How do you start talking about your life I guess at the beginning?
I was born to parents that unfortunately wasn’t together anymore, while as a child I didn’t know any different it did leave me with issues of who I was and actually who wanted me. My faith wasn’t something I ever really wondered about I knew about God and his son Jesus but to be honest I never really thought too much about it. My family were Methodists and I was christened this way but church was mostly for weddings, christening and funerals. My grandfather on my mom’s side pretty much raised me. He taught me my values and how to respect others and when he died I were eleven years old. This became the point when I finally gave up on loving myself. Ever tried to put a square peg into a round hole this was how I felt in my world.
I tried so hard to understand life. I began to read the bible with earnest, completed a correspondence course with the bibliographic people but I found no peace. I was lost; I began to just survive the only way I knew best by making others happy. At times I hated myself but if others were happy then I felt valued, how wrong I was.
For my teenage years I drank a lot, partied a lot and threw my education out the window, further education wasn’t allowed so why bother anyway. I was completely lost and I really had no desire to live. Then God brought someone to save me. My husband, Alan, he loved me for me; he asked for nothing and gave all. No matter how many times I pushed him away because I didn’t believe I deserved love, he stayed strong.
When we had Kennedy I couldn’t believe how amazing the gift of parenthood was. How I wanted my child to know love, feel loved. Being a mom and a wife made me so happy; we had three more amazing daughters, Eden, Livvy and Brodie Lea.
Life wasn’t easy for us, in 2001 our beautiful third daughter became ill, Livvy went from a normal toddler to being trapped in her own world. After many hospitals visits she was finally diagnosed with a condition called Rett syndrome, this is a neurological condition that damages most things in the brain, she lost her words, her walking and she had so many seizures there were days we lost count.
True to form I blamed myself; I believed I had brought the people I loved down. We lost our home, Alan lost his job and we had to move into rented accommodation. While this was a roof over our head more than most people had, I felt I had let my husband down so much, his dreams were in pieces.
We tried to reconnect to church; we wanted our girls to have a faith. We started attending our local one and the girls began brigade and such, then after one service we were quietly called over and asked if we wouldn’t mind not bringing Olivia to church. Yes she had autism and could scream at times but I believed God loved all. I was so angry that I lost my trust in religion not God just Christianity, I found it false and unloving. Only now I can see it was another rejection to many for me to handle. I was blaming a whole religion for the sins of one church. So religion and I became strangers, I searched for alternative ways to be close to God. Buddhism, Paganism I looked into them all but finally found myself attending a spiritual church. I don’t wish to go into this too much except to say I was lost and then became completely lost. What I learned was that saying you are spiritual is not the same as being it.
Then in 2008 my world fell apart, my daughter Olivia died, I woke on November 7th and went to give her a kiss to find her gone. How I survived this I do not know, I guess simply Jesus carried me. After everything we had been through in life this nearly broke me, I so wanted to join her, the loss of our home, the finance problems, and my illness nothing could compare to this pain in my heart. I screamed to God for answers begged him to know why.
I know now God gave me the strength to carry on he showed me that my girls and husband needed me and I needed to be strong. He heard my cries for strength.
In hindsight I can see, that God had been with us at every step. When Alan had to leave work to look after me, I felt so responsible and shameful that I couldn’t be the wife and mother I wished to be. I see now that God was giving us the gift of being together. Alan got to spend three precious years caring for Livvy. The time we got to spend together as a family creating memories, I thank God so much.
Alan and I felt we wanted to foster this had been our plan for a long time and the time was now right. Many may disagree but we had a fully adapted home and heart, Olivia had been a gift in our lives and taught us so much. There are so many severely disabled children in care we wanted to give them love, and home for whatever time they had. We have learned it’s the quality of the life you live that matters, not the quantity.
It was at one of the fostering courses I met Brian and Rhian, we clicked straight away, I loved the way they saw life. Though when I realised they were Christians my first reaction was wow but they are nice. Sorry it was a still a sore subject for me. Brian told me he was speaking at a church in Walsall and would I like to come listen, I was intrigued but to be honest the two weeks I thought he was speaking came and for some reason I never made it but when I texted Rhian she told me he was speaking again. I finally felt ok God I will take the hint.
I would love to tell you I remember what Brian preached that day I can’t, if fact I don’t even remember the bad joke. As I stood and we sang our worship to God, I was SAVED. Jesus entered my heart. To try and find the words to explain this feeling is impossible but I sobbed, I collapsed into Rhian’s arms and cried tears of sadness, but mostly tears of pure joy. I wasn’t alone and God loved me for who I was, he forgave my sins and was calling me back to the right path.
Today this for me is my fresh start my dedication to God, to show him my love to ask for the Holy Spirit to enter me and be with me always. I don’t know what the future holds but I know and trust the one who holds it. I will never be perfect, but Gods love is. I want to go forth and spread the word. I will always mourn my daughter but I know without a shadow of a doubt I will be with her again, that until that day she will be safe in the Lords arms. I pray that my life I live from now on is like Jesus asked of us.
As Jesus said “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God”. “Truely truely I say to you unless one is born of water and the spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed when I said to you, you must be born again. The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born again.
To say I’m excited about being born again is an understatement. I have so much to thank God for, for never deserting me, showing me love and for sending people I am proud to call my friends, to call me home.