Hope In The Midst Of Despair

此文章还有以下语言版本: Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional)

I lost myself in August 2016. For almost a year, I sought psychological counselling once every month. Again and again I wanted to return to the right path, but again and again I went backward to the path that could lead to my ruin.

At the worst moment in this one year, I considered finishing my life from the 30-storey building where my friend lives, but then I was too scared of the pain. In better times I would have many beautiful dreams, dreams of becoming a chef good at both Chinese and western cuisines, dreams of becoming a singer who could touch the listeners’ hearts through my songs, or building an intelligent music website that could list music sheets and audio/video files based on search conditions such as the first line of a song’s melody or lyrics.

I felt that all my emotions and grievance stored up in my heart ever since my childhood and not properly dealt with, all exploded in this one year, and things spiralled out of control. I never faced up to all the negativity from my family of origin, from my study, dating, marriage, child rearing, and from relating to others. I always responded to conflicts and hurts from interpersonal relationship by running away. Sometimes I thought I had forgotten and let go, but things kept replaying in my subconscious, sometimes projected in my dreams. When I faced stress, fatigue, or sleep deprivation, I would be gripped by unspeakable fear and anxiety. One day I might feel very hopeful and believe I could do all things, and on the next day, I felt there’s nothing I could do, and completely hopeless.

I started receiving counselling since December 2016. I tried to tell all the hurtful experiences in my heart. The counsellor said I didn’t know how to love myself, or what loving myself meant. Later on, due to the inconvenience of lengthy travels, I stopped the counselling. Several sisters in Australia, Singapore and the U.S. encouraged me through text messages and supported me through prayers. I knew they would always remember my needs in their prayers, and that gave me strength and courage to keep going.

I was diagnosed with mild depression. I didn’t need medication, but I could have 10 one-hour counselling sessions in a year, just in the suburb I lived in, fully covered by my medical insurance. The counsellor gave me lots of effective guidance and suggestions. I started looking for things to do that would cheer me up. I practised piano, singing, guzheng (Chinese zither) and yangqin. I accepted all lunch or dinner invitations from my friends and enjoyed the relaxing time chatting with my friends. Every week I dropped off my child to his Chinese lessons, and spent the next hour singing alone before picking him up, thus reliving my singing hobby. Throughout the year, I persistently spent 3 hours every week exercising. I cooked my favourite food, and shared cooking tips with others. All these things helped to relieve my stress. I also took up part-time work for 20 hours a week for a year and a half. I became more confident through working with my colleagues. I always shared my feeling and my life with my family and friends on Facebook. Just like the counsellor told me, keeping a journal was very helpful.

My emotion was still unstable. I felt my mind was filthy, always filled with negative thoughts. When I felt upset, I would ask my son to pray for me. Every night his prayers covered my health, my work, and my mood. Every time I had negative thoughts, I felt I was the most sinful person among all. But amazingly, people would appear around me who had similar experience for me to comfort them, because their lives were more difficult than mine. I was greatly encouraged when they then became my comforter.

I was infected by a bunch of joyful people in the church too. Every time I was in an emotional trough, I felt brightened up whenever I saw their smiles and listened to what they said. I sang along with them, some almost 80 years old, some merely kindergarten kids, and that helped me forget all the sufferings in my heart. But I had a rebellious heart – as my emotion fluctuated, I wanted to go back to the old way, the one that sinned against others and sinned against God. Like the prodigal son, who wanted to leave home and do things that harmed himself and harmed others, and to indulge in such things, but in reality brought himself even greater pain and despair.

But our Heavenly Father’s love never changes, like the father of the Prodigal Son, waiting for the lost son to return home. Our Heavenly Father has been giving me many blessings beyond my imagination, and I felt very unworthy for that. I had changed into someone I myself couldn’t recognise. I felt my own self had died and could not be brought back to life. When I was upset, I couldn’t even read the Bible, or listen to hymns. I read the Psalms again and again, but I couldn’t finish reading other books.

Again and again I failed. Again and again I wanted to give up. But our Heavenly Father kept putting me with people who had similar experience, so that I could be comforted as I comforted them. My confidence was renewed when I saw them gaining new lives. One sister reminded me, “you’re doing ‘drugs’, and you need to be rehabilitated.” Another sister sent me articles to admonish me. Sisters who are strong in their faith helped me to keep trusting God, and strengthen myself through prayer and words from the Bible.

I felt great joy and my hope was renewed when I saw a sister, who suffered great pain for many years, restored the first love with her husband, and I saw my daily prayers for them answered. I was again reminded that our God listens to prayers, when I saw one other husband, who had an extra-marital affair and divorced his wife, once again wanted to propose to his wife, having been completed transformed into a good father and a good man.

Many seemingly bad things happened in this past year, but they all led me to realise that our Heavenly Father is always looking after me and those around me. When I was angry, I returned to my addiction, and did many things beyond my own comprehension. When I wouldn’t listen to any hymns, our Heavenly Father gave me a song written by a pastor from Los Angeles who had no musical training which gave me a heavy blow to bring me back to life. November the 4th was my cousin’s birthday, but she had returned to her heavenly home. On her birthday this year, I was given an opportunity to be reborn. My cousin was taken from us due to pancreatic cancer when she was 29 years old. When she was in greatest pain, she remained strong in her faith, and I saw that the Lord Jesus had given her sufficient grace. He had taken her home, away from the sufferings of this world.

Lastly, I want to finish with this song that inspired me to repent. I hope that, through the Father’s grace, I can accomplish the work He has entrusted me in this world, and with a peaceful and joyful heart await the day the Lord Jesus returns, or when He takes me home. I hope that you too can get to know and follow this wonderful saviour, the Lord who has brought me through my four rebellious periods. You must reconcile with God, let Him restart your life, and He will carry you through fierce storms and waves, and every peak and trough. He will never forsake you, because His love never changes.

Jesus, I pray that You will cover me with Your great power;
Your words once again strengthen me.
Despair and loneliness never stop chasing me,
and yet You are my shelter through every stormy gale

Jesus, only You can understand my sorrow.
You nail-pierced hands comfort me, embrace me,
Wipe my tears, heal my pain,
Through faith open my eyes again.

Indeed there is a time to weep and a time to laugh.
The difficulties I experienced in the past
show me Your faithfulness all the more.
I have learned there is a time to keep and a time to cast away.
I choose to believe in Your beautiful and never-changing promises.

Jesus, thank You for guiding me all the way.
You walk with me on the way of the cross.
You walk before me to encourage me not to back down,
Because you have chosen me before the foundation of the world.

Indeed there is a time to weep and a time to laugh.
The difficulties I experienced in the past
show me Your faithfulness all the more.
I have learned there is a time to keep and a time to cast away.
I choose to believe in Your beautiful and never-changing promises.

Your will is exceedingly abundantly above all that I ask or think.
Even though I can not see clearly at this time,
You will surely lead me to an abundant and spacious land.
Your grace is always sufficient for me.

Indeed there is a time to weep and a time to laugh.
The difficulties I experienced in the past
show me Your faithfulness all the more.
I have learned there is a time to keep and a time to cast away.
I choose to believe in Your beautiful and never-changing promises.

I have learned there is a time to keep and a time to cast away.
I choose to believe in Your beautiful and never-changing promises.
I entrust all of my life in Thy hand

不变的应许 Unchanging Promise
Music/Lyrics/Vocal: 李蔼儿 Brenda Li
YouTube:https://youtu.be/JnXaTrJtbUA

收听 不变的应许

Translated by : Geoffery Liu 

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