Family, Health

Voices told her to jump … but a book from her preteens gave her hope

By Christine Leow , 10 July 2024

TRIGGER WARNING: This story contains mention of suicide ideation. Reader discretion advised.

Her daughter was just a month old and her son was just a year old when Amanda Wong got divorced. 

Her ex-husband disappeared from their lives.

Amanda, 26 years old at that time, had to go live with her mother. 

Amanda was like a Zombie after that. She locked herself up in her room.

single mum

Amanda was in her 20s when she became a single mum.

“Thankfully my mum and my sister helped take care of the children.

“Then one day, my mum told me, ‘Do you know who has been buying milk powder for the children all this time? From next month, you have to settle it yourself.’

“I suddenly woke up and realised it had been a year-plus since I’d locked myself in,” said Amanda, now 46.

More losses were to come. 

Falling apart

Within a few years, Amanda, who was then working in Singapore, got a phone call from her family out of the blue. They asked her to rush back to Penang. 

Her mother was dying. She had gone for a simple procedure to remove stones from her gall bladder, but had picked up a viral infection.

“My family said, ‘She just wants to see you.’

“I was the one she had always pampered,” Amanda explained.

Amanda Wong

Amanda (right) with her mother and brother.

“When I got back, she could only manage to nod her head to acknowledge my presence. She passed away shortly after.”

Amanda descended into depression again.

A year later, her father passed away from lung cancer at the age of 63.

Amanda Wong

Amanda (in pink) in one of the few photos she has with her mother (third from left) and her father (second from left).

Setback after setback shook Amanda’s faith in the religion she was brought up in, and her belief in “doing all things good to get merits”. Her faith in the New Age mysticism she was into also began to falter.

But she was not ready to consider another religion.

A change in behaviour

Amanda took her children with her when she moved around Malaysia for work.

When it was time for them to enter primary school, the family returned to their hometown of Penang. 

But Amanda’s application to enrol her children in the school of her choice was rejected.

Then she happened to meet an old friend who told her about a school that had an opening.

single mum

“My children used to fight every day. Really fight … But I observed their relationship getting better and better after sending them to the Christian school,” said Amanda.

It was a Christian school, which meant the children needed to study the Bible. 

“I told the children, ‘Take it as moral studies.’” she recalled.

Within six months of them going to that school, Amanda noticed a marked change in their behaviour.

“They used to fight every day. Really fight. The girl was so fierce.

“But I observed their relationship getting better and better,” she said.

“The words hit me”

When her son was 11, he asked to attend a Christian youth camp. 

Amanda was only too happy to let him go, thinking: “No need to take care of him for a few days.”

There, he got to know about Jesus and the peace and love only He can provide. 

Subsequently, when he asked for permission to attend church regularly, she was about to say “no”, when she had a supernatural encounter.

Amanda Wong

Amanda’s close relationship with her mother deepened when her mother helped to care for her children after the divorce.

“I remember seeing a piece of paper the kids brought back from school. It said, ‘Don’t stop your children from coming to know God.’

But when she searched for the piece of paper, she never found it.

She was convinced it was a supernatural vision, and allowed her son to go to church.

Amanda tried to block the Word of God from entering her heart.

“I told him, ‘You can go but don’t ask me to go.’”

Six months later, when Amanda’s daughter became a Christian though youth camp, she insisted that her mother attend church with her.

“She told me, ‘Instead of driving us to church, going home and then coming back for us, why not sit at the back of church? You don’t have to listen to the sermon. The pastor won’t call your name.’”

So Amanda did that, and tried to block the Word of God from entering her heart.

“But each time I sat there, the words hit me. It was like they were talking to me,” she said.

Amanda Wong

Through her children, Amanda gradually came to know Jesus and experience His love for her.

One Sunday, Amanda, who was facing many challenges in life, told her children: “I want to go to Australia. You stay here with Da Yi (first aunt). Learn to be independent.”

When they went to church that day, a pastor from Australia was giving the sermon.

“He said, ‘If God didn’t call you to Australia, don’t come.’

“My two children looked at me,” she said.

“Jesus, help me”

A year later, Amanda encountered difficulties at work. She was running a coffeeshop. The challenges were so great, she became depressed again.

“I was crying every night. I know the children must have heard. They just pretend they don’t know.

“Then I heard a voice asking me to jump from my flat.

“My daughter told me, ‘Mum, if you hear this voice again, you can pray.’”

“I shared this with my children and told them, ‘As a single mum, I won’t kill myself.’”

Amanda reasoned that she had seen them grow up and the toughest part of their life was over.

“But this voice was so real and scary, I worried that I might just jump and it would be too late.”

Her children were then 12 and 13.

In response, they told her that Jesus could help her. Then her daughter gave her a Bible.

“She told me, ‘Mum, if you hear this voice again, you can pray.’

“I stared at her, ‘Pray what? I’m not a Christian.’

“But she told me that God could still help me.

“I told her, ‘If your God is so good, you ask your God to come and talk to me.’ 

Amanda’s daughter told her again: “Just say, ‘Jesus help me.’ It’s just like talking to someone.’”

“He was holding my heart”

A few nights later, Amanda heard the voice again telling her to jump from her apartment and all her troubles would be settled.

“My whole body was so numb, so weak. I was crying and crying for so long.

“Then I shouted in my heart, ‘I don’t know who You are but my daughter says You will help me. Come to me and talk to me. I don’t know what to do.’”

“I don’t know who You are but my daughter says You will help me.”

As she struggled to overcome the suicide ideation, Amanda turned to the Bible her daughter had given her.

The first passage she flipped to was Psalm 69.

The first line of the psalm was exactly what Amanda had wanted to say: “Save me, O God.”

She wept loudly as she read the whole psalm.

“[What was in the psalm] was exactly like my life,” said Amanda, crying at the memory.

“It felt like Someone was really talking to me. After I read the psalm, I felt my whole body becoming light. The heaviness was gone. It was like a warm light scanning me from head to toe.”

“I felt like Someone was holding my heart to stabilise my heartbeat.”

She finally experienced the peace that she was looking for but failed to find through meditation and New Age practices.

“I felt like Someone was holding my heart to stabilise my heartbeat.

“In the past, my heart would beat very fast. It was very unstable. But from that moment, it became quiet, normal.

“And I felt Someone hug me and say to me, ‘Child, don’t be afraid, I will always be with you.’”

After her first encounter with God, Amanda grew in her desire to know Him, and started attending Christian seminars to learn more about Him.  

“I don’t know how to describe that peace that I felt that day. But that feeling of peace has lasted till now,” said Amanda who now works as an administrative assistant at Tung Ling Bible School.  

This is an excerpt of a story that first appeared in Salt&Light

If you would like to know more about Jesus, click here to find a church near you.

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