My journey to faith began with a series of rejections. The first being my father rejecting us as a family. I was 10 years old when I found out my dad had been unfaithful to my mother multiple times, except on this occasion, he fell in love with his mistress and had created a home for her and their growing family just ten minutes away from our home.
As you can imagine, this wasn’t just a blow for me, It was a blow for my entire household.
I remember getting up in the early hours of the morning and hearing the muffled sounds of my mother wailing in the living-room. She was heartbroken, she was angry, she was confused and she felt hopeless. I felt all of that too.
Night after night, I would climb into the top bunk of the bed I shared with my siblings and I would stare up to the ceiling and repeatedly ask God why he gave me “a father like this”. I never received any response. At that age, I never really had any real understanding as to who God was. I knew He was my father, but my understanding was that when He was involved in your life, things should go smoothly, and as you can read with mine, it wasn’t.
Life went on, my dad moved out, he married his mistress and we got used to the new family structure. As I continued to grow, daddy issues definitely developed.
I never really had any affirmations of self-worth or self-love growing up. I guess that was due to my culture, or the fact that maybe my parents never received any of those affirmations either. I was never told I was beautiful, I was never told about my worth and when my father created a new life, our relationship grew strained and awkward, so I never really had anyone to talk to about boys either.
One thing that I do remember growing up was the constant remarks regarding my mother’s appearance.
When she married my father she was a UK size 2-4, and after she had her last child, she was a size UK 26.
My dad always made it clear that he found her weight repulsive, he always made it clear that he wanted her to look more attractive, and in a little naive girl’s mind, I drew the link between the lack of attraction and him creating a new family.
The new family dynamic at home was alright most of the time. My mum was working a lot since she was now the main breadwinner, and my siblings and I weren’t terribly close, so I sought a family unit from my friends.
I was desperate to be accepted into something, I was gagging for the validation since I never got it at home. This led me down the dark path of criminal behaviour.
After school was over, I would hop on the bus, roll up my skirt, button down my shirt, put on lip gloss and make sure I was one of the loudest girls, so that I could receive the most attention. I got loads of attention, and eventually started dating a guy called ‘D’. A month passed and I felt like I was becoming part of his family. His friends and I would be out every day causing chaos wherever we were and I was desperate to shower D with affection as I never wanted to be rejected like I was before as a child. As you can imagine again, that failed, and shortly after, he broke up with me via instant messenger, telling me that my time was up and he was ready to move on to someone else.
That combined with witnessing a stabbing gone-wrong, brought me to me knees. I was broken. I hated my life and I wanted a change. I no longer had any friends.
Inside, my loneliness and desire to be accepted was overwhelming. I knew I couldn’t continue to live life with this brokenness.
So, on new years eve service in 2009, as my pastor was talking about the love of Jesus and making a call towards salvation, I closed my eyes, and made an honest prayer to God. I asked him to help me, to be my friend, to be my father and to turn my life around.
I opened my eyes and felt a little release, but overall I felt no different.
Gradually overtime, things began to change massively. A hunger to study God’s word came out of nowhere, and I found myself consuming the bible and Christian literature at chunks at a time. I would come home from school, get into bed and read until early the next morning, completely oblivious of time!
It was there that I learned to be in and enjoy His presence. His presence healed parts of my broken heart and it made my faith so real to me.
God showed me scriptures like Psalm 27:10 – Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me, and Psalm 34:18 – The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
God became my escape. Everyday after school, I would run home, excited at the thought of spending time with my Father, I wanted to know what word He had for me each day, and what wounds He wanted to heal.
He led me to a new group of friends in school, many of whom were established Christians. They would pray over me during lunch, exhort me with scriptures during the day and genuinely just be there to encourage me and make me laugh. I’m still friends with some of them today almost 15 years later!
My grades also excelled, and I was able to become the first child in my family to go to university.
God really took over my life, He heard my desperate cries and became my Father and my Friend.
It hasn’t been an easy journey, and I must say it hasn’t been a linear one either.
There are times when I’ve doubted, there are times when I have lost hope, and there have definitely been moments when I’ve messed up massively, but God remains faithful, even when I struggle to be.
He’s carried me over major storms and He continues to take me on the journey of healing life’s wounds. He has taught me about my own worth as a woman, and has shown me the true meaning of loving yourself and the true meaning of womanhood. He continually speaks to and helps the 10 year old girl inside of me, who was desperate for love, affirmation and acceptance.
God has reconciled my relationship with my biological father, and continues to protect and provide for me. He does more than I could ever ask for or imagine. I’m so very very glad that before anything else, He called me to simply be His daughter.
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