RACHEL

By Kyla Daw | BRAND NEW STORIES

My father was heavily involved in alcohol and was verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive. My parents separated and divorced by the time I was 2 years old which left my mom to raise 4 kids. I was the youngest and there was a pretty big age gap between my siblings and I so there wasn’t a close connection with them growing up. I was raised in an Anglican church, where my mom was very involved with Sunday School, Christmas plays and youth group. Church was always a regular part of my life, we would go every Sunday and on holidays but being in an Anglican church it was very serious and quiet. I was taught to be still, quiet and respectful. Knowing God to me meant going to church on Sundays and living your “normal” life the rest of the week.

Knowing God to me meant going to church on Sundays and living your “normal” life the rest of the week.

As a child and right into my teens years I was quiet, shy and a homebody. Once I entered high school I found it a struggle to fit in. So I would go to school then go right home afterward. This was my life during those years. Once I was old enough to get a job I would work on the weekends which gave me a reason to not attend church. I still always believed in God – that never changed I just didn’t realize that there was more to it than just attending a Sunday service.

I always felt that there was something different about me. I chose to live my life very different from others. I knew I wanted something different but I didn’t really know what that was.

 I knew I wanted something different but I didn’t really know what that was.

I finished high school and went on to college. I graduated from a child and youth worker program but had a hard time finding a job in my field. Which led me to finding a part time job taking care of children. It was at this job that I met a woman (who was my manager) and her daughter. We began to build a relationship and they would ask me to come to church. I eventually agreed to join them.

I remember the first time I walked into their church. I was sitting at the back and there were people up expressively praising God. They were dancing in church! I thought they were crazy and needed help! Yet, I kept coming back.

Then my friend invited me to a large event in our city put on by an international christian ministry. The event included extreme sports, and other entertainment. When the night was over the host of this event did an altar call, asking people if they wanted to accept christ. I looked up and before I knew it I saw my hand raised! Then I remember going up to the front and someone came and prayed with me. I remember coming home and telling my mom what had happened as tears began to stream down her face.

That was April 6th 2008.

My life was not perfect after that, but I knew I had some kind of direction now. Five months after that day I received a job offer at a daycare. This daycare was located in the church that then became my home church. This is where I began to find a sense of purpose and became closely connected with a church family.

About 2 years after that day in April, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. She was given a less than 10% chance of surviving. I remember feeling complete shock when I heard this but at the same time I had this overwhelming peace. I watched her go through chemo, radiation and surgery. She seemed to be doing well and was recovering but one year later she became bed-ridden. After tests they found that the cancer had begun to spread again, first into her bones and then into her major organs. They were unable to do any treatment – she was too weak. She went to the hospital in November 2010 and went to be with Jesus on January 27th 2011. She fought hard but was ready to go home.

 I remember in the midst of all that how real God became to me.

He carried me through it all, gave me the strength to carry on and to keep praying through it. Without Him and the support of my church family I would have never gotten through that season. Today I am regularly involved in my church. I am part of a program there called The Esther House, a program that trains young women in practical and spiritual ways to walk out their God given purpose.

If there is anything I can leave an encouragement it is this: Never give up, God is faithful and with Him all things are possible.

Rachel

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