Testimony by Debra Daveena Lee, Malaysia.
22 years 7 months and 6 days of living has taught me that there is a much bigger and beautiful purpose in life. I would say that my world seemed much less complicated before I knew what it was like to live without my earthly ‘saviour’. The man I relied on for emotional, physical and financial support. My dad. In 2010, my father was diagnosed with cancer, and was told that he’d only have 3 months left to live. The most devastating and surreal news that made me want to never let go of the only person (other than my mother) that I could not do life without. He was the reason why I believed in Christ, the reason why I persevered going to a school where society racially discriminated me, and also the reason why I am alive today.
I took forever to grasp the real meaning of life and of taking small pleasures for granted. I did not know that what I had when dad was around, was actually what I needed, to be happy. After the demise of my precious father, my world immediately turned upside down. The meaning of happiness seemed non-existent and every day was a challenge to live. However just like any other human being, I found a way to carry on and to cope. I blamed all my shortcomings on his demise. I blamed my behaviour and my failures on the passing of my father. Despite my bitterness,I decided to give God a shot and well I was only somewhat genuine.
From 2014 to 2017, I decided to prove myself. I chose to post every moment of my life on social media, I chose to allow guys and girls to compliment me publicly as it gave me a sense of belonging and confidence. My insecurities were dulled by the amount of likes and comments I got. I found the apparent love of my life that told me things no man has ever told me. Getting compliments and reassurance was something that made me feel amazing. Anywhere I went I was complimented for what I wore or how I looked.
It came to a point where I felt like I was this celebrity living a life on social media and getting endless messages from guys. Oh the thrill of knowing that I was someone everyone wanted to hang out with or be close to. But it just took one incident to turn my world into this chaotic mess. And that was when I was cheated on by the same man who told me he could never do life without me. When reality hit me, I felt completely different. No amount of compliments or likes could change the way I felt. I distanced myself from society and changed my entire circle of friends. I chose to quit partying and quit meeting new people, not just to draw closer to God but just so I don’t feel the need to hide my emotions or cry in public.
The same man who promised me a life together was the same person who shattered my confidence over a few messages in a span of 4 days. And though I’ve met so many people and have had a tough time with quite a few people in the past, no one has ever had that much power over my emotions. I started believing the nasty remarks he had made of me. I started thinking that I was not good enough and I sought for reassurance from other friends though they meant nothing to me. The pain that took over my physical body was excruciating. Have you ever been punched in the gut countless times and tried to stand up again? Well that task seems rather impossible and so was the task of trying to get over him and the past memories.
However it was a beautiful friend from Kingdom City (a church in Malaysia) that made me change the way I thought. And it was a conscious decision that I made from that day on, that helped me see things differently. All he said to me was “find your identity in Christ and not in a person”. A sentence as simple yet complex and that made me feel like there was a glimmer of hope again.
I opened my father’s old Bible and sat down alone and wept for the first time out loud to God. I prayed this prayer out loud and I still do until today. All I said was:
“ Lord, you know what I have gone through in the past, you know how I feel right now and you know what my future entails. Lord only You can make this heart happy again and only You can renew a steadfast spirit of joy in my soul, and only you can reignite that hope in me again. Lord if I could bid my father goodbye and carry on, I can surely let go of this boy who has hurt me and forgive him for all that he has done to me. Jesus today I pray to find my identity in You and not in anybody else. Help me Lord as I make this humble request known to You, In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
And just like magic, I felt an inner peace and strength. I knew that there was a much bigger purpose in my life other than counting the amount of likes I got or innocently giving wrong guys the attention they want.
I am blessed to also have gotten to know a beautiful girl who helped me cope and walk this walk of faith with me without giving up on me so easily. I changed the circle of ‘friends’ I had. I chose to let go of women who did not instill or give me the confidence I needed, friends who didn’t even care to check on me and were only there during my happy days, and that by far was the best decision I have ever had to make. I also did the impossible, which was to get rid of Instagram and Facebook, the two main platforms of my existence. I took this faithful step just to draw closer to my real Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Today, I feel like a different woman. I feel like I am living life more in reality rather than living it through social media. I did things in the past (like post every moment of my life and my fitness journey on Instagram) to prove to the world that my life was fun and happening, when in reality every step was a struggle. I portrayed a different scene to people far and near. Though I had fun in doing so, the bigger purpose and meaning in life was not revealed. Today I feel like a different woman. Even more beautiful than the girl I was. Beautiful in a different way. The kind that Christ has made me to be. I am not completely over my past, but I can say that the closure I craved to feel is what I am experiencing right now.
I don’t mean to boast or push my beliefs down anybody’s throat, but His realness and mercy have brought me thus far. Maybe I had to lose my father in order to find strength in Jesus. Maybe I had to be depressed and sad to experience real joy. Maybe I had to get my heart broken in order to experience real love by a real man in the foreseeable future. Maybe all this was God’s plan to allow me to experience His goodness first in order for me to fully enjoy earthly pleasures in accordance to His design.
I know one thing today and that is, no matter how blessed or how beautiful life seems to be for you or for someone else, everybody faces something tragic or unpleasant but only a few are blessed to be able to stand on their feet again, stronger than ever, and those are the kind of people who have found their Identity in the only True God, and not a human being. Life is beautiful because of Him. Remember how I said it was rather impossible to stand up tall after being punched in the gut countless times? Well guess what? It actually is possible and you are never too beaten or broken to experience His goodness.
Choose to find your identify in God, and not in anybody else.
You May Also Like: The Battle for Purity