The story of Mandy

This is my story from a broken and reckless person to a logical and joyful wife, my journey of restoration by the love and mercy of God.

I was born premature, with no connection between my brain, throat and the rest of my body. Technically, I should have died as a baby, since I couldn’t swallow. However in the first 3 months, my mother decided to bring me home despite knowing if I died, she could be charged in court and sent to prison. After many failed attempts to feed me, she became very frustrated. Once, she hit and threw me at a wall, and I swallowed my food. From that day on, my mother resorted to physical abuse. There was a time when my head was pushed into the toilet bowl multiple times as I was forced to drink urine. My head was also flung against the toilet bowl, but my head did not crack or bleed, instead the toilet bowl broke into 2 pieces and I did not die. It was the mercy of God that kept me alive, even before I knew Him.

In primary school, I first encountered Christianity through my boyfriend who gave me a New Testament bible. I loved reading it, but had no relationship with God. Somehow, I did pretty well for PSLE and chose to go to a Christian secondary school. I joined Girls’ Brigade (GB), and the newfound knowledge I learnt about God led me to declare in front my mother’s statues at home that “Jesus is God, you are not so leave my mum alone.” After that, all hell broke loose, as statues in the house got broken for no apparent reason, although my mum believed that I broke them despite my claims at innocence. As such, she got really angry, forced me to withdraw from GB and started locking me up.

From 13 to 16 years old, I was locked in the balcony the entire day, except for school hours. My day would start at 5am, and everything I did would be within the confines of the balcony. I would eat the same food on a small table and my toilet bowl was a pail. In all honesty, I believe that the word of God that was preached every morning at my school sustained me, even though I wasn’t walking with Him. When I was 15 years old, I got down on my knees and prayed desperately, “God, if You are real, get me out of this”. After that prayer, my grades improved. With my O’Level results, I was able to enter a junior college (JC). My dad, in view of my good results, allowed me to live by myself closer to my JC fully sponsored by him. From being locked up for 4 years, I was suddenly given full freedom…

However with the freedom I was given, I turned to smoking and got into a lot of relationships. By the time I was 18 years old, my grades in JC were so bad that I could only enter a private university. At this time, my parents told me I had to pay for my own rent, and I had to work part-time while I studied. In order to afford cigarettes that were expensive, I rationed my meals, which had not much nutritional value. By God’s grace, my health was not compromised, despite the choices I made.

In addition to my unhealthy meal habits, I went drinking every night. One night, I was really drunk and I was picked up by a 40 year old man. I spent the night with him, but I didn’t know it was a sex trade, so when he offered money, I rejected it. Instead, I asked him for alcohol, and continued to meet him 2 times after that. By the 3rd time, I realised that was not what I wanted, and did not meet him again.

Throughout ages 16 to 21, almost every week or once in 2 weeks, a Christian would approach me trying to talk to me. Every time, I would scold them and chase them away, yet the Christians never stopped coming. I can see that God was pursuing me, even in my anger and frustration.

By the time I was 21 years old, I was hanging out with a group of friends and we would stay over at this particular guy’s house every Saturday night. That guy turned out to be a pastor’s kid, despite having an equally wild life like me. Fortunately, God convicted him somewhere along the way of our friendship and it was through our friendship, God pursued me. I remember there was one Saturday night I was drunk at boat quay and shouting at the top of my lungs, “God if You are real, show me you!” Thereafter, I went with a group of friends over to that guy’s house to stay overnight. He tried to convince us to go to church the next day. Initially I kept saying “No”, until he said that someone would send me home after church. I was thinking that meant I would get to save the cab fare to get home. So I accepted his invitation to church, and that was where God started to turn things around...

So, my friends and I went to his church the next morning, but I just wanted the morning to be over and done with. During the altar call, a lady approached me 3 times to respond before I finally consented out of frustration to her persistence. I was determined not to cry or fall, as I had seen others do so under the power of the Holy Spirit. But the moment I thought about it, I fell before anyone had prayed for me. I could not move or open my eyes no matter how hard I tried. In all this confusion, I heard a voice repeatedly saying “Why won’t you trust me?” Eventually, I asked, “is this God?”, there was no answer except the same question “Why won’t you trust me?”

I said “ok, I will trust you if you are God, but don’t ask me to give up smoking, clubbing etc.” When I was done listing my conditions, there was no answer from the voice. In that silence, I began to feel a strange sensation of waves of water like icy fire washing over my body until I felt peace. It was as if God was cleaning out everything He needed to. When the sensation stopped, I could open my eyes but all I heard was the same voice asking “why won’t you trust me?” After that, the church people tried to use Christian jargons to explain what had happened. I had only one thing in my mind while they were talking, that was “this feeling is better than clubbing and drinking at 3am and getting really high”.

After that, I was on fire for God. I began to go to extreme measures in preaching to my friends, and in His grace, each of them came to the Lord. I also quit smoking and drinking, and had no more urge to do so. God redeemed the area of relationships in my life, and I am now happily married to my husband with whom we foster a teenager. God has shown us what it means to build our lives upon Christ our firm foundation, and open our home as a place for the broken to be restored. God also restored my relationship with my parents, as He enabled me to forgive them. I can understand that they did not have good parents themselves, and I love them for who they are. I can see God’s redemption in my life that the overflowing joy of the Lord has been restored in my life, and I will continue to worship Him with all my heart for all my days!