Sandy experienced a childhood tragedy and gravitated to substance abuse before finding her way back to a strong Christian faith.
I grew up in Tamworth with my parents, older brother and sister. When I was 12, my 17-year-old brother was accidentally killed.
My mum grew up in The Salvation Army, and so did I. I taught Sunday school, and Mum and I were practising Christians. My dad and sister were believers but they didn’t attend church.
I had a very happy childhood despite the loss of my brother, as my faith in God was strong and that saw us through our sad time.
My husband is Catholic and we have been married for 37 years, with five beautiful children and seven lovely grandchildren.
I’d left my corps (church) because someone told me I shouldn’t marry a Catholic. I started smoking so I didn’t wear my Sally uniform any more. I knew I had promised God not to use any drugs so I felt I’d let him down. However, I never used any hard drugs.
I started drinking heavily when I had twins. I knew it was wrong in God’s eyes, and fell away from him for about 10 years. I was so ashamed of what I had become. Then one day I decided to quit drinking, which with God’s help was easy.
My husband and I were volunteer firefighters, and when he finally got the job he wanted in the fire service, his job took us away from our home town. I kept singing ‘Just where he needs me, my Lord will place me’ to help my overwhelming homesickness.
We went to Cessnock, then to Glen Innes and finally settled permanently in Inverell about six years ago. I know this is where God wants me. I have come closer the Lord, and attend Home League (a Salvo group for women), and God has provided us with a lovely place on acres of land.
I feed the wild birds, and have my horse Angelo. I had my last horse for 30 years, and was still wondering if I wanted another when Angelo came to me unexpectedly when he was 12 months old.
After many years, I am a music teacher again with a music shop. Or I should say that God and I have a music shop, as I have talked to so many people about God when they come into my shop.
I was going through Bible verses one day, wondering about those who haven’t heard about God, and came across a verse which says “All are accountable to God, if they know him or not, for he has revealed himself in nature.”
This verse hit me like a bolt of lightning and I prayed for him to open my eyes.
I now see everything in a new light, and know all was created by our mighty God.
I find myself thanking him so many times a day, whenever I see a bird, a flower or a tree. I was sitting on our back deck where I feed birds and started singing ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’. Each little flower that opens (and I looked at my flower bed), each little bird that sings, (and my canaries were whistling), he made their glowing colours (the Mountain Lowry birds were eating the seed I put out), he made their tiny wings (as the wrens were hopping around my garden).
I also love thunderstorms, and during them I break into singing ‘How Great Thou Art’.
God has brought me a long way from who I was when I went astray. I loathe that person I was, and I’m glad she’s gone.
I praise God every day, and thank him for placing me here.