I started drinking alcohol around age thirteen, got into drugs at age fourteen, and started going down a really destructive path. I was trying to do everything I could to escape from the pain that was inside me. So one time I actually went to a youth group for a wee while. One of the ladies took me out the back and just told me how God loved me so much, and had this amazing plan for my life. Part of me kind of felt that it was true, but then another part of me was just like, no, this is too much. I don't want to do this with my life.
When I was nineteen, I got into a relationship with a guy who was quite a bit older than me. We got engaged after two weeks and decided to move to Australia together. It just really didn't go well. He was quite angry, quite abusive. The day before my 20th birthday we went to the pub and I tried to break him up from a fight. He turned around and punched me in the eye. So I had this beautiful, big shiner on my 20th birthday. Probably a few weeks after that, I started thinking, "What am I doing? What is my life?" So I told him I didn't want to be with him anymore, and he left. He went back to New Zealand and I found myself in Sydney. Maybe two days later I found out I was pregnant to him, and I just couldn't cope with it. I just couldn't deal with the fact that I could bring a child into the world when I was so dysfunctional. So, I had an abortion and I really started to question, "What on earth am I doing?" I was totally destroying my life, and something needed to change.
One day, I was hugely hung over after a really bad night out. I was sitting out on the grass feeling absolutely distraught. I felt so disgusting about myself, about who I'd become, about the things I'd done. That was when I experienced God's love. I just felt this love all around me. I felt this acceptance. I felt this warmth, and this kindness that was wanting to get into every area of my life, wanting to redeem me and bring me wholeness and healing. And I felt hope in that moment. I just knew that I needed to give my life to Him. I knew that I needed to get right with Him. So, not many weeks later, I went into a church, and at that point I decided to give my life to Jesus. The Bible talks about how He died on the cross for all of our sins, and to make us whole. So I decided that I was going to start going down that path.
Now I'm in ministry. I work in a church. But for years I've been so busy doing ministry that I hadn't really let God touch some of those deeper parts of my heart that were still really wounded. So in the last three years, I've been going through this journey of actually allowing God to touch some of those places that have caused me to have some dysfunctional behavior. I knew I was a Christian. I knew I'd been forgiven, but for the last seventeen years I was just walking around with things inside of me that were still not whole. I've been able to actually allow God into those places. And instead of squashing feelings down, actually allowing them to come up.
Sometimes I might be feeling really afraid, or feeling really rejected. I ask God to show me the source of that, and how that got there. Then I invite Him into that space, so that He can bring healing in that area of my heart. I've never really felt so alive. I love the fact that no matter where we are in our journey, God has more for us. He has more life. He has more freedom. I guess there are parts of us that don't really know if God will still love and accept us once He sees the mess that's inside. So it has been scary. But every time, God has come and spoken into those places with His love, and His care, and His compassion. It's been really amazing.