23 Feb 2014 by Adeliyn Lim-
In loving memory of Irina Koh & Adelene J. William
Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:16)
As I attended a funeral of an acquaintance during Christmastide, I was reminded of when my relationship with God was the closest. It was five years ago when my mother passed away.
Much has changed since then. I admit I have slid back for very selfish reasons. I didn’t like the feeling of being taken apart and put together again, and again, and again. I had known it was a needed thing to be done. Years of hurt, rejection and self-inflicted pain had etched onto myself while the armor I always had on me was already stuck to my wounds.
At first, it was easy to let Him do what was needed for my heart and soul. I knew how to talk to Him one-on-one as I was doing so for the few months left for my mother as she battled an unknown disease of the liver – a misdiagnosis, which turned out to be cancer metastasis. I had been praying for healing, bargaining for time. When He said “No”, I broke down and asked for less suffering instead. As I accepted the fact that my mother, the only string that held me to the family unit, was not going to be around for much longer, I was forced to deal with my own history. One that made me estranged from my own family and the Church. So I let Him take me back into memories – the wounds in my life.
Wounds of the heart are like any flesh wound. If the cut was new and shallow, it is easier to treat and heal. If the wounds were old, deep and not treated well, it would be harder and messier to treat. The further the Lord and myself went into the past, the harder it was to face them. Some of them deeply etched into the soul so much that it bled at the slightest mention. Some were buried and forgotten. For every hurtful memory, I had to relook into it, relive it, forgive the perpetrator, and release the incident to Him. Some memories were easier, but most were not. For those that were not, I had relook at them a few times, commit it several times to Him, and resist the need to hold back a part of those memories.
I did it for a year or so. Then I started to push away, and started to run away. My excuse then was I needed to concentrate on my studies. Honestly, I ran because I didn’t want to do it anymore.
For a long time, I did not actively relook into the past. I avoided them at all possible costs. I distracted myself with many things: studies, activities, friends, social life, and later on, work. I was still going to church. I was even part of the Christian Fellowship’s Executive Committee for 2 years. I was serving in Christian ministries. But most of the time, they were just an outward expression.
Was my heart not into it when I signed up for to be a part of those ministries? Of course I was into it! That was the whole reason I signed on to be a part of any ministry! But how can a person serve effectively in God’s ministry, yet be actively pushing Him away? So I wandered along in the grey areas, never fully handing over the reins of my life to the One I claimed to believed in and serve. As far as I was concerned, I was doing reasonably well in being a Christian.
I found myself being like a sheep, busying myself with whatever I was doing at the time. Neither was I looking where I was supposed to be looking, nor was I listening to the Voice that guides me. Sometimes I would run into some trouble and find myself being yanked by the crook of the Shepherd’s staff when I bleated for help. Sooner or later, I find myself going on my merry way all by myself, only to realize how far away I had gone when I finally remembered to look up.
Being at the funeral so similar to my mother’s, coupled with Christmastide, brought home the purpose of a journey I had been trudging along for recent years. Jesus was sent from heaven to be born to die as the final sacrificial Lamb, as atonement for mankind’s sins – a gift of reconciliation to God.
Herein lies my personal challenge: to make good of the Gift that was already given to me – the new life God had allowed me to live.
No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the food offerings to the Lord. He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God. He may eat the most holy food of his God, as well as the holy food; yet because of his defect, he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar, and so desecrate my sanctuary. I am the Lord, who makes them holy. (Leviticus 21:21-23)
However, going into a new life is not as simple as a magic spell. It is not an “Abracadabra!” and behold, a brand new me. Going into a new life meant moving on from the past, in order to move forward into the future that He has planned for me. It meant scrubbing myself clean of the old life. This meant that I had to go down the old path again with Him, allow Him to open up old wounds, surgically clean the abscesses within me, suture the gaps in flesh, apply the stinging salve, and letting them heal. It meant looking back into every single thing that hurt me, go down to every fibrous root and yanking them out, instead of just dealing with the big old wound at the surface.
That, for now, is my challenge for the new life already gifted to me.
What is God’s challenge for the new life already gifted to you?
These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:7)
Adeliyn Lim has oscillated between Kuantan, Penang and KL, currently working as a human resources specialist in a telecommunications company. She admits that the walk with God is at times like a walk on the beach in sunny weather and at times like stumbling on cobbled alleys on dark, stormy days. Her philosophy in life is, “Life is a bed of roses. Thorns included.”
References for pictures