It Took Me 28 Years
It’s never too late for you to come home. Everyone’s spiritual journey is different and takes different turns, but God is faithfully waiting for each of us. Our reader Dianna shares her powerful testimony of how even though it took her 28 years to take the first step of accepting Christ, God had been with her all along, watching over her, protecting her and answering her prayers each step of the way.
Growing up, my parents were relatively flexible with our freedom to choose a religious path. Being ethnically Chinese, my parents escaped communist China by disguising themselves as Vietnamese refugees and with the grace of God and the Christian Church, my parents were flown into Los Angeles, California in the 1970’s where they settled and were baptized.
In my younger days, my sisters and I attended Sunday school and learned about baby Jesus being born in Bethlehem but was too young to really understand and relate to the stories. To be honest, I was more interested in the free juice boxes and crackers after each class than grasping the more important concepts. Eventually my sisters and I decided to skip out on the classes and ended it all together.
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In Elementary school, my sisters and I were also exposed to Buddhism. We learned about reincarnation, merit and demerit systems, torturous demons, secret words and pretty much the final destination for everyone was hell but with works and merits, we would be able to go to the higher levels of hell where torture wouldn’t be as harsh. It was quite depressing and boy did we try to earn merits by being great cleaners of that Temple. On a lighter note, they feed us pretty delicious vegetarian food. I tried my best to believe in the teachings and be an avid student of Buddhism but my heart wouldn’t let me commit to it so that was the end of my experiment with Buddhism.
Because we were given the freedom to choose our religious path, I chose not to make a decision and put that part of my life on the backburner. I was more concerned with experiencing the fullness of my earthly life and getting through everyday matters than making a decision on what I believed in. At that point in my life, partying, hair and make-up, getting through school and my social life was more interesting.
I did believe that there was a Creator and I was open to learning about all religions; I remember visiting Catholic and Christian Churches, learning about Johrei and new age spiritual healing and although I really really really wanted to be a good and obedient person of a church, I just could not commit or relate to the members. I’m the type of person who is terrified about ghost stories and watching horror films so hearing stories from my friends about demons haunting them when they got closer to God was something I didn’t want any part of. So in my head, if I don’t get closer to the church, these evil spirits would leave me alone. Fear and the reality of the spiritual world were more real to me and was a huge factor to my lack of religious commitment.
Fast forward to 2009, I happened to meet and fall in love with my German man and in 2010 decided to leave my comfort zone, blossoming career in the Project Management Industry, my new house and car, and family and friends to experience living life abroad. It was quite a bold move and although I knew it would be a tough gig, somehow everything would be OK.
The first year and a half in the freezing cold winters, lack of English speaking community, and pretty much starting all over and learning a new language was extremely tough. I had a lot of down time to reflect on my life and the society we live in.
One huge underlying fact that stuck out to me was the prevalence of satanic symbolism especially in the music and entertainment industry. And because the devil was so flamboyant and blatant in his presence, it shifted and changed my whole paradigm of my belief system. If the devil is all so real in this generation and is causing so much evil in this world, then God must be REAL and must be the complete opposite … Love. I started believing more in a God and that God was good but had no real foundation or understood what direction I was supposed to go.
One evening in Germany, I received a call from my sister and she revealed to me that her husband, my brother in law was diagnosed with a deadly cancer and with that cancer, he had several months to live and if he’s lucky, a couple of more years. My heart broke because they just had a baby and my brother in law lived such a healthy and active life.
I cried my eyes out when I hung up the phone and got on my knees begging God, “If you are real God, please heal him completely of this cancer and if you do this, I will seek and believe in you 110%!” I prayed every night for him and in the summer of 2011 he went through Chemotherapy and to this day the doctors have not found one cancerous cell left. Chances for survival were slim to none even with chemo but it was a miracle he survived. Some may say it was the chemo that cured him but in my book, it was divine intervention.
I want to say that I kept my promise with God but I didn’t. I prayed every night in bed but found myself dozing off in prayer. During the time I found out my brother in law was cancer free to May of 2012, my life started falling apart. Situational circumstances seemed to always be in my favor but during that time everything fell apart. My few English speaking friends in Germany found jobs abroad leaving me feeling lonely in my small German town, my website developer was missing every deadline and my new company was not developing the way it was supposed to. I felt a spiritual blockage and really didn’t know why.
In May 2012 I took a trip back home to Los Angeles and that trip changed my life forever. With the recommendation of my girlfriend Annie, I was very fortunate to meet a woman who God blessed with the spiritual gift of prophesy among other handful of spiritual gifts. I was questioning her about the meaning of life and existence, heaven and hell, and my life. She suggested that I read the holy bible because there were many powerful messages from God. I was always quite skeptical about the bible because I thought they were a collection of stories written by men who wrote stories and lessons that would benefit themselves and the male species. I put my misconceptions aside and picked up a bible anyways at the airport.
Beginning of an End and born again
On May 24th 2012, I cracked open my first bible and accepted Jesus Christ in my heart and since then, everything that I thought I knew went out the door. The Love of God came crashing down on me and gripped my heart and let’s just say to this day, I can’t contain my tears thinking of the unfailing Love our triune God has for me and for us. God has since been teaching and leading me to many abundant internet sources and books that have helped me understand and hear Him better. God has also brought me back to many childhood memories that I somehow blotted out and brushed aside. The amazing thing is that God has NEVER left me and has saved my life many times. It’s either I’m super clumsy or I’m an easy target, but God was always there for me at the right place and time.
As I got closer to God my worst fear happened, I was spiritually attacked. I have always been sensitive and afraid of the spiritual world – my mentality was that if I avoided them and pretended that they did not exist, they would leave me alone. (Ephesians 6:12) “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” One night in Germany, the evil one sent me a nightmare and I woke up screaming and at that brief moment of fear and panic, I felt evil spirits literally attacking and trying to enter my body.
Immediately I started praying to God and the evil spirits were cast out my body. Then I felt the warmth and tingling love of God and peace when the Holy Spirit rested in me. It’s amazing what prayers can do in the spiritual and earthly realm. Although spiritual battles may be an uncomfortable aspect to deal with, it’s a reality that we all must deal with. But not to worry because God will always be there to help you when you ask, let alone way more powerful. (Isaiah 41:9-10) “I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
It took me 28 years of my life to make the first step towards our sweet and loving Heavenly Father and everything that I consumed about our Lord has been amazing and it’s not stopping here. My old ideology of God had always been a deity in Heaven just creating things to a loving and caring God in Heaven actually wanting us to love Him in return. (Roman 5:8) “But God demonstrated his own love for us in this; while were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
My whole life I was told I grind my teeth at night while I was asleep. I don’t have that problem anymore ever since I accepted Jesus Christ in my life. As of last week, I have finished reading the bible and I’m reading it again the second time. Life as I know it has completely changed from God being a belief system to the whole meaning of existence. I no longer question the meaning of life and why we are here; now I know. My journey with God on this earth is just beginning and it is growing deeper and deeper everyday. I look forward to all the lessons He teaches me and everything He has in store for me in the future.
Image credit: Flickr / White Ribbons