Estelle is a second year, pre human biology major. She loves deep conversations and traveling. She is down to try new things…except chocolate!
“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)
God’s master plan of salvation is unfathomable. How amazing it is that I, undeserving of God’s grace, can be part of it. His plan can be traced long before I was born (Jeremiah 1:5). He first saved my parents who are both first generation Christians, growing up in traditional Taiwanese households that solely practiced ancestor and idol worship. Although in face of trials from family members and the hostile environment in Taiwan, where the Christian population is less than five percent, my parents persisted in their walk of faith. Their faithfulness allowed me to grow up with Christian values and Biblical truth. Because it is only by God’s grace that I can be saved, I bear marks of God’s grace manifested in different stages in my life. These marks of grace strengthen my faith, fix my eyes on Christ, and sustain me through this journey of grace.
Before I started reading the Bible on my own, God revealed his might to me at the age of eight when I could not go to school for a month when I suffered from an illness that doctors could not explain. I did not understand God’s character nor did I know how to pray at the time, but through the fervent prayer of my parents I experienced His mighty hands on me, which were so kind and comforting. He made himself known to me and let me know He is the only one who gives life.
By God’s grace, since I started going to Sunday school at third grade, God has given me understanding of His word and grown my faith. God gave me a teachable heart that allowed me to believe since the moment I heard the gospel. I did not leave any room for doubt and I have always been strong in my faith. At the age of eleven, I proclaimed Christ as my personal savior and I was reborn in Christ. I rendered my life fully in His hands. As a young Christian, with minimum understanding of God’s words, I was bold to declare that Jesus is the only true God. I was unafraid of telling my friends what I believe while I might be the only Christian in my class. I seized every opportunity to share about Christianity. Amazingly, the more I wanted to share my faith with others, the more God taught me to depend on Him in proclaiming the gospel as He provided me with the words. God also gave me desire to do daily devotional, which I started at fifth grade and continue even now.
Another salient mark of grace is that God has placed spiritual coaches and friends around me who had disciplined me with the truth and encouraged me to seek God’s will. I grew up in a church with a strong youth ministry, for the church believed, “out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes to still the enemy and the avenger” (Psalm 8:2). We also had Saturday Christian youth leadership development in which students convened for Bible study, prayer meetings, hours of worship, and discipleship classes. We also had a “prayer chain” that paired-up mentors and students will pray with each other on the phone at least once a week. As I look back now, I am simply grateful to have been chosen by God at such a young age and grown up with these godly people who spurred me to live only for the glory of God.
God’s grace is shown even more in my weakness. Because while our spirit indeed is willing, our flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41), I have battled sin, particularly pride, throughout my life. While I seemed to lead an impeccable Christian lifestyle on the outside, I easily did all these by manpower rather than by God’s strength. So often, I was satisfied by my own accomplishment that brought me worldly praise and ignored God’s will. But God never let me go, He constantly speaks to me through His word and through the Holy Spirit, which made me realize that He is the one Who makes all things possible; otherwise, I will have no difference from others who desperately work for their salvation. Such a realization is truly God’s grace that enables me to cling to Him in times of trials. God is shown the strongest in my weakness and this is why I boast in Christ.
Graciously, God led me overseas to UCLA in which I found a spiritual family in GOC. As I am rooted in God’s Word and surrounded by faithful servants; I am excited to see how much more God is going to grow me. It might be scary to think about all uncertainty in the future but God tells me that He knows what is best for me and submission will be the best respond to His sovereignty. As my favorite worship song goes, “every step we take, it is the path of grace. Your love, Your hand, will guide me through this path of life,” (“Path of Grace” by Stream of Praise) I am on this path of grace, experiencing Christ’s amazing love. If you are a non-believer who read this testimony, I invite you to walk on this path of grace that will guide you to an eternal blessing, which cannot be taken away by this world. If you are a believer, I invite you to take a moment reflecting on your own marks of grace that represent God’s irreplaceable and undeniable love for you. Praise the Lord for His gracious salvation!