I guess I was a “sort-of Christian” when I was younger. I always said I believed in God and Jesus, but I didn’t really understand and had no form of relationship with God. My parents believed too, but we never went to church due to the hours my parents had to work. When I was 12, my dad collapsed in an epileptic fit in front of me, my mum and my little brother while we were on holiday. He was later diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor. My confidence was already low because of the bullying I had gone through at primary school, but now it plummeted. I felt so alone, so cold and totally worthless. I felt the whole world was against me, and that I was wrong and evil, and that God must hate me. My younger brother, who I love more than life itself, has autism, so I had to help look after him too, and become like a second mum. My mum also has several health issues, so she tires very easily and needs my help, which I try desperately to give, but sometimes it’s too much for me.
We started going to church as both my parents had to give up their jobs, so they no longer worked long hours. At first I got really into it, as I’d always wanted to go to church. But after a while I got really sick of all the talk about this wonderful loving God, who supposedly loved us so much. How could there be a God if He let me suffer like this? Why would He do this? I completely lost my faith, sunk into depression and began self-harming and even considered suicide.
One summer, when I was about 15, we went to a Christian festival called New Wine. It was the same stuff I had always heard. God loves you, etc., and I was sick of it. I didn’t believe in God, so why was I here? I just wanted to leave. But at the same time, I was longing to be like all the people around me–so happy and filled with worship and adoration. A woman came over to pray for me, and as she was praying the most incredible thing happened to me. I felt Him. I felt God. My God, who loved me, who never left me, who longed for me to come home and be with Him forever. I felt completely filled with joy, peace and love. I knew God loved me, right then, and I still know it, despite all the suffering in my life. I know how precious I am, and I won’t believe the things people have told me anymore. I am perfect in His eyes, and so are you.
I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.