I didn’t realize what a roller coaster of a story this testimony was until I tried to put it all down in writing. It’s not the most impressive testimony but it’s mine. It shows God’s persistence and undying love. So here it is.
I was not raised in a Christian household. My parents both were raised in strict religious households, but when they married they left their Christian upbringings behind them for good and resolved to raise their children without religion. I never thought about it much. But I knew there was more to life than what it appeared. I just didn’t know what it was. But it would take nearly my whole life to figure it out.
When I graduated from grade 12, I went out to search for what was missing. I quit smoking, drinking, sex, partying, and changed high schools. I started jogging, reading and thinking about university. It would be a new start for me. But becoming a Christian was the farthest thing from my mind.
My first year in university was a disaster. As classes started I immediately began to fail my electives. To make things worse, I became involved with a man still in a previous relationship. We’ll call him Paul. After harrowing exams, my mom got me a prescription for Valium and put me on a plane to see my sister out west. That’s where I had my first encounter with God. I met a lady who was a born-again Christian. She invited one of her church leaders over to convert me. He tried hard, but I didn’t have a have a very high opinion of Christians at the time. So I left unchanged.
In my second year I became pregnant with Paul’s child. I tried hard to finish my second year, but when exams came around, I was very near to the end of my term. I failed my exams and went into labor shortly afterward. It was a girl. I went home to live with my parents with my new baby girl. Paul married the other woman he was involved with. I was a single parent.
When I finally left home, I tried to raise my child on my own. I met many people along the way but it wasn’t easy. I didn’t meet another man to marry. I never finished my degree though I tried. Things began getting worse as I was depressed and couldn’t handle my failures. My daughter was only eight years old when I snapped. I began hearing voices and couldn’t remember simple things. I called my mom one night to explain to her that I was not quite right and that I needed to come home for awhile. My condition did not improve however, and I was admitted to a psychiatric ward. This was only the beginning.
After my initial release, I was admitted again a second and third time. At this point, Children’s Aid decided to award temporary custody to my parents. I was not just crazy at this point, I was nuttier than a fruitcake. There seemed to be no end in sight as doctors tried desperately to make me take medication I was convinced would destroy me. In fact, I was convinced of a lot of crazy things. No one really knows what caused my mental illness but this was to be a lifelong condition and I was admitted five times before I got better.
The second time I was admitted to a psych ward, a funny thing happened. One night, Jesus came to me and said a prayer to God. I felt my hands go cold, and went to kneel and pray in front of a teddy bear, not quite sure what was going on. Then the attendant burst in the door and told me to go to bed. I wasn’t sure what that evening meant, but it wasn’t the last such experience.
While my daughter was still living with my parents, I decided to take my medication and I got a job. I was living alone, miles away. There I met a man and I was so lonely that I let him move in with me. This was to be one of the better times in my life as we had a lot in common. There was one problem. He thought that I could not possibly be insane. He convinced me to stop taking my medication. Well, I ended up in the hospital again. There something happened to me.
I had a dream that I was being offered the alternative of being saved or taking a gamble with the devil. God was speaking to me in such a way that I was moved to make a change in my life. It made me feel different for awhile and when I was released from the hospital, I asked my boyfriend to buy me a cross to wear. Little did I know that my new lifestyle would take a lot of commitment. I quickly fell away from my newfound religion, as my boyfriend was not supportive and I did not attend a church or pray. I walked blindly into unknown territory without a map.
A year afterward, I was awarded custody of my daughter again, left my boyfriend, and found an apartment. At this point, she had developed quite a hatred of me, due to her feelings of abandonment. I felt I owed her something for the time lost. I bought her a computer and allowed her all the freedom she dared to enjoy. This worked out okay at first, as we became friends again. But then things got out of hand. By the time she entered high school she was drinking, smoking and experimenting with drugs. Drugs became a big part of her life in the years to come and eventually she got into trouble with the police.
At 21, she found herself in jail and she begged me to somehow get her out. I loved her very much and I had never prayed so hard in my life. At this time, I asked my mom how I should pray for something I really wanted badly, as I knew she used to be Roman Catholic and still remembered a lot. She suggested a Novena, which as I understood it, was nine days of prayer with a promise made, which if kept would ensure your prayer would be answered. I thought it was naïve of me to think this was some kind of magical formula, but I went ahead with it anyway. After only a couple of days of prayer, she was released from jail but I kept on praying the rest of the nine days (just in case). Although my prayers were clumsy and uninspired, God was there with me the whole time lending me support and love. My troubles were long from over at this point, but it was a beginning.
I started attending a local church, which welcomed me with open arms, facilitated my Alpha course, and were devoted and contemporary. I know that God waited patiently for me to finally come around and His patience and love amaze me everyday. The first task I decided I would take on was reading the Bible in its entirety. During the process of familiarizing myself with every event, a wonderful love welled up in me for Jesus. I was visited by Jesus often, during prayers and while reading. This is something that meant so much to me, that I want this testimony to be a gift to Him. I hope that those who read will understand God’s incredible Love. He pursued me for years and years and now I am faithful to Him forever.