Growing up in Manchester, I had a lot of insecurities about who I was, how I looked and if it was enough for people to like me. It really was a daily battle and something I struggled to get to terms with. I later found a way of coping and hiding the issues that troubled me. Outwardly, I acted like I was confident but that wasn’t who I was inside. I would adapt my personality and how I would act depending on which group of friends that I was with to try and be like how they would want me to be. In the end, I was tired of adapting and I didn’t know who I was. I struggled to find the real me and I felt hopeless…
Added to that pain was seeing my Mum, who was a single parent struggling so we were not able to have the things that my friends had and so I would steal so that I could try and keep up with everyone else. I never knew my dad – he simply disappeared from our lives and I spent years looking at men on the streets, wondering if that were him.
I started smoking because others did, tried weed because it was offered to me and would generally act how I thought would make be liked and accepted. This temporary feeling of fitting in didn’t fill the unexplainable void I had but the more I got in to trouble, the more I felt like I needed this way of life to survive. Every time that I got caught for doing these things just added to the stresses and strains on my Mum and caused her lots of grief which meant that our relationship wasn’t always the best. She contemplated outing me into care…
When I was 15, my Mum decided that we should move to London as it would be better for us financially and to progress. As I was in my last year of school, I was moving down at the end of the school year. Towards the end of that time, my Grandma took me to a Christian conference she was attending in London. It was so different and got me curious about God. I started to think about Him a lot and that maybe He wasn’t just a background figure to think about in my older years but that He could be relevant right now!
I started to make some changes in myself. I felt this desire to please God somehow so Id decided to stop stealing and smoking. These were the immediate actions I just knew I had to take but I needed more…
When I came down to London, one of the first things I said was “I want to find a church”. This burning need formed in me – I was driven by this. My family agreed but we didn’t know where to look. Then, one Saturday, my Mum and sister were shopping and was given a leaflet by some youths evangelising outside the UCKG HelpCentre in Finsbury Park. They went inside and enquired about times and services and brought the leaflet home to me. I said lets go and we visited the next day.
My first ever meeting in that place was so special, everything just made sense and when the Bishop said, “If you want to give your life to Jesus, come forward” I went. I was the only one in my family but I didn’t care, its like someone switched on a light bulb for me and the missing puzzle piece was put in place. I felt like I finally found what I needed deep within me: a relationship with my Creator.
This is where my journey with God started at the age of 16 and He has been my best friend since. He started to show me how precious I was in His eyes and that His sacrifice was for me and He wanted to live inside me, to create a new person. I clung to that, I nurtured this dream of being a new person and my heart began to change. He healed me from those insecurities and dislike for who I was and He made me see I was enough as I was.
Comparison truly is the thief of joy and by comparing myself to others, I was robbing myself of the opportunity to be as God created me to be! He got me to compare myself to Him instead and His traits and I found happiness, confidence and a boldness that I never thought possible.
My journey in life has not been drama less or free from issues. On the contrary, I have faced rejection, loneliness, humiliation, a dressing down occasionally and the loss of loved ones so close. I was married and divorced by the age of 25, I changed careers and this was far from easy, and many other things. But the one constant in my life to get me through all of this was and has been the Lord Jesus. He is my strength and constant companion and I would never ever want to do this life without Him.
Throughout these years, God has kept me fighting, standing up every time I got knocked down and been by my side every step of the way. I am who I am because He loves me. I have so much to be thankful for physically but my greatest treasure is finding the One who is and will always be my Partner for Life, Jesus – thank You for everything.