I remember the day I got sent home from Bible College like it was yesterday. I remember the smell of the musty books, just like my dad’s at home. I remember the pity in the eyes of the kindly man who told me I ‘just couldn’t stay’ and I remember the sick feeling of failure that pierced me.
Some people call themselves ‘night train’ Christians - they don’t know the exact moment they came to Christ, they’ve grown up in it and just know and live it like normal.
Some people have huge experiences of God breaking through their pain or healing them in a miraculous way. Some people, however, are like me.
For me, recounting my testimony in a succinct way is hard, it’s not one thing but hundreds of moments, struggles and blessings that have led me to this point: where Jesus is everything.
I’ve always been ‘the Christian girl’, my father being a vicar made sure of that! Every time he came into my primary school to lead assembly or when people in high school asked if I was ‘a nun’, or when every Christian in the city seemed to know who I was, It didn’t take me long to begin to strive for the perfection that I felt was expected of me.
I got good grades, I had good friends, I went to youth group, I read the Bible every day, I tried to look after everyone and I tried so hard to fix my family from the hardships we faced. I wanted life to be neat and I wanted to be in control.
But, It was never enough.
At around 15 years of age, I began to crave more control, just to find something I could excel in. How I wish now I could tell my younger self to just give it to God and move on, but Instead, I stopped eating.
Without seeing what was happening, I turned to anorexia and let it get so bad that even the idea of food felt dirty and wrong to me.
I missed school, parties, prom, exams, mission work opportunities. Everything I had worked so hard to keep ‘perfect’ fell away from me.
But God did not. He was faithful.
The Lord fought for me the entire time. He sent words from strangers, messages from friends and one or two people who would not let me stay in my misery. In some ways, I grew closer to God more than at any other time, but it wasn’t until the day that I sat in the office of my dream University after being told 10 months into my studies that I had to leave because of my mental health, that I fell apart and gave everything to God.
God caught me like I had been told He would so many times before, and I finally believed it.
After 2 months I had the strength to go back to University. Facing so many people who I’d hurt or been hurt by was hard and I didn’t ‘feel’ strong. But my own strength didn’t matter, God showed up as my strength to walk through every door, sit every exam, eat every meal and go back to doing the things I loved.
He has healed me. Not in one pretty moment and not in a way I can pinpoint. But from an anxious 17 year old that cried before leaving the house, He has taken me through Bible College, across the World to New Zealand, into new employment, into marriage and back across the World again.
In every moment since I let the Lord have control, my life has been better. I know that the Lord will fight for me and I know sometimes I may not see it straight away. My failures matter less because I trust Jesus to fill in the gaps when I am just not enough.
TO CONNECT WITH CHARLI ON