by Grace Lee
Hi everyone, my name is Grace and I am turning 28 years old this year. I come from a loving family 7 made up of my dad, mum, 4 siblings and myself. My siblings excelled in school and I found myself constantly striving, feeling the need to keep up with them and achieve similar levels of academic success, or to perform even better. This led to a continuous pursuit of achievements at school, and later on, at work. My sense of self-worth was built upon my achievements and the kind of lifestyle that I could afford. I was highly attached to these worldly things and reliant on myself to fulfil my desires.
In 2020, despite reaching a new milestone in my career, I was giving so much of myself to my work that I was left feeling dry and empty inside. The stress from work made me increasingly impatient and frustrated with myself and the people around me. While I had tried to prioritise God in my life by attending mass regularly and being involved in my community, deep down I desired for more – to love Him more deeply and fully. This led me to sign up for the School of Witness 2021.
During the School, God re-visited a past hurt that I had experienced which I thought had already been healed. But instead, He revealed the negative scripts of my sense of inferiority and being not enough that held me captive. I always saw myself as lacking and needing to be fixed; such as the way I looked or dressed. I turned to people and material things to compensate for what I perceived to be lacking in my life. I struggled to surrender these deep-seated insecurities and attachments that I had held onto so tightly for years.
However, with much gentleness and patience, God slowly revealed His immense love for me and His delight in me. During the school, I experienced God’s love for me in the big and small areas of my life, and I am learning to open my fists and let go of the insecurities and attachments that I have been holding onto.
During worship in the first week of the School, I received an image of a young girl holding her father’s hand, skipping and dancing freely on a vast grass field. It was a scene filled with child-like innocence and joy. In that moment, I experienced a great sense of freedom and joy, and desired to be set free from the chains and attachments that had enslaved me.
A few weeks later during one of the prayer sessions, I received an image of me being lost in a maze that seemed to never end and I was struggling to get out of the maze. This image spoke to me because the maze was like the past hurt which I had been trying to navigate on my own without much success for the past few years. But that day, God gave me the grace to surrender all to Him and to receive forgiveness and healing. He led me out of the maze and I was no longer lost. I was set free. I knew that I could not have done this by my own strength, but only through Christ had the impossible been made possible.
I am now able to claim the truth that the Lord is my saviour and hope, and that I am His child. He has crowned me as His princess and this identity will not and cannot be taken away from me unless I choose not to claim it. I am beloved, blessed, healed and whole.
I desire to live out a life that more fully reflects my name Grace, which means God’s favour is with me. It is a grace that I neither deserve nor merit on my own, but has been freely given to me out of love because Jesus paid for it with His death on the cross. I know that the Lord loves me abundantly and unconditionally, and He only desires to shower me with grace upon grace. I am still a work in progress but I can see the small transformations in my life. For example the Lord gave me courage to pray for my parents at our commissioning mass and to write a letter of thanksgiving to them.
I now live in greater freedom knowing that I can be who God has created me to be. I am free to be myself without having to live up to the expectations of myself or others. I am free to express my emotions, whether it is laughter or pain. I am free to love and be loved by others such as when I give and receive hugs. I am free to seek out the life that God has in store for me and I am less fearful of what the future holds.I have been made new and I’m free to live out this new identity as a beloved child of God. This experience of freedom has brought about much joy that can only be through the grace of God.
Dear brothers and sisters, I invite us to claim the truth that each one of us is a beloved son and daughter of God, with a special place in the Father’s house. Would you build your identity on the One who loves you and desires nothing but goodness for you?