The day I said “Yes” to Jesus, my family had no idea where I was or what I have been doing. Before I accepted Jesus as my Lord and personal savior, I was a selfish girl who abandoned her obligations as a daughter and an older sister in exchange of her selfish desires to gain the shallow success standards of the world. I dishonored hated my mother. I blamed her for all the bad things our family had to go through.
But I remember the first few weeks of my relationship with God. He spoke to me a lot about forgiveness and how important it is to restore my relationship with my family. Then I would grudgingly respond to Him with “But God, that’s too hard. The damage is impossible to restore”.
Until one day, the person who shared to me the gospel said, “Go home. Start your new life in Christ with your family”.
Oh I remember how dreading it was going back home. My knees were shaking and my head was in a constant battle between “Should I really be the one to say sorry?” and “But what if they try to blame me, how should I blame back?” But despite the battle, fear and pride, there was a small voice inside me saying, “Just go home, let Me handle your family”.
The moment I saw my mom, for the first time in a looooong time, I saw how shocked she was. But because of my shame and pride, I went straight to my room (which I share with my younger sister) and said, “Oh Lord, I’m just gonna be here for about a month. If I get (emotionally) hurt, I leave.”
Few minutes later, my sister walks in with a sullen look, and welcomed me with a sigh that implies “Why the heck are you here?” Apparently, my sister hated me. She hated me because of the many times she saw my mom cry because of me. She blamed me for all the bad things they had to go through because I left them.
FIRST, MY MOM.
So as a method of avoiding any direct confrontation at home, I would leave home early and go home late every single day. I did not want a conversation at home. My heart was filled with shame, guilt and pride. Then I remember a conversation with my mom that goes something like…
Mom: What’s your schedule today? Why did you go home late last night?
Me: Just work, every Wednesday night I attend a Bible study group and every Sunday, I go to church.
Mom: What church?
Me: A Christian family.
Mom: How did you become a part of that church?
Me: Why? Would you like to come?
That week, my mom went to church with me.
And the next week,
And until today.
My mom eventually accepted Jesus as her Lord and personal saviour. It was not an easy journey. I remember the many fights and war of the words at home – nights when I would pack my bags and attempt to leave again, and nights when she would blatantly command me to pack my bags and leave. But every time I would cry my heart out to God because of so much frustration, He would always remind me of three things: One, if I truly love Him, I will continue to pray for my mom. Two, God is faithful in His promises. And three, if I am really a Christ-follower, I will stand as a witness in my family. And by “witness”, I mean “someone who is living a Christian life at home”. The third one was waaay MORE challenging than the other two. I had to learn how to constantly forgive and how to shut up (that is, not to disrespectfully talk back to my mom) for the glory of God.
Our family is not perfect, and it won’t ever be perfect. I tell you, there are still days when my head would suck up so much irritation. But by the grace of God, I am now able to surrender and confess all these emotions to Him instead of ranting it to the world. God also used so many people from our church family to guide us and mentor us. As I look back, I praise God for faithfully watching over us, for examining our hearts and pruning our lives in order for my mom and I to surrender our lives to Him.
THEN, MY SISTER.
If there is one soul on earth I had a hard time winning for the Lord, it is probably the soul of my sister. She believed that there is a master behind the creation of the world, but she did not particularly believe in Jesus. She viewed church as just another religious activity.
There were also many instances when my sister would say, “I thought you are a Christian?” whenever I would do something that is not pleasing in her sight. So the witnessing part became moooore challenging. She would also consistently reject my invitation for Sunday fellowship. And when I try to introduce the gospel to her, she would pound me with questions. So I banked on God’s promises instead.
One Sunday morning, as my mom and I were getting ready for worship service, I told my sister, “Just attend one service, and if you attend today, I promise I won’t nag you about going to church anymore”. By God’s grace, she got up and went.
Unlike my mom who was hungry to hear God’s Word, my sister was not very interested with the idea of having a personal relationship with God through Jesus. She found it illogical and she would often bombard me with questions pertaining to the accuracy of the Bible.
Of course, human promises are meant to be broken. Therefore, I invited her again.
By God’s grace, she said yes. And from then on, she would join us for fellowship without being asked. Her questions were unintentionally answered during casual conversations at church and Bible studies. God amazingly answered her questions. Praise God for the power of the Holy Spirit!
Early this year, my sister accepted Jesus as her Lord and personal Savior. Her perspective about life changed. She went through testing and is going through pruning. Through God, the “impossible” restoration of relationship between my sister and I happened… naturally. Though it seemed impossible to me, it was very possible to God. I am sure He wanted peace in our family more than I did.
Today, I am forever grateful to God for His love and care for us. If not because of Him, my family would still be a mess today.
So if you are someone today who is praying that your family and loved ones would also have a personal relationship with God, even though it seems impossible (maybe because of unresolved conflicts, dependence on religion or tradition, or relational gaps), believe that it will happen… BECAUSE GOD WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN. God desires us to have a personal relationship with Him more than we do to Him. And if it is you who God will use to reach out to your family, then make a choice today to allow Him to use you. Don’t lose hope. There is beauty in waiting on God, for He is sovereign.