My father died when I was nine. My mum was incarcerated when I was 14. I had an abortion at age 16. These were the worst things to happen to me in childhood, and in spite of them, I had a pretty good upbringing.
But I always suffered with low self-esteem and lack of confidence. I felt unworthy of anything good.
Seeking a Sense of Self-Worth
At age 18, I started work as a public officer in the prison system.† While working here, I had a lot of men who were on remand or sentenced to prison make sexual advances toward me.
I enjoyed being the prettiest girl at work and hoped it would help with my self-image. †I ended up getting into trouble smuggling drugs in for prisoners.
When I was 21, I went into work one morning and was arrested on arrival. I had sensed it was coming from deep inside of me. †
Turning to God
Shortly after I was arrested, I started to pray to God. †I asked him to please not let me be killed in prison, and to protect me and have mercy on my soul. I begged God to keep loving me.
Every night I cried at the thought that I could easily go to prison for the next five years, but every morning I woke up smiling; I had lived to see another day.
I was summoned to court and faced charges of misconduct in a public office and for conveying a list articles into prison. Basically, it meant I got caught smuggling drugs into prison while holding a position of trust.
On the day of court I carried only my Bible. I waited patiently, reading Psalms 27. †I paced that cell saying "The Lord is my light and salvation whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?"
I read this same Scripture every night before I went to sleep and every morning when I woke. I knew there was nothing that could happen to me that my God couldn't handle.
I prayed for everyone in there, that they would find and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Freedom in Christ
God blessed me! I was sentenced to two years and three months, the second lowest sentence in history for my type of crime. I cried and thanked God. My life has never been the same since.
According to UK law, I should still be in prison. According to my Savior, my King, my Friend and my Father, I served my time and was released after serving only 10 months of my time.
I want you to know that at times life may seem hard. You may want to give up, but that's not God's plan for your life. With God you are a winner, not a quitter.
With God I found my sense of worth. He set me free.
If you allow God into your life he will take care of you, I promise. God is waiting for you to come home. Please don't take too long.
I have one sister. We are 15 months apart in age. Our parents were not able to raise us. Our motherís family took turns keeping us, so we drifted from one family to another.
It was finally decided that we needed moreóa stable home environment. So I went to live with my motherís sister and her husband. My sister was raised by our grandmother on our motherís side. Looking back now, I realize that God, even then, was looking out for us. Both of us were raised in the church.
The Book of Life
I was baptized early in life, because my aunt thought that it was time, so it was. I was baptized in a fish pond with the tadpoles and frogs. That was OK, because my name was written down in the Book of Life.
After I graduated from high school, I went to work doing clerical work for a plumbing company. Did the marriage thing. Had three children. During all this, I had strayed away from God. I disobeyed his commands more times than I care to tell. During my childhood, I went to church every Sunday for seven years, with missing only one Sunday a month to go see my mother.
Something Is Missing
Life happens, some good, some bad. There was a divorce. When I was away from God, I felt incomplete. Something was missing, even though by all appearances everything was fine. I knew what was wrong. I needed to rededicate my life to God and seek to follow his plans for my life. So, thatís what I did.
Life is full of heartaches, disappointments, medical problems, financial problems, and all sorts of valley experiences, but with God the Father and his Son in our lives, these problems always seem to be less devastating. God has promised to always be with us and never leave us alone.
Feeling His Presence
I married again in April of 1998. My new husband loves the Lord, and we thank him every day for helping us find each other.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in April of 2011. I thought I would be terrified, but I gave it to God and asked for his mercy. He was there with me all the time. I could feel His presence.
Step by Step on My Journey Home
I thank him so much for all the blessings of life. No matter how far we roam or what we do, God never forgets us. Heís always waiting for us to come back to him.
God has a perfect plan for us. He never does it all at once, just step by step, because he wants to teach us to walk by faith, not by sight.
Hello, my name is Nicolaas, and I live in South Africa. I want to share what our almighty God has done for me, how he saved me from depression and gave me hope for my future.
Six months ago (June 2012), I worked at a steel factory in my town. I waited almost a year after leaving school to get a learnership at this factory. I was excited and felt that finally my life was getting on track.
We had class for about four months and all was well. At the end of the four months, we were sent to our permanent production plant. I didn't feel good about my new post when we arrived at the plant. I was just asking Jesus that it get better.
Instead, it got worse. The hours were long: four 12-hour days and three eight-hour days with one weekend and one Wednesday a month off. The job was exhausting, and I hated it. The thought of working there for even a month longer was getting me down fast.
I fell into a deep depression, and I didn't know what would happen with my future. I prayed and pleaded with God to take me now because I didn't want to work for 45 years in a job that made me hate my life more than anything on earth. I asked to be transferred, and I got transferred to work in an office. I spent two weeks there before they called me back to the mill.
While working there, the guy working with me told me about a student loan that he had that was designed for people who cannot afford a normal bank student loan. I always wanted to go and study when I was in school, but at the end of my last year, I got the idea out my head because my mother couldn't afford it.
So when they sent me back to the mill, I decided to quit. I applied at the university (thank God we have one in my town), and I got accepted. Then I applied for the loan. When I was still working at the office, before I heard about the loan, I had wanted to go and study. I told God, ďI know, Lord, you can do anything, and if you want you can let me go and study.Ē I didn't know how, but I knew He could do it.
When I heard about the loan, my optimism grew and I asked God to please let me go and study if it was his will. The morning I found out I got the loan, I was overjoyed and for the first time in my 20 years, I cried of happiness. Driving back home on my scooter, I cried and thanked God that He has blessed me so well in all ways.
Regaining Hope for the Future
From wishing I was dead, for real, to crying of happiness and joy, God gave me hope. I trusted Him as best I could, and He didn't fail me once. I now know to trust the Lord, keep calm and be patient, because He will help you and give you a prosperous future. He promised.
Without the Lord, I don't even want to know how dreadful my life could have been, and I thank Him for everything, even though I can't thank Him enough in any way for all that He has done for me.
To anyone reading this who is going through a bitter time, just hold on. God will pull you up. Just believe and trust Him in all your ways. God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. Praise Jesus, the king of all.