How Jesus Changed My Life
Like many children in China in
the 70s, I was brought up by my grandparents instead of my own parents. My
grandparents lived in a small town in southern Fujian. The town folk were
superstitious and did not have very high moral standard. I remember among my
play mates, fighting, lying, stealing were very common things, and they knew a
lot of things that children shouldn't have known.
My grandparents were uneducated people and didn't have much good things to teach me. In fact, they knew nothing about how to bring up a child except to keep me fed and warm so that I wouldn't get sick. I was not a healthy child then, I ate very little and often got sick. I remember my grandmother often promised to buy me sweets to get me eat one more mouthful of rice, and this made me more unhealthy.
When I left my grandparents (my father's parents) at the age of 8 to live with my parents, who taught in a university in Wuhan then, I was a spoilt girl without any concept of moral. I often stole little things of my classmates. Whenever I saw my classmates have a pretty pencil or a nice sharpener and coveted it, I would find a way to get it into my pocket. I often lied to my parents. And I was very dirty. My father often had to check my toothbrush to see if I had brushed my teeth or not, my bed smelled badly for I often went to bed without washing my feet. Although I was scolded by my parents every day, I did not feel ashamed, for I didn't feel those things were bad. Punishment only made me do my best to keep my deeds from being discovered.
My mother at first tried to correct me. But in the end she had to give up. Because not only she couldn't change me a bit, but there arose such animosity between her and me that she felt it easier to leave me alone. This was very painful both for her and for me, for she felt as if I were not her own child, and I felt as if she were not my own mother. My parents often quarreled on account of me, my mother being more strict, and my father being more indulging.
As a result, our family life became miserable. Our home was filled with quarrel, scolding, sulking, distrust, disappointment and pain. Every one was unhappy.
For many years I lived wretchedly. My hair was teemed with lice, my clothes were dirty and crumpled, my room was dirty and smelly. Moreover I had as my mother put it a wooden head, I did very poorly at school. I was one of the slowest students in my class. No one at school liked to be my friends. At home I felt my parents didn't love me either.
When I was 8, my mother's family, which were farmers, became Christians. My grandmother taught me to say the Lord's prayer and charged me to say it every night before sleep. Although I did not understand what it meant, I did as she told me.
My mother was educated at school with communist atheism, so for many years, she couldn't accept the fact that there is a God. But she had many problems she did not know how to solve, besides me who made her headache, she suffered from nettle rash, and she was always condemned and persecuted by evil people wherever she went, for she was a outspoken and honest person.
During the year when I was 12, my mother's nettle rash got so severe that she lay on bed in fever for many weeks. During that time she read the Book of Job and was touched by Job's faith, who also suffered from severe skin disease and was condemned by every one. She felt if there had not been a God, she would be hopeless, there was no one but God could save her from her suffering. Eventually she believed.
My mother did not try to convert us though, for she thought faith was a personal matter. But now we had a Bible at home. When I saw her Bible, I felt curious, I wondered if there were any stories inside, for I was very fond of reading stories then. One day I got it without my mother's knowledge and read it secretly. I did find many stories in it, so I read it from front to back, picking out all the stories, skipping the non-story part. Afterward I returned it and forgot about it.
But after some days, there came a change in my heart. My heart used to be like a dark room, everything inside was covered in thick dirt and filth, but because there was no light, I didn't realize how dirty it was and didn't feel uncomfortable. But one day, someone opened the window, then light shone in, I saw and wanted to make a change. Before I didn't feel uncomfortable even if I didn't bathe for a month, but now I felt uncomfortable if I didn't bathe for a day, before I didn't feel ashamed when I stole, but now I felt uncomfortable and shame whenever I did secretive things. And in my heart there grew up a love for bright, good and beautiful things. I began to love to do things that could make my heart feel happy and bright. I did not know why this change came over me, but it was just so. And my sudden change made my parents very surprised.
My mother was so happy with my change that she began to help me with my study. And she treated me more gently. She often took us out for a walk after supper, when she would talk with me kindly. I had hated my mother for her harsh scolding before, but now I listened to her teachings eagerly, her teachings made such a deep impression on me that they had a strong influence on me until now, in fact, it was they that brought me back again and again from astray during those years when I wandered alone in the world. One thing I remember most was she taught me that we must seek God's kingdom and righteousness first, then all our needs God will provide for....
To my mother's surprise and gladness, when she tried to help me with my study, my head was no longer so wooden. I could understand math and other difficult subjects much better than before. And to the amazement of my parents and all my teachers, within half a year my grades improved, I rose from the bottom of the class to the top.
At home, I began to feel my parents cared for me very much, and I began to trust them, and listened to them. And I help them do housework cheerfully and willingly, whereas I had been reluctant before .
I remember, as the graduation exam drew near, to relieve my pressure, my parents took us to the side of the East Lake, which was the biggest lake in Hubei province, and we had a wonderful picnic. And during the days we prepared for exam at home, my mother would often took me out to study in the nearby woods. For the air there was fresher, she said.
Our family life had been miserable, but not became harmonious, which we had never thought of before. That's all because Jesus came into our hearts. He brought us peace, love and new life.
When I say Jesus brought us new life, it sounds so true to me. For He did give me a brand new life, even on very small things.
I remember when I was a child, I used to be out of tune whenever I sang. What a shame I felt when I hummed a song to myself happily, when my mother would say to me, " Please stop singing, you are terribly out of tune!" I don't remember since exactly when, but one day when I was singing hymns, I found I could sing correctly, and that my mother had not asked me to stop singing for a long long time. And now, singing has become one of my favorite things to do.
And I contracted chronicle hepatitis when I was 6. For many years, I had to use separate dishes and spoons to eat, sometimes I even had to eat alone in my bedroom, which was a painful shame for me especially when there was guest at home. After I became a Christian, I was no longer troubled by this. And my parents did not treat me with discrimination either. It seemed we all forgot about my chronicle hepatitis. Then when I made physical examination upon graduation from high school, the blood test showed I was completely healed.
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