This story has a lot of background, some of which I will sketch in quickly although I do want to write more at length – at some point. I came to my current church at a point of terrible brokenness and, as usual, starting a story at the middle and going backwards is very confusing – but bear with me. I had been out of the fellowship of a church for quite a few years but had never lost my faith in Jesus. My life was once again ruled by fear, and I probably need to go even further back to clarify that.
Early life was not easy – born into a fatherless family and uprooted into another country was probably quite a difficult start, but my childhood was devastated by the death of my sister and doubly traumatic for me was my own close brush with death at the same incident. My family was crushed by the experience and we were all haunted by Erica’s death. We never talked about it though – it was too painful. I, in my childish mind, thought I had been responsible and as I had no-one to check out the facts with – kept this terrible secret to myself. I grew up pretending that everything was fine, I smiled a lot. It was very important that my mother not know what was going on inside me as she had enough to deal with. I wanted to protect her from more pain. Not to mention the condemnation she may have of me if she knew I was a murderer! (My childish thinking.) I was good at hiding myself and even fooled the teachers into thinking I could read when I couldn’t. Sadly none of this got sorted out, and my teenage years were even more of a nightmare, if that is at all possible. I will quickly gloss over this – but I did find that drugs and alcohol eased the fears, the pain and the loneliness. Of course that is no answer at all, and mercifully Jesus got through to me 27 years ago and began my restoration.
It is a long and hard path to come back into the normal world after the sort of life I had lived and I was very vulnerable. Also the habit of not being truthful was a hard one to break. I married a man who was very damaging to me at around 1 year of being sober and not having a solid footing in the Word of God. A lot of foundations were laid down in this time and I saw some amazing miracles and the transformation in the life of my children. The thing was though, that as a fairly new Christian – maybe even a teenage Christian, I did not have the tools to deal with things when our church began to fall apart. It didn’t fall apart completely but a whole new leadership came in and our numbers, small to begin with, grew smaller.
One of the ways I coped in those days was to imagine I was a cat. I mention this because no-one had any idea of the mental anguish I was in, and how close I felt to falling off the top of the precipice that I felt I was on. And the tricks I played with myself to stop from dealing with life. I needed to escape and could not begin to think how I could do it, or even what I was escaping from. My husband ruled with an iron fist and I was terrified of him. Fear so over-arched my life that I had no idea it was there. The most awful thing about this was that my husband had become a Christian – but he used God to justify his rule. Misusing scripture to ensure his control. I feel very sad for him now, he was a lost soul.
We came to Auckland, to go to Bible school. For me it was a chance to escape – as Auckland is a big city. My escape is also a long story so I’ll leave that out at this point. Getting away from him did not ease my madness though, and I longed to escape into the different characters I had in my head. The only thing I had that kept me from completely losing myself was Jesus. He never left my side and was with me in my darkest hours. I longed to go to church and to worship – but I was too afraid. I tried to attend one church and kept it up for about 6 months, but when the woman minister left, I could not go back. I could not bear the thought of being hurt by the other people – that was my big fear. Over my 18 or so years in the desert I had counselling to bring me back from the brink. I loved Jesus but I wasn’t reading His Word.
So this was the broken place I was in. I felt I was starving spiritually and the depression was so bad I had thought of ending it a few times. (I am ashamed to admit this, but it is true.) My sister had invited me to come to her church and so I did. I think it was the second time that I went that I asked for prayer. I was overwhelmed with sadness and grief as Steve and Karen prayed for me and Steve gave me this Word. Oh, one more thing! I had started on my novel about 6 or 7 years ago. I had gotten about 6 chapters in and was completely stuck. What I wanted to write about was a fictionalised version of my craziness with the different characters or personalities in my head. They all had names. I wanted to write my story – but there was no happy ending, no resolution. The girl in the story with her fractured mind was still there – in pieces. In fact I had an image for the cover – either a broken plate or mirror with the shattered pieces radiating out. I wasn’t sure about the mirror, but in my mind it was white – white and broken.
So here I was, at my sister’s church, sobbing and being prayed for by Pastor Steve. I wasn’t 100% sure that it was safe, (could be some crazy cult after all!) but then Steve had a Word for me. He said saw this bowl or pot healed with gold, and that is what the Lord was going to doing do for me, the cracks would be healed with gold. He said that there was a Japanese art form that mended pottery and porcelain with gold, and that was the picture God had given him for me. I could barely believe it – in fact I thought he was making up the Japanese art form bit. (Did I mention I didn’t trust anybody?) That Word of Knowledge, despite my distrust which was dispelled later as I discover that it was in fact a thing, brought me back into the fold. Back again in the fellowship of other loving Christians where God has been able to continue the work of healing that He began so long ago.