by Alicia Lim
Hi everyone! My name is Alicia and I am 22 this year. Before SOW, I never really saw a problem with my life (at least on the surface level). I had a loving family, close friendships I could trust in, and passion driving my future aspirations. I also thought I was a pretty solid Catholic; and basically thought I had my life together.
But then all of a sudden, I didn’t. All my plans started falling apart. I suffered from the aftermath of a toxic friendship, couldn’t find a job, and felt pressure from my parents to either get a job or continue my studies as soon as possible. It didn’t help that I was going through a period of severe spiritual dryness from the stagnant state my prayer life was in. In this state, my brokenness and self-condemnation grew. My relationship with God was practically non-existent at this point, and I knew Him only by name. I took all my pain and buried it deep within myself, to the point that my heart became numb.
In my last attempt at holding onto some semblance of control over my life, I forced myself to sign up for a university course I didn’t even like, convincing myself that this was the perfect plan for me.
But the Lord had other plans for me. My plans had all shifted by some divine intervention and the opportunity to attend the School of Witness (SOW) was presented to me. By God’s grace, I sensed the desire to know Him grow in me, and experienced a stirring in my heart after reading my friend’s SOW testimony. So I took courage and leapt into the unknown where I found myself in the school a few weeks later.
When I stepped into SOW, I expected that the Lord would suddenly rid me of my brokenness and that I’d step out of the school knowing exactly what I should be doing next and that I’d somehow be a ‘holier’ person. But what I really desired, was a deeper relationship with a God I barely knew or trusted, let alone loved.
I was expecting him to reveal himself to me through fireworks and explosions of extreme emotion, like joy, sadness, or even anger, but I felt nothing of the sort. Not even visions or major signs. The God that I had expected to come with a trumpet blast was nowhere to be found. And so as the first few days passed, I questioned if the Lord was truly there for me, or working in me or if He even saw me.
I struggled with a sense of belonging, and the loud intrusive voices of self condemnation that I had been struggling with for over three years, suddenly increased in frequency throughout my days. Thoughts like, “You don’t belong here, you aren’t enough, you aren’t loved, the Lord won’t come for you” played out in my mind.
This wore me down to the point of despair. One day these voices were just too much to bear that I ran to the chapel and cried out, “Jesus, please save me!”. Suddenly, there was silence. In that silence there was calm and peace, and I knew the Lord was present. He heard my cry and He came for me immediately. He silenced the storm that I had been trapped in for years when I surrendered my heart to Him for safe-keeping. That was the first time I experienced the true power of the name of Jesus Christ. And I haven’t heard those negative voices since.
However, my trust in the Lord was still shaky, and I continued to struggle with opening my heart fully to Him. Thankfully, the Lord wasn’t done with me yet.
The Lord went on to reveal the source of my fear of inadequacy. It was a childhood wound I had long forgotten; of being unwanted. When I was taken back to that childhood memory, the Lord revealed that He had always been there even though I felt alone. He was always there holding my hand. When I turned my eyes away from the pain in front of me and finally looked up, I saw the way He gazed at me with so much love. The little girl in me that was yearning to be loved, knew in that instant how immensely loved she was. The moment I met His gaze, I felt the immensity of His love wash over me, and it broke my heart. The heart that had gone numb from all the pain and brokenness, the heart that didn’t know how to feel, was overcome by His love and grace.
And through this revelation, my heart recognised my Saviour’s love for me. The Lord continues to challenge my desire for an intimate relationship with Him by not giving in to my desire for intense emotions, or giant signs. Every day, the Lord sweeps by me like a gentle breeze. It is only when I am sensitive to His Spirit, that I see Him there with me, through the people I interact with, or in the various circumstances I’m in. In teaching me to recognise His presence, He truly is forming me by faith and not by my feelings.
Living in this new life of love with the Lord has allowed me to recognise that I am held by HIm through my joys and sorrows, and that I always have been. I no longer am tempted to run from Him but am content resting in His embrace. I have learned to turn to God with my life, surrendering it and offering it to Him for it is only He, who has Lordship over my entire being.
Though I still struggle with my feelings of inadequacy and with the wounds of my brokenness from time to time, I have learned to speak the name of Jesus over my fear, over lies and over my life. I struggle less with my insecurities and am more comfortable being who I am, for I now know where my identity lies, that I can finally claim that I am a Beloved child of God.
He took my heart and transformed it, and by His power He has made me a new creation. He moves in me, and continues to heal me even when I do not feel it. He has won victories for me and taught me how to love again, and because He loves me, I can move forward on this journey with Him, knowing that He is my strength and the Lover of my soul.
What about you? Are you willing to walk by faith?