This is where I share my passions, my dreams, my stories, my fears and failures; essentially, my life. And in every bit of it, my Saviour and Best Friend is present.
To be present isn’t just about desiring to be there. It’s not saying you’ll be there. It’s not even simply being physically there; we all know we can be somewhere whilst being somewhere else.
His Presence, knowing Him being present is something that changed my life completely. This is sooo essential, I realise much later in my journey with God, and I hope my site sheds a bit of light on what His Presence is. It is available for every single person.
I want to use this space to share my story. I have never done this before in public because 1. It involved other people (I have since obtained permission to share this from them), 2. I wasn’t sure if anyone wanted to hear it, and 3. I didn’t want it to come across as ‘the world is against me’ or ‘I am the victim’. I hope you don’t see it that way. I share it now because it’s difficult to be completely honest in my updates sometimes due to you guys not knowing the backstory. So here it is.
(P.s. It might get pretty long. Stay if you want, if not, leave it I won’t be offended. Roam where you choose.)
I was raised in a Christian household but came to know Jesus in a more personal way when I was 14. I lived with my dad, my mum, sister and grandparents. Dad was away most of my life, working very hard to support the family. If it weren’t for him, we (my sister and I) would not be able to do what we love right now. Our passions needed fuelling and support, and he provided that for us in the way he knows how – by working hard in what he loves most, cooking. Dad’s a renown chef (a celebrity in many countries), and that explains why he travelled so much. However, as a child, I never understood why he was always absent. I soon believed in the lie that work is more important than family.
Mum worked hard as a ‘single parent’, if you will. She took care of us while having to go to work as well. My grandparents helped out a lot too though. Mum was the disciplinarian. She was also the one who helped my sister and I with our homework. I cannot imagine the stress my mum must have gone through over the years, having to do so much. I guess that might be why she used to get angry so easily. I dreaded having to do my homework when mum’s around because I knew it was a matter of time before I would get punished. Her stressed-filled, rage-fuelled disciplines were not fun. They hurt really bad. And I don’t know if this is an Asian or Chinese thing (cause I’ve heard similar stories in other families), but crying is not allowed when you’re punished. You get double. Crying was always seen as weakness.
My sister was always there, but I hated her (emphasis on the past tense; in fact, all of these are in past tense) because we were always compared. In every area of our lives, we were compared. I hated it and I knew she did too. Hating it soon became hating her (she hated me too, so we’re even!) because I could never feel enough in her presence.
I was bullied in school, didn’t have friends. The worst bullying was probably when I was 10; my whole class (not exaggerating) didn’t like me and made my life difficult. Then again, I was a peculiar kid.
I struggled with my identity and my sexually for as long as I can remember. I don’t want to go into too much detail (mostly because it involves someone else), but I was sexually abused (I use this word in its most technical term) by someone close to me when I was little. To be honest, I was young and so was she. She was abused and I believe she simply did to me what was done to her, not intending to cause harm or hurt. It scares me how something so… innocent (if I may), could result is such a great alteration of a person’s life.
Fast track several years, I am 16 now, studying hard for O’levels, serving actively in church in the student and worship ministry. I was a leader with a few people under my care. I had no life other than school and church. ‘Church’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘God’, I see the difference now. I was busy doing what I thought was right. But I was struggling. I was battling homosexuality and a lot of insecurity. Knowing what the Bible says did not help because it just made me more aware of how wrong I am. I felt like I was in the wrong body, made in the wrong gender. I prayed night after night, on my knees, for the day where I would wake up a man. I hear Jesus can do miracles, so I pray under the impression that He can certainly change my gender, and would if I asked very sincerely and for the right reasons. Of course, those prayers were never answered. So here I was, a leader in church, a self-proclaimed believer of Jesus who felt much more like a hypocrite than a beloved child of God.
With my dad being away and everything else going on, our relationship and communication between one another began crumbling. Years and years of distrust, bullying, insecurity and fear led to me closing up completely. I showed no emotion (my family can attest to this), I dealt with pain by hardening my heart. It was the safest way I knew to protect myself. I hated my family, I hated myself, I felt like I could not trust anyone. I hid many secrets about who I was, what my family went through and how we felt about each other.
When I was 21, my family and I moved to London. We joined a local church shortly after and I attended their student camp that September. In the camp, I met a woman my age who, by the knowledge of the Holy Spirit revealed, knew about my past. Having only met her for the first time, I was shocked when she came to talk to me about my past. She asked the most personal and direct questions, the sort you could not avoid. Those were questions posted by someone who knew something.
Caught completely off-guard, I broke down in tears right there and then. It was the first time I cried in over a decade. The walls I built up for years crumbled in one evening. I remember feeling very weak and very very vulnerable. I was not myself the rest of that camp. That camp followed a year of counselling and healing with that same woman, whom I now consider a good friend. It was one of the toughest years of my life, but it opened so much within me.
I cried every. single. night. No one knew about it because I cried alone in my room, on my bed with the lights switched off. If I was sobbing really badly I would put on some music so my family can’t hear me. The strangest and most awe-some thing happened in those nights. I would cry in my room, thinking no one could see me, and I would feel the warm, tangible presence of God by my side.
He would just… sit there. He said nothing in that entire year, He just sat, and listened. He was there. He stayed up with me until I stopped crying, or fell asleep, whichever came first. My oh my have I got this whole Christianity thing wrong this whole time. I never knew being in a relationship meant that the other party would be so present.
for He has said, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!” – Hebrews 13:5b (Amp Bible)
This was my favourite verse and translation during that time. Still is. I am finally beginning to understand.
Since that year, my world opened up to the mission field and I’ve travelled to many countries bringing that God-given joy, hope, healing and songs of His love wherever I went. The world must know that God is here and He loves so extravagantly!
I have witnessed the power of His love and knowing that we are loved. I see it in my family too. I mentioned earlier (in a bracket like this) that everything shared about my family’s past is in the past. Where brokenness, hatred, fear and resentment once stood now stands wholeness, love, boldness and grace.
I hope you will experience His Presence, this presence I now so love, in this little site on the internet.
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
– Ephesians 3:14-19 (NKJV)