I was born in 1954, in Ostend, Belgium. I have one brother younger than me…

My Mum fell pregnant with me while my parents were still on honeymoon (their honeymoon in Spain lasted for 2 months). My mother felt resentful for me spoiling her honeymoon.

My Dad was a very loving Dad, but he was under my mother’s thumb and and Dads in those days were not allowed to nurture their children, that was supposed to be the mother’s role.

All my life I felt rejected by my Mum. I spent many nights crying myself to sleep. I felt constantly criticised and a burden to my Mum. I felt alone, rejected, insecure and abandoned.

When my Mum could not cope with me, she would send me to stay with my Grandmother, my Mum’s Mum who is my Godmother.

Going to stay with my Godmother were pure moments of grace and joy, and it gave my Mum a break.

I doted on my Godmother… I would do anything for her, she encouraged me and comforted me in any way she could.

Sadly, I lost my grandmother at the age of 14 and as my Mum could not cope with me, I was sent straight to boarding school. I felt like I lost the one whom I saw as my Mum that day as well as all my school friends. My Godmother would never have let my Mum send me away while she was still alive.

In my teens, I developed a classroom/church phobia which got worse with time.

I was very blessed to meet my husband at a young age while studying English in Cambridge. His love for me helped me to forget my problems for a while, but as family responsibilities increased, the torment of fear returned until I was almost house bound like never before.

At age 39 and with time and stressful life events accumulating I developed Candida and food sensitivities as well. I honestly believed I was going to die. I lost some weight I could barely afford to lose and people kept telling me how ill I looked, especially my Mum.

Doctors did not know what was wrong with me, so I had to help myself. Through alternative health and self-help books, I was seeking to find an answer.

Going to church to show my children the right example I cried out every week for God to set me free from the tormenting fear… I had to sit at the back of church with an escape into a side room… and despite not being truly born again God heard my cries.

For years my food intolerances got worse. One day I met a new Muslim colleague at work who became a very close friend to me. Because I was blind to love, I felt rejected by everyone, but she saw that people cared about me. She lent me a Christian book ‘Self-Love’ by Robert Schuller. It spoke about how much God loved us and I was shocked into the truth.

Upon hindsight I could begin to see how many times God had protected me as I had escaped serious injuries or accidents by a hair.

Another friend of mine subscribed me to UCB Word for Today. I then started to watch Christian TV and one evening, as I was on my own, I watched an episode of the Alpha Course ‘why did Jesus have to die’. As I lay on my bed, meditating on what I heard I was suddenly overwhelmed by love and I could not stop loving and praising God because I had a glimpse of understanding God’s immeasurable love. It was as if heart shaped bubbles were going up to Heaven. I had waves of liquid love flowing over me… It changed my life, it changed my attitude and it changed all my priorities. I was never going to be the same again.

Gradually after that, all my relationships were starting to improve, my health was getting better, and I even had amazing experiences of overcoming my tormenting fear and my phobia because I became aware of God’s presence with me and God’s love and acceptance towards me. I did not feel I had to change but I wanted to change.

Nothing changed overnight, it was a step by step process. I had a lot of forgiving to do, especially towards my Mum. It took time for my broken heart to be healed, but God had planted His love into my heart for her. I had to forgive her over and over and over. I could not have done it without the revelation of God’s love for me. I have to keep remembering that I myself am saved and loved and I carry God’s courage and patience in my heart, He has given me the ability to do this.

And today I remember that I too was a wretch and that I have been forgiven much. Mercy does triumph over judgement. I am free to extend mercy to others because Jesus forgave me when I least deserved it.

Today my eyes have been opened to see qualities in my Mum I had never seen before.

Every day I ask God to help me to see others through His eyes of love. I am very aware I am a work in progress. I have come a long way, but I still have a long way to go, but that’s OK. God wants me to be as patient and kind with myself as He has taught me to be with others.

Whatever mountains we face… God’s love never fails!

Follow Jesus and you cannot lose… taste and see that The Lord is good (Luke 18:29-30 and Psalm 34:8)