Transforming Life Testimony - Esther Ahn

Hello everyone, my name is Esther and I’d like to share my experience from taking Transforming Life Bible Study.

I became interested in taking Transforming Life because it was about the spiritual disciplines and I felt that I lacked a lot of knowledge in that department, and so I decided to take the study in hopes of learning how to be transformed spiritually. I was also attracted to the idea that it was more sharing-based in a small group setting and I thought that that would definitely mean less homework compared to Living Life. I was wrong, but it was definitely worth it.

Before deciding to take the class, I was struggling a lot with anxiety to the point where I would get scared to come to school or church or house church. I was also afraid of exposing myself by sharing too much during house church sharing and too afraid to take the next steps in my faith as a Christian. I wanted to challenge myself to share more deeply and wanted to grab at any opportunity to try and deepen my faith and surround myself with more biblical knowledge. I was also struggling towards at home responding to my family members in a kind way instead of raging at them.

During the 13 weeks of Transforming Life, I was able to really to understand the significance of each spiritual disclipine and the homework during the week allowed me to really immerse myself in God’s word, put into action what we had learned that week, and surround myself and spend meaningful time with the other participants.
I enjoyed the experience doing things as a small group where we shared our thoughts and went through and practiced the disciplines together. I cannot spoil all the activities and practices we did each week, but I can say it was really special to experience that together whether it was unique or a little painful or challenging. It felt different than the past bible studies I took, and I do think the group aspect was very memorable.
Through some of the action-based homework, I was able to work on how to respond to the needs of others and realized my relationships with people around me such as family, friends and my co-workers at Cinnabon were also improving. Before, I used to shriek and get mad at my family members whenever they requested me to do something or help them. But slowly I was able to tone down my reaction, and although I didn’t suddenly turn into a jolly servant, my first reaction wasn’t anger.

There was a portion of the bible study that really made a significant impact on me where we met up with our assigned Prayer Partner every week to share how we were doing, update each other on our progress with our spiritual assignments, and to pray for one another. My Prayer Partner was Sarah Cho and it did take long until I was able to open up to her about things I’d never talked about in detail to anyone before. I never would’ve expected us to be trauma-dumping every week on a Tuesday at the Fairview mall food court, laughing through our pain with tears in our eyes. That mall has really heard it all. I’m pretty sure people around us thought we were crazy and the mall shook from the intense cackling that came from talking about some of the deepest darkest wildest traumatic experiences. Believe it or not, I believe that was the start of inner healing for me and although it was pretty sad and funny, it was strangely one of the most relieving and comforting experiences to know that I was not alone in my pain. I realized that healing could really only start when I can share honestly and deeply without fearing how I’d be perceived.

I used to be afraid of sharing parts about my life that seemed embarrassing or too much but after taking this bible study, it really allowed me to open up about all parts of myself, even what I considered would ruin my image or make me look bad. I realized God placed my church community so I had a space where I could be vulnerable. I now find it much easier to talk about my struggles during home gathering and I feel a lot more at ease instead of feeling anxious.
I had a couple people tell me that they noticed I was more bright and seemed more comfortable during house church. They were right, I wasn’t having a mental breakdown before every church related gathering like I used to and I overall felt a lot more comfortable but I had attributed this change of character and this joyfulness to the end of the school term. But I do believe through this bible study I was able to let down my walls and God was working in me. I had tried to take this bible study thinking maybe through the spiritual disciplines I’ll undergo a huge transformation from my efforts, but I learned that the spiritual disciplines simply allow us to place ourselves before God so he can transform us, and that any internal change will show externally.

I genuinely believe the 13 weeks I spent doing Transforming Life really shifted something in me that not only I noticed but others around me. Now I have a greater anticipation for how God will work in me in my path of transformation. Thank you to Pastor Caleb, the other Transforming Life guinea pigs, and to Sarah Cho. Thank you for listening!.