Take a look at my life
The story of how I came to know God isn’t your standard story of a good Christian upbringing, nor is it a dramatic rags to riches tale. My story is simply one of how a damaged and bitter young girl took the chains of rejection and turned them into the armour of God’s redemption.
I grew up going to church on a Sunday and I knew that God was powerful and could help you when you were in trouble, but apart from the few traditional ceremonies that I took part in as a child (first communion, confirmation) that was as far as my faith went. My only experiences with Christians were unfortunately with people who were the stereotypical judgemental type and were only interested in criticizing you for not living same lifestyle as them. So I took no interest in exploring deeper into my faith, that is, until high school.
I attended an Anglican high school and it was then that I was introduced to a different denomination and a different way of doing things. I got to experience youth group for the first time and was given the opportunity to read from a Bible that wasn’t just for children. I discovered that church music was more than just hymns and an organ, and I was able to meet other people my age who shared my beliefs. But unfortunately there was still something stopping me from pursuing my faith further. There was still a voice in the back of my head that continuously asked me: what will everyone think?
Then I came to my biggest struggle of my teenage years. At the age of seventeen I was diagnosed with anorexia and spent the next few years tormented by voices in my head that told me that I didn’t deserve to be loved and that I was useless and would be better off dead. Unfortunately the more I told myself those things, the more I believed them to be true. I tried praying to God and asking him for help, but eventually I gave up.
As far as I was concerned, there was no way that God could help me because I didn’t believe that even He loved me. After all, I hated myself with every ounce of strength that I had, so if I couldn’t love myself, then there was no way that God could ever love me. So I didn’t give my faith another thought, that was until a few years later.
When I got to my early twenties, I was lucky enough that all the physical, and some of the mental damage from my anorexia had healed. However I was still suffering with crippling self esteem issues and I still struggled to see God as someone other than an intimidating dictator who wanted to judge and punish me. But nevertheless I started to attend a local Bible study group from another church, hoping to meet new people and learn something from them. Straight away I noticed something different about this group, but I was yet to discover what an impact they were going to have on me.
For the next few years I continued to periodically attend Bible study. Although I found the prospect of “normal people” being Christians as very unfamiliar and almost intimidating. Something kept drawing me back to this group and urging me to continue attending. I didn’t know who or what was making me feel this way, maybe it was my amazement that normal people could have so much bold passion for God, or maybe it was because I wanted to be like that too. I didn’t know. But I didn’t have to wait long to find out.
One day my friends from Bible study invited me to a weekend conference at their church. I was extremely reluctant and tried to think of reasons not to go because I was very convinced that it was just going to be a weekend of people yelling at me and telling me that I was going to hell. But when I couldn’t think of any decent excuses not to go, I just gave in and went with the mind-set that I was probably going to get bored and hate it. It didn’t take long to realize how wrong I was.
As soon as I entered the church that Friday afternoon, I immediately noticed a difference in the atmosphere. This was the first time I had experienced worship like this, and with it came an unfamiliar sense of excitement that I had never known before.
I couldn’t remember ever feeling so excited and happy to be at church, but things didn’t stop there. I found myself really listening and taking in what the speakers had to say, and I began really thinking about my own faith and what I was missing out on. But I was desperate not to lose that excitement that I had felt that night. So I decided to come back the next day and see what else would happen, I didn’t quite anticipate how much more was to come.
So the weekend progressed and with it came more new emotions that I was unfamiliar with. After all, I wasn’t a crier to begin with. But I found myself crying randomly during songs and even prayers. Soon the feeling of excitement was replaced by a far more powerful force.
I felt like I was being pulled towards something that I couldn’t see, or even explain. But after talking to some people about it, I realized that God was trying to connect with me and tell me that this was the place that I needed to be. So I gave in and let God into my heart that day. I wasn’t instantly transformed, but changes weren’t far away.
I still struggled with low self esteem and confidence issues and I still struggled to believe that God could love me. But over the next few months I began to realize something, the friends I had met through Bible study seemed to love and accept me for who I was. They didn’t expect to change or to be perfect.
Then it started to dawn on me that if people who loved God so much could love and accept me for who I was, then God must do as well. It was with that realization that I was finally able hurl off that chain’s of rejection and go running freely towards God and the amazing life that He had planned for me.
The amazing changes didn’t stop with just my personality. Less than a fortnight after I accepted God into my life, I was at Bible study and all of a sudden one of my friends said that a mate of theirs from church was dropping by to see them about something. Now I hadn’t had a chance to meet many people at church yet so was intrigued, soon afterwards who should walk in but my (now) husband Matt. It also turned out that he had been living 100 metres up the road from me for the past 5 years and I hadn’t even known that he existed!
Fast forward 4 years and we are now married and are expecting our first child in March. Because of my confidence self esteem problems that I had prior to becoming a Christian, meeting guys and getting married were things that I didn’t believe would ever be possible. It was something that I expected for others but not myself. But where my life is now has shown me what God can do for you when you put Him first. Fantasies become reality, challenges become triumphs, and even the most messed up people can be made whole.
My name is Kate and I love gardening, exercising, and being involved with my church social groups. I have loved to write from a young age, and took up poetry as a teenager. I have recently got married and am enjoying getting used to married life.