Three Coffees

Stories that Make a Difference
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Posts Tagged ‘Wholeness’

Ann – Extended story

I was born in Wales and initially lived with my mother, I didn’t know my father. When I was 3 years old my mother married my stepfather. He became the man who would sexually abuse me for years.

As a child I believed in God and even prayed but was unaware that God sent Jesus His Son to die for me that I might be forgiven all my sins and receive His righteousness and the Hope of Eternal Life.

In 1952 we moved to Gloucester but only stayed 18 months before moving to Cheltenham. I attended Sunday school at an Anglican Church and was in the Brownies and Girl Guides attached to the same Church. I was sincere in my belief in God but my understanding was limited.

When I was 14 years old I was confirmed in the Church in Wales, where I was Christened. I reaffirmed the promises made on my behalf by my God parents.

During my late teens and early twenties, I  was treated for mental health problems caused by my stepfathers behaviour towards me. These ranged from a complete mental breakdown, anxiety, depression and seasonal affective disorder. I had several courses of Electrical Convulsive Therapy. I was by any standard very disturbed.

When I left school I worked in a drawing office . It was at this time that I had my first mental health problems and left a career in industry. I look back and see God’s guidance in all this.

In 1967, although off sick at the time, I went into the local labour exchange and asked if they had any jobs in local hospitals nursing! I still can’t believe I did this because I had never wanted to be a nurse.  There was a vacancy for a nursing auxiliary and I was given an interview and offered the job. Considering I was off sick with psychiatric problems, this was what I look back on as a miracle. I started working at a Hospital in Cheltenham the following week.

In 1968 I left the Hospital and came to Gloucester to do General Nurse Training . It was at this time I became a Christian. We had a Service in the hospital chapel at the end of our initial 8 week training in the school of nursing, before we started working on the wards. An Anglican Minister spoke from the Bible, John chapter 3 v16, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”  The minister said, “Where it says ‘whoever’ put your own name there.”  It meant me personally, if I believed in Him I would not perish but have everlasting life. I believed that day and it was for me wonderful news, ‘Good News’. My life was transformed!

I started attending a Baptist Church and was baptised by total immersion in 1974. I knew as a Christian I had to forgive my stepfather for what he’d done or I would be bound by the past.  This I was able to do, over a period of time, by the Grace of God. In forgiving I was set free. When he died in 1976 I cared for him prior to his death which was truly the Love and Grace of Christ in action. (not of me at all).

In 1976 I left the hospital to train to become a Psychiatric Nurse.

In 1978 my mother and I moved from Cheltenham to live again in Gloucester until she died in 1979. I was still attending a Baptist Church at this time.

 In 1981 I was searching for something more spiritually at this time but didn’t know really what I was looking for I just wanted more of God. On 1st March I found myself at Robinswood Church (now called One Church). I was desperate that day and felt so alone.  A Welsh lady spoke to me, this was very special for me because Jesus knew how much I wanted to hear a Welsh accent that day. How compassionate He is and gracious!  I knew that night I had found my spiritual home.  A few weeks later at the Church Conference I was baptised in the Holy Spirit and received the gift of tongues. I have to say that this was wonderful to me because I knew very little about this blessing, indeed in some Church’s I had attended I was told that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was for the New Testament Church at the time of the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible and not the present day. It seemed every meeting I attended God met me in a very special way. On one occasion someone spoke a word in tongues and the interpretation said, “You will never again see a Psychiatrist as a patient but will work with many as colleagues.”  In the September I went for a short break to Wales, staying at Haverford-West. I attended some special meetings at Calvary Church. During one of these meetings the Pastor came down from the platform and had a word of knowledge for me, he said exactly what I had heard some weeks earlier at Robinswood, “You will never again see a Psychiatrist as a patient but will work with many as colleagues.” I can’t express what I felt on hearing this again. (God is Awesome!)  Well I have worked with many Psychiatrists over the past 30 years but I haven’t seen one as a patient for 42 years. God is faithful and keeps His promises!

During the 1980s and 1990s, the then government decided to close all the big Mental Hospitals, including the one  I was working  at.  I left there in 1987 and was part of the team that opened a purpose built unit for the care of elderly people with mental health problems. I remained there until the year 2000 when I took early retirement.

In November 2009, for months I’d been feeling the loss of my identity. Although I’d stopped working 4 years ago, its only at this time it  seemed to hit me – the loss of being part of a wonderful bunch of people who were a great support professionally and relationally.

On 19th November I met with Sue, a One Church leader, to discuss any possibilities that the Church might have for me to work in the community. I could easily have gone to the nearest voluntary agency but I didn’t want this. I wanted to do whatever it was through the Church. Sue explained to me the benefits of doing ‘Blaze’ a one year ‘Personal Development’ Course which  was run by One Church. I knew this was the answer as I had been asking God for direction for my future. I was accepted for the Blaze Academy of 2010. This was an amazing year. There were many challenges, my having to produce my original birth certificate, for a CRB check, without my father’s name on it was an embarrassment. I began to realise that because I am a child of God and now belong to Him, I can imagine putting my heavenly father’s name in that empty space!

This was the beginning of my breakthrough year.  During the year I had to produce my life story, which caused me pain as I remembered the past.  But now I am proud that God has been writing my story of healing, wholeness and purpose.

In 2006 I received a Prophesy which I would like to share with you:

‘The Lord says, “There are many of you who never even knew the love of a father and who have struggled to know the love of your Heavenly Father because you had no earthly father.

There are those of you who were even abused by your father – not just sexually but emotionally and verbally and your heart is still scarred from these experiences. But My child, My beloved child, you who I knew from before your conception, you who I knew before the beginning of time, you who I designed – yes each part of your body, I know your frame – how intricately you were formed, your soul, your emotions and your mind. Beloved child, even though your earthly father didn’t take you up, I your Heavenly Father take you up. Even though your earthly father didn’t take up your cause, I your Heavenly Father now take up your cause. Even though your earthly father did not embrace you or look into the depth of your soul so that you would know that you were truly loved, so even this day My child I embrace you and I look deep into your soul beyond all your failures and omissions. I look beyond all your human frailties and your shortcomings, beyond all your self-hatred and your rejections. For I see your heart as a pearl of great price, for which I sent My Son to die. As you put your hand in Mine and look in My face and you behold My Glory…Let the tears start to flow. For, beautiful child, it is I, the One who loves you and as the tears flow, beloved-tears of healing, tears of grief, tears of lost days, tears of misunderstanding, you must forgive that one, that father who rejected you – for he knew not what he did. Forgive the father who abused you – for he knew well what he did, but he was so bound with his own lusts, angers and rejections that he could not break free. Forgive the father who was absent and who never held you – for he knew not what he missed. Forgive the father whose tongue was cruel to you – for he knew not kindness himself as a child.  And, loved one, as you forgive even this day so I the Lord God of Israel, the Father for whom Fatherhood is named, I break the yoke off your back. I break the bondages that have weighed you down and enslaved you even these many, many years. I break the rejection and self-hatred that has crippled your life, that has kept you from your call and destiny in Me. And now, My child, am I not the lifter of your head? Lift your head, loved one and know that you are all beautiful in Me, there is no flaw in you. As you take My hand and as you lift your head to the King of Glory, know that you now enter a new season, a new place in Me, a season of joy and peace, a season where those things that previously hindered you will fall away, a season of preparation for your calling and your destiny in Me. So rejoice, My child, rejoice and be exceedingly glad My child, for the King of Glory is your Father.”

Oh I’m lost for words, what amazing, truly Awesome promises from my Heavenly Father. How Gracious He is, Truly Awesome! To me it’s incredible that He speaks of both my natural father who didn’t know me and my stepfather who abused me. But oh what comfort in the words of my Loving Wonderful Heavenly Father. I’m really lost for words again, Then His promises to me for my future. The new seasons He speaks of and I know I’m already in by His Grace. A season of joy and peace, a season of preparation – that was Blaze and Oh yes, I still have a call and destiny I must fulfil even yet in Him (and it doesn’t matter how old one is.)  Pastor Simon once told me, “Your best days are ahead of you Annie” and I believe it! I’m so excited but truly humbled by my Heavenly Father’s compassion and love towards me. I pray that Father God will be Glorified through my story being told and many blessed, comforted and some even gain hope and peace as I have. Thank you Jesus!