Being Me Again

Iwas brought up in the Ivory Coast by my mother and my grandmother. They used to take me to church, and prayer was very much part of our lives.

When I was 7, I got yellow fever. I got really weak and I couldn’t eat. By the time I saw the doctor, he said there was nothing they could do for me. My grandmother took me into the church and she and my aunt, who was a nun, prayed all night for me. From then on, I gradually began to feel better and recovered in about a week. Everyone was amazed!

6 months later I came to live with my father in London, where I have been ever since. It was very hard at the beginning and unfortunately, things have not always gone well for me. One result was that I forgot about God. I carried around a lot of anger. I seemed to end up arguing with those close to me. I got into situations where I shouldn’t have been and I did things I know I shouldn’t have been doing. I felt ashamed and hurt, almost a prisoner in my own body. I got depressed.

My mother died when I was 21. She was in the Ivory Coast, and I was not with her at the time. It was incredibly painful and it brought all my negative emotions to the surface.

Towards the end of last year, I met with Tom to pray. We met in the church and immediately, I felt the burden and pain inside me lifted. I felt forgiven for the first time – and so I could begin to forgive myself and the people who had hurt me. For the first time since I was about 8, I felt ‘me’ again. My depression is much better. I can appreciate all God had done for me – not least, saving me from death 3 times.

My 3 children, Kelis, Josephine and Naomi and I are all being baptised on 28th April, and I will be confirmed. What God has done for me means I feel ready to give my life to him. I feel his happiness, his love for me and his presence.

Lina Chaaroui