Chapter 3 – Early Teens

Self-care and Changes to My Environment at Home.
The continuous escalation of conflicts at home, particularly concerning my faith, led to tangible changes in my living situation. With food becoming scarce at home unless prepared by my mother, and becoming increasingly reliant on my mother’s partner for food money, the situation became untenable. The school counsellor, aware of my circumstances and the spiritual encounter I had experienced, reached out to my grandmother with an ultimatum: if the living conditions with my mother remained unchanged, immediate action would be taken to remove me from the environment.

My grandmother Norma, already in her sixties and having previously taken care of my estranged brother, stepped in to provide the support I desperately needed. After a lengthy conversation with the counsellor, she decided to assume parental care to ensure an improvement in my living conditions. The question of how this transition would occur loomed large, given my mother’s instability and the emotional and physical neglect I had endured.

The answer came unexpectedly during another heated argument with my mother. When she offhandedly remarked, “If you don’t like it here, go and live with your grandmother,” I seized the opportunity, replying, “Okay, I will.” This decision led me to pack my bags and call my grandmother, who quickly came to my rescue.

Moving in with my grandmother marked the beginning of a profound transformation. For the first time in my life, I began to experience a range of emotions that had previously been inaccessible to me. This change in my environment, away from the toxic atmosphere of my mother’s home, allowed me to explore and express my feelings freely. The stability and care provided by my grandmother opened up new avenues for healing and growth, both emotionally and spiritually.

This transition was not just a change of residence; it was a pivotal moment in my journey toward self-care and understanding the importance of a nurturing environment. With my grandmother’s support, I was able to focus on recovering from the emotional scars of the past, and building a foundation for a future guided by faith and love.

As I settled into this new chapter of my life, the challenges I faced were far from over. Yet, the shift in my living situation brought a sense of hope and renewal, a testament to the power of change and the resilience of the human spirit when supported by love and faith.

This newfound stability under my grandmother Norma’s care was like drawing a fresh breath after being submerged underwater for too long. Her home became my sanctuary, a place where I could truly rest, heal, and contemplate the whirlwind of changes that had upended my life. It was here, in the quiet moments of reflection, that the full impact of my journey began to crystallize.

With the emotional turmoil of my previous living situation behind me, I found myself exploring what self-care truly meant. It was no longer about merely surviving each day but thriving, nurturing my body and soul in ways I had never considered before. My grandmother, with her gentle wisdom and unwavering support, introduced me to routines and practices that prioritized my well-being, teaching me the importance of self-compassion and patience in the healing process.

Moreover, this period of transition was a time for spiritual deepening. Away from the conflicts that had marred my faith journey, I could now engage with my beliefs without fear of judgment or reprisal. My grandmother, though not as overtly religious, respected my faith and encouraged my exploration of it. This freedom allowed me to delve deeper into prayer and study, solidifying my relationship with God and understanding His place in my life.

The change in my environment brought unexpected blessings in the form of community and connection. With my grandmother’s encouragement, I became more involved in church activities, finding a sense of belonging among those who shared my beliefs. These relationships, built on mutual faith and understanding, were instrumental in reinforcing my identity as a child of God. They reminded me that I was not alone in my journey, that there were others who had faced similar struggles and found solace in their faith.

As I adjusted to life with my grandmother, I began to see the world through a lens of gratitude. The trials I had endured, while painful, had shaped me in profound ways, teaching me resilience, compassion, and the true meaning of strength. I learned that self-care was not a solitary act but a communal one, shared with those who lifted me up and supported me through my darkest times.

This chapter of my life, marked by healing and growth, was a testament to the power of change. It demonstrated that, even in the depths of despair, there is always the potential for renewal and hope. My journey from a place of pain and conflict to one of healing and faith was not just a personal victory; it was a reminder of God’s presence and guidance in even the most challenging circumstances.

This period was also marked by a significant focus on spiritual healing. The healing of the cyst, while daunting, was a necessary step toward overcoming the challenges posed by the pilonidal cyst. The recovery process, supported by Norma’s care, allowed me to reflect on the resilience of the human body and spirit. It was a tangible reminder of the power of faith and prayer in the healing journey, reinforcing my belief in God’s providence and care.

This nurturing environment fostered a sense of belonging and community that had been missing from my life. The church community, once a source of solace during difficult times, now became a family. The relationships I built within this community were instrumental in my spiritual journey, offering guidance, support, and unconditional love.

The lessons learned during this period were invaluable. I discovered the strength in vulnerability, the beauty of genuine connection, and the peace that comes from surrendering to God’s will. These revelations were not just milestones in my spiritual journey; they were stepping stones toward a future filled with hope and purpose.

As I look back on the journey from darkness to light, from conflict to peace, I am filled with gratitude for the divine guidance and the unwavering support of those who stood by me. The transition into Norma’s home was a turning point, marking the beginning of a new chapter filled with possibilities.

With each passing day, my faith grows stronger, and my heart more open to the lessons and blessings that lie ahead. This chapter of my life, rich with growth and healing, sets the stage for the continued journey of discovering God’s plan for me. The journey is far from over, but with a foundation built on faith, supported by love, and guided by divine light, I move forward with confidence and hope.