By Barbara Chu
When I first gave my life to Jesus over 14 years ago, I made a decision to serve and love Him. I was determined to serve God overseas in missions work. I went on several short term mission and vision trips, took courses to prepare myself and prayed and sought God for direction. On one of these trips, God spoke to me and said, “Not now, your heart is not ready. There are still many things for you to learn and see here.” I struggled with God and with people after hearing this message. I felt my dreams were shattered and then started on a downward fall from God. I started seeking my own desires thinking they were from God. I told myself, “OK, I am not ready, I will trust God to prepare me in the meantime and I will stay here in SF and find a ministry and church to serve.” I found a church that was just planted in SF and started being a part of that community, but I sinned and judged the people. In the end, I left betrayed and violated emotionally by them. I then fell into deep depression after this situation and didn’t attend church for 5 years.
During this time, by the grace of Jesus, He kept me safe. He held onto me and blessed me with brothers and sisters around me that kept praying and loving on me. They helped me survive my depression and overcome my sins of anger, unforgiveness, hatred, jealousy and judgement. God kept me so secure in His arms of love and endless forgiveness. During this time of healing and confession, God revealed to me how I didn’t really know how to love Him and people. I thought I knew how to love, but I was no where close to knowing how to “love” like He loves. God revealed to me that I didn’t first love Him and I repented from this and things started changing around me. He then showed me that I didn’t really love my family. I had been supporting my family financially and emotionally, but I had not been loving them spiritually. I realized that my desire to serve God overseas was an excuse to run away. God told me that I need to love and serve my family first before I can serve Him in any ministry. This revelation broke me and it was hard to take because it is really hard to love them. We have a lot of issues and hidden family sins which I was trying to deny. I knew deep down that I had to do this for God and myself. God showed me that He loves them more than I love them and that He will redeem our family for His glory. During this time, God started revealing the sin of unforgiveness that was deep rooted in my family. The enemy had been using this sin to divide and harass our family. I started to pray for my Dad and my Brother’s salvation. Through prayer and reading Dr. Rob Reimer’s book, Soul Care, I started blessing them with grace to forgive people. I started to identify demonic strongholds, repent of sins and then blessed the people that hurt me and my family. It was hard to forgive and let go of that unforgiveness, but God is good. His love for me gave me the strength to forgive. God gave me more of a desire to pray for the salvation of my family. I prayed and asked God for His heart for my family. I surrendered all desires to go overseas and whatever dreams I had for my own life and surrendered my life to Him. I gave Jesus my whole heart, mind, body and soul. There was nothing left in me and I even surrendered my family’s salvation to Him. I realized that I couldn’t control or change their hearts. I had to trust God to do it. After I prayed this prayer, I started noticing the atmosphere and dynamics of our family changing. My brother became calmer and less angry.
This past summer of 2017, I started bringing my family to church at New Vine, and on November 12, my Father, Norman Chu, accepted our Lord Jesus into his life. He started praying for my Brother to know Christ too. He even started sharing with my brother how to forgive relatives who stole from us. My heart was so overwhelmed when I heard my Dad share these things with my Brother. I asked my Dad when he accepted Jesus, and he told me that he had been going to church on his own for over 8 years. When I heard this I was surprised and a little bit disappointed in myself that I didn’t know and wasn’t aware of it. I learned to forgive myself for not caring for my family’s salvation up until recently, but at the same time it proved that God loves them more than I ever have. God had already been doing His work and His desire to see all saved. God has a bigger plan for salvation and redemption for His people. Our Lord Jesus is so good to my family. Jesus loves us more than we know. His ways are better than ours. I am forever thankful and in love with God because He is worthy of it all. I can still see God working in my family. My Dad is listening to the Bible stories more and my Brother started taking his medications.
Today God confirmed this grace and love to me through his Word in 1 John 3:19-24.
“This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.”
I asked God and He answered it all. He gives us His Holy Spirit to live the life He set before us. All I have to do is continue to trust and love Him.