MEET REMYAH LIAM NGUYEN
Hello! If we haven’t had the pleasure of meeting before, my name is Remyah and I began my walk with Christ a little over a year ago. I was recently baptized and found that now would be the best time for me to reflect on some of the most prominent ways that I’ve seen God work miracles in my life. While these miracles aren’t what you’d first think of as something amazing or spectacular, He’s done things in my life that would have never been possible without His presence and that’s what makes this aspect of my God story so special to me.
I had spent my childhood in the pews of the Catholic church, praying to a God I didn’t know, but was forced to worship because of my stepfather’s own Roman Catholic upbringing. That same God fearing man that would bring me to tears if I snuck a piece of chocolate during lent when I had given up sweets was the same man that had forsaken the covenant he had entered with my mother. “God isn’t real.” I remember the first time I told myself this. I was 10 years old and my mother and stepfather were separating as a result of him being caught in an affair. I was devastated. God wasn’t real. He didn’t care that my family was being torn apart. God wasn’t real. He wasn’t there every night I cried myself to sleep because I missed my old home. God wasn’t real. I told myself this over and over again from the ages of 10 until 18.
After the affair surfaced I began to rewrite all of my childhood memories because it made my mother hurt to know that I missed the man that put another woman before her, before our family. I rewrote the memories of my perfect childhood because it was easier to believe my stepfather was an evil and heartless person, rather than a man in need of mercy and forgiveness. The movies that we loved watching together, the games we loved playing together, the things we loved doing together, and the God we all worshiped together were evil; it made moving on easier for everyone. Slowly but surely we stopped talking about him and Star Wars and Rock Band and religion altogether because it was easier to say that all of our favorite things were ruined by the affair than hold onto painful memories of a family and of a God that no longer existed.
Fast forward 8 years later to December 30th, 2016. It’s your typical boy-meets-girl story, and I quickly fall in love with a man of faith. The word twinges with pain from my past, so I tell him that I don’t believe in his God out of spite of a man that hurt me as a child. He understands my anguish and pain but brings up the fact that his family could never approve of our relationship if I wasn’t a Christian myself. As much as it hurt to unearth the memories I had tried so hard to bury, I agree to go to church with him that Sunday out of respect for him and his family; little did I know that was the first time I would open the door to let Christ into my heart.
Over the next year I would yo-yo between unbreakable devotion and extreme anger with God as I learned that mercy and forgiveness were available for anyone who needed it, even those undeserving of it. I found myself always coming back to blinding fury whenever I would think about my stepfather and his mistress and when I would think about the absence of God in my life when I needed Him most. I had a hard time accepting grace into my life because I was so angry at all the suffering I endured at the hands of what I believed to be a God that only loved me when I loved him. The first year of my walk with Christ I only saw God’s goodness in my own virtue. When I would pray and when I would do acts of kindness, yes I saw God there, but what about in my anxiety and depression? I felt empty. I felt alone. I felt like the 10 year old little girl He abandoned. And I kept asking myself the question, “Where is/was my God when I need Him most?” I thought the love of Christ was a two way street, conditional on my best behavior, and in my anger I felt it was easier to be mad at God and refute His grace, than to relinquish control of my life and accept His peace.
All of this changed when I found my stepfather’s new wife on social media; he ended up marrying the woman that he cheated on my mother with. I stumbled across her page to see a post she captioned with a statement slandering my mother's name. I was appalled. The other woman won, and she still has more to say about the family that she stole everything from? This is the moment when I learned what grace was.
I realized that forgiveness doesn’t need to be a two way street because I chose to make peace with a woman that robbed me of the best parts of my childhood, and she had no idea who I was or how she completely changed my life. My mercy towards her was not conditional on her own virtue, it was conditional on my love for God and obedience to Him.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you.”
As a Christian I am called to be “Christ-like”. This is the sole reason why I love the woman that ripped a hole in my heart that could only be filled with God’s healing. I love her because I am called to love as Christ loves, I love her because she is deserving of mercy, I love her in spite of her wrong doings, and most importantly I love her because I wasn’t made to carry the burden of this pain beyond the cross.
I love her more every time I hear my favorite worship song “Here in the presence” by Elevation Worship because I am reminded of the endless mercy we are all given that we in no way deserve. I love her more every time I hear the lyrics “Tired of running running, you can move on it’s over now” because I have found so much peace in being still and knowing that God is on my side, that He is fighting this good fight with me, and no matter how bad it hurts to know one person single-handedly ruined the best part of my short life, that one person can put it all back together again.
“Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.”
What does WOMEN+WORDS mean to you?
I’d like to thank Cherelle for this amazing opportunity to write for Women+Words, I’ve never thought to share my God story with others but putting it on a platform to share with sisters to uplift one another is more than I could have ever asked for. Women+Words is more than just that to me, it is community and fellowship and inspiration!
Our book of Proverbs is the power of WISDOM. What wisdom would you love to share?
"Love prospers when fault is forgiven." Proverbs 4:9
I’ve found peace through Christ in forgiving others. Love and forgiveness go hand in hand. As I’ve grown in my relationships with all of the people in my life I’ve been called to forgive not only others, but to forgive myself so that I would be able to grow past my shortcomings and keep my eyes fixated on God’s plan for my life.
In the Bible, who or what book inspires you?
I love the prophet Malachi. The book of Malachi is one of my favorite books in the Bible and the meaning of his name and story have a very special place in my heart. I strive to live my life as he did, with ambition and drive to seek truth in the midst of the many distractions that may tempt us away from God.
Favorite scripture at the moment:
For I, the Lord, do not change, so that you the sons of Jacob shall not perish. Malachi 3:6
The Old Testament of the Bible ends with this message, that we have been saved by the same God that was, and is, and is to come. Regardless of how many times we may fail him, His love and promise to us never changes
A time of worship, listen to Remyah's favorite song at the moment: