I’m not sure why, but unlike a lot of countrie (Or is it all countries?) Father’s Day in Australia is in September, and this year it was on the 6th of September… This year I had the chance to share a short and powerful testimony about my Heavenly Father and although at first I wasn’t going to put it on a blog post, today I just decided to do it. So without any further words, here is the transcript (If you’d like to watch the video instead, you can click here and begin at 14:20.).
Father’s Day 2020 (Church Online) – Our Heavenly Father
***The transcript below is transcribed by the Otter app so if the full stops or commas or whatever are not quite right it’s because of the app***
Before I begin I want to say thanks to Ps. Kenny for asking me to share my story today on Father’s Day. And I also want to say thanks to those people who prayed for me when I was in hospital 5 weeks ago, I just want to say that I really appreciate the prayers so thank you. Now, when I was asked to share my story today. I had to think about which testimony to tell because God has given me so many stories to share such as the day I told my mum I wished I was normal, the time the Lord taught me how to have a deeper relationship with Him, the year I had my liver transplant, the day I found out my hip had collapsed, the time I almost died, and much much more. So there’s a lot. And because of time constraint. I don’t have enough time to share every single story and testimony of my almost 28 years of life. But today I’m just going to share a few stories and I really hope and pray that God will use it for His purpose. So, without any further ado, allow me to begin.
I was born in Melbourne on the 24th of September 1992. And like all babies. I was born with jaundice. If you don’t know jaundice is the yellowing of the skin and the eyes. Fast forward to a few weeks later, my skin was still yellow. My eyes were still yellow, and my parents were probably thinking “What is going on with this banana looking baby?” So we went back to the hospital where I was born. And they did a lot of tests on me. But in the end they didn’t know what was wrong. So they referred us to the Royal Children’s Hospital. At the Children’s Hospital, again, the doctors and the nurses did a lot of tests. Finally, parents had an answer.
Two very significant things happen that day, one. I was diagnosed with Alagille Syndrome Alagille Syndrome is a very rare chronic condition that affects my liver, my heart, my bones, my eyes, my ears, my growth, and my learning pace, and two, it was the first day of the rest of my challenging, and of course, hospital life. But nobody knew exactly what the challenges would be, especially the newborn me. Only my Heavenly Father knew.
Bullying And Labelling
Here’s one of the challenges that I’m going to share. In 2004 my family and I moved back to Melbourne. And I started attending the schools here of course, and during these times I had no friends. I was bullied. I was shunned. I was accused and threatened by my own peers. I was the invisible one. And because of all this. I thought that I was the problem so I blamed myself for everything, for having no friends, for being targeted. And then I created a false identity for myself. I told myself that I was a loser, a loner, a lame person, and that I wasn’t worth anything or anyone’s time. And soon enough I developed a phobia of making friends. And I had zero confidence in myself. At this point, the enemy had already used my circumstances, my situation and my reality to influence my mind.
Then we fast forward to 2014, when the enemy was going to use that. And the problems that I had in 2014 to end my story and my life. So, I was doing a graphic design course when I found out that I failed a unit. And because I didn’t know. I thought that it meant that I failed the whole course. So straightaway I felt shame. I felt like a failure. My family, especially my dad’s side, everyone went to uni, everyone did a degree, and then there’s my brother who was at Monash University at the time. And here I was in TAFE, doing a TAFE course. And I failed. I was ashamed and I didn’t know what to do, or who to talk to the only thing I knew was to end it all. If I ended my life, this whole shameful problem would be gone completely. And I wouldn’t need to tell anyone, especially my family that I failed. And I wouldn’t be stuck with this heavy weight on my shoulder.
During these darkest moments of my life. The devil took the opportunity to bring up and remind me of all the false labels that I had given myself. And let’s just say that it did not help the situation at all. But there was one who was helping the situation. God was using my mum’s side of the family to stop me from doing what the enemy wanted me to do. When the suicidal thoughts came the thought of my unsaved relatives would come to my mind and I would ask myself, “What about them? What will they think if you do this? They will have more reason not to become a Christian.” And so God was linking me to hope.
And there’s more because earlier that year my family and I attended a new church. And on my first visit. I met the Senior Pastor’s wife, her daughter, and because her daughter was a life group leader automatically I was joined to her cell group. Now, before that, I have been to a lot of churches, big ones, small ones, and not once, did I have this experience where on my first day I meet the Senior Pastor’s wife, her daughter, and join a life group. Everything happened just like that, straightaway, and I didn’t know at that time. but God was the one who was making all of this happen. I also did not know that my Heavenly Father was actually showing me and giving me more of His love that year by placing me in the closest life group that I had ever been in since we moved to Melbourne.
In Sarah’s life group. I had spiritual covering. I had weekly check ins from Sarah and another leader (Joy). I also had new friends. And I even had the chance to feel important. Almost every Friday Sarah would allow us, her members, to volunteer to be in charge of worship, supper, games, or whatever, and I know this doesn’t mean anything to everyone, but because I was coming from a place where I had been invisible to everyone for so long that the times when I was in charge of something, I felt like a somebody, and it made me happy. Sarah was also the kind of leader who had one on one catch up times with each of her members, and she’s the kind of leader, if someone was standing in a corner of a room she will purposely go there to spend time with that person, talk to that person, and when she did these things to me, I felt noticed, included, and cared for. And so God was using all of these things, Sarah, Sarah’s life group, to bring that little bit of happiness into my life. Showing me His love, God was also not going to give up on me. Here’s what I mean. One day as I was having the dark thoughts in my mind again. I told myself, I give up. And I told God, “Why don’t You give up on me, because I’ve given up.” As I kept thinking about this, again and again suddenly I heard my phone go ding. And it was a WhatsApp message from Sarah. Now, I didn’t tell anyone and Sarah that I was having suicidal thoughts, or that I failed my course, or anything, so take note of that. As I unlocked my phone. I read the message. Sarah said, “Nikki, I just feel that God wants me to tell you that He will never give up on you…”. And that is true. That is so so true. Fast forward to another day when I received another message from another leader (Joy). This was just a usual weekly check in. Joy asked me how I was. And for me, 10 out of 10 times. I will always say that I’m good, even though I was far from good, but that day, to my surprise, my fingers typed the words “I am okay”. To cut the story short, we met up, Joy picked me up from the station one day, we went to her house, and we talked. That same night, when it was about time to sleep. For the first time, I could feel that my shoulder was lighter. It was lighter because finally someone else knew that I was having suicidal thoughts. Finally, this wasn’t just my secret anymore. And I could also feel that God was touching my heart. He was asking me to let go of everything that I was holding on to – the secret, the shame, the sadness, the suicidal thoughts, every single thing God was tugging on to my heart. And even though I was struggling to let go because I wanted to hold on to my problems, I didn’t believe God or anybody could ever get me out of the dark pit that I was in. But we know that God is God right? And if He wants to do something. You bet. He’s going to do it. And so He did it. With only a mustard seed sized faith. I gave in and surrendered everything to God. A few days later, God got me out of the dark place. And oh my gosh, I couldn’t even begin to describe how relieved I was, how in awe I was! I was so thankful, so grateful. And I remember telling God, “If You can get me out of the dark place. You can do anything. Absolutely, anything” like giving me the ability to write songs, to study a degree now, to have a blog, and to write a book.
And this includes making sense of the time that we are in right now. We may not know the purpose of this pandemic. But we need to know that God is still present. You know, there were so many times in my life that I thought things didn’t make any sense. And I’ve asked God countless of times, “Why me? I didn’t ask for this? Why was I born sick?” But I’ve learned that even when I don’t understand something it doesn’t mean that there is no meaning to it. In Isaiah 55:8-9 the Bible says that God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts, and just like how I know there is a reason for my sickness, my story, my life, I also believe that there is a reason for this whole restriction, global pandemic, this whole year. I believe nothing our Heavenly Father does is purposeless. He loves you. He loves me. And in Romans 8:38-39 it tells us that there is nothing that can separate us from our Heavenly Father’s unconditional love. Thank you.