I grew up in a non-Christian family but thankfully, my parents sent me first to a Christian kindergarten, and then a mission school in Primary 1. I have heard about God since I was young. I became a believer in secondary school. I think I did it because I could instinctively feel the calmness during every chapel session, every time we sang worship songs. Yet I think Christianity didn’t really change me until much later. I remember my parents being furious at finding a Bible in my possession. They threw it out. I didn’t get to attend church much at that time. After JC, I went to Perth to do my degree and I met a couple of friends who brought me to a church there. It was a majority student congregation and most of us studied in the same universities in Perth. It was there that I truly started to engage in studying the Bible and learning about God. My church friends became my family and I attended church and cell group, and through the kindness and love of my friends, my faith and my Christian centre grew.
When I came back to Singapore after 3 years in Perth, it was like being uprooted from my spiritual family. I didn’t know how to find a church in Singapore and I didn’t quite know where to start. I had friends invite me to church but somehow, knowing just one person there was not comforting, or inviting. I had to learn to mix around in church congregations that were very different from what I was used to before. I only settled in a church after getting married because I insisted that I wanted to go back to church and so we joined my husband’s old church. He hadn’t been going for a while but his friends and his youth pastor were still there, so we just fell into place quite easily.
In 2008, I went through a really rough period in my life and because I didn’t know how to work through my emotions, I did the only thing I knew. I prayed for peace, I prayed for God to centre me. I got baptised on Easter 2009. It took me so long to get baptised because I didn’t want to dishonour my parents’ wishes by getting baptised without asking their permission. By now, my parents knew that I was a Christian. I was allowed to reject certain practices like holding joss sticks during Chinese New Year when they paid respects to my late grandparents. I did not eat food offered at their altar. When I told my mum that I would like to get baptised, my mum knew what I was going through and she simply told me to continue to pray to my God. Hearing my mother say that lifted a huge burden off my shoulders, one that I didn’t even know I carried.
The past few years have not been easy and during this period, God placed many well-meaning friends in my life. I wanted to blame myself, blame God, blame circumstances for what I was going through. Yet, God showed Himself even more in my turmoil and anger. My church friends from Perth rallied with me, I had Christian-centred chats with my colleagues-turned-friends, and grew my friendships with different people who spoke to me what God wanted me to hear. I prayed for peace from 2008 on, and it was only sometime in 2014 that I truly felt that I had let go of some of my internal demons, things that brought me down instead of lifting me up.
In retrospect, I realise the one constant in the last 20 years of being a Christian: I needed (and still need) God to centre me. Whenever I left that behind, whenever God was not at the centre, I did not do well. Christ helped to bring peace, a true calmness that I am only ever able to feel in his presence. When I do things now, I consider more carefully whether my actions tell people that I am a child of God. I become more conscious and reflective; I was very strong-headed (I still am) but the difference is that I try to curb my temper; I want to raise my children to know God. It has taken nothing short of divine intervention to bring me to where I am today.