By Yang Yang, United States
When I was three years old, my father passed away. At that time, my mother had just given birth to my younger brother, and my grandma, owing to superstition, said that it was my mother and younger brother who had caused my father’s death. For lack of a better option, mom had to take my younger brother to her father’s house to live, so from the start of my earliest memories I was living together with my grandpa and grandma. Although my grandpa and grandma treated me well, I still felt lonely and really wanted to be together with my mom and little brother. I longed for the same kind of motherly love that other kids received. Really, what I was asking for wasn’t much—all I wanted was a true family, a mother who loved me dearly, who could share her true feelings with me. But even this small ask turned into an extravagant hope, as I was only able to see my mom on the weekends. Whenever I had trouble at school, mom was never there by my side either; I was like a small patch of grass by the side of the road that nobody showed any interest in. Over time, I became very self-abased, I held everything back in my heart and was unable to take the initiative to interact with others. When I was 16, some people in my village went abroad for work, and the idea tempted me. I thought to myself: My situation at home isn’t very good. If I were to go abroad, then I could earn my own living, and even give some of my earnings to my family. That way I could help my family live a little better.
In August 2000, I came to the United States to make it alone. Here in the US, I’d wake up early in the morning and work all day late into the night, and there was no one by my side who I could share my thoughts with. I held on to a tough exterior, but on the inside, I felt especially lonely and desolate. Whenever I felt this way, I would really miss my family, and I would yearn even more to be able to have a happy family.
When I was 21, I got to know my husband while working at a restaurant. He was a good guy and devoted to his parents, so I had a favorable impression of him. One time, I sprained my foot while not being careful and, to my surprise, he quit his job to take care of me, which made me feel very touched. I slowly began to depend on him. In April 2008, we got married. I felt like I had found someone whom I could trust with my life, and finally it felt like I had a family to call my own. I felt very happy in my heart, and what I’d hoped for for so many years had finally come true. After getting married, my husband’s sister and I partnered up to start a building materials company, but since I was the only one in our family who knew English, the entire company was basically kept going by me. I was both looking after everyone in my family and managing the company. Through several years of struggle, I not only was able to help my husband pay back his previous debts, but I was also able to collect some savings for my family. Originally, I had thought that my efforts would win me the respect of my husband’s family, but the reality came like a slap in the face. Once the business started having some success, we planned to have a child, but I couldn’t get pregnant. I therefore took a lot of medicine and visited lots of doctors, but I couldn’t see a single ray of hope. My husband was the eldest son in his family, and his parents and other relatives became very disappointed in us because we hadn’t given them a grandchild. Facing this kind of pressure, my husband’s attitude toward me also changed dramatically. Following suit, everyone in my husband’s family then changed their attitudes toward me. My husband’s older sister would often say things to exclude me, and would even distort the facts to say bad things about me in front of my husband. I felt I had been wronged, so I told my husband how I was feeling. He was not only unsympathetic to me, but sometimes he would yell at me as well, which made me feel even more hurt and wronged. Later on, we went to the hospital for another checkup, and finally found out that it was actually a problem with my husband. But this was no longer important, because after several years of fighting, our relationship had begun to deteriorate. Starting from the beginning of 2012, my husband would often go back to China to visit doctors and carry out business, only coming back home once every six months. Every time he came back, it was just to get money, telling me that the company he was running back in China needed funding to cover its costs, but he was completely indifferent toward me. In this way we were barely ever together for over three years, and our relationship drifted further apart.
In September 2015, we finally ended up getting a divorce. What hurt me the most was that, when we were dividing up our property, my husband went so far as to authorize a lawyer to make me sign a contract saying that, if the court did not approve our divorce, then I would have to give him all of my own assets within one week. Another lawyer had me think it over carefully: If I signed this contract, it would be very detrimental to me, and he said that he could help me write an agreement that would win me alimony. Seeing my husband be so cold and ruthless made me feel very disillusioned. From first falling in love to getting married, for nearly a decade I gave everything to my husband and this family, to which no amount of money or material possessions could compare. But now, because my husband couldn’t get me pregnant, he and his family placed all the blame on me, and turned heartless toward me, without the slightest consideration for my feelings. What I got in return for what I put in was a lot of pain and chagrin. I felt exhausted. I didn’t want anything more to do with this family. I just wanted to leave this home as soon as possible and get far away from these people who had hurt me so deeply. So, without the slightest hesitation, I signed my name.
After my divorce, I felt very helpless. I didn’t know who I could believe in, and I didn’t know who I could go to to share my feelings with. Every time I thought about my own failed marriage, it made me feel so depressed and sorrowful. I reexamined my current self. In order to have a child, I had taken so much medicine filled with hormones that I had gained half again my original weight. I was so afraid that others would see me now in these dire straits, in this difficult situation that I was in. On the surface, I feigned being strong, but in my heart I felt extremely weak. I really did long for the day that I would be able to live a life where my spirit could be set free. It was from this point in time that I started having the desire to believe in God.
Not long after this, I ran into Carmen one day while at the mall shopping for clothes. She was very enthusiastic in helping me, and we exchanged phone numbers. Afterward, I saw a message she posted on WeChat, and I discovered that she was a Christian. Carmen would often share with me God’s love for man, and I felt very moved in my heart. I gradually discovered that I, who had always been so closed off, had become willing to open my heart and interact with other people. As Carmen and I got to know each other, all the suffering that I had felt in my heart these past many years came pouring out. Carmen really understood my suffering, and she shared with me a similar experience that she had gone through. I felt that I had met someone who truly cared, and it warmed my heart. One day, Carmen invited me to another sister’s home where I met Brother Kevin and several other sisters from. While I was with them, I felt that they were very different from the people I had come across in the past. Whenever I was with other people, even if they were my relatives or friends, it felt like I wasn’t truly understood when I opened up my heart to them. On the contrary, I would worry that my mishaps would be ridiculed by them, so I became unwilling to share my feelings with anyone. However, while with Carmen and these others, I felt very at ease, for they were all able to understand my suffering, and they also shared with me their own experiences. I never could have imagined how sincerely I could open up my heart and talk with everyone here the first time I met them and how we all shared our experiences with one another. I felt like these brothers and sisters treated me like a relative more than my own family did, which was something I had never enjoyed before throughout my life in this world over the past several decades, and it made me feel very moved inside.
Later, we all got together to watch the musical Xiaozhen’s Story from The Church of, and my heart was stirred. The story in the movie was so true: As a child, the protagonist in the film played with her friends innocently and purely, but once they grew up and began to have conflicting interests, everyone’s hearts began to change. They started to scheme against each other, even becoming enemies and fighting with one another. There was no longer any affection or friendship to be spoken of. I couldn’t help but think about all those years I fought with my husband. Because we couldn’t have a child, there was a fracture in our relationship, ending when we divided up our property and my husband actually started calculating against me. It made me think about how terrible people really are; whenever it’s their own interests at stake, all feelings are forgotten. Fortunately, the protagonist in the film eventually finds God, and returns to God’s family, where God becomes the only One she can rely on, and she is no longer lonely, nor does she go on feeling indecisive and helpless. I felt quite moved after seeing this, holding back tears in my eyes. I thought to myself: “When Xiaozhen returned to God, she took off the mask she had worn in order to survive; she truly lived in the presence of God, received His salvation, and was able to live a liberated and free life. Almighty God surely will also save me, so that I may live as happily as Xiaozhen.” In the film, I heard Almighty God say: “Humanity, having strayed from the Almighty’s provision of life, is ignorant of the purpose of existence, but fears death nonetheless. They are without help or support, yet still reluctant to close their eyes, and they steel themselves to drag out an ignoble existence in this world, sacks of flesh with no sense of their own souls. You live in this way, without hope, as do others, without aim. Only the Holy One of legend will save the people who, moaning in the midst of their suffering, long desperately for His arrival. So far, such belief has not been realized in those who lack consciousness. Nevertheless, the people still yearn for it so. The Almighty has mercy on these people who have suffered deeply; at the same time, He is fed up with these people who lack consciousness, as He has had to wait too long for an answer from humanity. He wishes to seek, to seek your heart and your spirit, to bring you water and food and to awaken you, that you may no longer be thirsty and hungry. When you are weary and when you begin to feel something of the bleak desolation of this world, do not be lost, do not cry. Almighty God, the Watcher, will embrace your arrival at any time. He is keeping watch by your side, waiting for you to turn back around. He is waiting for the day you suddenly recover your memory: when you realize that you came from God, that, at some unknown time you lost your direction, at some unknown time you lost consciousness on the road, and at some unknown time acquired a ‘father’; when you realize, furthermore, that the Almighty has always been keeping watch, waiting there a very, very long time for your return” (“The Sighing of the Almighty” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Upon hearing these words, it was as if my mother was calling out for me, and it seemed like I had returned to my mother’s side, where I felt an incomparable warmth in my heart. As it turned out, God had always been by my side watching over me, waiting for my return. I was no longer alone. God knew my plight and my needs. In my greatest time of need, when my spirit ached the most, through these brothers and sisters preaching the gospel to me, He brought me back into the house of God, where I received God’s salvation and enjoyed the love God has for me. In that moment, I felt like a lost child who had finally found home, who had found their family, and I really felt truly happy!
After this, I started living the church life and, through reading the word of Almighty God, I felt that I had found something I could truly rely on, and that I now had a purpose and a direction in my life. However, since I understood too little about the truth, every time I thought about my failed marriage, I would still feel pain in my heart. I hated the way that my husband’s family had treated me, and every time I thought about it, I would feel my heart become mired in pain. So, I prayed to God about my troubles, and I opened up to the brothers and sisters and fellowshiped with them about my problems, seeking the truth to resolve them. One time, Brother Kevin shared with me this passage of Almighty God’s words: “Man has walked through these periods together with God, yet he knows not that God rules the fate of all things and living beings, nor how God orchestrates and directs all things…. No one actively seeks out God’s footsteps and the appearance of God, and no one is willing to exist in the care and keeping of God. Instead, they wish to rely on the corrosion of Satan, the evil one, in order to adapt to this world, and to the rules of existence that wicked mankind follows. At this point, the heart and spirit of man have become man’s tribute to Satan and become Satan’s foodstuff. Even more, the human heart and spirit have become a place in which Satan can reside and its fitting playground. Thus does man unknowingly lose his understanding of the principles of being human…. God loses the man that He originally created, and man loses the root of his beginning: This is the sorrow of this human race” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Brother Kevin then fellowshiped on this, telling me: “The reason that our lives are so full of pain is because we accept Satan’s ideas, views and life axioms, and because we are harmed and corrupted by Satan. In fact, mankind has been corrupted by Satan for thousands of years. For a long time now, we have been used to all the things Satan instills in us. Mankind relies on Satan’s rules of survival to live, making us blind to all but our own profits, selfish, contemptible and without conscience. Your former husband’s family was able to treat you in the way they did because they too were controlled by such feudal thoughts as ‘carry on one’s ancestral line,’ ‘there are three ways to be unfilial, having no sons is the worst,’ and ‘bring up children so as to be looked after in old age’ that had been instilled in them by Satan. And when your husband was dividing up your property, he didn’t consider at all your many years of being together as husband and wife, and this too was him being affected and controlled by such rules of survival as ‘Money is first’ and ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,’ and he became selfish and unfeeling. Because of Satan’s corruption, people simply cannot get along with each other, and there is no happiness to speak of in our lives. All the suffering that we experience is caused by Satan’s afflictions. All of our families are afflicted by Satan as well, the entire human race is under Satan’s domain, and can do nothing about being harmed by Satan. Therefore, without God’s guidance, people who live by the philosophies and axioms of Satan live lives that are without true joy and happiness. What we need the most in our lives is not material wealth or the love of our families, but rather God’s salvation. What we need is to be supplied with the. God alone can lead us to break away from Satan’s corruption and affliction, and restore our conscience and reason, enabling us to live like true people and obtain freedom and liberation.” After listening to Brother Kevin’s fellowship, I suddenly realized: So it’s not just me who has lived in pain, but rather the entire human race has been fooled by Satan and corrupted by Satan, and all of us are struggling in pain. Only by coming before God and accepting God’s salvation, can people break away from the affliction of Satan, and come through this suffering. This is the only way to obtain happiness and freedom. Once I understood this, my mind felt so clear, and I felt so liberated. Thanks be to God’s salvation!
Once I understood the root cause of why man lives in pain, I realized that the resentment between myself and my ex-husband’s family had been caused by the affliction of Satan, and I was even willing to try and forgive them and stop holding a grudge against them. When I started putting the word of God into practice, I felt a lot more joy in my heart. One day in August 2016, I ran into my ex-husband on the street. We greeted each other and I felt clearly in my heart that I no longer resented him, because I knew that he had been living with Satan’s afflictions, that he had been fooled and tormented by Satan. If I had the opportunity, I would spread God’s gospel of the last days to him, so that he too would be able to come before God and receive the Creator’s salvation. In that moment, I felt that God truly is so lovable, and that God’s word is the truth. So long as we come before God and receive His salvation, then we can free ourselves from the bonds of Satan and obtain freedom and liberation, and live happy and blessed lives.
Every time that I watch the music video “The Happiness in the Good Land of Canaan” I feel so happy, and I feel like the words of this hymn express perfectly how I feel: “I’ve returned to God’s family, excited and happy. My hands hold my beloved, my heart belongs to Him. Though I’ve passed through the Vale of Tears, I’ve seen God’s loveliness. My love for God grows day by day, God is the source of my joy. Bewitched by the beauty of God, my heart is attached to Him. I can never love God enough, songs of praise well up in my heart. In this blessed land of Canaan, all is fresh, all is new…. Canaan’s land, the world of God’s words; His love brings us unending joy. Fragrance of fruits fills the air. If you live here for a few days, you will love it more than anything. Never will you want to leave.” When I think back on the path I’ve followed, regardless of what I experienced on the way, God was always by my side watching over me and, in the end, He led me back into His family. Now, every day I enjoy being watered and provided for by the word of Almighty God. The pain I felt inside has gone away, and I have found direction in my life and obtained true freedom and happiness. Thanks be to God for saving me. I will strive to seek the truth and fulfill my duty as a creation as best I can to repay God’s love. All the Glory be to Almighty God!