By Frankie Cheng
Have you ever felt like you were trapped or were missing something in your life? I have often felt like this and last year, I signed up for the women’s Empower class, hoping that God would resolve my problems. In the end, God freed me from my spiritual bondage and taught me many things along the way. I want to share the three things that God has done for me during this past year of being part of the Empower class.
God has released me from the bondage of fear. I used to say “no” to changes, new opportunities, things that I have never done before. I am scared of many things, like risks, failure, people’s rejection, and the thing I fear the most is…talking! I even labeled myself as “quiet and not good at talking!” Fear and anxiety have hindered me from personal growth. I could not fully enjoy my life and I often had regretful feelings. God has taken me out of my comfort zone through this class by pushing me to lead groups, pray for strangers, and care for other sisters. God has helped me overcome fear through reading, writing, doing homework, attending lectures, and prayer. I was able to enjoy a solo hike after God empowered me to be brave and conquer my fear. This lesson was rewarding. These days, fear still exists in me, but it is much less impactful.
God has also secured me and my identity in His love. He constantly reminds me of who I am…His precious daughter, redeemed by the blood of His son Jesus. God does not need me to please Him or prove to Him that I am valued by my service and performance. He already accepted the worst part of me. He knows me inside out. Many times I have felt envy of other brothers and sisters for their gifts and talents. But God would come to tell me to be who I am. He told me to be honest, to be authentic. God’s comforting words have affirmed my identity and who I am.
In addition, God has brought me transformation through my vulnerability, weaknesses, and flaws. The exposure of my flaws and weaknesses is painful and risk-taking. I remembered in August before the class began, I asked the leaders for more opportunities to serve for completing ministry hours. I felt a bit shameful, telling people that I did not have enough serving hours. Through this experience, I learned to be humble. Looking back on it, I realized that I was silly to have such thoughts! Most of the class homework assignments required me to act in the area of my weaknesses vs my strengths. I wrote about my past, my character flaws, and my inadequacy in reflection papers. I signed up to lead Bible studies when I used to be silent during the discussions. The most humble experience was to call up eight people to pray for them as a part of my homework. I was so afraid, worrying that I had nothing to say.
We all do not want to face our vulnerabilities. Sometimes we do not even understand our weaknesses! Trying to resolve problems by ourselves does not work. One of the books we were assigned to read called “Surrender to Love,” used Jesus’ parable of the banquet illustration to explain the process of meeting God in our places of vulnerability…“we need to bring the poor, crippled, blind, and lame aspects of our inner self to the feast for healing and transformation. We must meet God’s love in our vulnerability and brokenness, not simply in our strength and togetherness. To take a deeper look, we must also linger long enough with God’s love so as to penetrate our woundedness.”
I want to end my testimony with one of my favorite Christian songs that have been with me during these seven months of hard work. The song is called “His Strength Is Perfect” by Steven Curtis Chapman. Part of the lyrics are as follows:
“We can only know
The power that He holds
When we truly see how deep our weakness goes
His strength in us begins
Where ours comes to an end
He hears our humble cry and proves again
(Chorus) His strength is perfect when our strength is gone
He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on
Raised in His power, the weak become strong
His strength is perfect, His strength is perfect”
As an act of obedience, I said “yes” to God to take the Empower class. He is faithful and true. He did not fail me, and He helped me complete the course. I want to give glory to God. His strength is perfect in our weaknesses. He is a wonderful God!