I was born into an average Chinese family - atheistic and ambitious. I went to scripture classes in primary school, but I didn’t really think about Jesus much.
High school was endured as an insecure teenager, always seeking the approval of others. In Year 10, I made a friend named Abel who was the same age as me but was unbothered by the issues that plagued most teens – he was a Seventh-Day Adventist Christian and he credited his self-assurance to his walk with Jesus. This idea was new to me.
I attended campus Bible studies at university and casually accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. However, my heart was still with the world. I had discovered that lots of make-up and little clothing could “improve” me into a “hot chick”. I got part-time work as a promotional model, promoting alcohol and cigarettes, and hostessing at clubs and celebrity functions. The attention I received was addictive.
After I started studying Dentistry, I was proudly appointed a member of the “Dental Vixen Crew”, a group of girls deemed by the guys to be the “most irresistible” girls in Dentistry. I felt so valued. I think this resulted from being emotionally neglected by my parents – throughout my early teen years I would cry myself to sleep because I felt ugly. It was the dawn of a new day.
My uni social life comprised of weekly parties, drinking, dirty dancing, and alluring boys. My value came from seduction. I felt loved because men lusted after me, but there was no security in that “love”. When I saw men checking out my gorgeous friends, jealousy would creep in, mingled with disappointment in myself, that I appealing sexy enough compared to them.
My necklines plunged deeper and my skirt hemlines got shorter, as I exposed more of myself on the outside to feel beautiful on the inside (not realising that my beauty should not come from outward adornment – 1 Peter 3:2-5). My emotions were a rollercoaster ride – I either felt stunning during photo shoots or ugly and objectified when I looked in the mirror. I remember looking at photos of myself as a little girl and, recalling my innocence, I would be so upset at how dirty I now felt. And the tears would fall. In my heart, I desperately wanted to be loved, but I didn’t believe any good guy could accept me.
At this point, I was working on Sabbath mornings so I could no longer sporadically attend the SDA church that had been recommended to me by Abel. I started going to Fountain in the City on Sabbath afternoons and they soon announced an evangelistic campaign by Pastor David Asscherick. Even as I was faithfully attending the seminars and discovering amazing prophetic truths, I would be planning my outfit for the next party.
My Heavenly Father was still at work. On September 6, 2008, the day of my baptism, Pastor Asscherick preached on the parable of the pearl of great price. As I listened to the moving message, I realised, with tears streaming down my cheeks, that I was Jesus’ pearl of great price.
Since then God has continued to open my eyes to the beauty He has placed inside me. I now feel like a little girl, cradled comfortably in her Father's lap, ready to rise and twirl in a pretty dress as He watches on adoringly. I believe that God has restored my purity and taken away my shame. Sharing this story is a pleasure because, for the first time in my life, I feel beautiful. I realise now that as a daughter of God, I don’t need to rely on outward beauty or charm – “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” – Proverbs 31:30.