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God, My Raison D’être.

Jessie To

A lot of you know of me, most likely from my loud voice. Some of you have talked with me a few times, but very few of you truly know me. Today is the day to share with you my journey with God.

  I have always been obedient. Like when I was in elementary school, my mom bought me a pair of pristine white sneakers. She warned me to not get them dirty. So what was I supposed to do during recess? Well, while my two best friends were digging their way to China in the sandbox, I was 6 feet away admiring their work, in order to keep my pristine white sneakers pristine and white.

  I’m sure most of you can relate to this – in the common Chinese household, the younger generations must obey the elders. But 3 children, 3 adults, and 2 seniors in a small townhouse is a recipe for disaster. No privacy, constant verbal and physical abuse, always correction & punishment but never encouragement. I felt like I was a burden and that my family hated my existence. I never blamed my family—only myself. So in my teens, I began to search for love elsewhere. Because I was constantly aiming to please, I lost sight of what was important. When I left home for U of T, I was happy because I didn’t have to see my family; ironically those years were the unhappiest. My pursuit of “happiness” had changed me into a person unrecognizable to my family and close friends.

   In April 2007, I had to return to London for an orthodontist appointment. I was bitter and unresponsive towards my family. That night, my mom came into my room. I think she wanted to talk to me about something but my bitter reaction to her coming in silenced her. Standing by my door with her hand still on the doorknob, she just looked at me, helplessly. Without a word, she left my room, closing the door behind her. That was the first time ever in my life that my mom had nothing to say. That moment I will never forget. That moment was the lowest point in my life, but it was also the beginning of my pursuit of true happiness.

  I thought to myself in a prayer: No one in this world will be able to help me and make me happy. No one knows exactly what I’m doing wrong and be able to tell me the right thing to do instead. No one only God. People’s love is dependent on their circumstances and emotions—God’s love is unchanging and eternal.

  So that night I made a promise to God: I asked Him to make me into a new person, a good person, and that He will always be my raison d’être.

  Immediately, I got rid of anyone and anything that would bring me down, and I let go of any anger, hatred, and sadness, so that God can again mould me the way He wants me to be. So September 2007 I started to come to Sunday service, then Simeon’s warmest welcome encouraged me to attend Friday fellowships and weekday small groups.

  My life has been a rollercoaster, but I look back and thank God for using those low points to draw me closer to Him. In Jeremiah 29:12-14, God promises, “You will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you.” God kept his promise.

  I was lost but God brought me home. In Ezekiel 34:11-12, 16, God promises, “I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness...I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak.” God kept His promise.

  My transformation was abrupt, but maturing in faith is a lifelong journey that I have just begun. As long as I keep directing my life towards Him, I know that God will sustain me because He promises in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” God keeps His promises.

  Our sinful nature likes to give into temptations and invite evil into our lives. If only we stop trying to control our lives, but laying it down at the cross, we will never experience the life that God has intended for us.