Hello, I’m Estelle, and as someone raised in a family where religion was held to a high degree, the beliefs and values of Christianity were drilled into me ever since I could remember.
One of the first things I learned from this religion is the foundational truth that “God is good.” It might sound silly, but as a clueless child, I found it fairly easy to accept this concept because God created colours, and for as long as I could remember, I’ve always found so much of the world’s beauty in its colours: the vibrant green of trees that made me hate walking to school every day a little less, the bright orange of campfires that would glow on the faces of people that I loved, and the yellow and reds of sunsets so beautiful that it made me thank God for being alive. How could a God that wasn’t good create something so incredible? But, as I grew older and life more complicated, faith was no longer this simple.
For the past several years, I’ve been burdened with various troubles: conflict in my relationships, overwhelming stress from school, low self-esteem, and struggle with self-identity. Although difficult for me to admit, the more I suffered, the more I found myself questioning God. If he’s so good, why allow all these bad things to happen? If he loves me as much as everyone claims he does, how can he just sit back and watch me hurt? As more of these questions started to build up unanswered, the further I strayed away from God until, eventually, I decided to give up on our relationship and disconnected myself completely. So now, suffering through all these hardships alone, everything in my life started to drain its colour, and my world began to grey. I began to look at the sunset and was no longer fazed by its beauty.
For two years, my faith was at an all-time low. I barely ever prayed or read the Bible, and most of the time, attending church felt disingenuous and forced. It was during these past two years that I endured some of the most difficult times I’ve ever had to go through, but through them, I slowly started to notice signs of God working in my life. It started with little things that I could easily pass off as a coincidence, such as someone randomly reaching out to check up on me when I was conveniently at my lowest. Then, the signs started to become a lot more obvious when, one day, God came to my mom in prayer and revealed a massive burden I had been carrying on my own for over a year. Then eventually, the signs became impossible to ignore. During the Sunday service after this summer’s retreat, our guest speaker, Pastor Doug, shared a sermon about exactly what I had been crying to God about just the night before. In this sermon, Pastor Doug addressed every question I had about God and his goodness. He taught me that instead of resenting God for the parts we don’t know about him, we should love the parts we do know. After receiving this message, I realized that God was hearing my cries, and I could no longer pass this all off as a coincidence.
As a result of the constant signs I was receiving from God over the past year, I finally acknowledged how he has been present and working in my life. I began to open my heart to him and decided to take GPS for a second time; this is where I received Christ and made the decision to get confirmed.
A verse shared in GPS that really spoke to me was (Revelation 3:20) See! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me. Initially, I believed that my darkest of times were a lack of God in my life, but this verse highlights that that couldn’t be farther from the truth—God was always there, standing at the door, knocking, and I just refused to hear him. It wasn’t until I let him into my heart that I could feel the dull world around me grow vibrant in colour again.
Something that helped immensely through my rocky journey in faith was house church. House church blessed me with a support system I could lean on whenever I felt myself growing weak in faith. Listening to members share about how God was working in their lives made me hopeful that one day, I might be able to feel him working through mine as well. I’m forever thankful for every one of my house churches and want to thank each of my past and present shepherds for always supporting and looking out for me in times where I couldn’t for myself.
After accepting God back into my heart, the biggest change I’ve seen is how I manage life’s hardships. Before, I wholeheartedly believed that whatever challenge I faced, I had to face it alone. I pushed away those closest to me because I didn’t want to be a burden. But now, I allow myself to be more vulnerable with the people in my life and tackle every hardship with the knowledge that I can always lean back on God.
God has brought an amazing technicolour to my life and, although I may never fully understand the extent of God’s goodness, I’ve still decided to put my trust in him because, for the first time in forever, my life is no longer grey. Thank you.