‘My world turned from black and white to colour, in an instant!’
Nita’s story | Learning to trust a perfect Father
“I never knew who my father was. My birth certificate doesn’t mention him. My mother was 17 at the time. Later, she became an alcoholic and she had mental health issues. Basically, she didn’t cope with life very well. When I was one, she married my stepfather. Outwardly, he came across as the great rescuer. But he was sexually abusive to me. It meant that all aspects of my childhood weren’t normal, at all.
There was never any mention of God in our home, but I prayed to God every single night. I asked God to fix the situation. I asked him to stop my mother having breakdowns, and to stop my stepfather doing what he was doing. I remember throwing chairs at the scripture teacher because she said that God was like a Father. The father I knew wasn’t good.
At the end of year 6, the same scripture teacher gave us all a paperback good news Bible. It amazed me. Back then, nobody had ever given me anything for nothing. And the fact that she’d given me something when I was such a naughty girl was amazing. I still have that Bible. I think it’s symbolic of God being in my life, even then.
When I was 13, I began spending regular weekends with a lady who’d known my mother prior to her marriage. I think she could see that things weren’t great at home. She began to ask questions and I answered them… about my stepfather. She went to the police with the information, and after that, I was fostered out permanently.
My foster mother bought me a Bible and I started going to church with them. They sent me to a Christian school. I remember asking her how I could be a Christian and she explained that I could just pray to Jesus and ask him to be the boss of my life. I went outside and I lay in the hammock in their backyard. There were trees everywhere. I prayed to Jesus, and I can honestly tell you that it was like my whole world turned from black and white, to colour, in an instant. It was the strangest feeling. I could suddenly see the beauty of God’s creation everywhere. I could see his hand at work. All that time, as a little girl, I’d been praying to God to fix the situation and my family. But he fixed it by taking me completely out of there.
I remember my foster mum showing me the passage in Psalm 139. “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body…” (v15) It was so powerful! For someone like me, who’d always thought I should never have been born, to hear those words was incredible.
Forty years later, it’s still a journey. My faith has grown so much. I’m now teaching at the same Christian school where they sent me at 13. It’s the full circle. I married a wonderful, godly, steady man, and all our four children went to that school. When the youngest was in kindy, I went back to teaching, and I said I’d do a year there. I’ve been there for 20! It’s like I can sense when any of the kids are having a terrible time at home. Some of them share it with me. I say to them that I get it. For some of them, drawing family trees is too painful. I understand … and I find something else for them to do. I always read Psalm 139 to them and I tell them how precious they are.
I don’t always know the truth in my heart, but I know it in my head. I know that God is good, and he is a perfect Father. I realise that even the best of earthly dads aren’t perfect, but God is. I’m learning that God has always cared for me, and he was there with me, even when I was a child. Somehow, despite all the rubbish, God is creating something beautiful in my life and my family. It blows me away.”
Nita’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.