In my teens I found myself drawn to books about eastern philosophies, the occult and new age. Under the surface I harboured a deep unhappiness but I drowned these feelings with alcohol, drugs and comfort eating.
I thought suicide might be a way out. Once during an argument I tried to get out of a car travelling on the motorway. Another time I took some pills – but only six because I didn’t really want to die! I was just desperate for help and attention.
>From my third year at comprehensive school I smoked cigarettes and drank heavily at weekends. Drink obliterated everything but soon it wasn’t enough. I started smoking cannabis and hanging around with drug dealers. My drug habit cost me two years of my life and I failed my exams.
Dabbling with evil
Then the week before I planned to attend an acid party I found myself being reprimanded at a police station. Without that intervention I would have been in an even worse situation. I had been pulled up short and tried to take control of my life without drugs.
I joined a band as a singer and met the man whom I later married. When writing songs I was inspired by the new age movement.
I became interested in the occult and teamed up with a colleague to share books about paganism and witchcraft.
We celebrated the eight pagan festivals and called ourselves white witches!
Sometimes I read tarot cards and on one occasion I cast a spell, following instructions to the letter. But it left me feeling frightened. I was dabbling with something powerful and evil.
I gave up smoking when I was 24 (40 a day by then) and this was a turning point in my life. It was such an achievement that I felt I had regained control over myself. Then one day I was given a voucher for a facial beauty treatment. I had received a mail shot from this lady and I decided to make an appointment to see her. In her waiting room I noticed Christian booklets among the magazines. The more I met with her the more I wanted to know about her. She had an amazing peace and was so kind. I had never met anyone like her before.
We talked about faith and she told me she was a born again Christian. We would spend a lot of time talking about Jesus, the Bible, God’s plan and will, and the way of salvation.
I was challenged by the call of Christ but also wondered why it mattered so much. I really wrestled with it, thinking perhaps it was just another whim.
But after a time I was moved to find out for myself. I went to the library and borrowed two versions of the Bible – meaning to read them cover to cover, compare them and pick holes in them. But I didn’t understand what I was reading.
However, I was given a booklet full of quotes from Scripture with the meanings presented in an easy-to-understand format. I came to see the significance of the cross where Jesus paid the penalty for sin – and the glory of his resurrection.
My sin was huge – I had gone against God in so many ways. Realising this, I prayed for forgiveness and salvation.
Shortly afterwards, I was in a Safeway car park and really met Jesus. I had a load on my mind and started to talk to him as though he was there and was listening. I spoke to him about a deeply painful incident that had happened to me as a child many years before. I had tried to bury that experience for nearly 18 years but now I unloaded it all – the anger, the sadness, everything.
I started sobbing. I hated myself so much and time had not healed my wounds and bitterness. But I ‘heard’ a soft voice clearly and distinctly from inside me saying, ‘Forgive him’.
Jesus was asking me to forgive the person who had wronged me – and I was able to do so because I trusted Jesus. I did so willingly, wholeheartedly and sincerely.
An immense feeling of peace and love filled me like nothing I had ever known before. I was so happy I wanted to laugh and cry for joy! I was released and I had hope and assurance that I had been saved.
I continued with my shopping knowing that something really special had taken place. On that cold and miserable day, I felt warm and grateful to be alive and for the first time in my life I felt awake.
Unravelling the past
Over the next two years Jesus helped to unravel and deal with all my personal issues. He met me in the small everyday things as well as the big ones. I learned that I was accountable for my life and there is no magic wand to make instant changes – but God provides everything needed to bring about change.
For me, that even meant God helping me to lose weight and discipline my eating and exercise routine. I entrusted my friends to God too. Most of my old unhealthy friendships fizzled out but new lasting friendships were established.
I wanted to go to church to worship God so I went along to the local Catholic church. I joined the choir and tried to fit in. But I found it difficult to square the message of the Bible with what I heard there.
When we moved house I felt drawn to a local Evangelical church. I had received a third leaflet from them through the door and was convinced that was where God wanted me to worship him.
I went along the following weekend, praying all the way! But the people were friendly, warm and prayerful. The Bible was explained so clearly. If I wanted to sneak in and sit on the back row and not be noticed, that was fine with them – and when I wanted to chat, that was fine too.
Since my salvation God has blessed me richly. All kinds of new characteristics are growing in my life compared to what I was before. I have been blessed with an active prayer life and an appetite for studying and enjoying the Bible.
I have come to know that the Bible is relevant for today and full of rich teaching and helpful instruction. It’s such an exciting book to read, there is so much to explore! Often I found myself wishing that someone had sat me down earlier and explained just how amazing and transforming it is to be a real Christian.
God has blessed me with a wonderful husband and we share so much in common – we play, write and record music together. Recently, a week before our tenth wedding anniversary, God blessed us with a beautiful son – a perfect gift from a loving heavenly Father.
How wonderful it is to know that, by the grace of God, Jesus rescued me and now I am safe in his mighty hands. He has a plan for my life and I can be sure of everlasting life. All because of Jesus!