“I grew up in China in a Buddhist family,” said Nancy Xu. “I came to the United States when I was 16, not knowing any English. American culture was so different from what I’d grown up with. We seldom talked about feelings, and my childhood experience was very performance-based. Therefore, I grew up thinking I was never good enough, and I felt a lot of shame.
“My exposure to Christians was in California where I attended college. I did not have a positive view of Christians because I thought only weak people needed help. After college graduation, I went to graduate school at U.T. Arlington, and five years later, my mother was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Our relationship was codependent with very few boundaries. Concerned that she might not be with me for long, my mother wanted me to quickly find a husband who could take care of me. I took her advice and went about accomplishing what she said to do.
“My boyfriend and I skipped the engagement phase and got married in December 2017. It was a very difficult marriage. Some Chinese families avoid marrying those who have a family history of cancer because they don’t want that risk for future generations. I did not think that was the case with my husband, but after the wedding, I was told that his family did not like me because my mother had cancer. My world was shattered, and I found it difficult to forgive them. “A few months later, I fell into anger, depression, hate, and unforgiveness toward my husband and his family, and we separated. Alone, isolated, and headed toward divorce, I often drove to work wishing that someone would hit me so I could die in a car wreck.
“A coworker mentioned that she had been praying for me, and she asked if I knew how to pray. I told her I didn’t care about God, but later, that conversation made me think about going to church. I had driven by Watermark several times and decided to go in search of something to get my life back on track.
“I met a lady at the Watermark Welcome Center, and she took the time to answer the questions I had about faith and the Lord. I had no idea about the concept of sin, or grace, or evangelism. So, I got my first Bible and started reading.
“On Mother’s Day 2018, I happened to sit next to Cathy and Kirk McJunkin. She asked about my story, and then she asked me, on a scale of 1 to 10, how certain I was that I’d spend eternity with God in Heaven. I had no idea, and she shared the gospel with me, explaining that it is only through faith in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection that we are saved. I couldn’t earn God’s love; it was a free gift from Him and not based on my performance. That was the beginning of me understanding what faith in Christ really meant.
“Not long after that, I began to share my faith with my mother whenever we spoke. I explained that in Buddhism, we’re asked to be good people. But in Christ, only through faith in Him, not our works, are we reconciled with God. In the beginning she did not understand, but I continued to have my father read her the verses I sent to him. In her last days, I spoke to her one more time about the gospel, and to my surprise, she told me she wanted to forgo Buddhism and trust my God and follow Jesus instead. Within days my mother went to Heaven with Jesus, and I was thankful that God used my new faith in Christ to change her heart.
“My community group and other friends comforted me in the loss of my mother and talked to me about forgiveness and reconciliation with my former husband. I struggled with the idea of forgiveness, and I was so hurt that I could not control my emotions. But my friends encouraged me to pray for those who had hurt me. Over time, my heart softened, and I was able to confess my lack of respect and selfishness and apologize to my former husband for my part in the divorce. It was difficult, but I have been forgiven by Christ, and He allowed me to forgive someone else and not carry hate on my journey anymore.
“Now I see God’s grace as the most beautiful thing in my life. I was given the free gift of grace through Jesus Christ – something I could never earn or deserve. Now that I have a relationship with the Lord, I don’t know how I ever lived 29 years without Him. Rather than feeling shame, I experience God’s favor, and I want to share His love with everyone I know.”