Time has flown by so quickly and it is my honour to share my story how God has changed my life. My name is Beth and I have accepted the Lord Jesus as my personal Saviour for almost 20 years. I have a caring husband and two lovely children. I work as a Dental Hygienist which is a decent career. On paper, my life seems as good as it can get, but definitely what I have now would not have been possible if I have not met God in my life.
I was three years old when I questioned the meaning of life. I remember vividly looking out of my grandparents’ window in the dark sky and thought about what is beyond the clouds. Why did I exist? Why would my parents abandon me and leave me with such traditional grandparents that favoured sons? At the time, my parents were living in Red Deer, Alberta as my grandparents thought it would be a great idea for them to build up their financial situation before moving to Vancouver. Little did they know, my father could not kick his gambling addiction and was not able to save a cent.
In a few years, my parents did move to Vancouver and my two brothers and I reunited with them. Do not underestimate children. We will take advantage of any situation if it meant we could get what we wanted. I think my mom had guilt and wanted to make up for the lost time. She spoiled us as a poor family can in terms of behaviour and responsibility. She did everything for us. Such stark contrast compared to living with my grandparents.
Living in Darkness
From 7th grade to all of my high school years, I acted out. My temper grew and grew like a beast. I had no control over my emotions and did not get along with any of my family members. My parents constantly argued and there were days of physical violence and threats. I despised my father for his gambling addiction and blamed him for living in poverty and ruining our family. There was a time that I even denied my last name. Finally, my parents divorced and I had a sense of relief. My mom fell in depression during this time caring for my little sister. Deep inside I knew that I needed to change and I loved my mom but had no strength to overcome my attitude and temper. I struggled a long time and even had suicidal thoughts.
I had such emptiness within myself that I wanted to fill; I got into a relationship that broke my heart, I escaped by smoking marijuana, drank alcohol to get drunk and smoked cigarettes because it matched the persona. There were times when I stayed out late into the mornings and had thoughts of running away. I dug deeper and deeper into this dark pit that I almost failed 10th grade. My choices of ‘friends’ led to betrayal and distrust. I had ‘friends’ that stole my house keys and broke into my family’s home taking some of my most treasured memories. I finally heard the alarm in my heart that had been sounding for a while and I prayed. I reflected on when I was three asking for the meaning of life. I sincerely prayed that if He was true, He can help me get out of this mess and show me that He is real.
Glimmer of Light
The first turning point came during my 11th/12th grade of high school. My mom heard about children’s programs from The Light and Love Home affiliated with The Church of God in Vancouver. She enrolled my sister and from there the Gospel was preached to my mom. Instantly, she accepted the Lord as her personal Saviour with overflowing tears and not long after, she was baptized. I was surprised to see her throw away all the man-made idols that were once worshipped on a daily basis and witnessed a heavy burden lifted from her shoulders replaced with a light that shone on her. At first, it was my mom’s changes and my love for her that I followed her to church but I held the stance that I was there to observe. All the Christians that I have met were super friendly and eager to genuinely get to know me. Keep in mind that I held a strong, guarded outer appearance but deep inside, I felt a warmth in my heart. It took some time to peel away my guard that I have built up but alas, I accepted because I was touched that the Lord loved me and died for me on the Cross for my sins. I was also amazed that these Christians did not give up on me even when I was unfriendly to them. I never thought that I would ever be happy in life nor did I deserve it, but the love of the Cross tells me that there’s hope and Jesus is willing to bear all the wrongs I have done in my life so that I may have redemption.
After High school graduation to my college years, I began to see changes and made changes in my life. I stopped all the bad habits and for the most part, no longer hung around those ‘friends’. I became more motivated in life and focused more on who I am by creating goals for my future. The empty feelings that were so overbearing shrunk more and more as I knew what life meant. Understanding the Bible and learned about Jesus’ journey on earth gave me the strength to overcome. My negative attitude, self-esteem and emotions were more stable and controlled. I was able to forgive my father and we still keep in touch to this day. My relationship with my mom improved exponentially and now can express how much I treasure her and thank her for what she has done for her children as much as she knew how. I am even her anchor and support. It was having Jesus Christ and brothers and sisters at church that guided me in the right direction and to smile amidst the days of affliction.
Moulded through challenges
The Lord’s love is not complicated. In fact, it is the most secure and concrete gain in my life. As He moulded my spirit, I was able to see how He opened His heart and unfolded His great love. Though I have not seen Him with my physical eyes, yet I have experienced His grace in different stages in my life. I relied on Him and seek His guidance on my career and future endeavours. I aligned my different aspects of life to my Faith in Him. Of course, I am not painting life as completely smooth and peachy. During my years in Christ, I still faced many failures, tribulations and tragedy which at that time, I could not understand rather questioned God why it happened.
My other younger siblings also walked on the wrong path and created a lot of agony for the family. My brother was killed for this path. At that time, I was studying at a Dental Hygiene school in Toronto. I preached to him in the past and he heard the Gospel but said later. I knew he was struggling and invited him to start a new life with me and my husband. This was another vivid memory to hear my mom’s voice on the phone and the news of his death, my heart sunk. During this traumatic time, brothers and sisters poured out their care and helped with the funereal in whatever way they could have. I mourned and it took some time but the Lord patiently waited and comforted my heart along the way of healing and understanding. Finally, I understood that we are responsible for our choices and The Gospel is also there and ready for those who have a willing heart. My faith was tested but I am thankful that I did not blame God and walk away from the best aspect of my life. This experience was another turning point in my life.
As I mentioned in the beginning, without God in my life, I probably would not have the ambition to study further, and make such a commitment to marriage and be brave enough to be a mother to my two delightful children. I can testify that marriage requires hard work and compromise. It is easy to want to give up but when I reflect on the Lord’s commitment to me when I was unlovely, the perspective changes. I never thought I would have children because I did not think I had the mother material. They have taught me so much especially love. I see my reflection in them and it touches my heart to know that they came from me. Most importantly, I understand more the heavenly Father’s love towards His children. There are endless discoveries of God’s love and continuous teaching of how to be a better daughter, wife and mother following the Biblical way. No matter how mature I become, I can be a carefree child to my heavenly Father and know that He is responsible for my life. I look forward to the years to come and will continue to have hope and faith in Him despite what trials may come. Also twenty years of no regrets and the person I once was no longer exists. I hope that through my vulnerable and sincere sharing, you may consider to know who God is and accept Jesus to be your personal Saviour.