Lorraine Tran

Lorraine TranBeauty for Ashes

My name is Lorraine Tran and I am temporarily living at George Pearson Centre in British Columbia. I was asked to participate in a writing project taking place here at Pearson and if I would share some of my life story. With great excitement, I obliged. We all have our own unique stories. I’m not telling this to bring recognition to myself but in hopes of encouraging another individual.

Sometimes we don’t always understand what lies ahead of us, whether it’s good or bad. In this story I will tell you how I’ve been blessed with both. I know you might wonder, how can I say that a bad thing is a blessing? Well, give me a moment and I will hopefully help you to understand my meaning behind this. I will have to take you to the beginning to bring my story into line. I will call this Chapter 1 of my life.

You see, my biological mother was an alcoholic and gave birth to me in an alcoholic state, so it wouldn’t take a whole lot for me to follow that same destructive path. I was soon given up for adoption. My parents today are my adoptive parents to whom I am heavenly grateful. They gave me a good, honest upbringing, but as good as a parent might be, we, as growing independent teens, still make certain choices. Unfortunately, for many years they were the wrong choices for me. When I grew older I found myself in bondage to certain destructive forces, namely two: alcoholism and drugs. As a result, damage was done, in more ways than one. I had low self-esteem and evident slow comprehension, as well as a loss of memory.

For years I had wanted to complete my Grade 12 education, but being bound to alcohol, this was not an easy road for me. In fact, I tried to take this road many time before, but failed miserably. I didn’t fail intentionally-I don’t think anyone fails intentionally-but I was up against a power greater than myself. Life was but a blur of working from job to job, morning hangovers, and sobering up to silent tears and prayers of inner pain and sorrow. I had no solid foundation.

Finally, a day came when I did truly recognize my desperation and sinful nature. My undisciplined lifestyle was drawing death ever so near and I sensed it. When life was at its lowest my desperate prayers were heard, in December of 2000. A Friend bailed me out of a miry pit and placed me on a solid foundation, which I walk on today. That foundation is the word of God and that Friend is Jesus and for this I give my eternal thanks. I was born again, not of the flesh but of the Spirit. My sins are forgiven. “I am a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

I have now a real inner peace and joy, not as the world might give but only what God can give. Alcohol, drugs, and all the other sinful things I used to do are no more a part of my life. My friends have changed, though I love them dearly. My whole destiny of life has been shifted. However, although we are children of the living God, we still have our trials and tribulations. This takes me to Chapter 2.

The word of God says we are to be Holy as He is Holy and we are to be Christ-like. Giving my life over to Christ is the best choice I have ever made. Going to church, attending Bible studies often, hanging out with many Christian friends, and yielding to the wooing of the Holy Spirit was and still is a big part of my new life’s education. I am learning new ways to live a proper life. The old ways given up, my journey had begun and what a journey this would be.

The Lord promises that He will give us our heart’s desire. It was not until soon after I gave my heart to Jesus did my life take a turn for the better. Over a short period of time I was able to follow my heart’s desire: I was a carpenter’s helper, achieved some computer skills, and received my Grade 12 diploma. Of course, this walk was not walked alone. The encouragement and prayers from many of my new friends were very important and cherished, as well as all the teachers that were full of encouragement and wisdom. I thought that the cat was in the bag…until…

It was two days before my graduation pictures when life took one of those twists. It was late and I was driving into town. He was huge and dark and there was no way of driving around him-I hit the MOOSE, dead on. “Yea, though I travel through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” (Psalm 23). My neck was broken at C3-4, completely; the doctors said I would not feel from the shoulders down.

“All things work together for good to those who love God, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Well, I know I love God and I believe I am doing what I am called to do and that has always been to encourage others and to share God’s word. My gift of encouragement, as well as prayers, visitations, and a word from God, has kept me above many down-spiralling waters. From the beginning of my accident I’ve always believed that Jesus heals. I do not blame God nor do I say this was an act of God, though I have found myself many times with mixed feelings of depression, anger, confusion, and uncertainty. I have not strayed from my belief, even though things look bleak. One of my favourite scriptures and the one that I hold on tight to is: “We should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9).

There have been many good things that have occurred since my accident. I have had the opportunity to meet many wonderful doctors, nurses, care workers, and volunteers, as well as the other residents and their families. I’ve had many opportunities to do what I do best, which is to share the gospel and to encourage and pray for people. Lastly, but most importantly, the accident has drawn my dad and I closer together and opened the door to the relatives I never knew.

Jesus said, “What is impossible for man is possible for God” (Matthew 19:25-27). My memory is being restored and my comprehension is improving. I don’t know what is in store for me, but what I do know is: “The thief come not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Just to sum things up, I’ve been blessed with experiencing the good things of life and the not so good things of life, as well as with the understanding of the evils of leading a life without God. “Beauty for ashes, so that He might be glorified” (Isaiah 61:3) to me means that God, “the great I AM”, can turn a bad thing around for the good, for His glory. I still try to help others, whether it’s with just an ear to lend or some humble words of wisdom to share.

Psalm 23 was given to me before my accident happened and is very special to me as the words are very true and comforting. I would like to share this psalm with you:

 

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the path of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.

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