A rare commotion broke out in my office recently.
Our new colleague received a bouquet of flowers from a suitor, and many were excited to know who that person was.
It caught my attention too, though I wasn't interested in learning about the man as much as the other ladies were! My thoughts drifted from those flowers to the symbols they represent - that of love and acceptance.
I come from a family that was not very close-knit, and so I grew up yearning for love and acceptance.
It didn't help that I was also shy and reserved in nature, and as a result I did not have many friends.
Then marriage came, and I thought having a new family would fill that void. My husband and his family loved and warmly accepted me. Living together with them was great.
They celebrate birthdays and festive seasons as a family. They possess a strong family bond and I was glad to be part of them.
These changed when my baby came along. The stress of coping as a new mother wore me out. It surfaced my short temper and put a strain on the relationship with my husband and his family.
After numerous quarrels over two years, I moved out in a huff, leaving behind my husband and our child.
While living on my own, I experienced loneliness and a mix of emotions. I was heartbroken, angry with the family, angry with my husband for not siding with me.
I felt let down.
Festive seasons were bitter especially when I chanced upon photos of their celebrations on social media. They seemed so happy without me.
I felt like I had married the wrong guy. I questioned God as I thought everything that happened was unfair to me.
Speaking of the situation to my friends brought scant comfort. Some commented it was a domestic matter, and that I should just apologise to the family. Others felt that I should have divorced my husband.
Eventually, in the midst of confusion, loneliness and bitterness, I had a deep encounter with God through the beauty of His Word.
I realised I was not alone in what I was feeling at that time:
I realised the things I was going through led me to know Christ better - in my weakness, I found strength in Him.
The time away and alone gave me gave me space to reflect and to draw near to God.
My troubles seemed to fade away in His presence - nothing else mattered more than being with Him.
I came to experience peace knowing that God is sovereign in my situation. More importantly, I had a change of heart. I saw the ways that I too was responsible for the turn of events.
That happened when I was led to read Matthew 5:9,
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”.
I sensed that His desire was for reconciliation with my family. However, as much as I wanted to please God, this was a hard route to take.
Being the one who left my family behind, I knew I had to work to gain their trust and forgiveness.
It took a while to restore the relationship with my husband and his family because I had deeply hurt their feelings.
Many times I shrugged away the feelings of condemnation and failure, while reminding myself that God's grace is sufficient.
With time and with His help, I eventually succeeded in repairing the broken relationships.
Looking back, it was His love that enabled us to forgive one another and make the reconciliation possible. It took losing my family to find Christ.
In finding Him, I regained not just the lost relationships, but a knowledge of Love - a Love that is divine, always perfect, and that never gives up.
For Grace Tan, who serves in Wow Mom, it started with the simple desire to know God more.
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