During my teenage years I felt so empty and loveless that I begun experimenting with many things teenagers experiment with in order to find some love or acceptance. I ended up doing a lot of things that pulled me further away from God and I led a very sinful life for a very long time. I was also self-destructive and had to go to therapy as doctors thought I had a risk of committing suicide.
I tried very hard to find love anywhere I could, but no matter what I did, I always felt even more empty and unloved. I always felt like I was running away or chasing after something. I had my heart broken countless times as I placed my trust in all the wrong places.
Back then, I didn't believe in a loving God at all, as I had always felt that God wouldn't let me suffer this much if He did love me. I was angry all the time, I hated the world, I hated my life and worst of all, I hated who I had become.
My big turnaround did not come until late 2009. It was my second year of my undergraduate degree studies, and I had suffered tremendously when I came over to Australia. Stripped from my comfort in Singapore, my friends and my life, I was left to support myself financially as well as succeed in a demanding science degree.
I was stuck in an emotionally-abusive, manipulative long-distance relationship and one night, I thought I couldn't take it any more. Everything was too much for me, and I remember the night I was brought down to my knees, at last.
With all the strength and heart I could muster, I asked "God, if you are really there like you say you are, be here for me. I can't take it any more. I am going to do something really drastic if you don't meet me here. I am nothing and I need you."
Suddenly I felt a supernatural kind of feeling that overcame me. I truly experienced God in the most remarkable way. I felt a kind of overwhelming sense of peace, a kind of feeling like you were being hugged by something or someone that wasn't physical. It felt supernatural to me.
Immediately I rose from my knees, took a Bible out and I was led to read this passage from 1 Peter chapter 4 verse 12-13: "Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very gladâ€"for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world".
At that point of time, I didn't know what the verse meant. But I knew one thing; my suffering in life had a purpose, even if I didn't know what that purpose was yet. I slept peacefully, something that I hadn't been able to do for a very long time.
One year from that fateful night I accepted Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour. Now I have been a Christian for nearly three years and I never can forget that night. So much has happened since then. It took time, but in faith, I saw God's plan and purpose for me slowly unfold. I found a personal love in Christ and Christ in me, and over all the bad times I've had since I never ever felt empty or loveless again because the love of God became so evident in my life through Christ.
It was that night
Even though I officially became a Christian three years ago, I knew instantly in my heart, I accepted Christ that very night, in my room, all alone and broken. God found me when I had nothing left to bear or give, when I thought my life was no longer worth living. God literally saved me.
Now, I have met the most loving, most doting, most wonderful man in my life. Christ is my first love, but I have found my earthly love in my husband to-be in a few short days time. I am overwhelmed by the love God has bestowed upon me, and that would have been more than enough for me. But God always give more than we ask for, and He blessed me with someone who loves me in a way I never thought was possible.
So, the love of God for me is something so real, that when I think about it, I feel this sense of purpose and hope in my heart that is so overwhelmingly filled with something so incredible. And to be able to share this is my greatest pleasure and honour.
I know that God's love for me is supreme, because I have been convinced that nothing can ever separate me from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither my fears for today nor my worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate me from God's love (Romans chapter 8 verse 38).
Clarissa Goh is from Singapore but moved to live in Perth, Western Australia in 2008. She is currently working as a Research Assistant at the University of Western Australia, and hopes to pursue her Doctorate in Molecular Neurobiology in 2013.
Clarissa Goh's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/clarissa-goh.html