On the Saturday of the 9th December 2000, I was brought into this world and labelled the “Sabbath baby”. Being a 3rd generation Seventh-day Adventist all I knew was
church on a Saturday because it was the Sabbath. However, even though I was born into the faith, loved the church services, I never really had a true and genuine relationship with Christ.
Growing up, I was very fortunate to be brought up by amazing parents, I really couldn’t ask for any better. I can’t thank God enough for blessing me with individuals who nurtured and helped me through all the stages of my life. However, my story is here to show that just because you’re born into an amazing household, with an amazing family, it doesn’t mean that your life is perfect or you’re not inevitable to struggle in life or even battle with yourself.
My whole life, I have struggled a lot with my self-worth and had many insecurities. Due to this struggle, I became a “people pleaser” at such an early age. I always thought about what others expected of me, how others would like and love me, how others perceived me.
I grew up with a sister who was 5 years older than me. The difficulty with growing up with an amazing sister was that I felt as though others would constantly compare me to her beauty, success and intelligence. It caused me to resent her at one point because there were constant comparisons of our character and personalities. I always ended up getting mad at her for being great and hated myself because I couldn’t be her.
Unfortunately, church was a place that I felt pressure too. Those who were my age were well behaved, talented and smart. I couldn’t play the piano or the violin like the others and every special item sang a voice always whispered “you’ll never be as good as your sister”. At one point, I became exhausted from the constant comparisons that it caused me to have breakdowns. I became someone who was rebellious, outspoken, opinionated and put on a tough exterior because I felt so unloved, misunderstood and unnoticed. Having a tough exterior was there as a defence mechanism for my hurting.
The influence school had on me was so great which didn’t make things any better. School was difficult because in primary I was an ethnic minority in school and I didn’t really fit in because of that. Middle School and High School were also difficult phases in my life because it was where all my self confidence crumbled. I felt an immense pressure to look like the other girls, to like what they liked, to be someone the boys would like too! I felt as though I was never really good enough when I tried either.
I covered all my insecurities with dressing like the “it girl” and keeping a great social media presence to post the highs of my life hoping to prove that I was more worthy or better than others and wanting to hear things like “oh, I wish my life was like that”. I also masked it with makeup to hide the hurt I felt daily. Makeup hid the tired eyes that would cry late at night. Wherever I went, I constantly felt the pressure feeling the need to fit in.
After months and years of this I just began to give up and just felt so worthless to the world. This feeling of worthlessness made me go to “quick fixes” by trying to find people who would affirm me with my worth. This resulted in me being with the wrong groups of people and be with the wrong guys. Ultimately hurting me emotionally which added even more pain to the equation. Looking back, I can see that this was the result of not understanding the depth of love God has for me as well as my identity in Him.
There came one night that I just broke down. I couldn’t do it any longer. I was tired. I had no one to call to - the only thing I could do was cry. I cried to God and asked for Him to help me in my helpless situation. It was this prayer that led me to make the decision to let God into my life, to allow Him to guide me as well. At the time, I was just letting all my feelings that were hidden out and to my surprise, I felt a sense of relief. It was at this moment that made me realise that God cared for me. It was that moment when my prayer was answered. God made me feel relevant. Him answering that prayer and giving me relief was validation that He cared.
However, things were still not great. In school I was failing miserably in my subjects and there were days where I couldn’t go to school because of high levels of anxiety caused by the ideas of being a ‘failure’, not being ‘good enough’, behind on work because I just couldn’t understand and nothing would come in. This caused me to be behind on all my workload. In addition to that, I was also struggling to understand God’s calling for my life. The subjects I chose were dictated by people’s opinions, leading me to not enjoy my education and lost passion in studies.
I just couldn’t understand His plan for me but gaining a sense of comfort for my previous experience, I clung on to Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
All of this was a whirlwind that overwhelmed me. It was at this point that God convicted me to fully reconnect with Him. To trust in Him and what He can do. It was after this point of full surrender that God has just been able to work in my life. The lost identity was gained by understanding God’s love for me; He made me realise that I was “fearfully and wonderfully made”. I don’t need to be like anyone else because He made Me unique; with the high calling to serve Him. With academics, God was so good that He helped me get through it all. In my studies the greatest lesson I learnt was excellence. I wasn’t an intelligent student, I struggled with understanding and the workload but through this I saw God’s goodness. It was the time spent in His word and much prayer before studying that was the key to my achievements. He made the impossible possible and He can do the same for you.
My journey with Christ has not been easy but by faith I can say it’s all worth it. I’ve been faced with challenges, but every challenge faced has allowed me to grow to trust God, allow Him to develop my character and most importantly, allow Him to reveal His goodness and glory. In this journey I’ve learnt to trust in Him.
Jeremiah 33:3 says “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Throughout my life God has taught me the lessons of reliance on Him. He has shown me His goodness and has allowed me to experience His unconditional love.
The same God who has helped me in my journey is willing to embark on a relationship with you too! He is willing to guide you through the difficulties you may be facing. He is willing to make you whole. He is opening His arms to place you in His care and He wants to do great and mighty things for you, is that something you’re willing to allow Him to do in your life?