|I am fortunate enough to have been born into a Christian
family and to have been going to church all my life. I grew up in a Baptist
Church, I have always believed in God and in Jesus, though I have not always
been a Christian.
My childhood was happy and life was pretty wonderful until I became a teenager and went to high school. My first four years at high school were pretty awful. I was bullied, bashed and picked on almost constantly, and only survived thanks to a few very good friends, who also experienced the same things. I grew up feeling ugly, and unimportant, with non-existent self-esteem and no self-confidence at all.
Home life during my teen years was not much better. My mother suffered
from intense emotional pain for much of her life, which manifested as
extreme anger. Much of that anger was directed at me. I was constantly
criticised, I could never do anything right and much of our home life
was spent walking on eggshells so as not to upset Mum. It was not for
many years that I was to find out why my mum was so angry with me. Mum
felt that I did not deserve many of the things that my siblings got and
I was used to hearing her say so. Belittling comments such as "get
out of my sight, you make me sick" were common. Mum and Dad argued
from time to time and the topic was usually me. My father was my champion,
standing up for me when he felt mum was being unfair, usually ending in
The bullying stopped and I finally enjoyed school. Home life was much the same. My family was not close and communication between the rest of my family and myself was non existent. I was significantly depressed and spent much of my time at home shut in my room, losing myself in books, where life was always better and all life's problems were solved by the last page. I also spent a lot of time reading my bible and praying, but while I knew God was there he felt far away. While his word said that he loved me, I found that hard to believe, after all I was unlovable, my mother has taught me that. I would frequently pray for God to come into my life, but because I felt no different and my life did not change, I did not believe that it had actually happened.
My best friend at the time went to a Pentecostal church and she invited me along. I found it all very strange at first. Having grown up in a Baptist church, I had never seen people raise their hands in worship or speak in tongues. At the end of the service, the Pastor asked if anyone wanted to receive Christ as their Lord and Saviour. My hand raised itself in the air of it's own volition, I went down the front and asked the Lord into my heart just like I had many times before. This time, though I felt different, I could feel that God was there, He was in my heart and I was a new person. Now when I read my Bible I felt it come alive. However I was still depressed and I didn't believe God could actually love me. My growth as a new Christian was slow.
I finished school and started Uni, studying to be a nurse. During this time I began to suffer from anxiety or panic attacks again. I had had them on and off for some time, but now they were significantly worse. When I was 18 months through my Uni course, things at home went from bad to worse. I had been getting more and more depressed for some time, and by now it was obvious even to my family. My father stopped being my champion and began to harass me to pull myself together. I know now that he was worried about me and didn't know what else to do, but it did not help at the time. Just before my 20th birthday, everything reached a crisis point and I had a nervous breakdown. I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital where I was for 3 weeks, being treated for depression.
I never went home again. I told my mother that I never wanted to see or talk to her again. Looking back, this whole time was part of God's plan to bless my family and myself. Life at home improved with me gone and my mother began to receive counselling for her own pain, which had a significant impact on her life and the rest of the family.
My life improved dramatically out of the family situation. God began to do a lot of healing of my emotional pain. It was difficult at times, but ultimately worth it. My whole life and spirit just felt so much lighter after I had left. God provided many things for me, money to go back to uni, somewhere to live with another Christian girl, and lots of loving Christian friends. Slowly I began to feel that I was worthwhile as a person and though it took Him years, God managed to convince me that He loved me!!
I met my Kerry not long after I left home, and we got married after
I finished Uni. God was good in rebuilding relationships with my family.
I remember praying at one stage and asking God to rebuild the relationship
with my family and particularly with my mother. God has been gracious
in answering my prayer. I am now closer to my family than I have ever
been and I feel I can tell them anything. My mother and I have had many
deep conversations. Many healing tears have been shed and forgiveness
asked and given. People who knew me when I was 20 cannot believe that
my Mother was my support person when I was in labour with my son. I wouldn't
have wanted anyone else there. God is faithful to answer our prayers and
He is in the business of rebuilding lives and relationships as well.
I have one more significant event to share. God healed many things in my life after I left home, but one remained. I continued to suffer from debilitating anxiety attacks and also from depression. The depression was a cyclical thing, for 6 months I would be depressed and then for 6 months I would feel Ok. One night during an evening church service, Pastor Gladwyn had a word for someone suffering from just these problems. I did not know it at the time, but God had told a special friend about all this and she had been praying for me for quite some time. I knew that Gladwyn was talking about me, so I began to walk out the front. I barely walked two steps when I began sobbing uncontrollably and by the time I got out the front I was unable to tell Gladwyn why I was there. Nonetheless God did a wonderful healing in my life that night and I have never suffered from a panic attack since that time, nor have I suffered from that same depression either.
I do not know how I would survive without God in my life now. He is
sometimes the only thing that keeps me going. Life is not always easy,
God never said it would be, but God is always there to get me through.
God has rebuilt my life and is rebuilding my life still. He has healed
much of my emotional pain and continues to do so. He has given me a heart
of great compassion towards those suffering from deep emotional hurts
themselves. When I see someone hurt and upset I just want to go and wrap
my arms around them and tell them of how much God loves them and wants
to be a part of their lives.
Home Kerry Matthew Joshua Our Links.