How do you fix a broken family?: Felicia Chin on the hope that heals

By Felicia Chin , 24 December 2020

Growing up, I was a little fearful of my mum.

I knew that my mum was there for us and she cared, but a lot of the words that were exchanged and situations that happened really made me feel hurt and rejected as a daughter.

When I was in my 20s, I was in the toilet one day and I accidentally broke a glass panel, so it went – chiaaa – and there were pieces of glass all over the floor.

My mum came in and the first thing she did was to scold me. I really felt very hurt and very angry at that point in time.

I would have loved and expected my mum to care for me and ask if I had cut myself because it’s glass right? But the first thing I heard was harshness.

There were so many cracks in our relationship.

We started arguing, and I just wanted to bolt out of the house. But my mum didn’t give me the keys.

I got so angry I took a knife from the kitchen and threatened her by saying: “If you don’t give me the key, I’ll slash myself!”

Such incidents happened at least a few times. And I think it just showed me that there were so many cracks in our relationship – a lot of hurt, a lot of anger.

I really felt like it was so hard to have peace in my family. I felt very broken inside.

But in 2015, I accepted Christ. One year later, my mum also accepted Christ. And from there, God actually started healing our relationship.

One day I went home to have soup and then an argument started again. So I went to the room and locked myself inside.

And I told God: “God, why? I want to spend time with my mum, but everything is in disarray… and I don’t want to drink her soup.”

But I actually felt God speaking to me through the Holy Spirit to drink her soup. So I obeyed. I went out and drank the soup.

While drinking the soup, half of my mind was like: “I’m going to get out of the house after I finish drinking the soup.”

But God stopped me and told me to stay. I thought to myself: “Stay? What good can come out from staying?”

Nonetheless, I obeyed.

It was so hard to have peace in my family.

At that point in time, my mum was still nagging and telling me about the things that I didn’t do right. She went on and on.

Suddenly, I burst out crying and said: “I’m never good enough for you! No matter what I do, I’m never good enough for you. Jie jie (older sister) is always better than me.”

I didn’t even know these words existed inside of me. But I guess that was my inner cry.

My mum stopped in her tracks and suddenly became very worried.

She herself started crying and said: “Sorry. I didn’t know you were feeling like that. Mummy never meant to hurt you this way.”

Both of us cried and then we hugged. For us, that incident started the mending of our relationship.

I remember another time I was in Busan, South Korea. We were at this beautiful seaside cafe.

My mum had bought two cakes and some coffee, and I was helping her to carry them on the tray.

Suddenly I slipped and fell on the staircase, and everything crashed on the floor.

And I was like, deja vu right? Glasses everywhere again, you know?

Everything was on the floor, the cake was so expensive… I was like: “Oh no, no, my mum is going to scold me.” That was my immediate reaction.

But my mum heard everything and she came running out of the cafe. And then suddenly she was like: “Ah Ling! Aiyoh, what happened to you?”

She picked me up and asked: “Aiyah, did you get cut? Did you get hurt?” She started fussing and worrying about me, wondering if I was hurt.

And in that moment I was like: “Wow, God, you taught my mum how to love me.”

Now I know that God restores.

God, in turn, also helped me to love my mum.

There was an occasion when I was leaving the house and we were saying bye. And then I had a prompting to go and hug my mum.

I was like: “Hug my mum? That’s too much, God.” Because we’re a family that doesn’t express our love for one another in that way.

Nonetheless, I felt that God was always right, so I went back and I gave her one of the most awkward hugs ever.

I went over and hugged my mum like a robot. And she actually hugged me back.

So I continued doing that and realised that my mum actually liked it. It is her love language.

Slowly, things started to turn around between us, and in the way we started to show affection for one another.

Looking back, I’m reminded of what a broken relationship I had with my mum.

Growing up in my 20s, there were a lot of broken pieces that I tried to piece back myself, but I would sometimes get cut in the process and it would hurt. I felt a sense of hopelessness.

But now I know that God restores.

God, you taught my mum how to love me.

Five years down the road, I still go to church with my mum every week. Sometimes I hold her hands too.

We can sit down and have a meal together without arguing and quarrelling. We have learnt how to accept one another – our weaknesses and our strengths.

Of course, I must add that we’re not a perfect family. Sometimes there are still cracks. But I feel there’s so much hope.

I have grown to understand my mum more and more. I now see things from her perspective, and I think she sees things from mine as well.

I’m just so thankful for hope in our family.

When you’re watching this, you might think about the broken pieces of your family and your life, and think that there’s no hope.

I just want to reassure you and share with you that God’s love never fails. He can restore – and He can heal you and your whole family.

This article was adapted from Felicia Chin’s testimony for A Christmas Invitation

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