For Joy, rejection was indoctrinated in her from a young age, as she grew she struggled to deal with it, how can God reshape what real Love looks like?
I grew up without a dad, and my mum was an alcoholic. At home, there were no rules. There were no boundaries. I didn't know how a normal family should live. My mum was quite absent physically and emotionally throughout my childhood. Each night she would come home, bringing different men into the house. I've witnessed my mum get beaten. That brought a lot of fear into me. I've seen my mum have sex in front of me, and that has brought rejection. It distorted my way of how love should be received, and how I should get attention.
When I was nine years old, a friend of mine invited me to a Good News Club. This was the first time I heard about Jesus. Being part of that Good News Club, I felt loved, I felt accepted, and I felt a sense of belonging. So that was the beginning of a father-child relationship for me. I saw God as my Father, and I had a relationship with Him. Until I got to my teens.
In my teens, I was still living at home, where there was still alcohol. I had a lot of pain, and a lot of trauma from being sexually abused as a child. I tried to cope the best I could, and the only way I did that was by drinking. I started drinking at 15. The urge to drink was just to numb the pain. It kind of took the focus off what was happening inside me. I also discovered how to relieve myself, and I got addicted to masturbation and pornography. I was addicted to that.
When I was 16, I moved out of home. I started having a hatred for my mum, and I got deeper into alcohol. I started sleeping around, just to find acceptance and love. I was trying to find a way to not get rejected, but again I was. The urge to sleep around was because I had seen that as a child. So I thought, well, maybe that's your way of getting love.
I moved to Nelson, and I went along to Aspire church while I was still going through this addiction. I met this couple, and I got to know the family quite well. They helped me, they supported me, they prayed for me, and I got delivered from this. I decided to come back to the Lord, repent, and seriously follow Him. I decided to move to Paraparaumu and go to Te Nikau, which is a Christian addiction rehab programme.
I stayed at Te Nikau for about a year. What God did for me on that programme was that I started to forgive all the people that had hurt me. I probably didn't realise that I needed to forgive my mum, until I was on the programme. Another hard thing was to forgive my dad, because he wasn't in my life. What God did was He set me free from rejection, and He restored my relationship with my mum. The amazing thing was that when I graduated at Te Nikau, my mum was there. I invited my mum. When I was saying my speech about the people I wanted to thank, and I came to talk about my mum, that's when I realised what God had done. I couldn't even find the words to say. I mean, even to this day I'm still blown away by how much I love my mum.
As I look back on every season that I've been through, I can see God with me, bringing the right people into my life, at the right time. My life for me now is very different. I'm a lot freer than I've ever been. I never knew that I would be where I am at this moment. Completely free from everything. I don't have any trauma or pain. I don't need anything to fill that void. My unconditional love comes from God Himself and He just keeps reminding me what He's done.