Published on 4/1/2023
The Power of Resurrection
Ten-year-old Fanny moved from the East Coast to the San Francisco Bay Area with her parents. (Fanny was born in the United States and her parents were professionals from overseas.) It had been half-a-year and Fanny was still unhappy and out of tune with her classmates at school. Fanny was also depressed at home and talked less and less. Under the suggestion and recommendation of her teacher, her parents finally agreed to allow her to receive psychological therapy.
When I first met Fanny, she was very shy, not talkative, but still cooperative. I asked her to draw three separate pictures: a house, a tree, and a person. The tree she drew was actually lying on the ground. There was no horizon line. Although the trees had leaves, but there was no root. When I asked about the tree, she said, "This tree has just been transplanted to a new garden. One day, the wind blew really hard. The leaves were very heavy. Nobody was there to help. And the tree fell down.”
In subsequent weekly sessions, Fanny drew the toppled tree a few times and repeated the story. But every time she shared a little bit more about what the tree thought and how it felt being uprooted. Suddenly one day, the tree she drew stood tall on the horizon with thick roots, healthy trunks, and green leaves. The girl smiled and said, "Someone helped to replant the tree in the garden. Now it has grown up and is no longer afraid of the strong wind."
The above is a true story of me helping a child in a public school almost 25 years ago, but the name and background have been changed to protect privacy. "Uprooting" had a great impact on body, mind and spirit. The girl didn't understand why her parents had to move and took her away from the stable home where she grew up, causing her to lose her familiar environment, classmates and friends all at once. Encountering new challenges and setbacks, she felt anxious and fearful. When she spoke out, no one seemed to understand. She only got different opinions, defenses, and advice, which made her feel even more lonely, helpless, and depressed. She was downcast and unmotivated, like the fallen tree with no one to help. Thank God that because of our one-on-one time, listening, and play therapy, she felt cared for and loved. In the course of time, unperceptibly, the root regrew and the tree was able to stand up once again, and Fanny was able to face tomorrow.
Immigrant parents often have strong personalities, try to find a way out on their own in everything. They want the best for their children, but they often forget that they are limited as human beings. I have also experienced such pressure of life, the different ideas between husband and wife, and the conflicts in parenting. Those challenges caused a lot of anxiety, frustration, anger, pain and disappointment in my heart. I even thought that life was meaningless. Thank God that in my desperation I met my Savior Jesus Christ who "came to seek and to save the lost." (Luke 19:10)
Everyone will experience difficulties and helplessness in life. What is the core Christians belief? The apostle Paul said, "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
Although the sky is not always blue after believing in Jesus Christ, but trusting that the Lord is with us, we can rely on Him who loves us to face the storms of life, just as the apostle Paul said: "We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us." (2 Corinthians 1:8-10)
I am now a retired California marriage and family therapist who no longer provides therapy services. Lord willing, I shall continue to write articles and lead workshops. Please pray for me; and you are still welcome to visit ParentingABCtoday.com for additional resources. May the Lord bless you and your family!
Winnis Chiang, founder of Parenting ABC and a retired LMFT, is passionate about helping Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking parents to get along with, enjoy, and positively influence their American-born children.