It’s hard to know where to begin, as God always seems to have been in my life. When I was younger I always used to hear people say that the more they knew God, the less they felt they knew him and how much more there was to know about him – I suppose I can say the same now.
A year after my husband, Simon, and I were married Simon joined the Army —we knew it was what God wanted us to do as we had an overwhelming sense of excitement whenever we thought about it. At the time I couldn’t imagine being away from Simon for one night so it was an odd choice, but, somewhat uniquely, one we made together.
Army life has been hugely rewarding, yet very demanding, for both of us. Over the nine years Simon has been in, we’ve lived in eight houses, and he has been away on tour once to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan, and that doesn’t even include all the time he has spent away doing training.
In 2002 I became pregnant and sadly suffered a late miscarriage. In the hospital ward I was completely unable to think about God, I just couldn’t believe that if there was a God he could have let this happen. Two hours later when I went down to pre-op for the evacuation procedure I couldn’t ignore him any longer and I started to piece my faith back together; there had to be a God as I couldn’t believe our world had come together by chance. At that point I didn’t believe that he was a good God. A week later, friends prayed for us and I began to feel God’s sadness for our miscarriage and I let Him comfort me.
Just a few months later (and another house later) the same thing happened again; another late miscarriage. I remember lying on my bed at home and feeling completely wretched, I cried out to God again and again “why?”.
I became pregnant again (at yet another house!) and before I had even missed a period we took a pregnancy test as Simon was due to go out to Iraq the next day. It was positive, but of course I was left on my own with all the worries and Simon too felt awful heading off. At three months in, late one evening, I had some bleeding and called my Mum who lived an hour away. During the entire time it took her to get to me I wrestled with God spiritually, a bit like Jacob did in the bible. I’ve never had an experience like it, and it’s hard to describe, but essentially I prayed and prayed and asked God to save our baby – which he did! Six months later Zach was born – his name means remembered by God, and we now have a girl as well called Bethany.
The pace of life is never slow in the army and when Zach was 12 days old we were told we were being posted to Kathmandu, Nepal. Our time there was fantastic though very stressful as living in any third world country undergoing a Maoist insurgency would be!
Throughout the whole time I was there I struggled, once again, to accept that there was a loving God when there was so much suffering around me. Eventually, after much thought, I felt God say to me “Well, I have placed over 2 billion Christians in the world, I hoped they might do something about it”. By the time I had come to this point, I had already agreed to help an elderly missionary called Eileen financially support around ten destitute women. She had been supporting them herself; helping them pay their rent and medical bills and she was concerned about what would happen to these women when she died.
That was in 2005 and I am now back in the UK but continuing to help around 25 women and run two sewing and micro-business courses back in Nepal. We are now a registered charity called Women Without Roofs and have even managed to buy land for one woman to build a house, giving her security for the rest of her life.
I feel certain that God sent me to Nepal because he wanted me to help these women, and I find it amazing and mind-boggling that I have been involved in his plans. None of it would have happened though had either one of the babies that we lost been born; essentially Simon took postings and went on the tour to Iraq, that led to us going to Nepal, because we didn’t have a baby already at those times. It is impossible to compare the life of a baby with anything else, but I now know that God is able to use every circumstance to achieve his will. On an almost daily basis, I still struggle to understand why the God that I know and love allows such poverty, suffering and injustice in the world he created; but I’m still learning about and getting to know Him.