My name is Cleo and I want to share my “from broken to beautiful” testimony; I hope somebody is encouraged. I am 25 years old now and for a few years I have been struggling with many things, about 10 years now. Low self-esteem, shyness, problems in the workplace and at home, depression, suicidal thoughts, anger, confusion about what I wanted to do with my life. I always thought I knew for certain where my life was heading and relished following my ambitions but other issues got in the way of that and I struggled to achieve. My mind was literally a pity rave all the way through with all the special guest performances which I really hated.

I tried or I did some things I would most likely think twice about doing now. I ran away from home a few times when I was younger, I didn’t really get on with my parents to the point I lashed out on them and hit them. I stole their money. I ended up getting involved with boys and lost my virginity at 14. Ever since I continued involving myself intimately with boys some of them men.

I did go to church up until my last year at uni where I moved and lived out. I was baptised at 16 mainly because it seemed like the right thing to do and I desperately wanted to be good. It was a popular thing, everyone was doing it so I took this thought and got baptised. I always knew God was real in that he existed because I was used to him, growing up and learning about him in church, it was hard not to regard God as real.

But he wasn’t present in my life or so I thought, I didn’t acknowledge him for who he really is and that showed in my life.

From a young child I have had many unfortunate experiences but it would take forever to go through them so lets just say I was quite a troubled and emotional child. Sometimes I still think I am a troubled and emotional child but I’ll leave that to God I know He is putting me back together, like the potter and the clay.

I met a boy when I was about 16 and got engaged to him but I found out some things that broke my heart and I had to call off the engagement and the relationship. Things practically went downhill after that. I was still getting involved in intimate relationships with the wrong men. Men who showed the first slight of interest. I remember this one guy, a good guy, had so much going for him, but our relationship was very toxic. I thank God for his mercy and stepping in throughout my life and I didn’t even know it. I thank him for the lessons he has taught me from these experiences.

After I left uni I started full time work, which added unto the turmoil that was going on inside of me. It was difficult to keep up with the pressures of working life. But it felt good to get money. I used it all on myself, not once did I contribute to pay my way or help my parents. If I did, it would have been a stingy amount. How my mum and dad let me get away with all of this I don’t know. I have to give all glory to God for constantly working through my parents, giving me chances after chances to turn around and change my ways.

I bought a car, I redecorated my room. I had a party, I went out partying. It felt good. But the emptiness and hurt was still present in me, the inner struggles did not ease. Eventually working life became too much for me and I left working all together back in May 2012. At this time I was living with my then boyfriend. God has been merciful, he has placed people in my way who have in way eased the pain. I can recall all of their names and should commend them for their unknown efforts but God knows.

I started smoking weed, drinking, but what happened during this time could never have been anticipated. Being without a job, without money, friends, ambition, success, assets and family had a way of pushing and shoving me into serious thinking about my life. All I had was a room, weed, alcohol, food and a loving boyfriend and strangely this is what made me feel good. But I knew deep down there was more to life and I started wondering about life, what would happen when I died, what would I say to God.

I stumbled on a book at the library in the area where I was living at the time. My pursuit for a job forced me to be a regular attendee of the library. The book is called “In God We Doubt” by John Humphrey’s. A good book. This book opened my eyes to the reality of God. I heard so many views about God in this book. Some were so mind gripping and inspiring it was hard to put the book down and not to pay attention to GOD.

I went for the bible and started reading and I found the scripture that changed everything 1 Corinthians 2: 1-5 which says; “And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When l came to you, l did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as l proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For l resolved to know nothing while l was with you except Jesus Christ and his Crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”

Ever since God lead me and guided me towards him. I stopped smoking and drinking, I went to Church immediately, I started studying the bible and all the fundamentals with a new curious mind, I moved back in with my parents back in January 2013 and I started working, I truly began to learn. I learnt things about life and people.God gave me the courage to deal with my issues and learn the skills I needed. And up to this day he is still doing that. I am still shy. I sometimes feel less and lack confidence, I still have my issues and struggles. But God has helped me come to the realisation that I have not got to worry, he is my friend, he has paid the price for these struggles, even these. He loves me. He is unbelievably patient with me. I haven’t got to find satisfaction, he is all the satisfaction I need. He helps me to face my fears and struggles not by assets or stuff that makes me feel better about myself but by knowledge and wisdom. He sticks up for me, he desires only good, he is my personal saviour. And all of these things he is to everyone, all he asks is for us to acknowledge and take time to get to know him. He will never deny a request to know him for who he is. And that sums up my broken to beautiful story. God loves you and wants to restore you and draw  you closer to Him. Let Him. God Restores.