I write this for you, young lady, who has made a decision to make Jesus her Saviour, but finding it difficult to make Him her Lord. I do not know who you are, but nevertheless I am compelled to share my story because in God’s sovereignty, this might reach you and encourage you. I do not know what you are struggling with exactly, but I know a thing or two about letting “love” be an all-consuming passion and placing another person on a pedestal where God is supposed to reign. It does not end in a happily ever after, and I assure you – it is a path that leads to destruction.
A little background about me – I feel blessed to be born into a Christian family. I grew up knowing about God, and even went to Sunday School on my own even when my parents stopped attending church for while. I’ve always had an awareness of a Supreme Being who created me and everything else in the world, and I’ve been told a million times throughout my young life that this God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have an everlasting life (John 3:16).
I was enrolled at a Christian school, so I made a decision to accept Jesus when I was in kindergarten or early gradeschool. I could not exactly remember when, but it was most probably during a Friday morning assembly we call “Chapel Time”, where we sang praise and worship songs and listened to Bible stories.
I’d like to believe that I’d been a good kid growing up. I excelled academically and was always well-behaved. I don’t think I gave my parents much headache. This trend continued until high school and university, and in the eyes of society, I was a “good girl”.
Of course, only God knew the secrets I kept. If I’m not hurting anybody or stepping on other people’s rights, I’m not really doing anything wrong…right?
Now that I am a little wiser, I shudder to think about the possible grave consequences of the poor decisions I made as a young adult, if not for God’s kind divine intervention. Whilst this divine intervention was happening, I would not describe it as God being “kind”, but rather as Him being selfish and cruel. You see, He took away from me the person I loved the most (at that time), along with the hopes and dreams anchored in the idea of spending my life with that person forever.
We had a love story that could rival any Nicholas Sparks’ novel. We met on a cool, summer night, in one of the most beautiful places on earth. We quickly fell in love, and he proposed to me when he was eighteen and I was twenty-one. I’d never been so happy in my life, blinded by the passion and so-called love I had for this person. I could not understand why my parents, especially my mom, was so wary of our relationship. I had not even disclosed to her or anyone else that he just got out of juvenile prison for dealing drugs just days prior to meeting me. Not everyone shared my happiness with having him in my life. We had our own little bubble, and I could not care less if everyone else stayed out. I was ready to run away with him – forsake my family, my friends, a bright future as an engineering graduate from the best school in Asia, and most of all, forsake my God.
I forgot all about the values that any self-respecting woman should have. What is important is for me to please him and to keep him, and I did all that was necessary to achieve that. My conscience would bother me from time to time, and remind me that these things were not pleasing to the Lord, or even to my parents if they ever found out. But I was stubborn.
One day, he decided to cheat on me. Although heartbroken, I forgave him and even assured him that we are still okay. Finally, the day came when he decided to leave me, and my world just fell apart. I mourned the demise of our relationship for a long time, and even underwent a period of self-mutilation and entertained thoughts of jumping off the high-rise complex where I lived.
To nurse my grieving heart, I continued to date other men. Since I was already “damaged goods”, I might as well live up to the name and continue indulging in wordly pleasures. I would go clubbing, get drunk, and enjoy the attention of the people I would inevitably bump into these places.
I did not really forget about God, in fact I was actively rebelling against Him for making my life so miserable. However, I had to keep up with my “good girl” image so I didn’t stop going to church. There was even a time I made my way through a service but made a conscious effort not to speak with anybody, for fear of them smelling my breath that reeked of alcohol from the night before.
I’m forever grateful that even while I was doing things that caused God’s heart to grieve, He did not fully let go of my hand. In fact, while I was being His enemy, He still pursued me. He still brought people into my life who genuinely cared for me and spoke hard truths to me, in love.
From time to time, these verses would leave a bitter taste in my mouth:
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22
It took years and many more heartaches for God’s unfailing love to finally pierce through my hardened heart. He had to take away from me many other little gods I replaced Him with. He had to prune my life to leave out the things that would hinder me from being Christ-like.
In October 2011, I finally got down on my knees, bawled my eyes out in repentance, asked for forgiveness and finally surrendered my heart to the Lord. I realized that a life apart from God is futile, and that pursuing happiness and fulfillment elsewhere only leads to a life of emptiness and self-destruction. I re-dedicated my life to Jesus and acknowledged that only He could fill the void in my heart and satisfy my soul, and could He please grant me grace so I may live a life that is pleasing to Him and obedient to His commands.
From time to time, I would still feel condemned by my past, but the Holy Spirit would always send me timely reminders, such as:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
For all my recklessness and the bad company I surrounded myself with, my life could have turned out very differently in the worst possible way. If not for the grace of God and what Jesus had done on the cross, I would not be enjoying the blessings He has bestowed and continues to bestow at the far end of obedience.
The best gift is God Himself, walking closely with Him and knowing His heart. And as an added bonus, heed what He has written:
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
I am now happily married to a man who is after God’s own heart, and we have a baby on the way. What God has taken away from me, He has restored according to His terms and in His time, which turned out infinitely better than what I could ask of Him or even imagine.
This is not yet happily ever after, because we do live in a fallen world. But as we continue to live on this earth and even in death, we take comfort in this:
Taken from the Heidelberg Catechism:
That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ, who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and redeemed me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that all things must work together for my salvation. Wherefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live unto Him.
 Rom 14:7-9;  1 Cor 6:19-20  1 Cor 3:23; Tit 2:14  1 Pt 1:18-19  1 Jn 1:7, 2:2;  Jn 8:34-36; Heb 2:14-15; 1 Jn 3:8  Jn 6:39-40, 10:27-30; 2 Thes 3:3; 1 Pt 1:5;  Mt 10:29-31; Lk 21:16-18;  Rom 8:28;  Rom 8:15-16; 2 Cor 1:21-22, 5:5, Eph 1:13-14;  Rom 8:14