With the Grace of God I Found a True Home

If I were not saved by God, I would still be drifting in this world, struggling hard and painfully in sin, every day bleak and hopeless. If I were not saved by God, I’d still be crushed below the devil’s feet, snared in sin and its enjoyments, ignorant of what my life would be. It’s Almighty God who saves me; all God’s words have purified my heart. Through God’s judgment and His chastisement, my corrupted disposition’s changed. All the word and truth God expresses, it has all given me new life. I have seen my God face to face and have tasted God’s true love. Finally I’ve understood God’s loving hand holds mine as we go. Now I have heard the voice of God and been raised before God’s throne. The feast of my Christ I attend, to be perfected and purified by Him. What I’d hoped for is finally realized, I have now been saved by God.

from Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs

With the Grace of God I Found a True Home

By Xiaolin, United States

I Hate Dad—He Ruined Our Family

Crash … Bang …

“Dammit, say that one more time and I’ll make you sorry! …”

The clamor of fighting broke through the peaceful silence of the night, startling my sister and I awake. We realized our parents were fighting again. Since our mom found out that our dad was seeing another woman, she smiled less, and at any mention of him her eyes filled with discontent and sorrow. From then on they never stopped fighting—I couldn’t even remember how many times they had argued. When my sister and I ran into their room crying, we just saw dad reaching out to hit mom. Crying, I dragged at dad’s arm as hard as I could, but he was too strong and I couldn’t hold him back. That night, he broke two of her ribs. She couldn’t withstand such a life of suffering any longer, so after she healed she left home and got a job in another area.

My sister and I moved in with our grandparents after she left. Our dad didn’t shape up at all because she had left; he was just the same as always. He often wouldn’t come back home all night and didn’t pay us any mind. My sister and I would go to school and go back home together every day, and the entire way other kids were being taken by their parents. They were talking and laughing with them, but my sister and I weren’t accompanied by our parents. Our little shadows looked so alone. What I was most afraid of was the school holding a parents’ assembly, and then the head teacher would ask us why our parents weren’t there. When teachers asked questions I’d always tear up, hang my head, and not say a word. I didn’t know what to say.

One time, after getting out of school and going back home, I knocked on the door for a long time, but no one opened it. Standing out there I had this feeling of desolation, as if I didn’t have a home at all. I just felt a lump in my throat like I was about to cry. The auntie next door saw me just standing there all by myself and took me inside her home. As soon as I went inside I could hear her son happily telling the family about all the interesting things that had happened in school that day. Seeing such a cheerful-looking family made me really envious, and I thought: “If Dad hadn’t had an affair, Mom wouldn’t have left us and I could be like other kids. I could go back home after school and have a nice meal prepared by my mom, listen to her talk, act spoiled, and tell her all about my feelings. I would be so happy! It’s too bad all of that is totally out of reach for me.” Thinking of that, I hated my dad even more. I hated him for hurting Mom and for everything he had done, for personally ruining our family, making me lose a warm home at such a young age.

When Can I Have a Warm, Happy Home?

I slowly grew up and became more mature, but my longing for a family never faded. On the occasions my mom called, my dad would be off to one side asking about what was going on with her. Seeing his expression, my sister and I felt that he seemed to have changed a bit so we asked our mom to come back home. Hearing our entreaty, she started making arrangements to come back. We were overjoyed—we could finally have a whole, happy home! But reality wasn’t what we expected. Our dad kept going out carousing as usual and was just the same toward Mom, either yelling at her or hitting her. After that, the word “divorce” was always on their lips. During that time, they frequently asked me and my sister: “If Mom and Dad got divorced, who would you want to live with?” I couldn’t bear the thought of them getting divorced and wasn’t willing to choose. The only way we could express our displeasure was by crying.

I decided to try living in a different way so that my parents wouldn’t get divorced. I wiped the tears off of my face and became the household “flavor adjuster.” I worked hard to make myself seem optimistic and tried to influence everyone else with my smiles. I was expecting that my hard work could resolve the conflicts between my parents, but the results weren’t what I expected. Even though they were amused by my antics and laughed a lot, their smiles were like sparks that had a moment of brilliance before burning out. The year I turned 18, my parents got divorced. Our mom took me and my sister away from that sad home and rented a little place for us.

A little while later I went back home to get some things, but the key just wouldn’t work. A neighbor told me that our dad had changed the locks right after we moved out and he had moved in that woman and her son. He had also recently taken the two of them out to travel and bought them a lot of gifts. Hearing all that made me feel an inexplicable sort of grief. Other people’s homes were all overflowing with joy, full of smiles and laughter, so why was there just nonstop fighting in my home? Why had it fallen apart? When can I have a warm, happy home?

God’s Words Soothe My Wounded Soul

Just when I was suffering most, my mom’s colleague shared God’s gospel with us. I read these words of God: “The Almighty has mercy on these people who have suffered deeply. At the same time, He is fed up with these people who have no consciousness, because He has had to wait too long to get an answer from humanity. He wishes to seek, to seek your heart and your spirit, to bring you water and food, and to awaken you, that you may no longer be thirsty and hungry. When you are weary and when you begin to feel something of the bleak desolation of this world, do not be lost, do not cry. Almighty God, the Watcher, will embrace your arrival at any time. He is watching by your side, waiting for you to turn back. He is waiting for the day you suddenly recover your memory: realizing the fact that you came from God, but at who knows what point losing your direction, at who knows what point falling senseless by the wayside, and again at who knows what point acquiring a ’father.’ Furthermore, you realize that the Almighty has been there the whole time, standing watch, awaiting your return, for a very, very long time” (“The Sighing of the Almighty”).

God’s gentle yet urgent call was like a gentle warmth flowing into my heart, giving me a sense of comfort I had never had before. Since my dad had that affair, and then my parents went from arguing and fighting to living apart, my sister and I had lost the happiness of youth and a warm, happy home. We also lost the love and care of our parents; we were constantly living in fear and the pain of being looked down on and laughed at by others. Our self-esteem plummeted and we were really helpless. I longed to have a happy family; I longed to have my parents by my side just like other kids, and I even changed myself so I could get that, doing everything I could to crack jokes to make my parents happy. But, our home was still broken, and my dream was shattered. As I was growing up all of those experiences traumatized me, and they particularly became wounds that I didn’t want to disturb, that I wasn’t willing to touch. But then, faced with the call of God’s love, I felt like a lost child who had finally found her long-lost mother and father. My wandering, drifting heart finally found belonging and something to lean on. I kneeled down in prayer and poured out my heart to God. I also put my future into God’s hand so that He could lead me through each and every day.

My Dad Was a Victim Too

In a gathering one time, I heard some brothers and sisters read the following passage of God’s words: “One after another, all these trends carry an evil influence that continually degenerates man, causing them to continually lose conscience, humanity and reason, and that lowers their morals and their quality of character more and more, to the extent that we can even say the majority of people now have no integrity, no humanity, neither do they have any conscience, much less any reason. So what are these trends? You cannot see these trends with the naked eye. When the wind of a trend blows through, perhaps only a small number of people will become the trendsetters. They start off doing this kind of thing, accepting this kind of idea or this kind of perspective. The majority of people, however, in the midst of their unawareness, will still be continually infected, assimilated and attracted by this kind of trend, until they all unknowingly and involuntarily accept it, and are all submerged in and controlled by it. For man who is not of sound body and mind, who never knows what is truth, who cannot tell the difference between positive and negative things, these kinds of trends one after another make them all willingly accept these trends, the life view and values that come from Satan. They accept what Satan tells them on how to approach life and the way to live that Satan ’bestows’ on them. They have not the strength, neither do they have the ability, much less the awareness to resist” (“God Himself, the Unique VI”).

After they finished reading these words from God, one after another, brothers and sisters shared fellowship on their own personal experiences and understanding, which allowed me to understand the reasons behind my father’s infidelity as well as the root of my and my mother’s pain. In this evil age, Satan uses all sorts of people, things, and events to inculcate people with all sorts of evil thoughts, such as “The red flag at home does not fall, the colored flags outside flutter in the breeze,” “Don’t ask for eternity, be happy with now,” “Seize the day for pleasure, for life is short,” and “Live every day as if it’s your last.” As human beings, we lack the truth and cannot discern good from evil, or positive things from negative things, and we particularly lack the awareness to reject negative things. We start out disapproving of and refusing to accept these evil thoughts but they end up becoming a matter of course. Adding to that the influence of the societal environment plus the surrounding people, things, and events, we gradually come to accept these evil practices. We even take these evil things as positive and pursue them as if they were positive; we start to long for fleshly indulgences and give full play to our fleshly desires. There are a lot of people who no longer worry about their family members’ feelings and no longer carry out their duties or responsibilities. Instead, they just go along with evil trends of having a lover or a mistress, and some even have one-night stands in their pursuit of stimulation. Not only do they not find it shameful, but they think that’s perfectly fine. They become more and more evil, depraved, licentious, and corrupt, entirely losing the morals and ethics that a proper person should possess. They lose their conscience, reason, and humanity. This is how so many happy families have fallen apart. So many couples have become enemies because another person has come between them, and so many adorable kids have lost their carefree childhoods because of their parents’ divorces. All of the pain we suffer as humans is brought about by Satan’s evil thinking.

I thought of how my dad was that depraved, but he used to be so responsible for the family. He was caring for me, my sister, and our mom, but from the time he started working out of town, he saw everyone around him going out to dance clubs, bars, and karaoke places, hanging out in online chat rooms, and looking for lovers. Gradually, he came to approve of and follow that kind of lifestyle. He started an affair and only cared about his own enjoyment, not how my mom felt, and he paid no attention at all to me and my sister. This was incredibly painful for us, ultimately leading to the breakup of our family. Now that I think of my dad not being a believer and lacking the truth, how could he have warded off the encroachments of those evil trends? Though his actions were loathsome, he was also a victim and it turns out that the chief culprit is Satan. It is Satan who uses evil trends to lure and corrupt people. This is why so many people become more and more evil and depraved, causing so many homes to fall apart. Once I understood all of that, my resentment toward my father eased up quite a bit, and it wasn’t so painful for me anymore. I felt really grateful to God for bringing me before Him, and comforting and supporting me with His words. Through His words, He also led me to clearly see the truth of Satan using evil trends to corrupt and harm human beings, allowing me to gain discernment over negative things, and no longer live in pain, filled with hatred. I experienced God’s love and salvation for me in a very practical way.

Finding a Warm Family—Christ’s Family

Since me, my sister, and my mom started believing in God, brothers and sisters have come over frequently to have gatherings and read God’s words with us, and have fellowship on God’s will. They’ve also taught us to sing hymns and dance in praise of God. Through reading God’s words I’ve understood that God likes honest people; He requires us to live out proper humanity, to possess conscience, reason, character, and dignity, and to fear God and shun all kinds of evil trends in all things. As I see it, God’s words are light, which allows us to clearly distinguish what is good, what is wicked, what is righteous, and what is evil. They allow us to properly steer our course through our lives in this evil world and not be deceived or taken in by evil trends. I love God’s words more and more, and in my daily life I’m attentive to putting them into practice. I have a lot of peace and joy within my heart. I have frequent fellowship with brothers and sisters on our experiences of practicing God’s words, and everyone simply and openly shares heartfelt words, just like a family…. There’s so much enjoyment in this life. I feel very fulfilled.

fellowship in a meeting

I’ve experienced a warmth in God’s house that I had never before experienced, and my brothers and sisters are closer to me than actual relatives. When the weather turned cold, they brought us their own brand-new quilts and used the old ones themselves. No matter how late I get back home, there’s always a pot of piping hot food waiting. When I encounter difficulties that I don’t know how to resolve, or I’m living within negativity, my brothers and sisters will always patiently share fellowship on God’s words with me and do everything they can to help me so that I can understand God’s will and find a path of practice. I know that this love comes from God and it is God’s love that has brought us together so that we may help and support each other, and jointly pursue the truth and take the right path in life.

I later read these words from God: “You should always be cautious. Though you live in a filthy place you are untainted with filth and can live alongside God, receiving His great protection. God has chosen you from among all on this yellow land. Aren’t you the most blessed people?” (“Practice (2)”). “Because the essence of God is holy, that means that only through God can you walk the bright, right road through life; only through God can you know the meaning of life, only through God can you live out a real life, possess the truth, know the truth, and only through God can you obtain life from the truth. Only God Himself can help you shun evil and deliver you from the harm and control of Satan. Besides God, no one and nothing can save you from the sea of suffering so that you suffer no longer: This is determined by the essence of God. Only God Himself saves you so selflessly, only God is ultimately responsible for your future, for your destiny and for your life, and He arranges all things for you. This is something that nothing created or non-created can achieve” (“God Himself, the Unique VI”). Thanks be to God! God’s words are the truth and can allow us to discern between good and evil, between beauty and ugliness; they can lead us onto the right path in life of fearing God and shunning evil. I thought of how, after believing in God, I understood the truth through God’s words and developed discernment over all sorts of evil trends given rise to by Satan. I clearly saw that it was Satan who has given rise to these trends and that they are its tactics for corrupting, toying with, and harming human beings. Only then could I distance myself from Satan’s tests and not be confused or injured by evil practices. Most importantly, now I put God’s words into practice every day, I pursue becoming an honest person, and I am on the path of fearing God and shunning evil. I have a proper direction for life; I have great peace and steadiness within my soul. This is something that no sum of money could buy! I thought of my fellow students, unbelievers, who are being steeped in and influenced by these evil trends. At such a young age, some are really superficial, competing with others over their food and clothing, always focused on dressing up. Some are addicted to online games, some sing karaoke and go to dance clubs all the time. And even though they’re so young, some are even dating, sleeping together, and getting abortions. They’re leading dissipated, depraved lives. That I’m able to avoid being infected and corrupted by these evil trends isn’t because I’m so great, but it’s because God loves me and has saved me!

Then it occurred to me that even though I had been through a lot of painful things since I was little, through those hardships, I slowly learned how to become independent and was able to take care of myself. I also bravely faced life’s challenges. And with that kind of family background, I am able to have some practical understanding of how Satan corrupts and hurts people. I’ve gained true, heartfelt hatred for and rejection of the evil trends that spring up from Satan. I also realize more clearly that it is only God who most loves humanity, who has always cared for and protected us. When I was being toyed with by Satan, living in pain and helpless, God reached out to me with a hand of salvation, bringing me before Him. Through the watering and sustenance of His words, I have understood many things and I’ve gradually learned how to be human. I also fulfill my duty in the church, and now, every single one of my days is fulfilling and joyful.

And today, I very deeply feel that Christ’s church is the only clean space within this evil world. Only by coming into Christ’s home, and enjoying the sustenance and nurturing of God’s words can I live within happiness, within the light! I truly thank God for bringing me into His family and giving me a warm, happy family!

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