‘I was pregnant … and I suddenly wanted what they had’
Angela’s story | Finding answers at the dinner table
“I grew up in a Catholic family. I prayed as a child, but there was no relationship with Jesus. And I had questions. For example, why did God make Adam and Eve, knowing that they were going to sin?
One day, we had a new priest at our school. He gave a talk and then asked if we had any questions. I put up my hand. I said, “Do you ever have any doubts?”
He was furious with me. He said I’d committed a blasphemy. I just wanted to know. Perhaps doubts were normal? But he was very angry with me … and as a result, I turned away from the Catholic faith. I decided it was all bunkum, and I became an agnostic.
I remember feeling very much in control of my life in my twenties. I was strong and capable. I trained as a midwife and I enjoyed my job. At 22, I moved in with my boyfriend, Warren, and after six years, we decided to get married.
Then I had a breakdown. I was 28 and I got really sick with a virus. Afterwards, I had post-viral depression. It was very debilitating. I had psychotic episodes and I couldn’t tell what was real or truthful anymore. It was like living in a nightmare. I went to St John of God [mental health hospital] for five weeks. They eventually gave me shock therapy, which gave my mind a break.
At one point, Warren came to see me in hospital and I said we should call our engagement off. I gave him back the ring and I said, “You can’t marry a mad woman!” I didn’t want to be a burden on him.
Within six months, though, I did recover and we got married and I fell pregnant almost immediately. That brought on more questions. Who is actually in control? If I’m not in control, then who is? How are we going to raise this child? What are we going to base our family life on? What are we going to teach our children?
I suddenly wanted to go to church. It seemed completely bizarre, but I think it was because of knowing Warren’s family. His parents were a lovely Christian couple who lived in Boggabri [in north-western NSW]. We would go and visit them, and I could see how gentle they were with each other. They really cared for each other. And they would bow their heads before mealtimes. Their faith looked very genuine. It was quite different to my family background, and I suddenly really wanted what they had.
So Warren and I went to church. We chose the Presbyterian church in the main street because it was an old stone building and it looked nice. At first, we would sit up the back and then run off. But after Rikki was born, I knew she was a gift from God. By then, I’d seen hundreds of births (as a midwife), but I’d never really seen God’s hand in creation. And then she was born and everything was different. We knew we wanted to get her baptised. The minister suggested that we do Christianity Explained. We both agreed and as part of the course, we read Mark’s Gospel. That’s when it became obvious to me. Jesus was in charge! He had absolute authority over the earth. I accepted it immediately and so did Warren. We decided together that we wanted to base our family life on Jesus. We kept going to the church!
Looking back now, I want to say to people, “Give Jesus a go.” I know that I don’t have all the answers but I know the One who does. I still have questions, but it’s okay because I know Jesus and I can trust him. I love the truth in John 1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … Through him all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life and that life was the light of all mankind.” (v. 1,3-4)
It reminds me every day that I’m not in charge and I can trust the One who is!”
Angela’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.