For a very long time, growing up in church made me think that I didn’t have a testimony. How could I, when I’ve always known the truth, always been ‘saved’? It wasn’t until I decided to sit down, and have a look over past and present circumstances in life when I realised, wow, all these years I’ve been coming to church simply warming up the seats but not letting God warm my heart. I never physically left church, and it was never in my mind to either. But when Satan has a hold on you, he doesn’t care whether you’re in or out. As long as he has something over you, he’ll keep you right where you are.

As far back as I can remember, I’ve suffered with low self worth/esteem. I’d tried to cover it somehow but I’d always find myself being jealous of a friend or comparing myself to someone which would then lead me to dislike myself. I have no idea where it came from, I had a family that loved me, friends that cared for me. Life, my life was good. Yet there was always something that made me feel not quite good enough. This lead to my first sexual experience at the age of 14/15, way too young for any person to get involved with those kind of things. For awhile, it made me feel good, made me feel wanted, but to cut a long story short, that same person that I did things with suddenly changed. It’s as if they went from ‘loving’ me, to hating me. Hating me so much that for 2 years of my teenage years, I was bullied.

Now for someone who already had low self worth, that took me to an even lower stage in life. I managed to hide it well, pretend everything was ok when inside I was hurting, so much so that I considered abusing the body God gave me. While all this was going on, I had a friend who would tell me about a girl she was trying to help who was self-harming. Although she was trying to help someone else, she would come to me asking for help because she was doing the same thing. She didn’t even know that whilst I was trying to help her, as she was trying to help someone else, I was contemplating the same thing! It’s as if Satan had us all in a vicious cycle. Jesus said ‘if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch’ (Matthew 15:14) How could I expect to help out a friend when I too was so messed up?

I praise God that I never went that far though, and after those 2 years of bullying had finished, I felt as though things were starting to look up. But the damage it had caused was still there. I still had the need to be wanted, to feel like I meant something to someone other than my family. And just like the majority of other young females, I craved this attention from guys. I thank God for my mother because she always taught me to never throw myself at a guy or chase after one, so this wasn’t my method, as I still wanted to at least appear respectable. But when a guy would start talking to me, it’s as if I could never say no. I jumped on to the attention he gave, even if it was just for a short while, and then when that period was over, I’d end up feeling just as worthless as before. I was getting so sick and tired of going round in circles, sexual sins, never feeling any better about myself. I wanted to stop, but I just didn’t know how to.

It was then that a group of us at church had a study about self esteem and seeing our worth. There I was trying to help younger ones, yet through it all, the study was speaking directly to me! It’s as if I was hearing those verses for the first time, that God loves me. That’s all I needed to hear. The fact that God, the God of the universe sent his one and only Son to come and die for me; that should show me just how much I really am worth! The cost of a life that is priceless, that’s how much I’m worth, that’s how much we’re all worth. Now for someone who had spent the majority of their life not really knowing their worth, this news gave me mixed emotions. Yes, I was so elated to finally realise I meant the world to not just anybody, but to God. But there I was, thinking of all the times I’d dishonoured the body he gave me not just by physical acts, but by hating his very own creation, calling it ugly, wanting to harm it. How was I meant to stop doing that?

Yes, I now knew that God loved me, but knowledge is powerless if you don’t put it into action. It wasn’t too long after that I heard a presentation about the power God is willing to give us to overcome anything. Literally anything! So here I was with these two new, simple but profound truths, knowing that God loves me unconditionally and that he is willing to help me. Since learning these, it hasn’t been all uphill. There’s been slip ups, life hasn’t been perfect, but God never promised it would be on this earth. I still have my days where I find myself slipping back into old habits, yet the difference this time is that now I know the truth and instead of staying down, I’m able to get back up!

What’s amazing is that when I thought I was the one hurting the most, I was hurting God even more, yet he never failed to love me. When I thought I was alone, he was always there. When I wanted someone to love me, I had all the love I needed! Never let Satan feed you the lie that you are worthless, that you are only a speck in the universe of how ever many million other specks. You are everything to God!

‘Find your confidence in Christ for you are fearfully and wonderfully made and on that cross laid the One who will always want you. You who He loves. You who He is willing to guide. You who when He looks upon your face He says “There is my beautiful bride who I chose to make and who I chose to design, that beautiful woman right there, yes her, she is mine. And although she feels ugly and worthless because of this world of sin, I wish for her to see what I see in her, the beauty that lies within.”’