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Has there ever been something negative in your childhood that you have carried throughout your life? Have you considered allowing God to redeem this negativity? Our editor Daniela shares about her childhood struggle and realization that God has redeemed her over the ongoing transformational journey she has had with Him.

Recently I was able to sit down and talk to my mentor and something sparked for me that came up along the lines of how knowing your identity in Christ helps because there are certain times/circumstances where we may need that confidence and knowledge of who we are so that we don’t waver so easily. The more I think about it, I am reminded of how much God has transformed me over the years. For those that know me, I have often described myself to be like Moses as he was one to doubt himself (and God) and also Jonah because I had a tendency to ‘flight’ rather than ‘fight’ in many situations in the past.

I grew up feeling super insecure and fearful of most things and people – I was that fat kid that didn’t quite fit in. In elementary school, some days I would be included while other days segregated which made me rather confused. For all that I remember, I would literally hide away from the sun during recess trying so hard to believe that if people didn’t see me under sunlight then I wouldn’t be as noticeable and people would just leave me alone. That would mean that I wouldn’t have to be ridiculed, I wouldn’t have to bother to wait on others to ‘include’ me; and if I waited long enough until recess ended and nobody noticed me then I felt at ease.

At some point in elementary school we had to draw something on a poster. I don’t remember what it was for and why but I drew a panda bear. I kept it for years in my house though I wasn’t sure why, but it wasn’t until several years ago I finally decided to throw it out. Somehow, I remember the deeper reason of why I drew it and the meaning it had for me.

The panda bear to me as a kid was an unpopular animal, an animal that did its own thing as it didn’t want to and couldn’t be bothered by others. They would rather have their own space and quietness. And yes, the panda may seem slow to most people or even lazy but to me that’s just the pace pandas function at which is not bad or wrong – they’re just misunderstood. That was what I liked about the panda bear because that was how I saw myself and I was able to relate in that way.

Funny enough, I didn’t think too much about this until recently. At the beginning of this year, we had the honour to fellowship with some of the brothers and sisters of our Global Witness teams (with the sister Witness sites). We had an icebreaker where we were asked to share of an animal that you would associate yourself with. Somehow, this answer came very easily for me as I had my ‘default answer’: panda. I further explained that the reason behind it was because pandas are more to themselves and appreciate their own space usually and that was much like myself.

Fast forward in time a bit, about almost a month ago some of our brothers and sister from WitnessLA came to visit Toronto. As the LA team prayed over us, our brother Dan had a particular image impressed upon him by the Spirit – it was the panda. The TO team chuckled remembering vaguely about me sharing that at the Global meet. He went on in seriousness (and actually didn’t recall about my sharing of the panda previously), about how essentially yes there is a sense of ‘Asian-ness’ in the panda, but there is something about the panda that draws a wide range of people because of their friendliness. It resounded for me because I had in my heart a hope and desire for WitnessTO to be a means to represent the different ethnic cultures and ages & the different things happening across Toronto.

I believe this wasn’t a pure coincidence but that the Spirit was speaking through the LA team through some powerful prayers during our time together. God was redeeming not only this imagery and meaning I held of pandas, but even much more within my heart beyond what words could express. That which was seen as ‘abandoned’, ‘segregated’, ‘misunderstood’ in my eyes was now in fact redeemed, because God has assured me over the years that there is so much more to the identity of His children of whom He calls His belovedchosen, and precious.

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. - 1 Peter 2:4-5 (ESV)

And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. - Acts 4:31 (ESV)

As I was writing up this post, I came across this song “Called Me Higher” by All Sons and Daughters not so coincidentally. May this be an encouragement and blessing to you all! God is the redeemer and He is calling you to something higher and deeper, would you allow Him to lead and would you be willing to listen?

Image: George Lu/ Flickr



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