Portraits of Grace: Anna

Portraits of Grace is a snapshot into the lives of the people at King’s Cross Church. As “kingdom minded, kingdom people,” we recognize God’s work in every detail of our lives. We invite you to meet the people of our church.

Photo by Minnow Park

The first six months after I graduated college were some of the hardest in my life. That summer, my parents discovered that my little brother is gay. He didn’t come out to them, but they figured it out and it was absolute chaos. I really love my brother, and my heart broke for him in those weeks. A month later I moved to China and shortly after the move I started experiencing major abdominal pain. I was hospitalized (in one of the poorest provinces) for five days. The whole experience there was a medical nightmare: they didn’t have IV ports, so they changed the needle every time they changed the IV bag; once they missed my vein entirely and my arm swelled up; eventually my veins were so tired that they wanted to put a needle in what I think was my jugular. Eventually I was evacuated to Hong Kong, where I was diagnosed with a stomach infection which had caused 4-5 ulcers to develop. Recovery meant six whole months of eating absolutely bland, boring food. Around this time I got more news from home; my brother had told my parents he wasn’t a Christian. He had been faking it the whole time. That was really hard. I felt like I didn’t know him at all somehow and I wasn’t sure how best to love him moving forward. I know now that he had been afraid, which is why he lied before, but at the time I felt confused and betrayed. The next month, my dog died. That might sound stupid considering everything else, but I really loved her. Finally on Christmas Eve my grandmother, who had suffered from Parkinson’s dementia for 10 years, died. By this point, I was overwhelmed, a little numb, and somewhat falling apart.

I wrestled with God a lot during this time. I was so angry and raw; sometimes I would start crying in public for no apparent reason. I’m not naturally a very vulnerable person to be honest; I hate being a burden, and I think that’s why it’s always been difficult for me to share hard things with others. But I think through all of this, God was breaking down my walls and my pride, and showing me the importance of sharing my life in a healthy way with the body of Christ. Through believers around me, I experienced so much compassion, care, and love. They didn’t try to fix things or prescribe solutions; they were just there with me in the mess. Looking back, I can see how God used such a difficult time to bring me closer to Him, to show me His care for me and to comfort me personally, through the love of His people.