My Search For God
A testimony of a new Russian Believer... Before I came to faith, it seems I was wandering in the darkness searching for the light. Like a ship lost in the night in the ocean, searching for the lighthouse. I was looking for happiness; trying to find it in relationship, in career. Nothing seemed to satisfy my soul. I often felt miserable, depressed after something I thought would make me happy, turned out to be another disappointment. I had suicidal thoughts. It almost seemed like I was in the dark room trying to find an exit but instead I was hitting the walls and never able to make it to the light. I was searching, and searching. I married my husband who is American (we met during his sabbatical in Moscow) and moved from Moscow to the USA, to the small town of Colorado Springs. I never understood the real purpose and significance of what happened until later when I believed. God wanted me removed from the atheist or religiously hypocritical environment. He wanted me removed from all the stress of a big city--career driven, sin city environment-- so that I would be stripped of my past, all my previous ungodly beliefs. I had no clue then. I felt like something wrong happened to me. I was even more miserable in Colorado Springs without friends, without a big city feel and the cultural indulgences. I had gotten used to that. I was ambitious, career oriented in Moscow, and in the US I became more materialistic. I was trying to find fulfillment in investments and making money. Even the birth of my son, my loving husband, and extensive travelling did not bring me complete satisfaction.
After six years living in Colorado Springs, my husband had another sabbatical, in Singapore, so we left for a year. After we left, we encountered serious financial losses as the manager whom we hired to manage our apartment complex, ran it into the ground. We faced foreclosure and other serious financial troubles. I had a miscarriage and was devastated as I wanted another baby. In addition to that, my mother and sister in Moscow started to be alienated from me and treating me and my family badly. I have to say that in Russia it is intuitive that whenever you have trouble or feel bad, you go to church, even if you don’t know God or believe. One day, feeling completely desperate, and in pain, I found information for the Bible study group on the Nanyang campus we stayed at. I was crying when I called and a woman on the other end tried to calm me down and invited me to their Bible study. I came feeling scared, broken, embarrassed because I did not know the Bible at all – but I immediately sensed peace, and compassion from this woman. It felt like a beautiful candle with its light warming my soul. I felt safe. These wonderful gracious Asian ladies were from different countries – China, India, Japan. We were studying Bible verses, picking whatever spoke to us in the Word of God. I found that God’s Word was calming, and it also carried hope and strength. It was pretty powerful how God’s Word changed my feelings and perspective on life. One of the ladies gave me some books to read – those were Stormie Omartian books about prayer. While I was reading them I tried to pray for the first time in my life. Something was happening in my soul. Life, light and hope started entering it. Like never before I enjoyed a relationship with my friend at Bible study, as I felt loved, safe, supported. About a month into the Bible study I believed there was a God, an active, living God, not just the idea of God. I felt God answering my prayers, filling me up with His peace. He helped me get through the terrible times. He gave me the joy of His presence and love. I bought a Bible for my 5 year old son and we both enjoyed Old and New Testament stories, like two children, old and young. I could never believe these stories before, as unbelief and skepticism were in my heart, but now I believed like a child.
A big change happened in me after I believed in God. This change took place gradually. Material things started to lose their importance. I was finding joy in reading Bible verses, delighting in truth and power. I realized God’s Word is surprisingly applicable to every day life, practical and necessary. One of my favorites was “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me”. This verse helped me to get through a lot of troubles. Or “Fear not for I am with you”. The very words of Jesus. I was finding joy in relationship with other believers. That’s how God revealed Himself to me, as a God of Peace, Love, Relationship, Hope. Suddenly my life, which was purposeless, meaningless, became meaningful, purposeful. I found something of the greatest importance for me – getting to know God. He became personal and close, like a loving caring Father. Nothing I ever did before brought complete fulfillment - I felt empty, but now even a thought about serving God brings me satisfaction and joy. I am still struggling with some issues from my past, but I have changed a lot. I have started to appreciate peace and have learned to be content. I have become more optimistic and much more patient. I have learned to recognize God’s activity in my life and the lives of others. I have become a stronger person. Now whatever life may bring, I have Jesus with me.