Although Id had an interest as a girl in God. Although Id gone to an after school group that taught me more about Him. Although I remember well looking out the window one morning and seeing the willow tree at school in all its splendor. This was as the bible in schools teacher discussed creation. I wasnt brought up in a Christian home and in fact it was shunned upon to show an interest.
Preluding the next part of my story I have to tell you I didnt have any friends at school. At primary school the children would tease and bully me. By the time I got to high school I was pretty much a loner. I didnt like being lonely but I didnt like the way children seemed to tease me either.
When I started working I made friends with what I consider to be my first real friend. She was 10 years older than me but she befriended me and was like a big sister to me. She was kind, wise and caring. At 19 I left that job and moved on to other things. I vowed to stay in touch but unfortunately didnt.
In about March 1990 I was staying the night at my parents and upon waking in the morning my father offered me the newspaper to read while I had my breakfast. I opened the newspaper in the kitchen and stared at the paper. Wham!!! I screamed. I hadnt touched my breakfast. I asked why he (my father) hadnt told me what was on front page, I asked him how he could have done this to me. I cried. I went into shock. Dad wondered what the heck had happened but knew Id discovered something awful. He lead me into the dining room where my mother asked the matter was. I told them the photo on the front page of the newspaper (of a person in a body bag and under that a smaller photo) was that of none other than my dear friend. They apologized saying they had known the name seemed familiar but unsure who it was.
That murder and day were to begin a change in me so profound. They were to start a chain of events that would radically change my life. I began to isolate myself not wanting to see people.
As time went by I might have appeared normal on the outside but inside I was hurting. I got stuck in grief. There wasnt a week go by when I wouldnt cry about what had happened. This continued on for some years.
Then one day when I was at one of my lowest times I spied a bible in a draw under my bed. It had always been there but I hadnt bothered much with it. It transformed me that evening. I went from crying to being ok in a mere 15 minutes. I dont remember what I read. I wish I did. All I know is it made a difference. This difference amazed me.
So I rang my sister and told her what had taken place. She was dating what would later become her husband. He was a Christian and she was attending church regularly with him. They invited me to come to church with them. I accepted.
That first Sunday we went to Greenlane Christian Centre. I had an encounter with the Lord. I was looking at the overhead projector screen and we were singing a song. I saw a vision on it that as far as I know no one else saw (not my brother in law anyway – I asked him later). It was Jesus with an out stretched hand.
We often went to church together. My sister, her boyfriend (later to become my bil) and my daughter. They were great times. We started going to a church nearer to home. After church each Sunday we would go back to Rs (my future brother in laws) home and have Sunday lunch followed by a restful Sunday.
Time went by and I moved to Christchurch. My children and I attended St Anne’s Parish in Woolston. My Triers dad wouldnt go but it didnt stop us. God also helped me there. My Triers dad was abusive he would belittle me in the supermarket. He would throw things like plates across the room at home. We argued. He played with my mind and my feelings. I put up with this for months and months.
One day we were arguing and he pushed me backwards with his hand on my chest across the room until I ended up sitting down on the couch. While he only ever touched me once it was enough. He left and I started making plans. As he was leaving I heard a voice. The voice told exactly what to do. It wasnt my oldest sons father he was gone for the meantime. And this voice was kind of different. Within days I went to an outer country area of Canterbury and stayed with relatives of his. Unbeknown to all of them especially the abuser (he never saw the end coming) I rang womens refuge and left. My Triers father was abusive. God spoke to me and told me to get out!!!
After I left My Triers dad and moved back to Auckland we continued to go to church. At first we went back to Greenlane but this was difficult. I had to rely on public transport and this was hard on a Sunday. I started attending a playgroup that was run out of a church. The playgroup was run by a pastors wife and some other women. It wasnt long before I was invited to try their church. This was to be my church home for the next 7 years. It is where I would confirm my faith by being baptized on the 17th of May 1998 a day before my 28th birthday.
Over the years I have made mistakes. I have done things I am not proud of. I believe it took me 8 years to confirm my faith and give myself to the Lord because I didnt feel worthy enough. It took me quite a while to accept the free offer of grace. I couldnt fathom how God could love me enough. I had (at the time 2 children to 2 different fathers), I didnt pray much, I hardly ever read the bible, I had had a baby out of wedlock. And so the list went on. I didnt deserve to be forgiven for any of it. But I was too learn that thats whats so amazing about grace and God.
This church was very supportive over the years. Financing me when I decided to buy a car. Helping me move house. They were my church family.
In 2005 I moved here to the Bay. At first we looked around for a church. We went to one for a while and its still where I go for My Little Mans playgroup. Then on Sunday, January 22, 2006 we started attending the Anglican church we still go to. After a dinner here at home with a friend, a lovely Christian lady whom goes there. We have made many friends thorough it since. I help with the youth group once or twice a term. I look after the preschoolers in the crèche every 3rd Sunday. This church is aimed at younger people and has an excellent children’s programme. My Trier attends the youth group. It is good for him. I believe going to this church connects me with my ancestors as they were Anglicans.
God also reminded me to lean on Him last year. Last year was a difficult one for us. We were betrayed badly by a very close family member. Mr Wonderful could have innocently ended up doing time for a crime he didnt commit. As we were going though this harsh experience God reminded me to lean him. He comforted me. He reminded me He will always be right there.