I have been involved with the church since I was little. I could tell you that Jesus was not just an ordinary man, I could recite John 3:16 and I could sing you “Do you want a pilot?” at the top of my lungs, but at the age of four I didn’t know why I had that knowledge nor why I might someday need it. I quickly became curious about God and why I needed a saviour – hence the next few years of my life I spent ‘interrogating’ my mum. Being an unbeliever at the time, she had very little information for me.
At the age of, about eight, I sat in the gathering of people at the Wollongbar Sunday School listening to a guest speaker by the name of John Skinner. With open ears and an open heart I sat and listened to Mr Skinner talk about salvation, and why I needed it. For those of you who don’t know what I mean by the term salvation… The Bible teaches that we have all sinned and that the penalty for sin is death. However, God by his grace has provided a way for our sin to be forgiven. That is faith in his Son, Jesus Christ.
At this time when Mr Skinner spoke, my mother had become a Christian and I assumed that her being saved automatically meant I would be too. He made the note that in order to be saved we must ask God for salvation, it is something we must do for ourselves. I wanted that forgiveness, freedom from the bondage of sin and eternal life with a perfect saviour. He instructed us to pray admitting that we are sinners, and to ask for forgiveness. So that’s what I did. Looking back now, that is certainly the best decision I have ever made.
On the 23rd of March, 2008 at the age of 12, as a step of obedience, I was baptized by John Young in my own pool. As a Christian, baptism is a public declaration of our faith in Jesus Christ as our lord and saviour.
Life as a Christian is not easy, especially when is comes to the doubts that occasionally loom in the back of the mind. What if I made the wrong decision? What if I am too immature to understand what I have committed myself to? What prompted me to make such a life changing decision?
Unfortunately these questions occur quite often to believers, especially as young Christians who are wanting to make a commitment. Having been born with a disability, these doubt often arise along with the questioning of ‘Why me?’ The solution to these doubts is not all that complex. What you need to do is have the courage to ‘doubt your doubts’. Investigate the doubt and seek truth.
I have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and a crippling disease with the label “Spinal Muscular Atrophy”. This is the simplest explanation for ‘Spinal Muscular Atrophy’ I could possibly pull together:
Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a genetically transmitted condition whereby the nerves of the spinal cord deteriorate, weaken and eventually die. Because the muscles are not stimulated, they become weak and the muscle cells die from lack of use. Unfortunately, there is no cure for SMA. One would be inclined to think that that living with such a disease would be my largest challenge, correct? No. You see, I have struggled with depression and anxiety for the last eight or so years. Believe it or not, these illnesses are what make my daily life the hardest. I can tell you that there is no ‘quick fix’. It takes time, sometimes therapy, sometimes medication, sometimes a combination. But most of all, it takes God.
You know, the musician Gotye is right when he says “You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness”. The challenge is to get up; to make sadness “somebody that you used to know”, and delight in The Lord. During the midst of these trials, its important to remember that Jesus allows the storm to happen so that our faith may bloom and increase. Despite the pain I have gone through, I want to share my journey so that others will know that there is hope beyond the hurt.
I have grown up in a split family, my father moved on when I was four and my mother raised both my younger brother and I from then on. Living without the love and acceptance of my father was, and still is, a tough thing to live without. Fortunately I have a loving and never changing Father in heaven, Romans 8:38 and 39 says “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present not the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. God is forever loving and never changing, what a wonderful source of comfort.
Entering my teen years, my mental health, coupled with the rift growing between my father and I, everything seemed bleak. I was merely going through the motions, not embracing life to its fullest potential. It has taken quite some time to grow from that dark point in my life. Thankfully, the few years has particularly proven Gods love more than ever in my own eyes. With the help of my incredibly strong mum, my fantastic brother, my psychologist, my Christian mentor, a few incredible friends and most of all God I am able to attest to the love that God has granted me. I am so thankful that I received Jesus as my saviour, as he is my source of hope after all, I get to be with Him for eternity. “No more pain, no more suffering, no more sadness, no more tears.” What a marvellous way to keep today in perspective.
As someone who has lived with a disability for the past nineteen years, life has certainly proved to be tough. As someone who has struggled with mental illness for nearly a decade, I can assure you that 1. God will never leave you, nor forsake you; 2. You have to cherish the good days and respect the bad and 3. Life is best managed five minutes at a time.
You don’t have to wait until a major event happens to realize that you and your life are worth it in God’s eyes. He saved you from sin, restored you to life, and has done the most wondrous thing of all: loved you. That’s worth sharing.
Let Him takeover today – let loose your fears, hurts and troubles to Him. Jesus says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29).