Connor was born when I was 18 and—as much as I wanted to be the best mother that I could be—I didn’t feel capable of doing it on my own. I worried that my son would be taken away from me—about cot death and everything that went with a new baby.
I began to think that there must be a higher power that I could work with to make me a better adjusted individual. When I was younger, I used to wonder why was it always me. Why was I the one with family dramas going on that I had to keep quiet about? Why was it me that thought, at fifteen, that getting drunk down the park was no big deal.
When I had my son I grew up very quickly. That was no more part of my life. I needed a parent figure that would listen without saying anything very much back; to feel that I could have guidance. without having to give anything back. I don’t know whether it was the Mother Earth pregnancy but I felt that I had been blessed with a child and I was not going to put myself or my son or my husband in a position where we were not doing as much as we could to live a good life.
Doing the Alpha course was my attempt to get a realistic understanding of who God was without guilt, shame and fear. When we were growing up we were taught that you were to fear God and that if you made mistakes you were screwed. Alpha was a real shock. There I learned that God was all-loving and that we were his children. Engaging with the ‘Father’ aspect was really hard for me because I’d never had a father—my ideas came from nice films where I thought, ‘I wish that was me’.
After listening to the Christian view—even for that short time—it was so different. You did not have to earn redemption. That was the hardest bit for me. I can remember in the early days trying to do things that would earn me Brownie points. One of my friends said, ’You don’t have to do anything. He’ll love you anyway’. He was loving me unconditionally and to me that wasn’t really normal.
As kids we had never had hope for a better future. I wanted more—faith that it was not all going to crash and burn. Since going to church and having a broader understanding of different topics that are made relevant to life today, I’m more confident in who I am. I’ve been able to pray. Rather than reciting the same stuff over and over again, it has become more personal. God has time for everyone so he has time for me to have a whinge or go through my list of objectives. It has been my rehabilitation with God as my back up.
I had already gone back to college but for a year I held back from going up a level. My motto was, ‘its better not to try than to fail’. The community aspect of going to church regularly was a help in changing my attitude. People were nice—not to suck up, to get something from you. They were genuinely interested in your wellbeing. You all carried each other if you needed to. Because I had surrounded myself with positive people my whole outlook on life changed. With my new understandings I was able to ask him to guide me with the faith that he wasn’t going to lead me up the garden path.