(For privacy, names of individuals have been changed or abbreviated).
Setting the stage: I am sitting by the fireplace in my living room looking through my window, this is one of my favorite places in my house to sing to the lord. I like to sing His word back to Him because I know His word is life. I enjoy drinking my coffee with my ‘Papa.’ Sometimes I cry during my devotions; now in my life, these tears are of joy, but a few months back they have been tears of sorrow in my heart. This article is the story of how God took my inner pain and brought His joy into my heart, showing me that in Him I have a friend that loves me unconditionally. One thing I have observed during my devotion is that; the Lord always shows up in my tears or my joy. I rejoice when I think about how much He has kept me through my adversities, and His faithfulness as my dependable friend.
I am just a regular person like everybody else, though in life our backgrounds and paths are different. Mine has not been smooth, and this started from my childhood. My testimony here is based on God’s faithfulness in just one aspect of my life; if I sit down to write it all, it will take more than a page. Therefore, I will focus on my victory and the beginning of the friendship with my Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father whom I also call ‘Papa.’
I grew up in a small family, though I am from a Hindu background. My parents had two children; my sister and me. My culture was such that we had so many gods, idols and we had to worship the gods that our parents worshipped. It was quite a dysfunctional culture. I had excellent grades in elementary school. I remember being the favorite child of my parents because my grades were exceptional, but this changed when I told them I wanted to buy a Christian cross when they took us shopping. That year my parents turned their favor away from me, and I was labeled ‘crazy’ and ‘immature.’ I was labeled the black sheep of the family, and all the attention was switched to my sister.
For someone that is not from the Hindu culture, you may not understand the implication of this, but that is how our culture and society were set up. You have to be the one that the parents can show off especially in the area of your career or academics, and because of this experience, I became a failure even in my academics at a young age.
It was heartbreaking for me when I started experiencing this rejection by my parents because I craved their love and understanding, but they did not show any interest in trying to understand me. My father made me write 1000 lines a day saying, “ I am not a Christian.” My parents were always comparing me to my sibling, and I was scolded for almost everything. If I made one single mistake, that was it, no mercy! They said that I was a disaster at everything, I was verbally and emotionally abused, it got to the point that they told my sister not to talk to me because I was adamant at following Jesus. I became terrified of my father, and I always tried not to do anything that would get him angry. I felt rejected and abandoned at a very young age, and this caused me to become very timid, and I isolated myself from everyone else and the world around me.
In our culture, as long as a father provided a roof and food over our heads, he was known to be a good father. It does not matter if he was not there for the child emotionally or connect with the child’s heart. My father also had a very abusive father, through my inner healing counseling, it became clear to me that his actions were coming from his experience with His father.
God’s love: After a few years of being rejected by my parents, something happened in my life, an experience that changed my life and opened my eyes to see another aspect of life that I never knew existed. When I was 11 years old, I had a dream; in that dream, the Lord Jesus came and put his arms around me. It was my first encounter with Jesus. I didn’t even know who He was, but I was able to compare Him to the man in our chapel and picture books at my Catholic boarding school. All this time I had not prayed the sinners’ prayer, I didn’t have any guidance into this, but I was fascinated with the name of Jesus.
At the age of 33 years, I gave my life to Christ and did not hide it from my family. My parents asked me a few questions; “are you OK? Have you lost your mind? Are you a traitor? Why are you sitting in the enemy’s boat?” According to my family, I had lost my mind, and there were times that my sister, who was married at the time, even told her children that I was crazy and they should stay away from me. Despite all my challenges at home, the love of God pursued me. He gave me dreams and visions to show me how much He cared about me, though at the time I did not know the deep meaning of the visions I received. There were so many moments my heart was broken into a million pieces by my parents. I was forced to renounce Jesus at one point by my parents because they believed that was what was causing all the mishaps in my life. Despite this experience, God pursued me for many years not letting me go. Whenever I had the opportunity to be by myself, I talked to God inside my heart. Sometimes, I felt like I had disappointed Him because I was looking at Him through the punitive nature of my earthly father.
My Healing journey: These events led me to two failed arranged marriages; I eventually was left a wreck and without anyone to pick me up. I made a radical decision one day when I was alone, I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ, and I got filled with the Holy Spirit. Despite this wonderful experience, nothing I did could make me entirely happy, because I was still broken inside. I was carrying what I call “soul and spirit garbage” around with me. At the time, I did not know that they were called “Shadows.” My deliverance from the garbage came when God in His mercies led me into inner healing counseling with Dr. Simi Adigun at Divine Purpose Counseling & Coaching. This was the beginning of my intimate journey with the Holy Spirit. As I write this, I cry tears of joy and thanksgiving, and I also feel that no force is greater than the love of God- my Papa towards me. I give all the glory to God my Father, the Lord Jesus my wonderful friend, and my precious Holy Spirit who has become my closest friend. Their friendship and presence in my life brought me deliverance and the healing of my soul, moving me day by day into wholeness.
I want to end with one incident that happened during these dark times in my life. One day I locked myself in the closet sobbing heavily and wanting to commit suicide because my father and mother were disappointed in me for dating a boy outside of my culture. The boy though a Christian was also abusive towards me. I learned during inner healing counseling, that “spirits attract spirits.” I was broken inside, and my Christian boyfriend too was broken inside from the experiences of his childhood. As I stood in that locked closet, I wept and cried to the Lord. The Lord reminded me of a scripture in Proverbs 11:22 “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.” The Lord said, “even though they have shiny brass rings on their snouts they are still pigs.” I was blinded, and I couldn’t see the truth in the relationship with my boyfriend. Although he proves to be a Christian, he was superficial, and he was not a part of my destiny. The Lord made that very clear to me that day with that verse of scripture.
In that closet, when nobody else could see me, the Lord saw me and said those few words to me. He urged me to see the full picture. After Jesus said this to me, I pulled up my proverbial socks and walked out of that closet; knowing that there was someone greater than me living on the inside of me. I could not see HIM, but I knew HIS eyes were on me. That day Jesus delivered me from taking my own life, these conversations with my heavenly Father has carried me through my life since I met Him and rededicated my life to Him. His unconditional love for me healed and wiped away the sting and bites of my past hurt and trauma. I am still going strong in Him, His friendship sees me through every day of my life, knowing He is a friend that sticks closer than anyone else.
Forgiveness: The ladder to deliverance
The Lord has made me a better person through forgiveness and learning to live in His unconditional love. I have forgiven my parents, my sibling, and all those that brought pain and hurt into my life. I have found comfort in sitting at the nail-scarred feet of Jesus. I often find myself there in the spirit; wrapped around his feet, laying my weary head on His feet and kissing them. Sometimes I wash His feet with my tears of joy. I will forever be grateful to Jesus for taking my rejection and giving me His love and acceptance. I am also grateful to God for Divine Purpose Counseling & Coaching.
I love you, Papa – my Heavenly Father!
In His love,
CH.H. Bethlehem, GA.