I was saved at this Church five and a half years ago. I was 51.
As a child I attended Sunday school and church as part of my very “proper” upbringing, however God was never discussed in our family – Mum was a believer but Dad was not a churchgoer so bringing the subject up was bad for family harmony. Going to church was something I did like going to school and brushing my teeth but it was never “real” to me.
When I was 13 my family was transferred to Brisbane. I was deeply unhappy, I missed my friends, school and home and I hated the Church I was dragged along to. I refused to go and from then on the jury was “out” on whether God or religion had any part in my life.
I married very young – he was an atheist – and our children were not to be “brainwashed” at Sunday school like I had been! I was uncomfortable with this decision as I felt that important principles like kindness, compassion for others and understanding right from wrong are vital. I tried hard to bring them up with those principles but it is very difficult when your partner has totally opposite views. We divorced after 16 years.
For a long time I had been the main income earner and responsible parent but now I was solely responsible. I determined that my children would not suffer because I had made bad choices. I worked and worked and worked without rest, holidays or relaxation. I never rested. I worked at least 60 hours a week, did all the Mum stuff and kept a clean and well organized home. My only “down time” was after the long day when I would drink to unwind. The drinking became the only way I could unwind and gradually became my sole pleasure. During this time I was fortunate to have the support of my second partner, who I subsequently married. He tried hard to get me to cut down on my drinking because he could see that it was taking over. Of course, I could not see this. You can’t when you are addicted. I would angrily justify drinking as “my only pleasure and reward” for working so hard! It was the only thing we ever argued about seriously.
Late 2002 he was killed in a horrific accident at our home while I was present. Being me, I went back to work a week later and kept on working. Then 6 months later my Mum, who I was very close to, died. My world slowly imploded. I became severely depressed and was steadily drinking more and more. It affected my work, my children and my finances. I wanted to die. I decided to die. I made clear plans to die.
I had few close friends but one of them was a very strong and committed Christian who had continued to put up with me when everyone else gave up.
The day I decided to end it, she had a message from God to go to me. It was most inconvenient for her and she nearly didn’t. However the message got stronger and in the end she listened. She saved my life that day.
That was the turning point. I had to reach that point for God to get my attention. I guess I had given up on God but he had never given up on me. He just needed me to STOP long enough to hear his voice.
From there it was a very rapid change. I stopped drinking by asking Him to take the need away. It went away just like that! I won’t say there haven’t been times when I haven’t been sorely tested but He has always given me the strength to resist. About 2 weeks after I stopped drinking I was saved. I know it was real although it is difficult for non – believers to understand. I understand their unbelief because I struggled for so long with my own!
Since that day, the most important day of my life, I have slowly become well again. It has been a rocky road at times with many obstacles on the way but the overall trend has been upwards to restoration and wholeness. The wonderful support and encouragement I have received from the Mansfield Church family has been amazing. I doubt if I could have got there without them. So I owe them a huge debt of gratitude and thanksgiving.
There continue to be many challenges in my life. I thought when you became a Christian that would be “it” but that is no so. It is an evolving journey, not a destination.
I have learned that no matter what happens in life God IS in control. I know my heavenly Father will look after me no matter what happens – He is to be trusted. I know that no matter what happens I will be able to cope because his love is sufficient. I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).
If you are reading this and you are not saved, I ask you to search your own heart and mind. That empty place inside you that is never satisfied – that is the place Christ is longing to fill. He will come if you earnestly ask Him.
You will never be the same again and you will never be sorry.