Since I was born all I remember having was my brothers and my mum, I never really knew my dad. After moving to England with my mum at a young age and leaving my brothers behind in Zambia, me and my mum’s relationship naturally grew stronger. I didn't really have to compete with my older brothers because I was the youngest and they weren’t around much. Everyone called me my mum’s ‘little handbag’ because I was with her all the time, wherever she was I would be there too. When she attended university, I would type all of her essays for her because she was not good with computers, we would always go shopping together, travel around all the time - me and my mum were the best of friends. As we spent so much time together, being away from her at a young age was very difficult for me; sleeping over at friends and family’s houses was a struggle as after a couple of hours I would miss her, after some days I would complain and cry because I wanted to go back to her.
On the 20th of February 2010, two weeks before my 13th Birthday, three days before her birthday my mum passed away. The night before she passed away I remember praying to God to save her because I had a strong feeling that something bad was going to happen – prior to that date many family members that I had not seen for years were at my house. In my culture, when this happens it is usually not a good sign of things to come, but at the time I was oblivious to this. But less than 24 hours later she passed away. I remember waking up in the morning that day having breakfast, getting changed to go and play football in the back garden with my cousin. Before doing that, I had a picture with my mum and my cousin, although she was very ill, she was still smiling as she always did. Little did I know or expect that picture would be the last moment I had with her. Sometime later after playing football outside we had enough and went back into the house. The house was empty which was strange because before the house was filled with family members but I didn’t think too much of it and just carried on with the day.
After some hours I remembered thinking about what was taking everyone so long and where they all went to be gone for such a long time. Eventually after some hours, my family one by one entered the house, my aunt first walked into my room breaking the news to me that my mother died. I remember the doubt that I had of her words, thinking that she was lying. I could not accept what she said but then reality started to sink in, my brother walked into my room after my aunt deeply crying, along with all the other cries and groaning from my other family members, this validated the news that my mum passed away.
I have never experienced such deep sorrow and pain as I did that day. There was so much going on in my head, I couldn’t stop crying and what hurt even more was that I didn't even get to say goodbye to my mum.
I was raised a Christian, I went to church every Saturday but after my mum passed away I decided that I would never have anything to do with God again. I felt so betrayed by God. He knew how much my mum meant to me but still allowed her to pass away. For many years after my mum's passing, my life was a struggle, I was not able to fit in anywhere. I was always involved in fights at school, always doing the wrong things and even in my late teens I would cry myself to sleep because I missed my mum, I had such a void in my heart.
I lived in a big house with aunties and cousins, I used to envy all my cousins because they all had their mums with them in the house, they were all able to spend time together but I was the only one in that house without a mum. I always had this thought in my head: ‘no one could ever love me like my mother did’. My family deeply loved me but for me it wasn’t the same. There was no one who could live up to the love my mum had for me. For the majority of my teen years I struggled with this feeling, which I can’t exactly put into words. Even though I had so much family around me which loved me so much, I felt so alone and unloved in this world. I tried everything to fill the emptiness in my heart: the party life, relationships, travelling, drugs, business, football but nothing was ever enough. There was always something missing.
One day in 2015 after years of moving from house to house, doing my own thing and living life however I wanted, I found myself on YouTube and a sermon popped up on my recommendations. This was strange because all I ever watched was football or movies and YouTube usually only recommended videos based upon your past history. For some reason I clicked on the sermon and started watching, I was very interested so I kept on watching and as time went by, I was constantly watching sermons.
Although I grew up a Christian, I did not know who God was for myself neither did I have a personal relationship with Him. I knew of God because other people around me like my mother knew Him personally but I never knew Him, I only heard things about Him. Through the sermons I was watching, I became curious as to who God was. As I watched these sermons, I did not dig deeper and try to find out who God was for myself through the Bible, I was merely just listening to what someone else was sharing about their experience with God. What really changed for me though was one sermon that I watched about the importance of going to church, I don’t remember why but I just remember that the message got me – at that time church for me was watching sermons on my laptop at home. I was always invited to go church by my family but I always used to hide or make excuses as to why I couldn’t attend. But after a while, I was convicted about the importance of going and I said to God, “I am going to Uni next year and if you really want me to actually try this Christian life out and start going to church, I will go only if there is a Seventh-Day Adventist Church in the town I am going”. In 2016, I moved into university and on the first weekend I found a small Adventist church. So, I decided to go and that was the beginning of my journey, over a year later in 2017 I got baptised and committed my life to God.
It is too easy to think that after being baptised and committing your life to God, everything will be smooth and all of life’s problems go away but that is not the case, After being baptised I was still struggling with sin, I was still struggling to find my meaning and purpose in life. I still felt lonely and always kept all of my emotions and struggles to myself because I had so much inside and I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone. I still didn’t feel good enough, I still felt unloved, I still struggled to fit in and live a ‘Christian life’, I still had many questions I wanted to ask God. I still had problems, I still made mistakes.
It was through this journey I have realised that knowing God is a daily process, it gets sweeter by the day; the more that I tried to know God and draw closer to Him the closer He came to me. The more I asked Him to enlighten me as to why things happened in my life, the more He opened my eyes. The more I went to Him with my problems, the more I was reassured that He has a plan for me and that I am weak but He is strong. Through this journey with God I began to understand just how patient God is. I also saw the willingness He has to be by my side as I take my baby steps with Him; even though I would fall, He reassures me by the promises from His word that He is always there to pick me back up.
After searching and finding God I realised why I was never really satisfied with life. We may always try and fill our hearts with anything and everything but there is a special place in our hearts that only God can fill.
In 2019 when I was about to finish my degree, I asked the leader of our church when they started the church. She told me that it was around 2014 or 2015. However, there was a financial struggle causing the church to nearly give up and close down but, they felt the need to keep the church going. On that day I realised that God had answered my prayer in a way that I never expected. When I prayed to God asking for a church in that small town I was going to live in, He was already setting up a church for me, so that when I arrived it would be there ready for me.
“To every sincere prayer an answer will come. It may not come just as you desire, or at the time you look for it; but it will come in the way and at the time that will best meet your need. The prayers you offer in loneliness, in weariness, in trial, God answers, not always according to your expectations, but always for your good.”*
I have been on this journey, this relationship with God since 2015 and I have never been the same since. Although life can be difficult and we may go through difficulties, I have peace and joy knowing that whatever I may be going through the God who created the heavens and the earth, who rules the universe knows my name and is there for me every step of the way. I have a purpose and meaning in life and Jesus loves me and died for me so that I can have peace and joy not only in this life, but in the life to come.
What He has done for me He can do for you too! God promises that “you will seek Me and find Me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13)
Why don’t you give God a chance to show you who He really is?
* Prayer - Ellen G. White (p7.3)