I was eighteen and out walking with my two children whilst dwelling on my unbearable life with nowhere to turn to for help. The picture of a large house came to my mind with the thought that one day I would set up such a place to offer support to young girls.
Thirteen years later, whilst working at the London Hospital, I went to visit my sister who was a patient there. In the next bed, there was a girl that they had picked up off the street unconscious. She would not speak to anyone, but every day after work, I would sit on her bed and talk to her. Eventually she told me her name. When it was time for her to leave the hospital, she had nowhere to go, so I took her home. During her stay with me, she described how she had been sexually abused by her dad and the price she had paid for speaking out – she was disowned by her family, and even her sister who was also being abused by their dad, told Social Services that she was a liar.
In 1995, I did my training as a Person Centred Counsellor. As part of the course we all had to research a topic and present three sessions to our peers. I chose to research sexual abuse. The reality of abuse in homes was devastating, but worse is the fact that this is so rampant in our society and yet so nicely covered up. In doing the research, I also learnt about the effect physical, emotional, and physiological abuse has on victims.
As a young girl I believed that the only way out of my own home situation was to get married. I first got married one week after my sixteenth birthday and was pregnant two weeks later. I soon discovered that marriage and relationships were not like those that I had read about in the many fairy tale books I had spent my time reading. It is enough to say that from the ages of 16 to 38, I went on to learn about many different forms of abuse in my personal life. Although for many years I could not see anything but darkness, I now look at the past as my training ground for the work God has called me to do.
I first “became a Christian” in 1986, but only surrendered my life to God in 1992. My life was still a total mess, although I was supposedly in a financially secure position. I went to see a pastor regarding a particular situation that I was in. This pastor took me under his wing and began to teach me about the God of Abraham. He spent many hours talking to me about the love and faithfulness of God. He used Abraham’s life as an example to show me that God is a covenant keeping God. He told me the key to seeing the power of God in our lives was our obedience to do the will of God instead of doing what pleases us.
After a few months of complete darkness and despair I decided I would do whatever it takes to find out if what the pastor was telling me was true. I walked away from any security I had and rented a house with my two youngest children.. I made a vow that I was no longer going to do things my way, no matter what the cost was, but in return God was to show me He was still the same God of the old Testament and was real enough for me to have a relationship with Him.
Although the first couple years were very tough as I began my journey of submission, I can now say, with confidence and proof, that God has shown himself to be a covenant keeping God and He does reward those who “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness”. He is “El Shaddai”, the God Almighty of blessings. We just need to trust Him and be obedient to His will instead of our own. He wants to heal and restore broken lives. I no longer feel resentful, bitter and angry about my past experiences. I am thankful to God for what He has done in my life, to now enable me to be in a position to use the resources He has blessed us with, to benefit others.
I now see myself as a disciple in training and look forward to the day when the ‘church’ starts to use what is written in the bible as an example of what it is to be a ‘Christian’. It breaks my heart to see so many in the church bound by man made Christianity. I was one of them for years, and I know that when we become disciples there is a total transformation in every aspect of our lives. The bible does not say ‘by their word’ you shall know them. It says “so then you shall know them by their fruit”. So many call themselves Christian and are quite happy to attend their social gathering on a Sunday, but stay in their deceived condition about what it means to be a Christian. The church should be at the forefront in any campaign to expose injustice and bring restoration to victims of any sort of abuse. We cannot continue turning a blind eye to what is happening in a supposedly civilised society that claims it believes in justice for the oppressed. I have yet to meet or counsel one person that was not further emotionally damaged from being “cared for” by the very system that was supposed to be helping them.
We serve an awesome God and yet we do not demonstrate to the world that He is alive, or that the things we say so easily about Him are real. All we have to do is look around our country and it is obvious that we are not the salt and light. Until we see ourselves as one body and with one kingdom to build, God’s Kingdom, we will continue to be insignificant in society. Genesis 11 v5-6 tells us when we are one people speaking the same language nothing we purpose to do will be impossible for us. We are supposed to be one body. Instead we have established denominations with their own doctrines, building their own kingdoms. The bible tells us our ways and God’s ways are not the same, neither are our thoughts the same as His. Therefore the only way is to follow Jesus’ example and do what he says we should do in the way he says we should do it. Jesus never said that once he paid the price, all we had to do was hear His words and quote them. We are supposed to be doers of the word.
Obedience to God’s will instead of our own, really is the key if we are to show the world that our God is the same powerful God of the Old Testament that used Moses to take His people out of Egypt.
I feel very angry when I see people in church bound by the devil when all they have to do is go back to the bible themselves and spend time seeking God to find the real truth. It is only then that the truth will set them free.
We have people in church that are too afraid to talk about their abuse as they have to pretend that because they have said the sinners prayer, the effect of their abuse no longer exists. One victim was told by her pastor to continue visiting the person that was responsible for her being raped on a weekly basis and that once the perpetrator saw the difference in her, then this woman would change. This girl was then baptised and continued going to church and the rape continued – one of her regular days to be raped was after church on a Sunday ! When she was brought to me, she could not even utter the word, “Jesus”. If we cannot help the people already in our churches, what can we do for the people outside of the church.
We are making a mockery of Jesus’ blood if people have to pretend everything is okay because they go to church on a Sunday. Going to a building on a Sunday was not the reason why the first disciples were called Christians – it was because of their Christ-like behaviour. Our lives should show the people around us that our God is alive.
The Path Forward
In 1993 while working as a volunteer I met Mark, who was the head of the organisation I was doing voluntary work with, and we got married in 1996. When I met Mark, I told him what I wanted to do and as God would have it, Mark has a real passion to use his skills to bring about change. He has spent his working life trying to improve the quality of life in different communities across the country.
More than anything, I wanted to leave England, but each time God made it clear to me that it was not His will for me to leave the country. On the 25th January 2001, whilst attending bible school, the Holy Spirit told me to share the vision with a woman in my cell group. At our next break I spoke to her about the vision for Transformation and she responded by saying, “yes but God is saying you should step out in faith and start in this country”. I was devastated by her words as I had every intention of leaving England in 2003 and had believed God would allow us to go once my youngest son finished his GCSEs.
I went back to my lectures in a daze, as all of a sudden my well laid plans had been smashed with just a few words. I could not deny that I was trying to run away from the UK because of what I felt about the way our society covers some of the horrors that people face on a day to day basis.
I spent some time reflecting on my own experiences, as well as on the reality of the effects of abuse, that I had learnt about in the years leading up to the current time. This, coupled with the extent of the damage being done to women and children in this country, made me realise that I had to apply the principle of getting my own house in order before going to someone else’s house i.e. start where I am living.
By the time I got home that afternoon I was feeling totally at peace at the thought of staying in this country. I also knew that by saying no to what I wanted to do and yes to God, I now had a life I never thought possible. When I got home I shared with Mark what had happened in college, as well as my thought process since the “bombshell” was dropped.
The following day, the 26th January, I felt in my spirit that God was saying He had a building for us to start Transformation. On the 30th January 2001 we went to see the pastor of a local church. He was talking to Mark about a new community centre they had, and again the Holy Spirit told me to tell him about the vision for Transformation. As I shared what God had planted in me, he looked at me strangely and in a quiet voice spoke about a pub in the heart of the community that had caused a lot of damage to many families for generations. He said that for the last four years he has believed that Healing would come from that building.
“When I saw the building, I fell in love with it; I felt this was the one. Now, at this time we had neither the money needed to buy the building, nor did we have owners wishing to sell! I started praying for the building and telling everybody that it was the building we intended to use for Transformation.”
I asked Mark to take me to the pub on our way home. When I saw the building, I fell in love with it; I felt this was the one. Now, at this time we had neither the money needed to buy the building, nor did we have owners wishing to sell! I started praying for the building and telling everybody that it was the building we intended to use for Transformation. One year later, a local Christian told me I would never get it – the pub was well established, with faithful regulars.
On the 19 June 2002 we first went to view the building and despite many obstacles, early in December 2002, we finally reached an agreement with the people that owned the pub. On the 1st April 2003 we completed on the purchase of the building, now known as “Transformation Powerhouse”.
God has given me a blueprint for this ministry and in these past nine years we have already seen breakthroughs from working with some of the most unbelievable forms of sexual abuse. Now that the day centre is open, we expect the work to grow and develop.