She’s Chosen: Called out of Condemnation
We live in a country where so many cultures come together, yet we know little about them. Because we don’t know the social norms of other cultures, we can’t quite relate to how something like not finishing college can become a weapon for the enemy to use to keep us in the bondage of shame. However, condemnation seems to be something most women suffer from, no matter what your cultural background is. The good news is that Jesus takes our burdens and gives us freedom in return.
I’m excited & honored to be able to share this testimony with you for two reasons. First, so we can become confident in our identity in Christ and tear down walls the enemy has used as strongholds in our hearts & minds. Second, to shine light on the truth that we all have something in our past (or possibly in our current situation) that we no longer have to be a slave to. Through Christ Jesus, we are ALREADY winners, we don’t have to take up the burden of shame or be kept away from the presence of the Lord because we think our sin is too great.
♥ Romans 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. ♥
Lies, Condemnation and Freedom
I come from a South Asian family. In our culture, education is valued tremendously. A good education equates to pride and honor for the family and the individual. People assume that a person who is highly educated is responsible, intelligent, hard-working, awesome and so on and so forth.
At the age of 19, my family immigrated to the USA. I was in my 2nd year of college and I assumed that upon arriving to America, I could just pick up where I left off. What tremendous shock and disappointment it was to me when I discovered that this would not be so easy. It would take time to settle down financially and going to college was not cheap!!! I could start off slow in a year – a class or 2 at community college –then slowly (depending on how many credits transfer) transfer to a college or university!! Alas, it was a slow process – by the time I was slowly starting a 4 yr college –my old friends from my birth country had already graduated and were moving strong in getting their masters (some even in the US). I was ashamed, hurt, sad, and angry that I was barely making any progress. Anyways – in 4 years I trudged along class by class (with not so pleasant grades). In my final semester, I was engaged and ready for marriage and my move to Philly. However, I knew I would not make those final extremely hard computer science classes. I dropped out of those classes knowing that I won’t be able to graduate.
Sigh –and here starts my life of a secret and condemnation. My husband (my fiancée then) was aware of this since I told him – but no one else knew. Everyone assumed I graduated and since I got married in May –all attention was directed to the wedding preparations (which I was secretly thankful for ). So I let that assumption continue –but as the years passed and my spiritual life starting changing –I felt the guilt increasing.
As I recommitted my life to the Lord and as He was drawing me closer to Him, I knew that I had to come clean – He was convicting me. But how could I –it would devastate my family and upset others and cause this whole commotion – I just couldn’t do it!! I knew the Lord forgave me and I was right with Him, and I knew I had to make things right but I just couldn’t !!! It was too hard –too difficult!! And then there was the condemnation – oh how the devil can condemn! What kind of Christian are you? You hold a secret and call yourself a Christian! What a hypocrite! You liar! You are a terrible person!! And so on and so forth. What a terrible terrible feeling! I remember coming out every Sunday after a blessed service but as soon as I entered the parking lot the enemy would just hit me with condemnation.
The Lord was telling me to come clean to set me free but the enemy was condemning me with fear and guilt so that I could remain in bondage.
Well, 8 years after my marriage – a situation came up where I just came clean—It was not the ideal situation (had I listened to the Lord I could have done it differently and stopped a lot of heartbreak for my parents ).
However, I was free!!! I was free!!! Oh what that felt like I cannot explain! I felt that the chain the devil had on me was just broken and I was free! Who the Son sets free is free indeed!!! Praise be to God for His goodness, mercy, patience and love!!
I was forgiven by everyone – and in 2015 the Lord opened the door for me to go back to school and graduate in 9 months!!! Finally I had my Bachelors! I was not the failure of the nation anymore or the only kid of my high school who did not graduate college (It’s a cultural thing – hard to explain ☺ )
God is good – not because He let me complete college- but because of His blood that gave me forgiveness, because while I was a prodigal He still loved me, because I fail and fail and He still carries me, because He is merciful and kind, because He does not judge me on whether I finish college or not, because I fall everyday and He still lifts me, and loves me for who I am!!
Getting to know you
Romans 1:12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
Romans 15:32 so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed.
Tell us a little about yourself. How would you define or describe your life before committing yourself to walking with God?
I grew up in the church, so to speak. From a young age, I was taught about God and God’s word. At home, I was blessed to have a mom who had committed her life to Christ at a young age. She taught my siblings and myself, the difference between legalism and church rituals versus how to approach Christ individually. The church and youth groups also provided strong foundations to root my faith. However, sometimes growing up in the church can also make one take God for granted. We can think “Yes – I am a Christian, I am saved but I want to live my life on my terms.” God is there but not prominent or important or even first. Prayers are offered but they are out of routine and not because I want to be in God’s presence. As I entered my young adult years, I continued being a “Christian” out of routine. I wanted to live my life my way – I wanted to do things that I wanted to do. I did not stop believing in God but somewhere along the journey – God took a backseat.
What do you think held you in place where you were? What anchored you to the life you used to have?
I feel that it is dangerous in assuming that we are good Christians and all is well with God and us. We go to church, participate in bible studies, volunteer, and do all our Christian things but never grow in our relationship with Christ. That was me! I did all the Christian things and stayed away from things I knew was “sinful”. Compromises, however, come in small packages. For someone who grows in the church and knows the Lord –the danger may not be to do drugs, or drink, or do other things which on our human scale we measure as “sinful” – the danger is in the small compromises –things that we assume cause no harm. These subtle compromises slowly lead us away from Christ – and we do not realize how far we are from him until much later. I assumed I was a Christian and continued in my small compromises believing that I am not sinning. These were what kept me anchored to the life I used to have.
What was the hardest thing for you to let go off?
The hardest thing to let go off was “I know what’s best for me”. I made the decisions then did a “prayer” (praying out of routine not because I really needed to hear from the Lord). The Lord had to take me through a series of serious failures and trials to make me let go of myself – the trust I had in myself and my decisions. Slowly and steadily through these experiences He turned me to Him. I now truly believe that “I am weak and He is strong” and what joy and peace it gives me to know that truth!
Can you share your memory of the person, or event that first began to change your heart / mind towards Christ?
My mom was the most influential person in my life to direct my heart to Christ. She has been steady in her walk with Christ in spite of the tremendous struggles and sufferings in her life. She always pointed me to HIM even when I hated it, was annoyed with it, and thought I knew better. What a hard journey for a mom who teaches her child about Christ, who lives her faith, and then waits decades before which she sees her child turn back to Christ completely!! It’s a testimony of God’s love and patience for us, and also a testimony of how consistent prayer for your child will bring that prodigal home! A lesson for me as I raise my children.
What’s something the new you would tell the old you?
The new me would love to go back and redo everything ☺ However, it is the experiences of the old me that eventually led me wholly back to Christ and have Him make the new me. The one thing I would tell the old me is – Put God first always, seek His will, be consistent in prayer (from the heart) and study the scriptures with the attitude that God is speaking to me through it. There will be trials, and pain and heartbreak but its best to go to God first and let him lead.
What’s something you’ve learned from your past life that you will use or remember as you continue to grow?
The mistakes of my past are primarily because I never sought God’s will in my life. I should have continued to grow in grace instead of backsliding. I should never have taken God for granted. I have now realized that obedience to God is key and important to a growing Christian life and I must always remember that God is Holy, ever loving and merciful even when I fail!
What are some goals you’re currently stretching towards?
Personally – I want to study God’s word because I feel there is so much He says to us. I want to be consistent in prayer – believing that prayer is me talking to the Lord and that when I don’t do it it’s not because I broke a commandment but because I have not talked to my Father. I want to continue to grow with my Christ centered friends who the Lord has placed in my life – to meet, fellowship, laugh, cry, pray and encourage one another. I want to be the kind of wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend that God wants me to be – does not mean I want to be or can be perfect –but that I am in His will in the different roles He has placed me in. I want the Lord to give me a servant heart so that I can be useful wherever He wants me to serve.
Much love, tons of giggles & continued grace,