Hepshiba, 19, Tamil Nadu, India
Growing up as a preacher’s kid, everyone expected me to behave. Unfortunately for my parents, I was a rebel. I roamed around with my friends, doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. When my parents refused to buy me a phone, I stole one! I was obsessed with social media and my self-image. I had no satisfaction. I remember my parents crying a lot.
As I made my way through high school, I developed a deep craving for romance. I rarely went to my family’s church, but I eventually started going just to pray for a boyfriend. In 2017, a boy that I thought was perfect sent me a friend request on Facebook. A relationship quickly developed; I genuinely believed that he was the one. After 3 months, he told me that his parents didn’t approve and he broke it off.
My mental health plummeted. My grades dropped. I cried before bed every night and shut my parents out. When I left for college, I brought my grief with me. With time, the grief evolved from a debilitating heaviness into a motivator. By my second year, I was highly motivated, determined to “show him what he was missing.” I decided I was going to become an entrepreneur, a businesswoman; it felt good to have a goal, but I knew that something was off. There was still uncertainty, as well as a deep emptiness.
As I grew, so did this feeling. Though I’d rejected the Christian faith my entire life, I began to feel a strange desire to pursue God. It was a strong, supernatural pull. In July of this year, I found myself picking up a Bible and going to a church near my family’s home. When I got there, I prayed an honest prayer for the first time in my life. “God, help me,” I prayed. “I know I’ve sinned, but just this one time, help me.”
I left the church and went to my parents’ house. When I arrived, my father announced that he wanted me to get married right after graduation. I was shell-shocked; it’s not uncommon to get married young in India, but that was not the life I wanted for myself. All of my friends were making exciting post-grad plans and I was being told that I’d be married off! I went back to my dorm and broke down alone in my dorm room. Then, for the second time that day, I prayed. “God, what is your purpose for me? You’re breaking me apart. Don’t you care?”
As soon as I prayed this, I entered into a vision. It was not at all similar to a thought or a daydream — there was no thinking involved. It was as if my mind and consciousness left my dorm room and entered an alternate reality. In this vision, I was standing on a stage with a man I somehow knew was my husband. I was wearing a traditional Indian sari. All eyes were on me. I heard myself say, “If God decides to bless you, nothing can stop you. Nothing can stop you, if God decides to bless you.”
It ended abruptly and I suddenly realized I was still in my dorm room. I then heard the audible voice of God say that I was soon going to marry a man that I’d love more than I loved my high school ex. I freaked out; partially because I’d never experienced anything like this, but mostly because I knew that God was real and that He had something for me to do. I was in shock, but I also had a crazy sense of peace. I trusted Him.
I went back to my parents’ house and told them that I wanted to get married. As you can imagine, they were shocked. But, I knew that this was my path and, oddly enough, I genuinely wanted it! Soon after, God led me to apologize to my parents. I apologized for everything — for all of my behavior and attitude over the past years. My dad was surprised and visibly overjoyed. We prayed together and he gifted me a Bible. I read and read and read. I was still so surprised at myself, but the truth of the Gospel was obvious and undeniable.
My relationship with God has progressed quickly. The disappointment and impatience I once felt has been replaced by joy and certainty. As a human, I can’t see His end game, but I can see that He’s working for my good. Even when there’s trouble, He again and again shows that He’s capable of deliverance. I also see that my human plan can never compete with His; my ideas — whether about boys, career, or even daily things — always look tiny in comparison. His always proves to be much greater! So, I have no reason to worry or stress about what I can do; it’s covered.
I now know that the vision I had this past summer was a peek into the future. God is using me to speak the truth of his providence to the people in my community. The words I spoke in that vision — ““If God decides to bless you, nothing can stop you” — have become my reality. Nothing, no human, no heartache, no earthly worry can win against the will of God. If you’re in Him, you have nothing to fear.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:28-31)
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