Note: I am 16. This is a testimony I shared at a Christian Easter camp in April 2012. I call it the cruise as it was a week of sailing. This was my third time on the cruise, and I was given the opportunity to share what God had done in me through it.
Before the 2011 cruise, I was in a very bad place, and most of it stemmed from my relationship with my mother or lack of. My feelings for her swung between hatred and complete apathy. I would avoid her, and if I had to talk with her I’d go out of my way to wind her up and put her down. If she complemented something of mine, I changed it. If I was in a play, she wouldn’t be invited to watch. It got to the point where, since she had a relationship with God, I didn’t want one. I knew He existed and loved me, but when I looked to Him all I could see was a link to her.
I stared self-harming as another way to rebel. Well, that’s what I told myself: it was also because I was hurting, deeply, inside. I didn’t know how to cope without God and without Mum, and I certainly wasn’t about to ask Mum for help, or a referral to a counsellor. Some part of me was still crying out, though, still fighting for a relationship.
That’s a bit of background. It’s still really hard for me to talk about. Anyway.
So I came on last year’s cruise and it was great fun, but for the first few days I still had my “wall” up, the fake, good, happy self I let other people see. The one that meant I didn’t have to get engaged with people, get hurt by people. I tried to keep it up between myself and God, too. Let me tell you now: that doesn’t ever work, for God knows our hearts and He will reach us where we’re at. But I’m getting off-topic.
It was Communion on Wednesday evening. And I don’t know how or why, but I began to reach out to God and let my wall down. I desperately, desperately wanted a relationship with Him, and He answered. He didn’t hate me for how I’d rejected Him. He loved me and rejoiced that I was beginning to come back.
He didn’t tell me everything was suddenly going to be perfect, either, because my old feelings of hatred and rejection weren’t going down easily. In the end I had to tell myself I’d build my wall again when the week was over; only after the feelings thought they were coming back was I able to push them away.
Am I glad that God came that evening! Without that breaking of my barriers, I wouldn’t have been able to let God work the next night. That Thursday during the talk, there was a focus on letting in the Holy Spirit to do his stuff, and on praying that he’d be with us when we went home. And the thing that the Spirit put in my heart was my relationship with my mother.
I was scared. The Bible says that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but I was terrified! I had forgotten how to have a good relationship with Mum. I didn’t know what it felt like to love her. I was afraid of the new territory opening up in from of me, and several times I wanted to back out. But the more I looked to God, the more I was able to know that He would help me and be with me. I was the Earth and he was the Sun, and there was his horrible black moon of hate that kept getting in the way. God was promising to remove it, destroy it, but I kept clinging on. I liked that part of me at the same time as wanting it gone forever. It was all I knew by this time.
However, I was not created to hate. No human is. I prayed with two separate leaders that night. I prayed for the ability to release the hurt. To let go.
And God granted that prayer.
At the end of the cruise, I had something I hadn’t had for months: I had a relationship with my saviour. And I had the promise that things were going to get better. I didn’t know what was going to happen when I got home. I had no idea what things were going to be like. But I was certain that this was right, and the Spirit was with me for every step.
I had the promise that things were going to get better. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, that old habits die hard, that by wall would try to rebuild itself. But I wasn’t going to let it. God wasn’t going to let it. It would be painful to build a relationship with Mum, but it was possible.
When Mum picked me up from the train station, I gave her a hug.
Now I’m helpful about the house. I seek out time to be with my mother, and I also give her space when she needs it. I do things because she’ll like them. She’s gone through a lot of stuff, and I admire her. She isn’t weak, and she deserves better than the resentment I had previously given her. I respect her and love her, though that has only been possible through God’s help. I have a relationship with her and with Jesus.
Things haven’t always been easy, but they have gotten better. And with this has come another gift, unlooked for but gladly received.
I’ve been free of self harm for over a year now. And it’s great.