Written by Linda Tu’ulakitau
My name is Linda Tu’ulakitau. I am a mom of four kids. This is my personal testimony that I shared with my Evangelism class at Harvest Bible College (Melbourne). I hope that by sharing it here, it will bring hope to someone who may need a father figure in their lives. Jesus is the answer!
I am the eldest and the only daughter with three younger brothers. I grew up in a Christian home where my late father was a preacher and the youth leader of our home church (Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga). I attended Sunday School from year one up to my teenage years. My late father was a high school teacher while my mother, a secretary. Later in life, my mom became a pastor but now retires. As I can remember, my childhood days were a happy one; I enjoyed the stability and security of having working parents who cherished us and looked after me and my brothers well.
However, when I was 13 years old, my beloved dad passed away unexpectedly. It was the greatest tragedy of my young life, especially as I had a remarkably close relationship with my dad. He was a wonderfully understanding father. I could talk to him about anything my little heart desired and he would still understand. He cherished every single moment he spent with me – joking, talking, listening, and encouraging me. As his only daughter, my father also spoiled me. As a teacher, he instilled in his kids (from a very young age) the value of education. He was an excellent father, a great husband, and a great provider. His untimely death shattered all the security and stability I knew. In those days, I could literally feel the pain in my chest each time I thought of him. During those first few months after his death, I remember lying in bed, feeling too sick to get up, refusing to eat, staring at the walls and kept repeating to myself like a mantra: “All I need right now is my dad. I desperately need to see his face and hear his voice one last time. I just can’t live without him. I really miss my dad and I don’t think I can survive this. I don’t want to live anymore. There’s no point in living when the center of my world has gone. I can’t believe that a loving God can be so cruel like this.” I reached the lowest point of my life. I packed my mind with nothing but depressing thoughts. Even though my mother tried her best to fulfill every role of being a mother and father, things were not the same anymore. My brothers and I missed our dad every day. We desperately needed a father-figure in our lives. As the eldest, it reached a point in my life where I seriously needed a father for leadership, direction, and guidance.
That desperate need for a father in my life drew me to God. I used to be a church-goer but no personal relationship with God. Out of my dire need for a father in my life, God drew me to Himself. When I turned 14, I bent down on my knees beside my bed one night and asked Jesus to forgive my sins and become my Lord and Saviour for the rest of my life. With tears streaming down my eyes, I begged Jesus to replace the father I lost, and to please fulfill all the roles of a father in my life. It was such an emotional moment. When I received Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, I felt whole again. I was complete in Jesus. Jesus filled that deep void in my life that nothing and nobody could fill after my father’s death. Jesus replaced the precious father that no one else could replace. I began to cultivate an intimate relationship with Jesus. It was so lovely. So wonderful. I was so close to Him. Each day was like heaven on earth. I shared with Him every minutiae of my life each day. I included Him in every moment of my life, in every decision I made. I was so much in love with my Lord. I was on fire for Him. My first commitment was Jesus. As a teen, I did not experience the complications that most youths faced nowadays because I met Jesus early in life. I would reach home after school, took a shower, left for the evening church service, and returned home to have fellowship with Jesus and later studied my notes for school. That was my daily routine. For the first time after my father’s death, I felt alive again. For the first time after my father’s death, I sincerely had the will to live because I discerned in my spirit that God has a purpose for my existence.
I used to attend church out of habit since I grew up in a Christian home. However, when I received Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, my motivation to attend church totally changed! I attended church out of my pure love for Jesus, not out of duty or habit. My personal relationship with Jesus never ends. Everything I needed as a daughter, Jesus fulfilled it, and He still does!
Looking back over the years, I see how God (as my Father) guided and directed my life. He intervened at times, and as a result, I did not mess up my life big time. When my father passed away, I used to think about how a loving God could be so cruel. But today, I now understand that everything has a greater purpose, and it is all for our own good. I did not understand it at the time, but today, I could see the hand of God working behind the scenes to accomplish His purpose for my life. Today, I appreciate God for the tough times and challenges He allowed me to encounter in life. After brokenness, I experienced God’s finest blessings. After brokenness, my life became the most fruitful and has the most purpose. God makes no mistakes in His breaking process. It is difficult. It is painful. Yet, it is good. God is in the business of PERFECTING us. The dawn after an extremely gloomy and storm-wrecked night is magnificent. I have a wonderful life now because Jesus is still as faithful as my Father. I married a good and faithful man who is a servant of God that is after God’s own heart; he is also a great husband, an excellent father and a great provider just like the father I had lost during my teen years… just because of the grace of God. We have godly children who love the Lord and honour and respect their father and me because of the goodness of God. I have a wonderfully supportive mother who is always there through it all. No words can express her valuable contributions to our family throughout the years. I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for the tough times and painful circumstances He allowed me to encounter in life because they are for my good. I am so grateful to my Father for the life I have, and it is my prayer that I will continue to live my life to glorify Him. I leave you with this Bible Verse: “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV).