I grew up without a complete family. When I was very young, my mother suffered a stroke which left her paralysed and my father passed away when I turned 13. Without a picture of an ideal family in my own life, I was unable to comprehend what love was. In my teenage years, I turned to violence to fill the void in my heart. One impulsive wrong move over a staring incident changed my life forever. I was convicted of manslaughter and spent the next 13 and a half years of my life in prison.
The days as an inmate were long and every passing minute was more dreadful than the last. To my relief, I found out that attending Bible study sessions was a way to delay returning to my cell and I eagerly attended them for this reason. During those sessions, I got to listen to Bible stories. People also came to share about how they have experienced liberation from their identity as an ex-convict after getting to know God personally. As I began to understand more about God and His love, I opened my heart towards Christianity and accepted God into my life.
“I did not think that a person like me would become a husband and a father. It is only by the grace of God.”
My future seemed bleak when I was released from prison. I was fearful of being labelled as an ex-convict by others and did not dare to think of what lies ahead of me. But as I struggled with my tainted past, God restored hope in my life through marriage and fatherhood. I was humbled to be given these opportunities that made me a better person. Fulfilling the roles of a husband and a father taught me how to love others in spite of my imperfections.
Learning to be a father was challenging for me at first as I often struggled to cope with my own expectations of being a good father. Deep down, I knew
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
that my identity was still being shaped by my past. The greatest help came from receiving godly advice and support from my church community. I met other fathers who willingly journey together through fatherhood with all its mistakes and victories. They instilled confidence in me that I can become a good father that my children can look up to.
-2 Corinthians 5:17
Just as people invested time into my life, I saw how spending time with my children is the best gift that I can give to them. Material possessions can never replace quality time with them. I want my children to see that I will always try to make time for them, no matter how busy my schedule is or how tired I am after a long day at work. I hope that they will grow up knowing that in a similar way, God will always be there for them.
“My past makes me appreciate what I have now.”
Although my life has been a rough journey filled with many setbacks, I remain thankful as God has been faithful to bring me out of those difficult situations and used them to positively shape who I am today. I will never be a perfect father, but I rejoice in knowing that my identity is sealed by God’s embracing love.
Watch Edgar's story (shortened) with Chinese subtitles
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