Warning: This article contains brief reference to domestic violence.
“I grew up on a dairy farm in Gympie. My mother often told me I was ugly and unlovable. She had six children, and one of them (my younger brother) was from an extra-marital affair. Whenever he did anything wrong, I would be blamed and my father would belt me with a poly pipe. Some years later, my mother turned to witchcraft.
At age four, we were sent to Sunday school. I was too young to read, but I was given a notebook with stickers in it and Bible verses. One of the verses said that Jesus loved the little children. Since then, I’ve always known it, deep inside me – God loves me.
But we only went to Sunday school for six months. After that, I didn’t meet any other Christians or go to church, for decades. My home life was very hard. From seven, I worked on the farm for an hour and a half before school and for two hours after school. We had over 120 cows and I milked them morning and night, every day of the year. At school, I felt isolated. I wasn’t allowed to go on camps because I was always working on the farm, which meant I couldn’t join in with the others.
I heard an audible voice from God. After that, I started to open my Bible more regularly.
But in high school, I was given a Gideon’s New Testament and I read it. It didn’t make much sense to me, except for John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
I knew that God loved me. I knew that Jesus died for me and that God was with me. But I also ignored Jesus for many years. After school, I met my future husband and I trained as a nurse. Nursing is very science-based, but I saw many things at the hospital, even miracles, that didn’t fit with science. I noticed that when people died with a faith in God, there was a peace. For others, they would sometimes die in terror, or as if they were fighting for every breath. It was very noticeable and it made me wonder.
One night, I was going to see a patient and I heard an audible voice from God, warning me of something in the patient’s condition. After that, I started to open my Bible more regularly. How do I get to know you, God?
I still didn’t know any Christians, and I’d never been to church. My husband was the same. We had our first son, and our second, six years later. But three months after our second son was born, he was asleep and I heard the same audible voice from God, “Go and get the baby.”
I went to his cot, and he was cold and grey. I went into resus mode and he started to breathe again. For the next year, he had many episodes of central sleep apnoea. It was silent and deadly. We had alarms. Sometimes, he would set them off 10 to 12 times a night. I found myself praying all the time, “God, you’ve got him, you can save him.” I didn’t know very much back then, but I prayed all the time because I knew that life and breath come from God.
Eighteen months later, our daughter was born and she had the same condition, starting at two weeks old. I was praying again – the Lord’s prayer, in the shower every night, along with buckets of tears. “Please God, get us through the night. Give us strength and wisdom.” That’s when I really learnt to walk with God. He was always present. Afterwards, we got the children baptised, to say thank you.
We went to a church! For the first time, the minister followed us up and visited us. He said the church was doing the Alpha (evangelistic) course. We had three kids at the time, so we couldn’t go, but they said they could meet at our house. They did that, and then that group turned into a Bible study group … which lasted for the next ten years.
I’ve seen that God is good all the time. Hard things happen, but he’s got us, he’s carrying us. He loves us. That’s why Jesus came. Sometimes I want to transplant the love of God I feel in my heart and give it to others, so that they too can be assured of God’s deep, deep love for them.”
Caroline’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.