When Time Is Not In Your Hands?

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!”
-2 Corinthians 5:17
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.

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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