Story: My Faith Like a Growing Lemon Tree

A picture of a lemon tree bearing fruits
A picture of a lemon tree bearing fruits (photo: Provided by Mu Xi)
By MuxiNovember 13th, 2023

Editor's note: A female believer named Muxi (pseudonym for safety reasons) said her faith was like a growing lemon tree. The following is her testimony in her own narrative.

I have been baptized for 11 years, never attended an evangelistic meeting, and never bore witness to the Lord publicly. I practically ran away right after being baptized and only came back when I felt lost. So, for many years, I couldn't really be considered a "Christian." I jokingly called myself a "quarterly believer," meaning I participated in church activities on a quarterly basis.

During my pre-school years, my parents were just starting a small business, and I, as a "left-behind child," lived with my grandparents. I remember accompanying my grandmother to Christian women’s homes for family fellowship, where they sang hymns together.

When I started school, I left my grandparents and returned to live with my parents. However, during the holidays, I would still stay with my grandparents. In my memory, my grandmother often said, "Thank the Lord." But hearing it, I was puzzled: "Who is the Lord? Where is He? What are we thanking Him for?"

When I was 17 years old, my grandmother, aged 67, ended her own life by taking a whole bottle of pills due to depression. In my eyes, her journey to heaven was about 90% complete.

During my youth, I hung out with lay Buddhists, visited temples in places like Zhongnan Mount, and engaged in charity work. Every Christmas Eve, I would go to church with classmates and hear the gospel a few times, attending family gatherings. At the same time, I was also interested in some mysterious stories of Taoism.

Looking back on my youth, I already realized that humans have souls because physical ailments can be treated with medicine, but the pain of the soul cannot. So, I searched for answers, trying to find the meaning of life.

After graduating from a graduate school in 2010, I entered the workforce. The following year, I met a problematic man in a local professional group, and the nightmare began. I tried to salvage the relationship, doing things contrary to my conscience.

I often shared my bitterness with my Christian aunt, who would comfort me and share the truth, but it seemed to have no effect. Until one day, she gave me an ultimatum, stating the only way out for both of us was to believe in Jesus because she was about to go abroad for a long time.

We went to a beautiful church on Christmas Eve, not knowing that tickets needed to be reserved in advance. As we were about to leave, a girl gave me two tickets, and then we entered the church. I didn't feel any divine presence in the church, and our relationship soon came to an end. Yet, my spiritual pain and wounds remained unresolved.

Feeling desperate, I searched for information online and contacted the nearest church. There, a pastor patiently listened to my life experiences. Intending to change myself through baptism, love slowly healed me.

Later, I met my current husband. Although he is not a Christian yet, he has good character, qualities, and manners. I often thank the Lord, realizing that what He prepared for me is better than what I asked for.

After my baptism, I entered a period of fervent engagement in my career. My church attendance depended on whether I needed God. At that time, I did not know how to worship God at all but only sought to use Him. Although I attended meetings, read the Bible, and helped renovate the new church, I was like a lemon tree in my early days—immature and childish.

In my career and life, I have achieved many proud accomplishments, including managing a leadership circle, increasing the value of my family property, receiving awards and honors, and conducting research. I treated tasks from the company as opportunities to showcase myself. Even if I didn't attend worship, I made sure to complete the work impressively.

In 2020, a crucial moment arrived in my career: the company's title evaluation. To pass, besides having strong qualifications, there were some unwritten rules: you had to offer a bribe. Being spiritually immature, I didn't consider the morality of it; if others were doing this, so would I.

I successfully became a middle-level leader, but about a month later, I developed vertigo and vomiting due to vestibular disorders. My husband called an ambulance, and I was rushed to the hospital. Although the vestibular disorder was cured, less than a month later, my lumbar disc herniation recurred, and I had to undergo spine surgery. At that time, I vaguely realized that these experiences were God's discipline.

In 2021, our company underwent a significant change in middle-level leadership. Normally, once you assume a leadership position, you tend to stay in leadership for a lifetime. I appeared to have favorable conditions, such as popular votes and personal relationships with leaders.

However, this time, I chose to step down. I was afraid that I would make more mistakes. Consequently, my name was removed from the leadership list. I didn't feel joy; instead, I fell into bitterness again, frequently complaining and questioning God about where my hope was.

I am grateful that at this time, a female Christian named Sarah from the small group in church inquired about my situation. She patiently accompanied me for a long time and brought me back to the church. The believers there completely healed me with their warmth, love, patience, and tolerance. I no longer avoided participation; instead, I engaged in diverse ministries.

Once again, I felt lost and returned to the church wounded. However, this return was different from the past. This time, I came back as a personal spiritual process, with the roots of my spiritual life growing downward and the visible growth of spiritual fruit.

Every day, I live with hope and gratitude. I no longer ask, "Why is this happening?" but rather, "Lord, what do you want me to do?"

Because I have truly tasted the grace of the Lord, I naturally want to share the gospel with those around me.

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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