Life.... The Tests and Testimonies.
We have all been tested in life and many of us have the scars to show it. Most of us do not like being tested, but there is “No Testimony without a Test.” I use to complain during my testing period and afterward conceal my testimony. I concealed it out of guilt, shame and because "Telling Your Business" is frowned upon.
God has challenged me to praise Him instead of complaining during the storms of life. I have learned that sharing one's testimony is personally therapeutic as well as uplifting for others. The testimonies shared here are to strengthen us in our moments of weakness, inspire us in our seasons of doubt, and remind us of who and whose we are in a world that sometimes obscures our self-image.
Born To Inspire
Born To Inspire
Tiffany, Survived The Woes
I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for PRAYER.
Ages 3, 6, 9, 12, and 19 were traumatic moments in my life when my health was in jeopardy. At age 3, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Fortunately, I lived in Tennessee which was close to St. Jude’s Children Hospital. I went there for treatment and got through my cancer scare in four months. At age 6, I got diagnosed with Hydrocephalus (water on the brain) and cyst at the base of my brain. St. Jude continued to treat me and for 16 years, I remained a patient there.
If it wasn’t for prayer, I would not have made it. Every time I turned around something else was going wrong with my health. At 19 years old, everything hit the fan. I was excited about graduating high school. I remember praying specifically to God saying “Thank you for the past two years, I have not had any medical challenges.” I was preparing for medical clearance from my doctor; however, this did not happen. During my check-up the doctors said, “Things are not right you, we will need to do surgery.”
A “routine” surgery went wrong. I developed chemical meningitis (blood in my cerebral spinal fluid which is incurable). I was hypersensitive to light, sound, movement and could barely stay awake. I made it through that time only by crying out to God. I had to pray. I had to fight. There were many days, while in the hospital, that I could hear my mom praying for me. I could not talk and my eyes were rolling back into my head, but I could hear her praying. The prayer of family, church members and friends pulled me through.
I went into surgery, relatively healthy, and came out of the hospital barely able to take care of myself. I was very angry about all my health problems. I prayed to God to take my life. God responded “I took you through this journey so you can pray for others. When they get to their breaking point, become angry and hopeless, they will need you.” I began to live for others. I volunteer at St. Jude’s Hospital in Dallas, I share my story with donors so they know their contributions save lives, and I support survivors so they don’t get stuck in the “woe is me” mindset. I now understand that what we go through is not about us. We are supposed to help others and pray them through their physical, medical and life challenges.
Dev Bhardwaj, my father, was a nomad at heart...an avid traveler he traversed through cultures, lands, languages and thoughts. He believed in Sufi love and vasudhaiv kutumbkum (The world is one family). A people’s man, he knew how to pull a crowd and celebrate the joy of life and literature. His choice of medium was Punjabi writing but he could express his passion through singing, poetry recital and animated talks. Ever smiling and all accepting his generosity was as towering as he physically tall was.
I often joked that I am forced to look up to you always. Today, I took him to his last journey. He laid in my arms like a sleeping lion. And as I sent him to the flames, a fire in my soul burnt intensely. A self made man, who lost his parents in his childhood, my father, gave more to life than life gave to him. I sketched this portrait of my father 2.3 years ago. It is not as handsome as he was in real. He always urged me to be more of a painter and less of a commercial illustrator. His standing advice for me was “Raman, it’s good to work hard but not the way you do being insane. Go out and meet people. Life is short, don’t spend it bent on your desk.”
I wish I had his charm, charisma and courage to meet people. But more than that I wish I was there in his last moments.
Raman, Remembering A Nomad
Say, Family Fortune
I was only a year and a half when the Khmer rouge, under the command of Pol Pot, took over the city in April 1975. My mother was pregnant with my younger sister. Everyone was forced to evacuate the city. The Khmer rouge had destroyed the culture and traditions, and killed millions of Cambodians during the war.
Innocent people would get killed for stealing food, trying to escape, not obeying the rules, etc. During the time when my family was trying to escape the Khmer rouge, my mother and her family would hide in the river filled with dead bodies. She was laying next to dead bodies, with me on her chest, pretending to be dead.
It was very fortunate that I didn't make a sound or cried, otherwise we would have been caught and potentially killed. My grandmother (my mom's side) made a pact with the gods (my family was Buddhist) that if everyone in her family make it alive, she would stop eating cow for the rest of her life, which she did. Cow is a very sacred animal in the Buddhist beliefs/Buddhism. Because of her prayers and the pact my grandmother made, my family survived the genocide and have a better life.
My family story is way more than that it is written above. My family went through a lot between 1975 until we got sponsored in Canada in 1981. We made it through because of God. I was first introduced to God and Jesus when I went to elementary school. I became Seventh Day Adventist after getting married and having my daughter. As a scientist, I had tons of questions about God and His existence. After getting most of these questions answered, I now know that there is only one God and He created everything. I happily follow God by faith.