by Marcella Chua (above photo, second-left), 23 years old
Before entering the School of Witness (SOW), I was in a really bad space. My anxiety and panic attacks were almost a daily occurrence. My mind spiraled and at times it was painful to be awake. I hated being in that state because it became crippling and prevented me from ministering to others fully. I had many questions about events that were happening in my life and as the pile of unanswered questions grew, so did my frustration. Funnily enough, in the midst of all of that, I was able to be faithful in prayer and went for regular confessions (by the grace of God), and I felt that the desolation was not because of my drawing away from God. In irrational embarrassment and silly hopes of maintaining the perception that I’ve “got it all together,” I didn’t really talk about my mental health to anyone. I stepped into the first day of SOW armed with my best fake smile, a spirit that was slowly losing hope, and a heart that could barely hold itself together.
“Jesus, only you can save me now,” was my desperate prayer.
As SOW progressed, I came to experience God through moments of peace, through receiving words that resonated with me, and through precious moments of laughter with my brothers and sisters in Christ. During one mass, we sang the hymn “These Alone Are Enough.” And as I opened my mouth to sing, I choked as I was struck by the lyrics. This was a song that I really loved, yet only now did I realise what it meant to surrender even my mind to Jesus. The Lord calls me to love him with all my heart, mind, and soul, even my anxiety. He promises that he is with me in my pain and not a moment of what I have gone through (and will go through) would be wasted, for he will bring good from the ashes, and turn my mourning into dancing (literally).
In spite of all that, I replied with an exasperated “How?” when Jesus continued to say to me “let me love you”, begging Him for answers for questions I still had. I felt that if I could sort my mess out, I’ll be able to let him love me properly and bring his love to others. It wasn’t until one afternoon during adoration where, in an unassuming moment of quietness, Jesus opened my heart and eyes to see that it is precisely in my answer-less mess that he so desires to love me fiercely. The Lord opened my eyes to see that he loves me in the ways I needed, and I’m grateful that he loves me too much to let me settle for my mediocre idea of “good”. Truly, God’s love is more valuable than any answer that I seek.
More testimonies on the Father’s love:
Even though my anxieties are still real and present to me, and questions reside unanswered in my heart, I now face life with a firmer grip on the truth that my God is good, and that he fights with and for me. Thinking of my future still worries me, and at times I find myself forgetting the victories Jesus has won in my life. However, I know and claim that the subtle shifts God has made in my heart makes all the difference. I now face these struggles with my identity rooted in the Lord and am unafraid to run to him in every situation. In Jesus is my pain made fruitful and beautiful, and in his hands is my future safe. He who made the stars and all things beautiful is he who stands by me. What more do I need?
God is doing a slow work in me, and my healing is still very much a work in progress. Even though it may seem that what God has done for me in this SOW isn’t insignificant at all, I claim the truth that all work done by the Lord is good work that is worth proclaiming. Brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus wishes to love you with a kind, steady love that is beyond comprehension. Will you choose to receive his love and claim for yourself the good work that he is doing in your life?
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