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The Sign

           经过三个月的学习,这周日下午一点半终于要受洗了。矽谷基督徒聚会教堂要求每位受洗的人准备5分钟的见证。因为多米,公婆和孩子会参加,所以我用英文写,便于他们了解。感谢各位文友对我上两篇记录的支持。感谢主。

 

The Sign

-          Testimony at Baptism on July 27, 2014

 

 

In spring 1994, I was a graduate student in Beijing Normal University.  Necklaces became popular among my friends at that time so I got one for myself.  I had never heard of Jesus Christ back then but somehow I chose the design of the cross with Jesus dying on it.  The only God I’ve heard about at that time was the One introduced by my Baha’i friends.  They were not happy with my choice and told me that only people who believed in Jesus Christ as their savior could wear that design as a sign.  I had no idea what the cross stood for but somehow that design appealed to me. 


             In fact I had never met a Christian before I left China in 1996.  The only one that I’d heard of was from a friend who had dated a Christian for one week.  She complained that no matter what they did, saw, or ate together, that young man always responded with “Thanks to God! 谢主” She joked that it had made her feel as if she was dating “God” so she left that young man within one week.

 

I had wondered at that time, “Who is the God that he gives thanks to all the time?  Always giving thanks to God must be another sign of Christians.”  But I had nobody to ask.

 

I have been praying before bedtime off and on since my Baha’i friends gave me a little prayer book in 1992.  I have experienced God’s blessing at every turning point of my life.  Miraculously some stranger gave me a direction while I was searching for a graduate program. I passed the entrance examination with flying colors into one of the best Psychology departments in China without ever taking any formal class in psychology.  During my 15 years of work as a school psychologist, no matter how overwhelmed my schedule got to, my assessment reports were always completed on time, some of which were what I had thought impossible cases.  I had also prayed for a man who respects knowledge in life.  Dominic, a living encyclopedia and dictionary, appeared in my life. Then I prayed for two sons.  William and David were born within 4 years after my marriage.

 

 I had been praying and giving thanks to God every night since my children were born.  But I still didn’t know who He is.  Does our Heavenly Father only live in my imagination?

 

I had also thought that, more or less, my own efforts lead to what I have now.  After all, my mother always told me, we are our own saviors and everything should be under our own control.

 

But this spring, for the first time in my life, I started feeling more and more helpless. 

 

My 9-year old William, who used to be honest and diligent, was found playing video games in the middle of a night.

 

My 7-year old David was experiencing more difficulty following directions in school and at home. He also lacks self-control and hits or kicks William from time to time.

 

I’m confused. Didn’t Positive Psychology claim that human are born with all positive traits such as self-motivation, altruism, and friendliness? What did I do to erase all of those and replace with selfishness, motivation in video games, and at times aggressiveness?  I studied and worked in educational psychology for 20 years. I know all the theories about parenting and often write or talk about them in public.  Why are my own children not growing up the way that I had expected?

 

The breaking point came when my father-in-law wrote a letter to me in early April and questioned my love for William and David.  He pointed out that I was often impatient and did not treat them as gifts from God.

 

At first I was very angry.  How could he say anything like that?  With Dominic’s work schedule, I was the one who took care of both boys day and night when they were young.  I was the one who took them to school and other extracurricular activities 90% of the time.  No matter how busy I am, I find time to volunteer in their classes every week.  I’m willing to die for my children any time.  How could anyone question my love for them?

 

Thanks to the anger, I decided to skip my family trip to visit Grandpa and attended Dr. Feng’s sermon at Silicon Valley Christian Assembly on April 18th and 19th.   This is the first time that anyone ever explained to me clearly who God is, why God is so real and how God saved us. 

 

I cried on both nights.  And the tears washed my eyes clear.  I saw how God has been loving me unconditionally no matter how many sins that I had committed.  I also saw how selfish and limited my love for my children is.  

 

If I truly love my children, how could I ever talk to them in such a rude way that I’d never use on my students or colleagues?  I regretted it each night but somehow just couldn’t control my voice at that moment.

 

If I truly love my children, how could I feel frustrated and at time despair when they repeated the same mistake? 

 

For many nights, I had prayed God to give me more patience when children are misbehaving.  Then why did I get so offended when my father-in-law pointed out the same problem?  Criticism is disguised blessing.  God has a way to work everything out in the end.  If not for my father-in-law’s harsh words, I would have joined our family trip and missed my opportunity to know who my Savior is.

 

Over the past three months, thanks to Fremont group’s help, I’ve been studying Bible consistently.  They showed me what it means to be a real Christian: not only to study God’s words but to live them out in daily life.  Dr. Feng had mentioned that psychology can be an enemy for Faith as many effects could be explained psychologically.  But the Fremont group sisters and brothers showed me how psychology pales in front of true faith.  For example, I’ve always recommended having “sense of gratitude” as the key for “happiness.”  But that is to be grateful for people who are kind to us or events that favor us.  Fremont group showed me that the “sense of gratitude” with Faith is to be grateful not only for things that you have or received but also for things that you don’t have or things that you once had but lost. In another word, having faith in Jesus Christ means that you’ll be grateful for everything that happens to you, good or bad. During my second Friday night group class, many people were asking Sister Liru whether she had fixed her broken car and garage door.  Sister Liru saw my concerns and told me with joy that the accident was indeed a disguised blessing to her. God was simply reminding her to slow down because she drove into her garage following a day with overwhelming schedule.  I was amazed at her sincere smiles following such a “bad” accident.  I’ve never met a person being so grateful when bad things happening to them.  That is the power of true faith.

 

I read in Pastor Yu’s book that if someone starts believing in Jesus Christ, even his dog would know it as the new born life would make him treat the dog more gently. Two weeks after Dr. Feng’s sermon, I travelled to Texas for William’s competition aiming at his team’s second National Championship in chess.  I noticed that the worries that had overwhelmed me during his first national tournament a year ago did not bother me as I accepted that God is always right.  Win or lose, anything that God allows to happen has a reason and William will benefit from it in the end.  Thanks to God for freeing me from worries. 

 

At the church retreat three weeks ago, the first question that they asked the new believers was, “what’s most important in your life?”  Without any hesitation, I responded with “my children.”  But thanks to God, now I know that I’m only a keeper for my children. I learned how we are all born sinners.  If I can’t help repeating my own mistakes at 41 years of age, how could I expect my 7 and 9-year old children making all the right decisions?  I learned to pray more when things seem to be out of my control.  The trust in God brings me more peace as I know that things that I couldn’t change, our Almighty God is able to.  In the past, my biggest frustration was that I couldn’t control my voice consistently when my children had difficulty listening after repeated promptings.  This week William told me that I yell 90% less than before since I started studying the Bible.  Thanks to God for granting me more self-control.

 

 Twenty years after I first saw the cross on a necklace, I finally understand what it stands for.  The true sign of Christian is not to wear the cross around one’s neck but to carry it on one’s back.  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, and most importantly, self-control.  All those fruits of Holy Spirit will grow in our hearts when we live a life that’s showing God’s image.

 

Twenty years after I heard about that young Christian’s failed story of dating, I also finally understand why he needed to always say “thanks” to God. Who can stop saying praises to our Creator once we really know Him?   

 

Yes, thanks to God to make me see how insignificant I am and teach me to be humble. 

 

Thanks to God to make me see how many sins that I had carried with me.  I may never be able to live a blameless life but I’ll spend my life trying.

 

Thanks to God to help me see the meaning of our lives.  Our earthly life may be short but the journey to follow Jesus’ footsteps is eternal. 

 

Most of all, thanks to God for his most patient, forgiving and unconditional love.

 

谢主!

 

 

 

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评论

阿朵的头像
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谢主! 祝贺心桥的新生!

 
心桥的头像
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感谢阿朵的祝福!感谢主在我叩门时为我耐心开门。

 
融融的头像
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背上十字架才能活出新生命。谢谢心桥分享。

 
心桥的头像
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感谢融融的反馈。很感激主把我带到 Silicon Valley Christian Assembly 教会。以前我也参加过不少教会,但没有一个让我感受到每一位弟兄姊妹都这么重视属灵生命的成长。查经小组和成人主日学课都给我解答疑问并跟进学习的机会,她们的行为更让我看到基督徒的标志和十字架真正的的意义。

 
周小哭的头像
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迟到的祝福!

 
心桥的头像
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感谢您的祝福。

 
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