'My mother had a severe stroke, and I called the ambulance'

Lily’s story | Absentminded singing leads to faith!

“I was raised by a single parent – my mum. She did her best, but my childhood was pretty unstable and at times unsafe. We moved around a lot. I think my impression as a kid was that the whole world seemed unstable.

At five years old, I remember I went to a Scripture class at school. I was sitting on the floor, looking up at my teacher, whose name was Mrs Bubble. She said that God was real and in control of everything. The world was controlled by God! I’d never heard about God before, except as a swear word, so I thought it was super cool. Then she said that if anyone wanted to learn more about God, the place to go was church.

That afternoon, my grandmother picked me up from school, and I told her there was a God who loved me, and I wanted to go to church. From then on, Grandma and I started going to a little church at the end of her street every Sunday. It was stable and consistent in my unstable world, which was what I craved.

“I would tell people I was a Christian, but my behaviour was the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit.”

But in my teens, life became even more complex and difficult. My mum had three more kids, and I assisted with them. I began to attribute all of the bad things in my life to God. If he was in charge, then everything was clearly all his fault.

My behaviour and mental health spiralled. I had frequent angry outbursts, and I was aggressive and unkind – an awful person to be around! I would still tell people I was a Christian, but my behaviour was the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit.

Then, when I was nearly 16, my mum had a severe stroke in front of me. I called the ambulance. It impacted her mobility and memory, so afterwards we were put in the care of Grandma, who was in her early 70’s by then. It turned the dial up to 100. I became even more unstable, and I vented my anger on everyone.

“I’d never gone to God with my distress before.”

But I still had one close friend who was a Christian.

One day, we were hanging out in a public space, and I was describing my drinking and promiscuity. She said, “Maybe you shouldn’t call yourself a Christian if you’re behaving like that?”

I lost it. I got really angry with her, and I cut off all ties. At the same time, I was given a diagnosis of complex post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of my childhood.

I remember going home, sitting on the floor of my shower and crying. I’d never gone to God with my distress before, but that day I did. After the shower I started singing ‘Rock of Ages’ absentmindedly.

“It happened in an instant.”

Then my brain turned on. What are you singing, and why? Do you believe it? Do you know what a ‘cleft’ is?

A cleft is a place where you can seek refuge. At the same time, I noticed a verse written in my notebook on my desk. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

It happened in an instant. I went from saying that everything was God’s fault to knowing for sure that God was my refuge. He was trustworthy and safe. I could go to him in my pain. He loved me! It was all that mattered.

In that moment my friend’s words came back to me, and I knew I had to pick one or the other. So I said to God, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know who you were, or what you had done for me.”


I can’t say there was an immediate turn around after that, but my life slowly changed.

I apologised to my friend, and I started listening at church. I read Titus 2:14, and thought about what it means to be ‘eager’ to do what God wants – to find great joy in it. That really changed my mindset, over time.

Then after school I did year 13 with Youthworks, which was great. And today God continues to shape me into christlikeness, as well as helping me navigate my mental health challenges.

I’m married to the kindest man in the world. But more than that, it’s the Holy Spirit who is at work in my life, shaping me, even within my ongoing brokenness. It’s incredible!”

Lily’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed.

1 John 4:10 in Lily's story


Related Reading

Related stories from around the web

Eternity News is not responsible for the content on other websites