Come Out of the Darkness into the Light : Haeyeon Kim
1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
My childhood was something I considered to be normal all my life. It was only recently that I began to realize that the conditions in which I grew up in was not normal. Growing up, my dad had a hard time controlling his alcohol use and suffered through depression. I don’t think I have many memories being with him when he was sober. He would come home drunk almost every day and release his anger towards the rest of the family. He would only tell me that he loved me when he was drunk and his actions would make me feel uncomfortable. And on especially rowdy nights at home, I would have to speak as a witness for my mom whenever she called the police to report my dad. I would lie to the police while my mom acted as the victim and my dad will be pulled away in custody.
The reason why I say my mom acted as a victim is because she was also abusive. I couldn’t find refuge in my mom because she would not care about what my dad did to me, although she would be overprotective of my brother. I remember my mom would physically, verbally and mentally abuse me since a very young age. She would tell me that my appearance would remind her of my dad and that she feels disgusted just looking at me. Every single day, I was reminded by my mom what my worth was to her. To my mom, I was worthless and a mistake. She even made several attempts to kill me. Every time I went through physical abuse, I always slept underneath the bedroom floor crying by myself to sleep because I was afraid that my mom would come to get me.
Even as I feared for my life at home, as crazy as that sounds, I tried my best to protect my brother from getting picked on at home and school. There were times when he was left alone at home with my dad, who was drunk at the time. My brother called to tell me he ran away from home because dad shoved a knife in his face. I hated hearing things like that. I wanted to protect my brother so that he would have to go through less struggles than what I went through.
I knew I was not living a normal childhood, but I thought it was okay because there were other kids in the world who are probably going through much worse things in life than me. So I eventually became numb to my situation and lived my life quietly. In school, I didn’t talk unless I came across situations where I had to speak. Other kids at school would bully me because I was the only Asian kid. I was made fun of for being different.
Once I entered high school, the situation at home somehow worsened. After my grandma passed away, my dad started to become even more sporadic and violent. On top of that, his business started going downhill after his store caught on fire. For a couple of years after that, my dad was unemployed so I worked to help pay the bills while attending school.
One morning, I had to go to school with a black eye because my mom had physically abused me. One of my teachers saw my face and sent a report to the school authorities. I was sent back home and they contacted my parents. Needless to say, they were both infuriated with me. A couple of days later, child protection services came to our house. My brother and I had to testify at trial so that we might be put into foster care. I lied to the protection services and said that we weren’t being abused. I was seeking for help, but not this kind of help.
After the commotion, my mom hated me even more. Then a year later, I was hospitalized for about a week because I could not breathe. I had trouble breathing whenever I had to walk outdoors and had panic attacks. I was overwhelmed and eventually exploded from exhaustion. One night in the hospital, the doctor said that my lips turned purple and that I stopped breathing overnight, but that I came back to life the next day. I still cannot believe that I am still here even after all those crazy events.
In my junior year of college, I went to a conference hosted by a campus ministry. I felt God working in me. He said, “You’re not in the dark anymore, you are in the light.” At that moment, I started having flashbacks of my past. I saw myself hiding in the corner of the laundromat in the dark, away from the violence, but I also saw the presence of God. He was there behind me the entire time with His hand on my shoulder. He comforted me and said, “You’re going to be alright and safe under my vision.” All this time I thought I was alone, but He showed me that He was there since the beginning.
After seeing that vision, I burst out into tears of joy and surrendered myself to God. I was able to see how God has been pouring out His love for me since the beginning of time. I never felt so loved by Him. As time passed, He kept healing my brokenness. All this time, I had been choosing to live in darkness because that was what I found comfort in. But I now know that I cannot dwell in it. I know that God is constantly working within me. To Him, I am His princess, His daughter, and a precious child who is dearly loved. I know that I have to believe His words and accept the truth instead of the constant lies I have been told all my life. I am still fighting the battle within myself. But I know that God is the victor. And I am going to continue to hold onto Him desperately.
For Your Reflection
Your past does not define you. God defines who you are. He will slowly heal you as long as you fully trust Him and allow Him. The truth is right before you but it’s your choice whether you believe it or not. Ask God for guidance and to help you to block out the lies of the enemy.
Let me introduce you to a song that I listened to in order to remind myself of who I really am. The song is called, “Everlasting Father” by Elevation Worship. The lyrics go like this: “I am loved. I am loved by my Father. I’m forever yours.” This is who we are. We are children of God and we are forever loved by Him. It is time for us to stop listening to the lies of the enemy and get out of the darkness. Instead, come to the light and let us rejoice in the love that has been poured out to us.