Changed Lives

Freedom: Grace’s Story

As a child I was shy and quiet, although you may find that hard to believe now. I spent time and energy attempting to find a clique to fit into. I tried sport but found I was NOT an accomplished athlete, I attempted music but wasn't nearly confident enough to approach a stage, I even spent a short stint wearing a great deal of black eyeliner and looking very morose and misunderstood. I finally settled on 'arty', you can get away with anything if you're 'arty'. However I still hadn't found peace or true acceptance. I was isolated and kept much of my hurt locked away. 

 

As an 'arty' teenager I tested boundaries and explored new experiences which led me to drugs, a statement which rarely leads to a happy ending. It began by drinking too much and ended with me in a stupor on my doorstep having no idea what drugs I had taken, just knowing I felt like I was going to die.  I was a functioning addict with a seemingly normal life. I went to school, college, then university. I had a job, a few long term relationships. I even went to church occasionally.  

I was brought up in a christian home and believed in God, but loved people saying "you're not like other Christians" and I labelled myself a 'naughty Christian'. Really this meant I could live however I wanted pursuing good times with no compromises. It even meant that I often prayed to God that my life would be saved after taking too much of whatever was on offer that night, just to do it all again.  Then, while at uni, the bottom dropped out of my world when doctors told me I couldn't have children. As far as I was concerned my relationship with God was over; if anyone asked me, I replied that we were no longer on speaking terms. God had allowed me to go through all this hurt my whole life and now he had forced me to face the one thing I couldn't bear.  

The weak boundaries that still remained from being raised in a church were quickly torn down. I dropped out of uni, got into an abusive relationship and ended up jobless, friendless, hopeless and finally homeless.  Being homeless lead me back to my parents; which was dreadful.  I had to conform to their rules again, that hadn't changed since I was 12. Keep your room tidy, be home by ten, you can't go out wearing that. Arrrrghhh!  But with hindsight this was exactly where I was meant to be.  

I made friends with a lovely Christian lady from Kingdom Living Church.  I was very wary of her at first; she talked about what God was telling her. I'd been a 'Christian' my whole life and God had never really told me anything...it must be lies. As I got to know her I realised she was very honest so I just couldn't figure out why she would be lying.  I also encountered my old church youth leader who had moved to Cyprus. She told me that I was totally pleasing and fully accepted by God. She knew things about me that I hadn't told her, and when I asked her how she knew all this she tilted her head and looked at me like I was missing something REALLY obvious: of course, God had told her. This was crazy!

I went to my new Christian friend’s church, KLC, to see if I was missing something. As soon as the Pastor began to preach, all my ideas of what God and church were like crumbled away to ash. God started to become very real to me.  I felt like someone had told Pastor Desmond all about me, and that he was speaking just to me, in a church full of people. I left a puddle of tears on the floor that day. The tears that the shy, quiet, hurt and rejected child I used to be would always refuse to cry.  I broke off my abusive relationship, stopped taking drugs, stopped drinking too much and I've (almost completely) stopped smoking. Everything I thought was valuable and fun suddenly seemed totally worthless. With every sacrifice I made I stepped closer towards this God I'd never encountered or understood before.

Now I am one of those crazy people who talk about what God is telling me! I'm no longer hurt and bitter about being told I may never have children.  I believe in a God who created everything including me. I figure if anyone can fix me it's Him, and He has done a pretty great job of fixing all the other broken parts of my life. I've finally found acceptance, and it's from a totally perfect, totally powerful, totally awesome God. You can't really beat that!

 

“To him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory” Ephesians 3:20