I was a rebellious and stiff-necked girl. God had given me a lot of chances to commit myself to Him but due to my disobedience, I suffered much before I truly surrendered to Him. But His love is unfailing and endures forever.
He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9
He has been very patient with me! I hope you will also be patient to read my testimony. I hope it will encourage you in your pursuit of the one and only true God. All glory to the LORD JESUS CHRIST!
I was born in a big and traditional Chinese family. I have four elder sisters and one younger brother. Our parents wanted male children. So I was an unwanted child as I am already the fifth daughter. I had heard repeatedly that my mother wanted to throw me away when I was naughty. Therefore, I felt insecurity and had no sense of belonging to my family. My parents worshiped nearly all kinds of idols. I claimed myself a Buddhist since I was in primary school. I was quite resistant to Christianity because of some unpleasant experience. I studied in Buddhist primary school. I was originally promoted to a Christian secondary school. However, due to my self-seeking, I applied for a Buddhist secondary school because it had better reputation.
So I studied in a Buddhist school again. When I was form five, I started to worry about my future. My eldest sister started to work after form five because my family was still poor. I didn’t want to quit from my study. I wanted to enter a university so that I could find a better job when I graduated. I prayed to the sky hoping a god would help me. At that time, though I still claimed myself a Buddhist, I prayed to a god I didn’t know. My public examination results were much better than my usual standards. I was promoted to form six and entered a university after one year. In this first year, I heard a friend of mine become a Christian. Strangely, my resentment to Christianity disappeared. I invited a Christian senior to share her faith with me. Not fully understanding what the Gospel really meant, I “prayed” to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. But I did not realize that I had not invited Jesus Christ to be my LORD.
I started to be a pseudo-Christian for years. I still lived for myself rather than living for the LORD.
My church life
I started my church life from January of 1991 and I spent thirteen years there before I went to Northern Ireland to study theology in 2004. I had never thought I was a pseudo-Christian. On the contrary, in my heart, I thought many of my so-called brothers and sisters were not like Christians. I thought they were proud, not serious, gossiping, self-centered, etc. I didn’t realize that I was judging the others. I participated in Bible studies and Sunday service regularly. I liked reading Bible and thought I was serious in my beliefs. I read a lot of Christian books. I started supporting the missionary organizations. Many brothers and sisters thought I was spiritual and humble. However, the truth was that I was proud at heart to judge the others. Nevertheless, I did pray for my brothers and sisters for their spiritual growth.
Even though I was baptized in 1994 and started to take up posts to serve in the church, I never thought of committing myself to the church. I didn’t like the church. I had thought of leaving the church and finding a better church. But I understood every church had its weaknesses. I could not find a perfect church and I myself was not perfect either. So I stayed at the church until I went to study theology in Northern Ireland. I wanted to be a missionary to the minority groups of China.
My social life
Though I seemed to be tough and self-disciplined, I was actually living in a way the LORD didn’t like. I thought it was right and godly of me to keep away from “worldly groups.” I hated gossiping and slander. I didn’t want to associate with such persons. I didn’t understand the meaning of “being salt and light” to the world. I didn’t show my integrity and love for the lost. Instead, I lived in a way like the Pharisees. I was visually religious but actually carnal. As John said in 1 John 1:8, I deceived myself and lived in the darkness. I declined people’s invitation to some social gatherings by telling lies. I didn’t think it was wrong to tell lies although I didn’t cheat anybody for benefits. Apparently, I seemed godly not to chase after worldly pleasure and entertainment. I spent a lot of money on “upgrading” myself, secretly. I bought a flat without discussing with others. I always made decisions on my own. Though I didn’t deserve God’s love, He helped me many times in my troubles but I didn’t share with brothers and sisters how God had helped me. Both my family and friends thought I was clever and capable. I didn’t give glory back to God.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
The LORD not only died for me, He has been taking care of me since I was conceived in my mother’s womb.
In 2003, my health was not as good as before. On one day in August, I told my sister that I wanted to study theology. She persuaded me to earn more money before I quit my job. At that time, I was a teacher in a secondary school. It was true that the salary was attractive. It helped pay back all my study loans from the government. It was a big decision. In January, 2004, I was diagnosed to have a tumor in my womb. I was shocked and started to think I had not done many things for God. I was awakened to know that I had not lived in a life pleasing to God. I started to pray for God’s deliverance. Amazingly, when I checked my womb again, the specialist told me that the tumor disappeared. I decided to search for God’s will in my life again as life was short. I could not know when my life on earth would end. I decided to study theology and planned to be a missionary after graduation. However, I didn’t quit my job immediately. I prayed for six months to make sure God would lead me. During these six months, I read a lot of books and studied the Bible seriously. I promised God I would allow Him to transform me according to His will. I promised to note what I said with my tongue and my mouth.
In June, 2004, I quit my job and started to search for a suitable Bible college or seminary. I found a Bible college (BBC) in Belfast of Northern Ireland. The application process was very smooth. I had not taken any international English examinations but the college accepted me. I submitted my application on the 7th of June and the college accepted me in late July. The application for Visa and all other preparations were very smooth. I headed for Belfast on August 31st. By the 2nd of September, I was already in the dormitory of the college.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits-
Who forgives all your sins
And heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit
And crowns you with love and compassion,
Who satisfies your desires with good things.
Trust in the LORD and do good:
Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the LORD
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
I read these two Psalms when I sat in my room. I felt so encouraged and joyful. Everything was so smooth that I thought God was blessing me exceptionally. I felt no difficulty in my adaptation. However, I didn’t realize that I was entering a trial.
Temptation or trials?
I still don’t understand what I had really gone through but I must confess that I did tell lies and judge people when I studied in BBC.
My first impression on the people in BBC was friendly. However, I later found that some of them were proud and impolite and even looked down upon me. Certainly, I had no excuse in telling lies. However, I didn’t mean to make myself extraordinary. I truly experienced a lot of help from supernatural forces which I thought was from God at the time. Nevertheless, the students and lecturers did not believe I had such experiences. The LORD encouraged me to pray for the unfriendly schoolmates. (I think the devil would not encourage me to be at peace with my schoolmates, right?) I tried to be kind to them but I was quite angry with some of them. Ephesians 4:26-27 told me not to be angry and not to give the devil a foothold but I isolated myself from them and buried myself in my study. During the study leave before the examinations, I stayed at the dormitory while most of the students left for Christmas. It was very quiet and cold. I was quite nervous about the examinations because I was not good in humanity subjects. I felt pressure to go back to the church I usually attended. I was afraid that I was unable to attain the standard for a Masters degree and that I would lose face. I thought of changing to another church. Suddenly, I saw the sun moving forward and I followed until it stopped at a church. I joined the church afterwards. The first time I joined the church, the sky turned blue just above the church. I thought the LORD guided me there. I found it more and more difficult to associate with the students and staff at the college.
Before the release of the examination results, one of the staff came to visit me and asked me if she could help me in any way because the college started to worry about me as I always left myself alone. Later, another staff asked me to write my testimony for the college magazine. I wrote it and I was much appreciated. Then, the vice principal asked me to see him. He told me that my examination results were good but not good enough for the Masters degree. He suggested that I change back to the bachelors degree. I agreed and he helped me arrange it. Meanwhile, my relationship with the students and staff suddenly improved. An idea to try to associate with them turned up in my mind. However, another idea that they were not trustworthy appeared as well. I didn’t know which way to go. When I decided to take the bachelors degree course, I had a bad dream about the vice principal. I felt I should not trust him but to trust the LORD.
In the meantime, a girl came to me and asked me if I would take a course in Revelation. I just thought it wouldn’t make any harm if I sat in the course. So I attended the class. To my surprise, my name was on the attendance sheet. Then, an idea that I might insist to study the module for the Masters course came to my mind. I didn’t know why I would give up the chance to change back to the bachelor courses but chose to sit in the classes. This meant that I would receive no certificate. I was given another chance to change back to the bachelors course but I gave up again. An idea that the LORD was going to give me a special blessing by bringing me back to the bachelors degree appeared in my mind. However, I refused to follow. The staff didn’t understand my decision. Two weeks later, I was told that I could not stay in Northern Ireland because I was not engaged in any course. The principal suggested that I might take the diploma course. However, I refused again and insisted that the LORD would help me. I was so disobedient that the staff didn’t understand what was going on with me. The LORD told me to trust. I didn’t know if I should trust Him or the staff. I refused to follow the instructions of the staff. I felt lost but still hoped the LORD would do a miracle for me. (Actually, I was given three chances to change back to the bachelors degree course. He had already done a miracle.) I was so stubborn that I chose to sit in the classes only, waiting for another miracle. I became angry with the staff and the students. Nevertheless, I eventually realized that I might have been tempted to test God. There was no hope to be engaged in the courses again. I was deceived and the fear to face my shame made me even more unwilling to confess my sin. I felt that God was very sad and angry at my disobedience and lack of faith. I exchanged God’s blessing for a false hope to study the Masters degree. I lost my direction and felt confused. I not only quit my job but also gave up the chance to study theology. I didn’t know what to do. What made me even more frightened was that whenever I opened the Bible, I felt condemned by the Bible verses. Then I read Revelation 21:8:
But the cowardly, unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic, the idolaters and all liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
I was so frightened because I had bore a bad witness at the college. I could not sleep and was so afraid of eternal death and eternal tortures. My five years of misery and horror began.
The life in darkness and hopelessness
When I returned home, my condition worsened. The Bible verses condemned me in my mind. I could not sleep and I found it difficult to concentrate. Immoral thoughts and foul language appeared in my mind so that I felt shameful. I went to my church to seek help. I was told that my inner child burst out and affected my behaviors. Another church minister said there were evil spirits in me and that I could not control myself. Some advised me to see a counselor. A friend in my church suggested that I see the doctor. I tried different methods but none of them worked. After I took the medicine, I was so tired that I couldn’t even leave my bed. I was paralyzed and felt fire burning in my body. I felt that God had forsaken me and the urge to jump into the street from the 32nd floor invaded me (thanks to our merciful God, I didn’t jump). I sought help from church to church. I was nearly convinced that I was abandoned by God. Terror and hopelessness haunted me. I tried to attend a church near my home. Originally, I thought I found a good church. However, I left the church a few months later because of some non-biblical practice. I felt lost again. I started to doubt if I could settle in a church anymore. At that time, my relationship with my family got worse. I felt that they hindered me from pursuing my goal. I moved back to the flat I bought and lived on my own. I wanted to return to Northern Ireland to continue my study but I was not aware of my poor health condition. I fasted and hoped that the Holy Spirit would strengthen me. I decided to sell my flat and use the money for study. Without telling my family, I bought an air ticket and went to Northern Ireland. I discussed with the staff of the college and hoped they would give me discretion. I persuaded them to accept me again but my attempt was not a success. I dared not face the reality. I was totally lost and felt that the works of the devil were very intense. I tried to get help from my friends but “the door was shut.” I could find no help. I felt that the LORD did not listen to my prayers anymore. My family thought that they could not handle my problem. So they sent me to the hospital for mental illness. I felt the devil laughing at me for his tricks on me. I fell into the “prison” for the hopeless. One could see no hope on the faces of the patients in the hospital. The doctors prescribed some medicine for me and I became “rigid.” My body moved like a robot. The medicine couldn’t help at all but the side-effects were obvious. I was afraid of staying in the hospital for the rest of my life. A hopeless person could think of no goodness. This was what I learned from my experience. The patients had no self-esteem for themselves and no respect from the nurses. The hospital was more like a prison than a hospital. I finally had a chance to go home. I stayed at home for a year but the fear of eternal punishment didn’t leave me. I could not take care of myself because I was so uncomfortable to stand or to sit. I lay on the bed the whole day unless I went to eat or to toilet. I was so fragile and thin. I seemed like an old woman waiting for the end of life. I tried again and again to pray, hoping that the LORD would hear my prayers. However, the more I prayed, the more frightened I was. The idea that the devil believes God too but in fear “visited” me. I was too frightened to accept that I was a child of the devil. I begged for the forgiveness of the LORD. I asked God to chasten me as His child but not to forsake me. My body could not stop trembling. I could not help thinking of curses and foul language. I did not know why I would think like that. I tried to read and write again. Nevertheless, I could not manage to do so. I even did not know how to solve an easy mathematics question. My brain seemed to be not functioning properly. My family nearly gave up on me. Many times, I tried to end my life by eating poison, jumping into the street through the window and hanging myself. I even asked God to kill me. At that time, there seemed to be no difference between life and death. I could neither sleep nor work. I had never experienced such misery in my whole life. On one side, I was so hopeless that I wanted to end my life. On the other side, I was afraid of going into hell directly by committing suicide. I finally ate up all my medicine at one time. I was sent to the hospital again. The first day, the doctor prescribed sleeping pills for me. I could sleep for a short time only. One night, I was extremely frightened by my involuntary shaking of my body. It seemed to be electricity passing around my body. I begged the nurses for help but I could find no help. In desperation, an idea that I might ask the devil to allow me to live better before I went to hell appeared. But I then thought that even though the devil promised to help me, I would not surrender to it anymore. I remembered Acts 4:12:
Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
I prayed to the LORD again and tried to praise Him. I didn’t know why the nurses and the janitor staff started to be very nice to me. I felt myself strengthened again and my memory began to recover. Then my doctor in charge changed to a nicer young man. He was quite encouraging and caring. To my surprise, he allowed me to go home. My new life began. I started to go to the church of my sister’s schoolmate. I got adapted to my new church life quickly. The LORD healed me of some physical illnesses. My ability to learn came back to me gradually. Then, God prepared some part-time jobs for me. I became a freelance tutor for children. The LORD answered my prayers again! I do not fear reading Bible anymore. In fact, I enjoy reading the Bible very much. I find that His promises are so abundant. I started to rebuild my relationship with my family and other people. I cherish so much the Sunday service and fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I thank God for giving me so many chances to know Him and to follow Him. He saved me from eternal destruction.
“For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer.
Though I don’t know what is coming ahead, I trust that our Heavenly Father will take care of me and guide me. All glory and praises to the LORD!