Here are some anonymous testimonies from our church family. We give thanks to God for these moving, very open and honest God Stories
Our Lord spoke to me via a Hospital Chaplain. After losing my first child as a result of a Stillbirth, the hospital Chaplain visited me and whilst in mid conversation looked up to the ceiling and as if in a trance said’ just think how wonderful it is for your son to be growing up with God. To be free from sin or ill health. To never be in pain or distress ‘. Those few sentences have kept me going for the past 20 years. Whilst the loss was extremely difficult for the first 5 or so years, those words have and still are a source of great comfort to me ..
Praise be to God..
We started fertility treatment 4 years ago, and our whole lives since have been dominated by injections, hospital visits, blood tests, scans, invasive tests and operations, with a total of 7 treatments.There was nothing wrong with either of us, but it just wasn’t happening for us. Finally, in 2009 an IVF worked, but we sadly lost our little boy, Daniel, when I was 4 months pregnant. All around me in daily life, and all over the news, people were mistreating their children, or becoming pregnant by accident, and we wanted to scream with the unfairness of it all. I had to give birth to him naturally, followed by 2 medical procedures, and as we stood at his funeral service, I thought that there can’t be a God, or if there was, he must really hate me. We weren’t asking for a big house or car, or to win the lottery, we just wanted to fill a basic natural desire to become parents. I tried to take comfort in imagining Daniel was in a better place, up in heaven, with my nan looking after him, but I wasn’t sure Heaven or God even existed. My friend from school, saw what a state I was in & arranged for me to have counselling, which in turn led to an alpha course, which in turn led me in 2010 to become part of the wonderful church family that is here at St Johns. A further IVF later that year failed and even though I wished God had answered our prayers for a child, I had found comfort in now knowing God didn’t hate me, and that he had a plan for my life, and he knows best, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. If his plan for me didn’t include ever being a mummy, then I was really sad, but not as bitter or angry as before, as I had managed to find some peace with it all, and I was glad I had found God at a sad time.
Then in January 2011 we had an unexpected chance for another IVF. My body & both our minds were battered physically and emotionally, but this was our last chance, our only chance, so we took it. I prayed & prayed, and now I had my new church family praying for us too. A few days before the pregnancy test, I had some worrying symptoms. I burst into tears & prayed, then I suddenly had a feeling that God would answer our prayers, and that everything would be ok this time. The test a few days later was positive, I was pregnant, and I immediately prayed again to say thank you. I had problems throughout the whole pregnancy, and at times we wondered if we would ever become parents, or if losing this baby too would be God’s will, but I carried on praying, and so many of you here in my church family prayed too. Our darling daughter was born safe and healthy in 2011 and has changed our lives in the most amazing way. We love her so much, and are so grateful for her, which is why we wanted to share our story and officially thank God, and our church family too, for our precious little miracle, who we love more than words can say. We are so happy that she will get the chance to grow up in such a wonderful church family, surrounded by so much love, including the love of God, and there simply are not enough words to thank you all enough.
When I was 16 years old, I had a bad motorcycle accident. I was taken to Whipps Cross hospital and was in a coma for 3 months. I had a long dream, in it I was in a cave with 2 paths, with an opening at the end of each. One was down to the left, the other was down to the right. I remember someone with me, I had to go one way. Don’t know which way I went, but that was the time I began to wake up. Mum and Dad were at my bedside, with my brother and his girlfriend, who asked me what colour her dress was. I said, “blue” and mum cried. “Was I right?”, Mum answered, “yes, dear”. That was when they knew I was awake. I had a long fight to get better and Jesus was with me all the time and still is with me. Things do go wrong as in all life, but Jesus works around that I know! Let Jesus into your life and you will see.
I didn’t come from a believing family, but a caring one. My realisation that there was more to living and dying was a gradual process, which seemed to start around 30 years of age. No doubt there was work going on during this time of which I was not aware. I started going to Church (for my children to be baptised). I went to Spring Harvest. There was no one clear event or thunderbolt but a continual prompting of coincidences that encouraged me to understand that life was made up of so much more than breathing and acquisition. I began to feel more content with giving rather than taking. I became aware of walking with God alongside through joys and sorrows.
I recently came along to the ladies breakfast, it was such a wonderful atmosphere, welcoming, relaxed and totally filled with the presence of Jesus . The worship was beautiful, all the songs helped me to centre my heart on Jesus . Then a lady came and spoke to us about masks and how we can all hide behind things, life issues, people and even who we really are. She was very bold and the word of God was received in my spirit. I left without my mask that day! Knowing that God loved me and was at work in my life . I would recommend every lady from every generation to attend, oh and the breakfast was yummy too
I have been challenged several times to share my testimony- something I have been avoiding for years! Yes, years! Why? Because although I know my brothers & sisters shouldn’t judge me, I also know that they are just human & I have been fearful that they will react badly and not see the dramatic change that God has made in my life- only my sins!
I fell pregnant when I was 18, it wasn’t at all planned and to be honest, I completely freaked out. But my boyfriend (now my husband) convinced me that we could cope and so we started planning for our future as a family of 3. At the time, we were living in a single room with a shared bathroom and a kitchen of sorts in a cupboard, but we were both working and felt that together we would manage. We soon realised though that we couldn’t live for very long in a single room with a baby and decided to apply to the council for somewhere to live. But, we decided that I should apply as a single person. Now I can make loads of excuses for this (I clearly did at the time) – we felt we couldn’t cope financially, we thought I would get a place quicker if I were a ‘single mother’, several other people we knew were doing it & encouraged us to do it too, etc. The truth is although we believed that those things were true and felt real at the time, it’s also true that we would almost certainly have coped if we had been honest. But we weren’t! I applied to the council for a place to live and explained that I was pregnant. I told them that I was living in a friends house, sharing a room with her children and even went to the pretence of keeping some clothes and personal items there, so that when the council came to check my living arrangements they would see how dire my situation was and bump me up the list. And yes, I could blame others around me for encouraging me and aiding me in my deceit, but I have to take responsibility for my actions. The one thing I will say in my defence is that I truly didn’t realise at the time that this was really wrong, now that was unbelievably naive of me but it is the truth.
So when I had my baby, I was offered a council flat and I moved in with my baby boy and my boyfriend. We lived there for a few months and then decided to push for a move. We were in a top floor flat with no lift on Limes Farm estate and so I contacted the council for a transfer. But instead of being content to sit on the list and wait my turn, I told more lies. I went to the doctor and played up my ‘asthma’ (I had a short spell of asthma as a teenager, but nothing too bad). I claimed that as I was living alone with my baby that I couldn’t cope with getting a pram up the stairs and insisted that my health was deteriorating. None of this was true! But by the time my baby was 11 months old, we had been moved. We were still in a flat, but we were out of Limes Farm and there was only one flight of stairs to the front door.
I was still claiming that I was a single mother and by this time had given up work, as I found the stress of a young baby too much with travelling into London everyday. So there I was, living in a flat in Buckhurst Hill, lying about being a single mother to the council and claiming housing benefit, council tax benefit & income support. My boyfriend was working and we were by no means living a life of luxury but the benefits helped us keep our heads above water and meant that I could stay home with our son. Now there was a point when we started considering come off the benefits, telling the council that my boyfriend was moving in and were trying to work out if we could afford to do so, but felt that it wasn’t really an option. How would we cope??
Then one November evening, there was a knock at the door. I opened the door to 2 police officers & 2 council fraud people. They came in, arrested me & searched the entire flat. I was in shock. I had no idea that this could happen because I said I was living alone. I was taken to the police station – there they took my finger prints and photo, my height was measured and details of any distinguishing features were noted. Then I was locked in a cell. I don’t know how long I was in there but I was later taken to a small room to be interviewed. I was joined by a solicitor and asked many questions. I didn’t know what to do, so I lied. I claimed that they had got it all wrong, that my boyfriend stayed over quite often but that he didn’t live there. I was eventually released but was ‘on bail’. I had to come back to the station at a later date. Now, things get a little hazy for me around this time – I assume that it’s a survival mechanism – but I don’t remember an awful lot of what went on next. I remember I had to get a solicitor and was sent to the local court, but they said my crime was too big for them to deal with and passed it onto crown court. I was petrified. I was told that crown court could send me to prison – how could I leave my little boy? I became very ill, I couldn’t eat, rarely got out of bed and dropped to about 6st in weight. I needed help getting in and out of the bath, because I was so weak. I’m not really sure how I survived. I remember a day when I managed to get to the pond by St. John’s, I remember thinking that I would be better off dead. I began thinking about how many tablets it would take, what I should mix them with. I stood at the pond & cried my eyes out. Then my phone rang, it was my friend, calling to see how I was doing. For some reason I didn’t go through with my plan, I’m not entirely sure why, because at that point I couldn’t see a future for myself. But I carried on. I went to the doctor and was prescribed anti-depressants.
About a year after my arrest, I was on trial in Chelmsford crown court. It was truly awful. And something that I have struggled with for years, is that I stood in that court, put my hand on the bible and swore to tell the truth – then lied. I didn’t know what else to do. I also had other people go into court and lie for me. I deserved to be punished. I was inevitably found guilty – which of course was true. I then had to wait for sentencing. I prayed so hard before sentencing – packing a bag ready to be sent to prison, is not a good thing to be doing. I honestly thought I would be sent to prison and that my son wouldn’t know me by the time I came out. I could barely function and my only hope was God. I had begun to attend Church again – a place I hadn’t been for years. I would turn up and sit right at the back and just cry and cry. It was the only thing I could do in Church – I knew I had no real defence before God and was too ashamed to tell anyone what I had done. The people at St. Stephen’s were amazing – they welcomed me and didn’t pressure me to tell them what I was going through. I definitely felt God’s love through them.
I prayed when I was called in to be sentenced – I prayed that if God would not allow me to be sent to prison, that I would give myself to Jesus. And thankfully, the judge decided not to send me to prison. Praise The Lord!
I did get community service, probation and have to pay back the money – but I could go home and see my little boy.
I continued to go to Church at St. Stephen’s and gave my life to Jesus. I’m not the same person I was back then and I honestly believe that that is down to Jesus. I’m not a great Christian – I mess up all the time, but Jesus forgives me and loves me. I’m still struggling with forgiving and loving myself – but knowing that Jesus died for me helps.
If you would like to share your testimony, please email us Godstories@sjbh.org.uk