My Journey from Unhappiness to the Love of God
Born the youngest child of four in an argumentative family, I learned very early in life to be rebellious and constantly fight for survival. We were a church going family: however I remember coming home from the service one day and we all were arguing. My mother turned and asked, “how can you do that, how can you go to church and come home arguing?” We all answered quickly, “It’s quite easy really.” Like most people of our era, going to Church, saying our prayers and grace, and following the traditions of the Church, such as Christening, and Conformation, convinced us quite clearly that we were indeed saved. Unfortunately that was not the case, Mum was the only one who truly believed.
When I was ten, my father had stopped going to Church due to a personal conflict, and so Mum asked if we could go to her denomination. He agreed to us going to both. However the new one would not allow me to take communion, as I had not been baptised by full immersion. Following traditions again, I was then baptised at the age of 12. I enjoyed my youth group and the Church until I went nursing in NSW.
The other nurses were tired of my Bible bashing ways, which we had been trained in, and decided to fix a blind date with a man named Ewan; he disliked Churches, drank heavily and smoked, all totally opposite to my life: I was 19 years of age. God alone knew he was meant to be my husband. Without attending himself, Ewan would drop me at Church and head for the pub until it was time to pick me up. Due to unforeseen circumstances he had to move to another town, so I wrote to the minister there and asked if he could find board for Ewan with a family who were Christians, but would not pressure him. Roger, the minister, made it a purpose to make friends with Ewan and as they got on so well and had many conversations, Ewan began to trust Roger. It wasn’t long before he gave his heart to the Lord; and so we entered married life as a Christian couple: or so we thought!
I must say that I loved God in a fashion; I certainly believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that He was born of the Virgin Mary, and eventually died in my place, was buried and then rose again on the third day. However, there was always something missing! Having been told constantly as a child that I was dumb and would never achieve anything in life, I lacked confidence and had a deep-seated belief in my soul that this was true. I constantly put myself down and was easily hurt. I hated life and could not understand why I had been born. I’m sure when I was younger, if I had had the courage, I would have committed suicide. I saw no point to being a woman, thinking that we were just there to be used by men. Still, deep down I thought marriage would satisfy my empty heart, and to a degree it did, but not fully. Then I thought having children would satisfy me, and certainly I loved the boys and it did help; but never did it take away the emptiness.
Ten years into our marriage, we had become too busy with our trucking business to go to Church; thankfully my mother took our sons to Sunday school, which prepared them for a later time. However anger had entered my soul, and with Ewan away so much I continued to struggle and was constantly searching for other things to take away the emptiness.
We owed a lot of money, we had already lost our house, and now our business was failing due to truck breakdowns and firms refusing to pay on time. During this time, the government had a practice of charging all truck drivers 5c a kilometre; it was called ‘road tax’. It doesn’t sound much, but when one takes into account the severe mileage, whether we had a trailer load or not, the costs were there and with our inability to pay, that also increased. We decided to put the road tax in my name so that if I was caught, Ewan could still keep working and my Mum would happily look after our sons. It wasn’t until it reached $30,000 and I was looking at a jail sentence, that we realized how foolish the decision had been. When they came for me I hid, and early the next morning we packed up and moved to an Uncle’s property in the bush, still thinking we would be safe. The truck was handed back, but owing other monies as well, someone was always watching us, and the next morning they had come to repossess our Nissan E20. Later thinking about it, I felt God was saying, “You can’t run away from your problems.”
We had no electricity and no running water. Ewan had to build a makeshift shower under the trees and toilet to suit. I washed with the copper, grew vegetables, bought some chooks and donned a long skirt and large apron. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown and began playing the role of a pioneer lady. By the time I had made the boys’ uniforms for school by hand and gotten myself organized in many other ways and routines, I was lost for something to do. Ewan had been an avid reader, but I had not. Just the same, I went to the tea chests of books, and once opening them, I discovered my Bible a bridesmaid had given me, right on top. I picked it up numbers of times and put it down until eventually I decided, why not!
From then on for three months, I would wait until the boys left for school at 8.30am and then head into the lean-to. There I sat daily with my coffee and read my Bible until 2.30pm, when I knew my sons would soon be home. I began in Genesis as many new readers do, and by the time I got to Leviticus, I was feeling it was totally impossible for me to either please God or obey Him. For years I had had a fear of death and judgement to come, but now it increased immensely.
My Dad became seriously ill, and so we went to visit with them. I decided to go to Church with Mum. A minister I disliked was preaching on Hebrews 11, and I can remember sitting there placing a circle around each time the words “by faith” were read as the minister continued through the chapter. I realized then that throughout my life I had only had a Sunday school book knowledge of the Bible, as I had never read it for myself. I did not even know that there was an explanation of what faith was in the Scriptures. I sat there listening and praying, “Well Lord, if this is the case, why was I born?” I gentle voice spoke into my soul with the reply, “You will experience many things, and learn by faith how to deal with them; and then you will help others possibly going through similar circumstances.” Three times that day God showed me this to be true. I left my hometown rejoicing and decided that Hebrews was to be the next book of the Bible to read. It couldn’t have been any better, as God showed me what I could not do; He had already done for me through Christ Jesus. As I read my King James Bible, the Spirit of God gave me such understanding that it was as if each letter was written especially for me. I continued from Hebrews to Revelation and then decided to go through the Gospels. It was only when I arrived at John that the love of God permeated my soul so deeply that I knew I was loved, forgiven and wanted. At last I felt needed and knew without a doubt I had been born again. John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ “ The emptiness was gone and I knew I was complete in Him.
So then what was the difference? As a child I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, I knew He was the Son of God, (God come in the flesh), and that He had carried my sins on the cross, was buried and had risen again. I love John 4 where Jesus meets the woman of Samaria. He helps her to face herself and I believe that is exactly what He did for me. I had understood intellectually, and had many times been touched by His Spirit emotionally; but I had never come to the place in life where I had faced myself and saw that I was a wretched sinner. My will had been so strong that I had automatically lived in rebellion all through my life. It had to be my way or no other way, but when I recognized God’s absolute holiness and saw my own wickedness, I knew I had to hand over my will to Him and allow His will to direct my life.
As an ex-truck driver the following verse has always meant a great deal to me, simply because all our rags, covered in grease, helped me to understand how important it is to say openly to God, “Not my will, but thine be done.” Luke 22:42
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6 (KJV).
The year was 1979, and at last my life had been changed completely. What a delight to know that by the power of His Holy Spirit God has continued to teach and correct me all the days since that momentous event. Whatever your life has been like, and whatever it may hold in the future, I pray that you too may know His wonderful presence and love!
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