High Expectations: Baffled By Unconditional Love

Editor’s note: Amy is a member of the post-80s generation. An only child, she grew up in China with parents who expected her to excel academically and had rigorous standards for who she would be and what she would accomplish. She became a believer when, after university, she studied abroad in the States. This is the first part of the story of how she came to know Jesus, and how knowing him has changed her life.


High Expectations

China Partnership: Where did you grow up?

Amy: In a city in southwest China. It’s not very big, but not small, either.

CP: What were you like when you were little? What did you like to do?

Amy: When I was young, my mom had high expectations for me and wanted me to do well in school, as most Chinese parents did.

CP: Did your mom and dad go to college?

Amy: They did, but they went to college late in their 20s because of the Cultural Revolution. They probably had some regrets, so they wanted me to study hard. They had high expectations for me. For instance, once I got a 93 for a test, out of a total of 100. They were not satisfied with the result. I was under a lot of pressure.

CP: Definitely.

““Because of the one-child policy, she could only have one daughter. My mother’s coping method was to prove to my grandmother that even though she had only had a girl, this girl would be better than a boy. In that way, I could feel the pressure she put on me.”

Amy: Looking back, I think the reason behind the expectations might be that when I was born, I was the oldest of my generation in my family. How shall I put it? My dad had a few brothers, and he was the first of them to have a child. But I was a girl, so my grandmother was disappointed. She wanted a boy. Because of that, my mom was very angry, and she felt rejected.


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CP: Rejected?

Amy: She felt that she was unappreciated, and she did not win the approval of my grandmother.

CP: How did she deal with that?

Amy: Because of the one-child policy, she could only have one daughter. My mother’s coping method was to prove to my grandmother that even though she had only had a girl, this girl would be better than a boy. In that way, I could feel the pressure she put on me.

CP: Did she say this to you directly?

Amy: Hmmm… I think this message was delivered to me in some degree.

CP: So you knew this from an early age?

Amy: Yes. My mom also told me that she wanted me to be good at school and have a successful life. If not, she said she’d rather not raise me. That is why I studied very hard, and also why I always felt very insecure.

No More Hesitation

[Amy was very successful in her academic studies. She successfully tested into one of China’s top universities. After graduating, she traveled to the United States for grad school. In America, she encountered many Christians through an international student fellowship at a local church. It was here that she clearly heard the gospel. The pastor at her church began to share about God by giving many examples from the book of Genesis. Amy was intrigued…]

Amy: He said that it was really hard not to believe that there was a great intelligence who created this world. I heard him say that, and I don’t know why, but I agreed with him. Maybe it was because I had thought something similar when I was young. Then he said, “Let’s open the book of Genesis and read it.” After reading it, I believed that there is a God.

CP: You believed this all of a sudden?

Amy: Yes. I believed it right then. I believed that this God which the Bible talks about is the God.

““It was very late, but she had not yet gone to bed. She probably sensed I had something important to tell her. I asked her how I should pray if I wanted to believe in Jesus.”

CP: Why?

Amy: I don’t know. They also told me that God loves me, and so I wondered what kind of relationship existed between God and me. Soon, I learned more about Jesus, who died for my sins.

CP: Was it hard for you to accept the concept of sin?

Amy: I didn’t think it was too hard at first, because I knew I had a lot of thoughts inside me. Sometimes I had jealousy, and sometimes I had hatred toward others. Although outwardly people might not see it, I knew it was there, and I was sad about it. That is why I accepted the concept of sin.

However, maybe I didn’t fully understand it at the time when I received the gospel. Ha – actually, I still haven’t fully understood it now! After a few months, one day I decided to believe in Jesus and accept him as my personal Savior.

CP: Where were you when you made that decision?

Amy: It was after we went to a Messiah concert. It was December, almost Christmas, and there were a lot of events of this kind. Our English teacher took us to the concert. She was a Christian, and she also volunteered with the international students. Sometimes, she gave me books and asked if I could tell her my thoughts after I read them. Maybe she saw there was a chance I would become a Christian.

She organized a trip and took our class to the Messiah. There were many other students there, too. That night, I felt that I needed Jesus to be my Savior, and that I had to make this decision. I had been hesitating, but that day I just felt I needed to make this decision.

““I was hesitating. After I made the decision, I thought, ‘Good. I don’t have to hesitate anymore.’”

CP: Did listening to the music move you to make this decision?

Amy: It might have had something to do with that. I really think it had something to do with the musical atmosphere. After the concert, we had a discussion. We talked about how, while Handel was composing the music, people said it was miraculous, because he just kept writing. It was as if God was helping him.

That night, I went to find a sister from the international student group. It was very late at that time, almost midnight, but she had not yet gone to bed. She probably sensed that I had something important to tell her. I asked her how I should pray if I wanted to believe in Jesus. She guided me, and prayed with me.

CP: Did you sense anything special at that time?

Amy: I had thought about this a couple of times – whether I was going to believe in Jesus or not – but I was hesitating. After I made the decision, I thought, “Good. I don’t have to hesitate anymore.” My English teacher said, “Well, that’s awesome! You won’t regret it.”

CP: It’s settled.

Amy: Since she said I wouldn’t regret it, I thought it must be a great thing.


Amy is a pseudonym for a Chinese woman born in the 1980s.

FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION

Pray that God will help more Chinese to recognize that God exists and loves them. Pray he will move them to stop hesitating and place their trust in him.

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Further Reading

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The Internal Cross: A Pastoral Letter
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The External Cross: A Pastoral Letter
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Qingdao: How to Pray
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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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