On a roller-coaster ride with God

When I was born, I was a little miracle for my parents. My mother, from a very strong Pentecostal family and my father, from a strong Methodist family were grateful to God for a relatively healthy girl.

My mother wanted to bring her children up in a Christian environment, teaching us life lessons from the bible. Her parents were both pastors before they passed away. As a result, my older brother and I attended Sunday School and we were taught to say grace every evening before our meal.

I don’t recall Sunday School at all, I was only about three when I started attending, but I attended for about two years before my parents moved house and therefore suburb. I never did attend Sunday School after that and religious studies did not form part of my school curriculum.

In fact, the next time religious education entered into my life, I was eleven years of age and in a brand new school, starting second term and therefore already behind in my studies. I lagged. I could not recall any of my Sunday School studies and was therefore starting afresh in religious studies, while my classmates were years ahead of me. I did not know of one biblical story. I was even shaky in the details behind Adam and Eve! As a result, I shunned the studies, rather than embrace them. As it happened, I was only in the school for three months, before I was moved again. The new school did not have religious education as part of its curriculum and it wasn’t until three years later that religion became an issue of interest for me again.

I can quite easily state that religion just happened for me previously. It was not something I sought, nor really understood. I believed in God, but that was all there was to it.

Then, when I was 15, I met a girl at my high school who was Pentecostal. She had a bounce in her step that I knew I lacked, and that I wanted. She literally lived down the road from me, and over a few months, we became very good friends.  One day, while I was visiting her house, some of her church group came over for bible study. Belinda’s mother said I could stay if I wanted to, but that I may feel uncomfortable. Out of pure interest, I decided to stay. I didn’t participate in the group, I just sat in the lounge observing what was going on and pretending to read my book. The Pentecostal religion, believes in healing hands, talking in tongues and the power of prayer. I remember feeling this amazing sense of calm and love from the group. I was immediately interested in learning more and decided to join them for a few more bible study sessions. After a few sessions, I asked Belinda’s mother what I needed to do in order to be part of this group permanently. Belinda’s mother gave me some materials and told me to talk to my parents.

I was so excited. I felt that this religious group was what I needed in order to become the person I was longing to be.

That afternoon I told my father of my desire to join the group. He was not having any of it. He told me that he didn’t raise sheep (those who just followed the pack) he had raised leaders. In his mind, he felt I just wanted to join the group because my friend was in it. I didn’t know the exact words to express what I really felt and why I wanted to join the group, apart from telling him that it made me feel good being involved with the bible class. My father told me that eating an ice-cream would also make me feel good. He also told me that there were thousands of religious groups whose role it was, was to brain wash people into thinking that they needed God in their lives in order to feel good and no daughter of his was going to be brain-washed. It was the end of the conversation.

To this day, I believe my life from this point on may have been very different had my father said yes to this request. He didn’t know what was about to come, but churches are actually very good places for lost souls looking for comfort.  My soul was very lost and as it happened, I started looking for comfort in other places.

Religion did not enter my mind for a very long time after that. It was a time that I really needed religion, but without any proper knowledge or guidance, God was left behind.

It was 11 years later that I found God again and I came thundering into his arms! Just like a daughter who hadn’t seen her father for 11 years, I cried for a very long time. It was Christmas Eve 2002. I needed to be saved from myself and from my broken heart after a messy relationship break up. The 11 years without God in my life had resulted in a very confused, scared and lost person. Despite my father’s issues, I decided to go to Church in order to partake in Christmas Eve activities. That night, the church put on a performance, depicting the day Jesus was born. Being in this place of worship surrounding by such a feeling of love and peace resulted in one of the many walls I had built around myself being knocked down. I could not stop myself from crying. After the performance, the Pastor, Steven Charles Davis provided his sermon. It spoke directly to me. After the sermon, Pastor Davis asked if there was anyone who had not walked with God who wanted to,who wished for a better relationship with God. I immediately put up my hand! Pastor Steven noticed my hand and said that we would talk after the formalities. Right after this sermon, Pastor Steven’s daughter Cassie Davis sang. She was a beautiful girl with such a beautiful voice. I was completely moved! I knew I had found a place I wanted to belong.

Pastor Steven and I spoke together after the sermon where we spoke at length about what I was looking for and what the church could offer. He provided me with some paperwork and hoped I would be back! I was more than definitely back. I was ready and finally, I didn’t need my father’s approval. On 31 December 2002 I was baptised in Pastor Steven’s swimming pool.

I went to church regularly. God was part of my every day life. I didn’t care what others thought about the change, I was finally finding happiness. My music changed from Delta Goodman to hits from Hillsong, I started attending my own bible studies and I started making some very good christian friends.

On 14 February 2003 I met my husband. He was my gift from God for Valentine’s Day. He and I healed some of our wounds from previous relationships together. I still cried many times. I even started giving service back to the community by raising money for our church by making and selling coffee and cakes!

On 16 April 2005, my husband and I got married by Pastor Steven Charles Davis. He did a fantastic job and I felt so very blessed for so many reasons. Here is a link to a video of him: http://vimeo.com/11613347

My husband and I moved into a new house to start our life and I stopped going to church. I didn’t stop believing though, I just stopped my regular prayer. I got lost again.

It wasn’t until November 2007 that I cried out to God again and I was once again on my knees. My first IVF had failed. My heart was broken and I needed healing I needed love. I had fallen into a depressive state; I could not see why I should go on living. Right as I was driving and bawling my eyes out, I heard a voice so strong that it silenced my sobs and I gasped in fear. His words were: Trust in me, everything is going to be okay, just trust in me.

Once again, like a girl who has been away from her father for too long, I cried, but it was a different cry from previous. It was a cry of feeling safe in the arms of my protector again. I apologised to Him and thanked Him for hearing my prayers. Not long after this, I met a girl who sang in a church choir. She invited me to her church and I found a new church home. I once again returned to my faith and prayed regularly. I remember losing my car keys in a massive park one day and searching everywhere for them. I was so stressed and anxious. I was worried about how I was going to get home in time and that it was starting to get dark. My heart was pounding and so was the blood in my veins. I started running in order to try and find the keys quicker. I was once heard His voice. The words were: Slow down, relax, you will find them. Literally one minute later, I found the set of keys!

In January 2008, I started IVF again and prayed every hour! I prayed and prayed and prayed. Close to the pregnancy test, His voice came to me again. This time His words were: You will have a child. It will be a boy. I literally leaped with excitement. I had learnt to trust in this voice explicitly. I confidently went in for my pregnancy test, only to be told that the IVF process had failed.

I fell. I fell deeply. I was actually hospitalised after trying to commit suicide twice. I HATED God. I yelled and screamed at Him for days. Asking him why? Why would he be so mean? Why would he get my hopes up so much, only to have them deflated again. I turned my back on him completely. I threw out all of my church literature and I changed my religious status to atheist. I told everyone that I didn’t believe in God. I was off the rollercoaster ride completely!

Life went on and I didn’t even consider God. I went through two more IVF sessions, for these to both fail and I then decided I was not going to have children. My husband and I separated. I started having relationships with the wrong people.

Then in 2010, after my husband and I got back together, I started having massive mood swings. One hour I was on top of the world the next I was crying my eyes out. I couldn’t understand what the hell was going on. This happened for two weeks, brought on by stress. I didn’t know what to do or what was going on with me. I did what I knew best, contact my psychiatrist that I saw in 2008. A place I wouldn’t even know existed if I didn’t go through the major depressive episode. I was diagnosed with Bipolar and put on proper medication. I finally stabilised. I also finally allowed love back into my life.

In April 2011 I met a girl who converted from being a Christian to Islam. I was intrigued and started asking her 1000 questions, which she gratefully answered. She also provided me with a book called The Ideal Muslimah. It is a thick book, but I read it cover to cover and realised that religion was missing from my life and I wanted it back. I considered Islam, but decided it wasn’t for me. But I continued to pray. I have been praying regularly since June 2012. I even have a reminder in my phone to pray!

In August 2011 my husband and I, finally having worked through all of our issues, discussed the possibility of having one last attempt at IVF. I jumped at it. Oh yes! I feel so ready. Life actually seems like it is in place and a child would be the icing on the cake.

Right now, today, on Friday, 13 April 2012, I have decided to go and see Pastor Steven Charles Davis on Sunday. I have decided that it would be great to go back to the church and the man who saved me.

I have forgiven God. The hardest lesson though was actually forgiving myself. Now I ask for God to forgive me. I am happy to sit right beside Him on the rollercoaster!