always rely on him. I’m still that tough, strong and independent girl but I’m only so because God made me to be.
So brothers and sisters, I invite to step out of your comfort and into the unknown because God is waiting to bring you on an adventure of your life. Are you ready to allow him to show you how is it like to be under his love and protection?
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