Why Wait Until Now?
Before I started writing this book, I asked myself a few critical questions. Why didn’t I write to tell the world about the miraculous experiences as soon as they happened? Why did I wait so long? Why is it time to write now?
It has been almost a decade since I literally saw God’s warning on an e-mail urging my departure from running a school steeped in New Age practices. And it has been over seven years since I experienced a miraculous five-minute complete healing from a serious flu in Portugal. There have also been numerous signs spanning a period of a few years that eventually led to my second marriage with a pastor in the US in 2015. And then I heard God’s voice and felt a vibration in my left ear in 2018.
Why didn’t I write about it? I think the most important reason was that I was afraid of giving people the wrong idea about me—that I am irrational, over imaginative, ungrounded, indulging in wishful thinking, or mentally ill.
Also, I did not want to give believers the impression that I was chasing after miracles in order to experience God. Over the years, I have been extremely cautious in choosing who to tell and what to tell. I dreaded the possibility that I might mislead certain new believers to think that we need to experience miracles to have a close and solid relationship with God. The Bible says that “faith is believing in what we do not see” (Heb. 11:1), and “blessed are those who have not seen God but believe in Him” (John 20:29). We don’t need the so-called “miracles” to be strong believers:
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. (Heb. 11:1–2 NIV)
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29 NIV)
Furthermore, God did not give me an urge to write earlier. I was overwhelmed by the miraculous experience each time; and in many instances, I was actually compelled to kneel immediately to thank God for his help or to cry out to God for mercy and further guidance. But I did not feel the urge to write and announce to the world what I had experienced. I did think of writing, and I did ask God for a go-ahead signal, but I did not perceive any answer from him. God’s silence seemed to be saying, “Not yet.” Deep down inside me, I believed that if God wanted me to do this, he would give me signs and direction.
The Urge to Write
Having said this, it almost goes without saying that I have the urge to write now. Yes, I think this urge was prompted after I literally heard God’s voice while I was lying in bed sick and thinking of a plan to leave my new home in the US and go back to Hong Kong to seek medical help in October 2018. This incident will be reported in detail in Chapter 10. This unexpected and overwhelming encounter with God led me to pray fervently, asking God what he wanted me to do; and if writing a book was one of the things, I asked him to please open doors and give me some signals. I vaguely knew that privileges and gifts usually come with more responsibilities and accountability. Then two things happened that helped me nail down the writing project.
Around the end of 2018, my friend, Dr. Bev Day, a naturopath, invited me to coauthor a book that she thought I had the expertise and experience to write. This was very humbling, and I gladly accepted it as I thought this would be a learning journey for me even if, for some reason, we might not be able to complete the project.
So, we started to have meetings and discussions, and Bev gave me two reference books about how to write a book. During the process of discussion and reading, instead of thinking single-mindedly on how to write that book, the thoughts and vision in my mind were more about planning and writing out the miracles that have been in my heart for many years. I felt the urge to write not about the subject we were working on, but about what God has done for me.
I continued to pray for God’s direction. Then one day, a health professional sent in a link that talked about how a woman was miraculously healed of her stage 4 breast cancer during a vivid encounter with Jesus. I was highly curious, so I clicked on her video and discovered that she had written a book too! The book is called Heavenly Conversations . I bought the book and immediately read it, then felt greatly encouraged by the author’s faith and courage to testify to the world about God’s power and grace.
During the search online for Heavenly Conversations, I also came across The Case for Miracles by Lee Strobel. Strobel had thoroughly researched every aspect of miracles and beautifully contrasted and balanced various experts’ viewpoints to conclude that miracles are possible and that God still intervenes to work wonders in people’s lives. After gulping down his book in about a week, my hesitation about writing was gone. I started to see God’s plan for me in this project. He understood my hesitation and graciously surrounded me with friends, tools, and examples so that I could take my first step forward.
My Hope and Vision for This Book
Taking up the pen to write a book about how God is working in my life is a solemn and sacred event. It is an act to glorify God, and it is more about God than about me and my life, but a brief background about myself might help you navigate through the book with greater understanding.
A Brief Background of Myself
I am Dawn Chan Curtis, a full-blooded Chinese. Curtis is the surname of my husband, an American now pastoring a church in Texas was born in 1964 and raised in a big traditional Chinese family of nine (two parents and seven siblings) in Hong Kong. My parents were unchurched and followed practices of ancestral worship handed down to them by their parents. I was introduced to Christianity by my sister, Sarah, and became a Christian at a summer camp organized by a church when I was twelve years old. I can still remember an evening at the camp, in a hall full of kids around my age, how I was deeply convicted of my pride and selfishness and felt an urge inside to confess my sins and accept Jesus as my Savior. I was moved to tears when we sang a song with lyrics in Chinese that said, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.” Throughout my teenage years and early twenties, I was deeply involved in Christian activities.
In 1987, I graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a double major in philosophy and English literature. During my undergraduate years, I worked hard not only in my studies but also in earning money through private tutoring to provide for my independent living. I became the chief editor of an intercollegiate Christian magazine in my final year of study. Most of my after-school and after-work hours were spent brainstorming ideas, researching relevant Christian topics for students, and writing and editing articles. I did not have a lot of fellowship with other Christians though. My faith was more on an intellectual level.
After graduation from the university and, more so, after a few years’ work in the public relations field, my whole focus shifted to dating, marriage, and building up my career. I got married to my first husband in 1992 and gave birth to my only son in 2002. I started my own public relations firm a few years after getting married. It gradually expanded from a solo company to a twelve-person-strong agency. We served many big international companies on both corporate communications and consumer retailing levels. I worked day and night. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I was chasing after material wealth, success, recognition, and self-fulfillment to the extent that I was a Christian in name only.
Then came my slide into the darkest valley of my life, when my husband and I separated in 2004. It was mostly my fault. I was eventually divorced by my husband despite my repentance and repeated efforts to reconcile with him through marriage counseling. I was devastated.
For at least six to seven years, I lived under great remorse, regret, and denial. I sold my public relations firm to become a full-time mom in 2007 because I knew I could not afford to miss the important foundation years of my son who was already five years old at the time. I came to realize that relationships were the most important things in life. I was willing to give up my business to minimize the damage I was doing to my family.
After retiring from the public relations field, I became intensely interested in natural healing, especially aromatherapy. I took a two-year diploma course to become a certified aromatherapist in Hong Kong, and thereafter, I pursued three levels of advanced clinical aromatherapy in France. Around that time, the aromatherapy school in Hong Kong I graduated from was running at a loss and planning to close down. My passion, plus my ambition, prompted me to commit to a rescue plan for the school. By the end of 2009, I became the school’s major shareholder, tutor, and therapist. Within a couple of years, I turned the business around on all levels. But then I realized this was not God’s plan for me. A series of unusual events took place that awakened me to my spiritual crisis and eventually forced me to quit and sell all my shares (see Chapter 6).
I repented. I could see the ambitious Dawn striving to mend the holes and brokenness in her life by holding onto something that seemed to give value and affirmation. When I took up the business of the aromatherapy school, I was repeating the mistakes and patterns of the past. I did not check the inventories of my life and, in particular, my spiritual being, to regain an honest view of my soul. I knew I had to let go and be completely quiet and empty in front of the Lord to seek and find his will for my life.
I started to dig deeper into God’s Word and reconnect with fellow Christians. I returned to God with all my heart. I looked daily at the following passage from Isaiah to remind myself to get back on track:
This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you what is best for you,
who directs you in the way you should go.
If only you had paid attention to my commands,
your peace would have been like a river,
your well-being like the waves of the sea. (Isaiah 48:17–18 NIV)
Once I stopped striving for myself and let God work on me, I saw his wonders and fingerprints all over my life again. He had never moved; I had. God graciously gave me a second marriage in 2015, plus all the avenues to serve him and his people in both the US and Hong Kong. I am not saying I have already fulfilled my mission in life. Nobody on earth can say that. But I have witnessed the work of his hands and tasted his goodness and mercy. I am grateful beyond words.
An Invitation to Experience God Together
Now that I have set my mind to write and glorify God, I am no longer bothered by thoughts that people might reject or disagree with this book. After all, it is not about me; it is about him. Just as, in the Bible, people could reject and deny God even in the face of miracles, people nowadays can do the same thing and dub miracles as mere coincidences, hallucinations, or wishful thinking. Surely there have been fake miracles and claims that put shame on all Christians. And there are still numerous theological viewpoints that say God no longer works miracles after Christ’s death and resurrection.
If you are interested in going deeper into the theology, critiques, and evidence for miracles, I encourage you to read Strobel’s The Case for Miracles. Here, I invite you to walk with me to see for yourself all the supernatural events and miracles that have dotted and transformed my life, and, hopefully, we can testify together to God’s existence and praise him for his goodness, power, and unfailing love. Perhaps you will begin to recognize miracles in your life too!