Young mum Larnie* found the way forward with God’s help.
I’m 22 and belong to the Baldivis Salvation Army church family in Western Australia, along with my two beautiful little boys aged four and 11 months. I am a youth worker, currently working with children who have a parent with mental illness, and with children and young people who have been in foster care. My passion is to help improve their lives, particularly those who grew up in foster care, as I did.
At the age of two, I was removed from my mother and placed in foster care. I had a difficult start in life, experiencing physical abuse and neglect in the first two years of my life, before spending the rest of my childhood as a ward of the state in the foster care system until I was18.
Life seemed so hard. I didn’t have faith, and I wasn’t taught or encouraged to have faith. My first carers didn’t believe in God, in fact, they often ridiculed him. They encouraged me to adopt their attitude, which really wasn’t that hard; after all, how on Earth could there be a God with all I had been through?
And if there was, I decided he was not my mate. How could he let those horrible things happen to me? Why is this happening? Why can’t I just have it easy for once? There was no way that I could ever believe in him, because I just had too much hurt.
But now I know the answer to ‘Why me’? Because God had a plan for me.
In 2014, I made the decision to go to church. I was curious to find out who God was, and why people believed in him. I went to church for more a year, seeking answers; answers that I wasn’t finding and was too proud to ask for. I decided that I liked the people, I liked the atmosphere, and I wanted to believe, so I just kept going, except for nine months or so, when ‘life got in the way’ until I returned with another baby in tow.
A few weeks later, my world was turned upside down. Again. My boys’ father and I separated. I found myself frightened, confused and so hurt, and felt like I had nowhere to turn. Much happened, but I decided God was looking after me; he wanted me to return to church when I did, and he was looking out for me now. I decided this, but still didn’t really understand it.
Something had changed, because all I knew was that I needed hope. I needed to believe that God was looking after me because that was all I had.
I was still feeling totally overwhelmed, emotionally exhausted, and really depressed. I hit rock bottom, but God took care of everything. A friend would tell me every week in church that I needed to hand my worries over to God, and I would smile and nod while thinking ‘No way’. I still didn’t trust him.
But one night, after many late nights overwhelmed with anxiety, I was exhausted. I couldn’t keep doing this; I had to hand it over to God. So finally I did, and in that moment I literally felt the weight lifted from my shoulders. I made a commitment to talk to God every day about what was troubling me, and ask for his assistance.
God saved me when I was at my lowest, battling depression and anxiety, and gave me another chance at life.
God gave me a new, more positive and joyful life and I don’t know how I used to manage without him. One of the most significant ways that my faith helps is with my struggle with anxiety. Now I am largely able to manage this with God, as I can always hand my worries over to him, and ask for help, and know that God is always on my side.
*First name used for privacy.