by Charlotte Loy
My name is Charlotte and I grew up in a non-Catholic family. My dad is a Buddhist, my mum a free thinker, and my brother is a Methodist. Ever since attending catechism in school, I have always had a deep desire to be Catholic. Since none of my family was Christian at the time, I prayed behind closed doors for years and the only cross I had was stowed away in the cupboard. I still went to the temple with my family but said, “Hi Jesus”, with the joss sticks in my hands. However, God never stopped pursuing me and my family through the years. My mum and brother are now baptised & I am currently doing RCIY:)
I had a very transactional relationship with God – I did and said nice things to earn God’s love instead of it stemming from His love for me. I often turned to the world for praise and validation, placing my identity in the hands of those around me. But in the Lord’s pursuit of me, I always had that desire to encounter Him & bring Him out of my head and into my heart that led me to accept an invitation to sign up for SOW. Coming into the school, I had a lot of doubt and was skeptical about all these ‘encounters’ that others said that they had had with Jesus. How come I haven’t been able to hear or see Jesus? I thought I had given Him parts of my life that were the easiest to give up control over, like my studies, but I clung unto control over my family & my identity – refusing and unable to surrender these to the Lord. I’ve always known in my head that Jesus loved me but during the first two weeks of SOW, I was really challenged to believe this simple statement. I felt so unworthy of His love and even felt like a fraud. No matter how much I enjoyed myself or learned from the sessions, there was always a feeling of uneasiness deep down. I felt undeserving of these experiences and encounters with God because I am not baptised.
During the school, the memories of a big family conflict from when I was 10 ye resurfaced. I realised that this incident resulted in my long held belief that I wasn’t enough and hence looked to the world for validation. Every time we had sessions, I listened as a spectator, in awe of the miracles God had performed in the bible, for His people, but I felt I was only a spectator.
At the outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the school, I felt God saying to me, “Yeah, I’m talking to you too”. I tried to resist His presence and His love, but it was too tiring. During prayer ministry after that, the words, “You are chosen”, resonated with me for the first time although I had heard it multiple times before. And that was the moment I realised that this God, my God, wasn’t distant, He wasn’t absent, but He knew what I needed to have full conviction in His presence especially in my life. From then on, it was quite hard to ignore the fact that He is my God too, and I began to claim the truths that I am chosen & loved even in my unworthiness.
Through my time in the school, I’ve realised how faithful God is – never pressuring me to move on from my unhealed wounds. The Lord was inviting me to take the initiative and share this new abundant love that I have experienced from the Lord with my family too.I feel myself being made anew in Christ. I really feel God’s presence more in my relationship with my family. I am unlearning old ways of relating to them, and learning how to love them in a new way. I’m slowly learning how to surrender this to Jesus and rely on His help and intervention. Instead of praying for my family members to change, I have asked the Lord to change me. With my new perspective, I realised that the way I respond to them and react could actually lead to the situation improving. For example, when a family conflict arises, instead of taking sides and adding to the shouting & anger, I will respond with greater calmness and take it to prayer afterwards, for I am more sensitive to the Spirit’s promptings telling me to calm down.
The Lord is moving at His own time, and I can’t be impatient with Him. I can now claim in faith that He is working even if I can’t see it, and I will continue to trust in His slow works. Never once has the Lord abandoned me, despite my numerous rejections. He has been pursuing me and is still pursuing me. This is just the beginning of putting the cross at the frontline of my battles. Understanding what it means to be His beloved, gives me new life – knowing that there is someone who fights for and with me, walks before me and is proud of me. My healing is still a work in process, but now I know that God is right next to me and the victory is already His. The Lord hasn’t forgotten about you either. Will you take the courage and respond to the Lord’s invitation to you today?