My life before becoming a Christian involved smoking, alcohol and drugs. I am one of 5 children. My father grew up in the slums of Glasgow. My mother was Catholic and although my father professed no faith, he had strong morals and ethics. Both, however, drunk heavily. We immigrated to New Zealand. There I went to a Catholic school. At Catholic school I had a nun tell me that I was going to hell because I was left handed. I think the fact she had to spend extra time teaching me to do everything that right handed people did naturally (play guitar, crochet etc) made me an extra burden for her.
My mother would take us to Church for confession each Sunday however I had no relationship with God during that time. My mother was very negative to us and would tell us we were all useless. Obviously this affected my self esteem and self worth.
At sixteen I decided to run away from home. I moved into a flat with some girls and started drinking heavily. Life seemed to be one big party. At 17 I was working in a night club for an evil man. I did that for twelve years! During that time I took many drugs and had my first child by the age of twenty, unmarried.
I was also raped at the age of 25.
By 29 I realised I was an alcoholic and so I called out to God. My first question was “God if you are up there and listening I need some help”. The very next day I rang up the Salvation Army and admitted myself to a rehab centre. I stayed in rehab for nine weeks and obviously got cleaned up. However, I still didn’t have a true relationship with God as my saviour and friend.
I got married to a chef and had another child. I actually married the man I conceived my first child with. I really only married him to appear ‘normal’ though. I never married for love. Life now included all the material things that are supposed to make you happy. My husband was also raised as a Catholic. Before long we had the big house, the Mercedes Benz, BMW, fancy holidays, however, inside I was still miserable. Nothing was bringing me true contentment or joy.
I moved to Western Australia. By my thirties I felt a calling to work as a Social worker. I had completed my studies and a degree before I came to Perth. I was invited to a co-workers wedding. She happened to be a devout Christian. I looked at her life, she seemed so happy and fulfilled. I didn’t know what she had but I knew I wanted it. To me she appeared religious but had the demeanor of an angel.
About six months later I was on holiday in Bali. Whilst sitting in a tropical paradise overlooking the beach I realised I was miserable even here.
On return from Bali I broke my left arm severely. My husband and my sons, however, didn’t seem to offer me any real support. I felt alone and unloved in the world. Cable TV was my friend. I reached to God and asked for help again. My arm got better and stronger even though Doctors thought it needed surgery. Looking back I know God was healing it.
I returned to work and found myself seated beside the angelic Christian friend once more. She invited me to a Christian weekly Cafe/meal. At first I declined, I was too busy. But her perseverance convinced me to eventually go. When i attended the Cafe I felt the presence of love very powerfully. I made friends and realised that I was meeting many Christians, all who were far from perfect, however, were serving each other and talking a lot about God as if He was their friend.
On my Birthday, I went out with my dear Christian friend to a coffee shop. She gave me a card which touched my heart and wrote how she would pray God’s blessings for me. I came home and cried my eyes out and said to God I want to give my life back to you. At that moment I knew I belonged to Jesus.
I started to sense Gods interaction in my life through many people. I was taken to a Christian bookstore and received a lovely pink and brown Bible. I had others around me talking about God’s love and encouraging me like I had never experienced before. I certainly no longer felt so alone and unsupported. God was answering the prayer for help that I had asked a few months before. But now His help was seen through His servants the Christians. They were all surrounding me with love and support.
I started going to Church and continued to go to the Christian Café. I also planned to go to Cambodia on mission. Everything was changing fast. I joined Street Chaplains and felt God’s presence in my work very powerfully as a Social Worker. God had moved into my home and I was no longer alone. I also felt incredible joy and purpose.
When I became a Christian I instantly let go of a shopping addiction. I no longer needed to shop to make myself happy. Feelings of loneliness and fear started to leave me. I gained more confidence and it continues to grow. Just the fact of volunteering to work alongside a nurse in Cambodia holding a HIV clinic and joining Street Chaplains all pointed to God working with me powerfully.
2 Corinthians 12:9 speaks to my heart. My GRACE is enough. Its all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. I quit focusing on my handicaps and started appreciating the gift, it was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size; abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks.
I just let Christ take over.
And the weaker I get, the stronger I become.