Today I shared part of my testimony at my church which has encouraged me to write it down. Here goes...
I was born into a Christian family. My parents were a part of the Anglican church before having children. My dad met a lady who was miraculously healed of cancer and she gave him a booklet with 7 steps to obtaining the gift of the Holy Spirit. Both he and my mum received that gift and had their lives transformed which you'll see has flowed into my life.
When I was 1 year old my parents packed up me and my older sister who was about 3 at the time and bought a one-way ticket around the world. After landing in Zimbabwe, my parents were walking me in a pram when I started going into convulsions and crazy fits. They took me home and put me in a bath of cool water to try the reduce my temperature when all of a sudden I went stiff. I died there in their arms. My dad picked me up and thankfully after his experience of knowing that God still heals today, he shouted that the spirit of death come off of me and instantly I awoke. My parents took me to a doctor who confirmed I'd undergone a death experience. God brought me back to life.
On that same trip, I also became sick with malaria. We'd just arrived in Scotland and the doctors had never seen malaria in their life. Again I survived that whole ordeal.
I attended Sunday school and went to church with my parents. In my early teens, I was at a crossroads at a church I was attending at the time and wasn't enjoying it. Thankfully, a new exciting church opened near us and I decided to check it out. I gave my life to Jesus at the first service I attended.
Life was pretty normal from my teens through my twenties. It took me a long time to understand how important spending time with God was and eventually got into a habit where I did this. It helped me grow spiritually and I attended church every week, went to prayer meetings, and took small steps in my walk with God but nothing radical. I had a relationship with God but it wasn't that deep.
It wasn't until 2020 when I was 31 that my life got turned upside down. My wife Jenn, who was pregnant with our second child started to become very anemic after being sick in bed for a week. She was in and out of the hospital for a couple of months and after coming home for one afternoon in early December, all of a sudden there was an issue relating to the baby. We rushed to the hospital once again and she was immediately admitted to a large hospital in our city. For weeks she was pretty lifeless and needed help with simple tasks.
After about a month of her being in the large hospital, Jenn's womb was becoming toxic and we had to get our baby girl out. Jenn had to go under general anaesthetic to perform the caesarean and out came River, which we called her, who was only 26 weeks and on the edge of viable premature babies. The first time I met River was minutes after birth in an incubator with 5 or 6 nurses plugging her up into their equipment. She weighed about 900 grams and her foot was about the size of my thumb.
For 4 months (through COVID mandates) we visited the hospital every day, not knowing what report the doctors would give us in our daily briefs. During that time the hospital's social worker warned us that what we were going through right now was severe trauma and that in 6-12 months we might start seeing the repercussions of this period.
Once River was full term in March 2021, we finally took her home. She was in great health and had no major issues whatsoever. For that, I am thankful to God. It could have been a lot worse.
After about 7 months of River being home, I started getting low feelings. I was tired all the time, and not motivated to spend time with the kids or do anything for that matter. It was obvious something was wrong so I started seeing a Christian counsellor to try to understand where I was at. He helped a lot with my thought patterns.
A big revelation I had during this time was around the fact that I'd always been a Christian and never had a black-and-white moment in my life where I went from not having God to having God in my life. He'd always been there since I could remember. But as I drove home from a counselling session one week, I felt in my spirit that "this was my black-and-white moment". I'd realised how much I needed God, how broken I am and that I was a sinner, saved by grace. This was a humbling experience to realise I wasn't "all that" and was as broken as the rest of the world and that I needed a saviour. I told my pastor and he baptised me and Jenn in our pool soon after.
Even with this newfound revelation, over time I felt there was only little improvement in my life. I then started seeing a psychologist. He again was very helpful and I learned how to become more present and mindful and how to deal with certain feelings. I talked through several topics and he helped me deal and process with varying emotions in practical ways.
In 2022 my church ran a Freedom in Christ course. A mentor mentioned that I should consider it. My wife my wife said the same thing (she's way more intuitive than me!) Thankfully my wife looked into it more and organised for me to attend. I went in with very low expectations.
After a couple of sessions, I started to see some profound things from the course. It made me realise that what I believed and how I behaved didn't match up. It gave me practical tools to help me know who I am in Christ. It made me realise I need to take responsibility for my life and reminded me that I am a saint. The "steps to freedom in Christ" which was a day-long event as part of the course was super powerful and I learned how to truly forgive and break certain things over my life.
This course had a hugely profound impact on my life in pointing me in the direction of Jesus. The counselling and psychologist sessions were great in many practical ways, and I highly recommend them, but what saw a huge change in my life was getting back into an active relationship with Jesus.
Since finishing the course, my life is by no means perfect. I still experience low feelings from time to time and the pressures of the world are still here. But I have Jesus to fall back on and want to grow in him more.
When we are saved, we become God's children and will experience eternal life with him. It doesn't mean we won't suffer. The Bible makes no such promise about our life being always relatively good. I'm sorry to say but it's the opposite. We will suffer during our time here on Earth because the world is broken but God is with us every step of the way.
I love how Paul in the Bible helped explain this to us and that what we get from eternal life with God is far greater than anything here on Earth.
I am thankful for these trials in my life because they have grown me as a person and as a Christian. They have brought me closer to God and helped me grasp a better understanding of how to be more like Jesus Christ. These experiences also give me fuel to help others who may experience similar trials.
This is my testimony to date and it will keep expanding as I grow. I look forward to what God has in store for me.