by Joelle Tan (above photo, left), 21 years old
I come from a family of six and I am the third child. Before attending the School of Witness (SOW), I felt displaced, unnecessary and rejected. There were many times where I repeated to myself that I did not belong anywhere and that I would never be good enough for the people around me. I told myself that even if I were gone, it wouldn’t make a difference. These scripts that I repeated to myself left me feeling tired, frustrated and angry with God. I wondered why He made me with these defects but did not answer or fix me. Did He make a mistake when He created me? I grew bitter and resentful at the Lord for not answering my cries for help, healing my wounds and my self-rejection.
These scripts also affected my relationships. I became manipulative and controlling, always desiring to have someone around me who could assure me of my goodness when I felt like the Lord failed. But, I harboured a lot of distrust and uncertainty towards those around me. I was fearful that they would always leave me out or leave me behind. Because of this, I could not love those around me freely, nor could I receive love from them. I was trapped in an endless cycle of pain and fear, leaving me feeling restless and numb.
During the first week of school, I felt displaced, lost and many lies clouded my mind. However, at the most random moment Jesus spoke truth to me! It was when I was showering (of all times!). He reminded me that, “It is good that you are here.” On a human level, it was a seemingly small encounter, but He reminded me of the fact that I belong. I belong to Him, and all I had to do was be with Him, near Him and in Him and nowhere else. I did not have to work to be acknowledged or seen. He did not create me to be a mistake or to be alone and that He had made me with purpose and intention. Even placing me in SOW was not a mistake but an opportunity to enter more deeply into His Love for me.
Jesus also spoke to me through the session on the Father’s love. During a para-liturgy based on the parable of the Prodigal Son, we were to approach proxy father figures that represented God the Father and be welcomed back home. The father whom I approached simply called my name and gave me a big hug. God revealed to me that He desired to celebrate and rejoice over me, and that He does not stop rejoicing over me even when I’m already home. His love has no conditions, there is no need to read between the lines and there is no expiration date. His love is simple and He just desires to love me more.
With the knowledge that I am chosen and welcomed home, He has given me the grace to be free in choosing Him. While the process of being healed from these lies and scripts of condemnation in my head is still on-going, I can now speak truth over these lies and be led by the voice of the One who saved me and called me out of darkness. He continuously allows me to live in the freedom that I am chosen and not forsaken, and in living this way, I can continue to choose to live in His Light, Truth and Love.
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After this encounter with the Lord, there are still times where I fall back into my self-condemnation and despair. But the Lord has taught me to call upon His name. His Holy Spirit reminds me time and time again that I don’t need to live in these lies. When I fall into self-condemnation, I am learning to stand firm in faith that it is indeed good that He has created me and that there is a place for me in His arms. I run to the Father even when I don’t fully understand and cry out, “Lord, save me!” because I know that I cannot fight these lies by myself. I claim the truth that the Lord has given me and continues to give me a new heart every day, that I am no longer dead but alive in Him.
Today, Lord desires that you too live freely as His Child and in His Love. Brothers and sisters in Christ, would you belong to Him today?
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