My name is Preeti Nair. I am currently (as of 2017) doing internship for my Bachelors in Dental Surgery (BDS) in Mumbai. I belong to a Hindu family but I have always had a Christian influence because of my best friend Litty, who was from a Christian family. I attended Vacation Bible School during my schooling years with her.
Everything in my life was fine until my 10th standard. Now I had to decide my field of interest. I wanted to be an environmentalist – save animals and forests. This was something I always wanted passionately for myself, my only dream. However, my parents were against my choice of profession. I overheard my mother tell my father, "If she was a boy, we could have let her pursue this field, but being a girl, we can't". I was appalled. Why wasn't I allowed to pursue my dream?! Since I got to know that my parents' were so unfavorable towards my choice, I didn't attempt to make a strong case for it either. I was so devastated to see my dream fall apart that I went into depression.
I began to feel like everything was my fault. I just wanted to end my life. Things became so bad that when I was alone in my room, I would take a blade and start cutting myself. Endless days of crying, endless harmful thoughts – I believed that no one could save me from this pit. This continued throughout my junior college (last two years of high school). I got worse as I started dentistry. I was now even more depressed, thinking that I would have to take up a field that I didn't like.
During my initial years in college, I developed a close friendship with Kezia, a classmate. She gifted me a Bible on my birthday. I had some interest to read it, but my interest soon faded.
Things continued to get worse. There were incidents that would knock the wind out of me – from my grandmother's death to being physically abused. Anything and everything would trigger destructive and despondent thoughts in me. I stopped talking to everyone. Every night I hoped that I wouldn't wake up the next morning.
My final year of dentistry began; it was now 7 years that I was in a constant state of depression. During the first half of the academic year, Kezia introduced me to a WhatsApp group called "The Good News of Jesus". I found the messages, stories, and Bible verses shared on the group comforting. I started reading my Bible again. Of course, there is a difference when you read your Bible before and after being saved (1 Corinthians 2:14-15). I did not understand much of the Bible then, but my interest in understanding the Bible increased.
On 13th October 2016, I came across the word 'gospel'. This was not the first time – I had heard and read it many times but never really understood it. Now I wanted to. After our college hours, Kezia and I found a place to sit together. "What does 'gospel' mean?" I asked her.
"I have always felt God talks to you. I have been waiting for you to ask this question since the time I gave you the Bible," Kezia replied, "Do you remember the story of Abraham going up to sacrifice his son?"
I had heard the story before. Kezia brought my attention to how Abraham would have felt when he realized that he had to give up his own son.
"God sent His own Son to be crucified for us," Kezia said.
Taking out her Bible, Kezia unpacked the greatest story ever told – what the Lord Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, the only sinless man to ever walk on earth, had done for us; he was infinitely powerful, but allowed himself to be betrayed, mocked and beaten for a sinner like me. Jesus loved me enough to die for me, paying the full penalty that I deserved because of my sins. And then he rose from the dead.
To know that someone so holy loved me when I was unlovable was overwhelming. My mind had this image of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, going through something so brutal – all for me. I broke down.
"Do you believe in the Lord Jesus?" Kezia asked.
"Yes", I replied. There was not an iota of doubt in my heart. The whole account ringed of authenticity. Kezia was speaking to me, but it seemed that God himself was drawing me to Him.
"Do you believe that you are a sinner, and that only Jesus can save you?" Kezia asked next.
I felt it so strongly in my heart. I cannot forget that day, sitting on those college stairs and feeling so overwhelmed by this truth.
We both became emotional and prayed to the Lord Jesus. I committed myself to the Lord Jesus; I received him as my Saviour. The emptiness that I had now filled with love. I felt so light.
"Remember this day. This is the day you were saved," Kezia said.
At that moment I did not understand why remembering the date was so important, but now I know. That was the day I surrendered my heart to God and everything is different ever since.
I understood that fulfilling my dreams and ambitions cannot truly satisfy my heart – only the One who created me can! This lifted me out of depression. I now had a true Friend who was concerned for me; I could always lean on Him when there would be no one else. I found my peace and comfort in the Lord Jesus. I was also assured that this peace that comes from my heavenly Father would last.
Things have been different from the time I got saved. Even now there are times when I feel depressed and have the urge to cut myself, but I remember Who I belong to. Often when I used to be doing my work in college, I would feel like running away; I felt I did not have the strength to do anything anymore. But now I know that my God will carry me through whatever struggles that come my way. God has already given me a liking for dentistry! I find myself gradually healing, although not completely yet.
I realize that I have the responsibility to keep a watch on my actions so that they speak of Christ and his love. There are two Bible verses that I always remind myself of:
"[Each one of us is] an epistle open and read by all people" – 2 Corinthians 3:2
"Rejoice in the Lord always" – Philippians 4:4
We are commanded to rejoice in the Lord. We break a commandment if we don't! For joy drives out the discord that was in my heart.
My heart's desire is the salvation of my family – that they would know the God who saved me. I pray, trusting the Lord that He may fulfill all of this in His time.