Chapter 2 – Early Teens

Arguments and Disagreements with an Unexpected Diagnosis.
However, this path was not without its thorns. My journey towards faith was marked by a series of conflicts and challenges, notably with my mother. Our relationship, already strained by misunderstandings and emotional turbulence, was further complicated by my new spiritual direction. The battles we fought were not just verbal; they were battles of the spirit, tearing at the very fabric of our familial bond.

As I delved deeper into my faith, attending church and building a relationship with the senior pastor, Richard, I found myself at a crossroads. Richard’s example, his passionate pursuit of a relationship with Jesus that transcended societal norms, offered me a glimpse of something profoundly different. Yet, this growing spiritual awareness only seemed to widen the gap between my mother and me.

The night of one of our most heated arguments, left alone and unsure of how to care for myself, I reached out to Megan, a figure who had come to embody the spiritual maternal presence I so desperately needed. Her guidance, in something as simple as opening a can of baked beans, was a poignant reminder of the gaps in my life—gaps filled with longing for love, acceptance, and basic care.

It was also during this tumultuous time that I was diagnosed with a pilonidal cyst, adding a layer of physical pain and distress to the emotional and spiritual turmoil I was already experiencing. The condition, as physically debilitating as it was, became a metaphor for the internal wounds I was carrying—wounds that required daily attention and care, much like the packing and covering of the cyst.

Amidst the battles with my mother, the struggles with my health, and the sinking grades, my mental health began to deteriorate. Thoughts of suicide crept in, painting my world in shades of despair. Yet, it was the unwavering support system of the church, led by figures like Robert and Richard, that anchored me to life. Their presence, guidance, and the safe haven they provided were the bulwarks against the tide of depression threatening to engulf me.

The intervention of the school counsellor, prompted by fears for my mental health, marked a critical point in my journey. It was a stark reminder of the fragility of my state but also of the network of support that had formed around me—a network that was, in many ways, the hands and feet of Jesus, reaching out to me in my darkest hour.

My first Pentecostal experience at church was nothing short of revolutionary. For the first time, I witnessed the tangible manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s power. As I observed others around me, visibly moved and transformed by this power, my curiosity was piqued. Richard’s humorous invitation to experience prayer was the catalyst for what would become a pivotal moment in my faith journey.

As Richard laid his hands on me, the sensation that coursed through my body was unlike anything I had ever experienced. It was as if a dormant volcano within me had erupted, releasing years of pent-up emotions, fears, and pains. The physical act of falling to the ground symbolized a deeper spiritual surrender, a letting go of the barriers I had built around my heart. In that moment, the Lord began the work of breaking open the hardened shell I had become, allowing the light of His love to penetrate the deepest recesses of my being.

This encounter marked the beginning of a profound transformation. It was as though I was being reborn, not just spiritually, but emotionally and mentally. The experience of being “slain in the Spirit” was not just an emotional release; it was a divine intervention, a clear sign that God was real, active, and deeply invested in my healing and restoration.

As I reflect on this journey, it becomes clear that the path to faith is not a linear one. It is a journey marked by moments of revelation, deep pain, and incredible joy. The battles I faced, both internal and external, were not merely obstacles but opportunities for growth, for deepening my reliance on God, and for understanding the true meaning of grace.

The transformation I underwent, from a place of darkness to one of light, from a state of despair to one of hope, is a testament to the power of faith. It is a story not just of personal triumph but of the collective strength found in a community of believers, a reminder that we are never truly alone in our struggles.

As my home life grew increasingly toxic, marked by my mother’s insistence on severing ties with my father, an unexpected invitation from Stephen offered a brief respite. He invited me on a holiday to Queensland, marking a series of firsts for me: my first plane flight, my first experience out of state, and my first holiday. This trip was a beacon of light amidst the turmoil at home, offering a glimpse into a world beyond the confines of my immediate struggles.

However, the shadow of my health issues loomed large. The pilonidal cyst that had been a source of physical and emotional pain required immediate surgical intervention. The weekend slated for a final check before scheduling the surgery coincided with one of the most intense arguments I can recall having with my mother. This argument, set against the backdrop of my impending medical procedure, underscored the deepening rift between us.

The day before a crucial appointment with the surgeon, our disagreement reached a boiling point. Coming from a New Age background, my mother found my newfound Christian faith unacceptable. This clash of beliefs only served to exacerbate the already fraught relationship between us, driving a wedge that seemed insurmountable.

Amidst this chaos, a profound spiritual experience at church provided a stark contrast to the conflict at home. Overwhelmed by pain and confusion, I was immediately comforted by the church elders upon my arrival. Their prayers in a quiet corner of the hall invited the Holy Spirit’s presence, marked by a brilliant light that pierced my closed eyelids. This light, visible to both me and those praying with me, was a clear affirmation of God’s presence and power, a divine intervention that offered peace amidst turmoil.