I was born into a Christian family. From a young age, I was exposed to a lot of Christian influence in my environment, from home to school to Living Praise Presbyterian Church. I really enjoyed Sunday School, learning about the Bible, memory verses, praying, worshipping and the friends around me.
But as I entered secondary school, I began to question myself a lot, for example over my failure in the PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examinations), or over how nothing went my way. I became really self-conscious, wondering why God let all this happen to me. Such immaturity. I also became less attentive, restless in church. Although at times some sermons impacted me, I pushed them aside and then in Secondary 3 I stopped attending youth service. My parents still dragged me to church.
God blessed me in secondary school, where I did well academically. Also when I entered ITE and had high GPAs that allowed me to attain merits. For the whole of my secondary school years, God’s hand was always there in my life for many things, like devotions in the morning, and having good friends and teachers who cared, but somehow the younger Amanda did not see that at all. I took God for granted.
In my second year in ITE, my aunt saw how my brother had been growing towards Christ by attending SYFC (Singapore Youth For Christ) and arranged for me to join. A staff from ITE ministry then contacted me and invited me to join a mini group in my school. I went but wasn’t regular and was invited to a few evangelical events. Slowly I was able to relate and open up with everyone there, and from then on I became motivated and started to learn about God again.
Then, my dad was diagnosed with nose cancer. I blamed it on myself as I had fought with my dad a week before the medical result and cursed him. I was full of anger, with myself and God. I felt I had lost a pillar of support — my dad. So many negative questions shrouded my mind and bitterness filled me. I avoided my friends. It was the darkest moment for me. But deep within, I knew that in times of suffering, there are only two options: Turn to God immediately or Turn away. I chose the latter. I drowned myself in fear, anxiety, anger and sadness. I decided that it was up to me to support the family but it was all words / emotions and no action. I could not face reality.
During this period of anxiety, a good friend who was a staff member at SYFC told me that I was moving in a spiral: When something happened, I took the matter into my own hands instead of going to God; it was an endless cycle. And with the situation that I was facing I would wear myself out emotionally and mentally. A verse was then shared with me: 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” It struck me, as I realised that God was there all the time. I realised my own pride in taking things into my own hands and not letting Him take over, and how I was fearing the unknown future.
I knew I had to do something about this. I sat in my room and then cried out to God about my problems.
As I entered polytechnic, I somehow felt that it was time to change — that I should take the first step in relying on God. Not only did I want to learn about Him, thus needing to understand the Bible, but also have a community to grow together. So I joined the young adult cell group in Living Praise. It was awkward at first but they welcomed me warmly and from then on, together with my group we learned. The scriptures really taught me, rebuked me, corrected me and trained me. The church was not only a place to just learn about God’s work, but it displayed Christlikeness in everyone who showed concern towards my family due to my dad’s sickness.
It is still a long growing process, but somehow something in me has changed, for I have been told that I have grown. I realise too that I have become more thankful to God, prayerful, not as easily shaken compared to before. It is all in God’s plan, for circumstances in life made me understand that He is Big and I am small in this life I live. (“For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and He examines all your paths.” Proverbs 5: 21).
To my friends whom I hope are here: I hope you are reading this. I have always wanted to share about Jesus to you but yet the way I reacted during difficult times may have made you wonder whether being a Christian is just a religion similar to any other. It is not! It is about having a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I hope that you will be able to experience him too.