Seven years ago, I had a dream but buried it.
It was too embarrassing, too outrageous. After all, who did I think I was?
I was little 24 year old girl from Singapore, a country that’s literally a tiny dot on the world map. My name “Wai Jia” was, still is, un-pronounceable to many people. I confess that I had wondered before- what kind of destiny could be found in a name like that?
But above all, I struggled with shame.
Shame that I had a problem. Shame that I was about to graduate as a medical doctor then but had become a patient.
Most of all, shame because people had told me, “Don’t let anyone know because they’ll say things,” which I interpreted as “Your story does not matter. YOU don’t matter.”
Struggling through medical school and other family challenges at the time, I first used exercise to cope. But before I knew it, an insatiable pain gnawed at me. I lost my appetite, and what was a harmless thing became an obsessive control tool I used to cope with life. The sicker I became, the less hope I had.
The worst part was wondering, was God really real? Did I even have the right to doubt that? Yet I did. In my darkest times, I did.
During my recovery I painted a series of drawings and but when it was time to publish it, I people told me, “Don’t do it. What would people think of you? Are you a doctor or a patient?”
I was afraid. Afraid that I would shame my family, my friends, the medical community. Afraid that no one would read this book and confirm that I did not matter.
But God said come. And against all fears, He gave me the courage to step out.
I learned, that courage is not the absence of fear, but stepping out in spite of it. I learned, that faith is not the absence of doubt, but believing in spite of it.
Little did I expect that one day, against all odds, God would send me on 3 unexpected scholarships to Johns Hopkins University to pursue a Masters in Public Health- not because I was smart or capable… because in that room of scholarship applicants, I was probably the only one with a transcript filled with Bs and Cs because of my illness through medical school.
Yet I’m standing here today, speaking with you, fulfilling an incredulous dream I had 7 years ago to speak in America about Hope, because a woman who organized this conference called me one day, because her friend who was the sister-in-law of a faculty member at Johns Hopkins had walked into my professors office and picked up a copy of my book, A Taste of Rainbow, by accident and decided I needed to share my story in America.
We serve an amazing God. He never forgets the littlest of our dreams.
And when God brought me to America, He opened doors for me to pursue another lost buried dream of starting Kitesong Global, an international social venture that uses the power of narrative to inspire people to pursue their dreams and empower underprivileged women and children.
One day, as I watched the sunset and wrestled with a sense of lostness, I asked aloud, “Has this all been a mistake?”
For the first time in my life, I then felt God tell me the meaning of my name.
The background to this is that I’ve always hated my name. When I was five, I went to class telling everyone my name was Christine because I didn’t want the embarrassment of being called something no one would remember or say right. Friends who made friends first were those with easy, catchy names. So imagine the fit I kicked when my older sister went to school and rightfully informed everyone that my name was most certainly not Christine. How prophetic, that back then, I never knew that Christine meant “follower of Christ.”
As I watched that sunset, I felt God speak to me, that the meaning of the first character of my name 蔚wei describes the splendor and majesty of the sky, and 佳jia describes goodness and excellence.
There and then, I heard Him tell me, “Wai Jia” is a reflection of what He wants Kitesong to be, a reflection of God’s goodness displayed in majesty and splendor across the skies.
You might hate your name, you might hate the very essence of something so integral to who you are and think you can never be apart from it. But that very thing that you despise, could very well be the thing that God wants to show forth His glory.
Have you ever thought what yr name means? Have you ever wondered what it means in Ephesians 1:4 when it says, “Even as he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world….” Doesn’t it blow your mind that He chose us before the foundation of the world began? That He gave you a name with your destiny written in it, and He’s waiting to reveal His purposes to you if you would press in and ask.
Two months ago, I argued with God and said I could never set up an organization in the US. Who did I think I was? This little girl who doesn’t even speak English with a good accent? A lawyer through a friend of a friend of a friend had written an elaborate roadmap for me for Kitesong Global and told me it would cost $6-10K to set up. There and then I threw in the towel and said, “No God, I can’t do it. So there.”
A week later, an elderly friend drove four hours through a snowstorm and showed up at our doorstep and gave me a lecture in our living room. I will never forget his words, “If God heard your little prayer as an 18 year old and raised more than $100K to build a children’s home in Nepal, if He raised $100K for you to come to US for yr further studies against all odds, can you not trust Him for $10K?”
The very next morning, while our friend was still in our home after we had breakfast, I received a phonecall from someone who wanted to catch up. I didn’t solicit, never advertised, never shared it on my blog, and there and then when he demanded to know what I was up to and why I wasn’t registering Kitesong in US, he said over the phone, “I am going to write a cheque for you to cover all the legal costs for you to get Kitesong registered in the States. Keep me updated!”
Friends, God is above and beyond all that we ask or think.
Truly, He does not need perfect people. He wants people who are willing to step out of the boat when He says come. He wants people who are willing to surrender and yield to His wind when He says go. He wants broken people, like you and like me to be a display of His goodness in the skies.
So go, give your littlest dreams to Him and fly.
– Excerpt from the keynote closing speech at the HFH Summit in Nashville, Tennessee in June 2018.
Thank you Cliff, for being the amazing husband and father you have been.
And to God, for making Incredulous and Impossible, Incredible.