Samantha’s early life was difficult but she survived thanks to God’s love.
After years of emotional and physical abuse, my mother kicked my father out, and later my four siblings and I were sent to live with him. We all shared a queen-size water-bed my dad had in a friend’s garage and we would have to go as a group into the house to use the facilities and eat, then it was back to the garage.
We moved to a small beach town in Western Australia, closer to my Nanna, and I often would stay with her for weeks at a time. I was very close to my grandparents and loved having them around.
My dad was an alcoholic with a temper and after a huge fight between Dad and Granddad we moved to Tasmania.
We had no home there so we spent a few weeks hotel-hopping or crashing in the car. We eventually found a place to stay—a shell of a house and a shed. We kids lived in a house made of rocks, with windows and doors, but no electricity, no carpet, bathroom or kitchen, just rooms.
Eventually we did get ourselves a big old cottage on a farm where Dad worked, but while I was out climbing trees, riding my bike or learning to knit, my sisters were following in Dad’s footsteps, drinking, doing drugs and sneaking out to “see” boys. It was around this time I noticed my dad was a drug user as well as an alcoholic.
I was the first and only one to graduate from year 12, despite attending 13 different schools. I was never allowed to socialise, so couldn’t attend parties or sleepovers.
Then I met a young man who swept me off my feet and my life changed for the better.
I fell pregnant with my ‘meant to be’ baby and married the love of my life. We moved into our own place, but I was a first-time mum with a baby who never slept.
Feeling lost and alone with a young child who I struggled to raise, I began to spiral downwards emotionally. I went on anti-depressants and withdrew from the world, but I did attend church for Christmas and Easter with my husband’s family.
This is where my journey with God began. Every time I attended church I would leave feeling warm. So we started going more often and for a while went every Sunday, and also attended Mainly Music and Saturday Salvos.
I began to feel like me again, came off the anti-depressants and life looked better. I started a new relationship with my mother, who is still a positive influence in my children’s life, and I started to stand on my own two feet.
But this didn’t last long. Nanna finally lost her fight with cancer. I felt like my life had fallen apart; my rock was no longer there to support me. I was devastated. I had another baby, and turned more to the church.
Three years ago, I began proactively seeking out God. It’s difficult to attend every Sunday with my possibly autistic son and energetic daughter, but I very much consider myself a Christian.
I know God loves me and I love him. Church has become my family. I was able to fill that hole in my heart. I know I will face many obstacles in my life, but I am now better equipped to tackle them.
I follow one mighty God who loves me for all my faults and will always be there, walking by my side. I can stand on my own, knowing full well I will fall many times, but God is my loving Father who will help pick me back up and put me on the right path—all I have to do is let him.
I have a loving husband and two beautiful children to watch grow into amazing people. I am truly grateful for the life I have lived, because without the downs I would never have fully realised just how incredible God is.