Jesus, My Healer

15, September, 2012Posted by :Agnes Ip

Interview of Agnes Ip by Joanna Wu


stories-35Jesus “himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” – 1 Peter 2:24


I grew up in a difficult home, with a high-stress family and suffered a lot of family pain. At school, I felt like an outcast. In 7th or 8th grade, a guy had asked me out and I said no. I didn’t realize my refusal would result in utter rejection. Another guy started spreading a rumor that I said no because I had a sexual disease. People believed the rumor and soon, I was a social outcast, rejected by all of my classmates. No one wanted to sit by me or be near me. I was stuck with another girl, who happened to have terrible body odor. Years later when I was in high school, guys chased after me because I resembled a popular celebrity at the time. However, I still could not forget my middle school experience, and these scars would stay with me until I was married.


When I was growing up, my Mom was controlling and sometimes abusive. She loved us and worked hard to provide for us because money was important, but we struggled financially. We were in such a poor state that my Mom wanted to kill herself, along with me and my siblings. My Mom was a Buddhist and worshipped idols devotedly; when we didn’t position the idols appropriately, my Mom would hit us. One time, she hit me so hard that I bled. She often yelled at us and blamed us for many things and never felt like her life was good enough.


As the firstborn in the family, I was responsible for taking care of my younger siblings, especially since my mom was so busy with her business. After my Dad immigrated to Hong Kong from China, he struggled and lost hope when he became a blue collar worker. He had dreams of being an editor because he was a great writer but when he came to Hong Kong, his academic degree wasn’t recognized.


When I was 12, I felt disappointed about life and wanted to die. I was truly depressed. When I thought about life, I saw nothing to look forward to. I thought about how my parents yelled at me and how they constantly fought with each other. I thought, why would I want a life or future like that?


Thoughts of suicide were triggered after I found out my Mom had an affair with her boss. My Dad found out after he followed her, and he nearly fainted when he shared the news with me. As the kids, we were caught in the middle of this conflict. Of course I was angry with my Mom because she showed no sense of loyalty, but my Dad would be angry with us for not siding with him. Sometimes the other man would call when my Mom wasn’t home, and my Dad would instruct us not let our Mom know. He wanted us to act like her parent and tell her that what she was doing was wrong.


I felt like it was my duty was to make sure my parents were okay. At one point, I put a knife to my throat, threatening that I would kill myself if they didn’t stop fighting. Again, I thought about ending my life. Night after night, I couldn’t sleep. Almost every time when I stood in my bathroom where there was a window ledge, I thought about jumping. I thought about killing myself a lot until I was 14, which was when I met Jesus for the first time.


At the time I attended a Christian school and one of the Christian teachers shared about who Jesus was and would consistently invite me to fellowship meetings. A philosopher visited our school and taught us about God, sin and spiritual power. It was then that I finally understood that there was a God who loved and forgave me of my sins. I had never really thought about my own sinful nature. When I heard that Jesus offered everlasting love, I really wanted it. I learned that Jesus was just, and I wanted justice. I wanted a kind of love that I couldn’t see in my parents. I saw this kind of love in Jesus, who was willing to die for my sins.


I realized I was really prideful. In fact, I thought I was better than my parents. I wasn’t innocent – I had sinful thoughts, including thoughts of wanting my Mom to die. I even stole money from her because she gave us so little, barely enough for food to eat. Because I had little time to study, I cheated in school. I realized I was a sinner, too.


I didn’t admit this at school in front of everyone, but when I went home that day, I prayed to God: “God, you are merciful and just. Please forgive me of my sins. I know I’m no better than my parents. Show me how to forgive them. I want to accept you as my Savior and follow you for the rest of my life.” After I prayed, I felt a great power and sense of calm surround me. That night, I finally slept peacefully.


However, all the struggles I had with my parents didn’t disappear after that prayer. In fact, my Mom was more abusive after this point. But I was changed. I started to read the Bible voraciously. The bathroom toilet became my sanctuary because that’s where I spent time reading the Bible and doing my devotionals. I knew that when I gave my life to Christ, I became a slave to Christ. When I entered seminary, I went on a missions trip, and that’s where I met my first boyfriend, now husband. He has helped me see and experience God’s love and healing work in my life.


I still remember the day my husband Benny first told me he loved me. I cried so much when I heard him say those words. I cried because I remembered all the terrible things my parents had done to me – how my Dad angrily slammed a bicycle on the floor when he lost his temper, or how my Mom threw plates on the ground during tense arguments. These memories haunted me. I told Benny, “If you love me, promise me you’ll never hit me.” Of course he never has, but when you come from an unstable, abusive family, it’s hard to believe that someone could really love you without hurting you. I know that God used Benny to heal me from my family scars. He demonstrated God’s love to me, and reminded me that I no longer need to feel ashamed or rejected.


When I look back on my childhood, I know that my parents loved me, but they didn’t know how to show love God’s way. I’ve since rebuilt my relationship with my parents, but without these painful experiences and tasting God’s love, I wouldn’t be a therapist today and helping others to see God’s mercy, redemption and power to heal.


“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6



Agnes is the founder and president of Presence Quotient, a non-profit organization that provides families professional and practical training integrated with the Christian faith. She started Presence in 2003 because she was deeply concerned about society’s cultural impact on faith and family. In 2011, Presence launched RE:NEW, a community movement on the web and the streets targeting middle school and high school youth. Agnes has been married to her husband Benny for 22 years and has two children, Karen and Benson.


This is an article from RE:NEW Magazine Issue 2. Check out our digital magazines to read this in its original form or subscribe to have future issues delivered right to your doorstep!

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Agnes Ip

Dr. Agnes Ip is the Founder and President of Presence Quotient and a California licensed marriage and family therapist. She graduated from Alliance Bible Seminary and received her Masters in Clinical Psychology at Azusa Pacific University and Alliant International University (AIU). She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at AIU with an emphasis in multicultural community clinical psychology. In her earlier years, she was a church minister in Hong Kong and later served as a mental health therapist for government subsidized outpatient clinics. In recent years, Agnes has provided clinical guidance for marriage & family therapist trainees and interns from various universities.