Born as a Hindu in a family of six children, I grew up worshipping idols that were meant to be gods. As an obedient daughter, I grew up observing many traditions and customary rites. Deep down, however, I was an unhappy child, abused in many ways. I remember trying to strangle myself with a belt when I was about nine years old.
As a teenager, music was my first love. Although I enjoyed the publicity and the attention I received as a radio and television personality, deep down I was still unhappy. I chose to get married to the man of my parents’ choice, hoping to find real happiness.
After getting engaged, however, my dreams were dashed as he ordered me to give up singing in public. It was like jumping from the frying pan and into the fire. I could have easily broken off the engagement that would have caused many embarrassments and heartaches for my parents. Instead, I went ahead with the marriage, which was the beginning of new problems.
My husband was a very jealous, possessive and violent man. Life seemed so unbearable and suicide was always on my mind. I made a few attempts, even after the birth of my two children. Why me? I often asked when my second child was born disabled with Spina Bifida.
My husband and I arrived in England, seeking medical aid for our son. Having left my family, relatives and friends, I became more depressed as my husband took advantage of my lonesome situation. I felt that there was no one I could turn to during the times of severe distress and decided to end my life with an overdose of sleeping pills only to recover at the hospital. I was later warned by Social Services that should I make any further attempts, my children would be taken into their care. I decided that, should I try to kill myself, I would take the children with me, but I couldn’t do it.
A few years later, owing to tragic circumstances, that cannot be mentioned here, the man I married had to leave home. I was left to take care of my teenage children on my own. Having led a sheltered life, it was quite frightening when I realised that I had to deal with all kinds of situations that suddenly faced me.
My supervisor at work was very sympathetic and understanding. She would know where to find me if I was not at my desk—I would be in the toilet, crying. Being a Christian, Jan prayed for me and with me on those occasions in the toilet. At first I found it uneasy because my conception of God and prayer was that it happened in a special place like a temple, church or in front of an altar. Jan invited me to her church after ‘introducing’ me to Jesus, her God. There was live music and people were singing and clapping, which now I can relate to as ‘rejoicing’. I also found a sense of release within me. An inner peace and strength was suddenly there. The songs and prayers always stirred my feelings, and tears filled my eyes. I also found a certain change within me.
My daughter and I were invited to a ‘praise and worship’ service at a local church. Towards the end of that evening, I responded to the call and accepted Jesus as my personal Saviour, without realising that my daughter too had made the same decision. Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” In my moments of loneliness and desperation, I have often felt God’s presence. God has given each of us a purpose for living and we can trust Him to guide us. All our trials, risks and humiliations are opportunities for Jesus to demonstrate His power and presence through us.
As if the suffering we were going through was not enough, a few years later, my children and I went through incredible traumas. My son underwent six major operations and very nearly died. My daughter was far away from home to pursue further studies. As this was her first time away from home and her family, the personal trauma she was going through was far too much to bear. She ended up in hospital with an overdose of tablets—yes, a suicide attempt. She was quite ill and could not cope with her studies. I could not visit her, as my son was seriously ill. My job was in jeopardy and I was signed off sick for a long time to take care of him.
As a Christian, during these periods of trials and tribulations, I never asked, “why me?”, because Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world”. The Lord has seen us through our ordeals and has made us stronger individuals. I know from my experience that people will let you down, but the Lord promised “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. What God asks us to do seems so small compared to what He has done for us. The Christian life is not an easy ride, but a safe ride.
I can look back and testify that God has been in control in every area of my life. There have been troubles and joyous moments, but I do know that, if not for my Saviour, I wouldn’t be here to tell all the great things He has done in our lives. My priority is with my Saviour. Jesus is the central Character in my life and without Him, life would not be worth living. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I do know who holds tomorrow. I cannot thank Him enough for everything He has done, He is doing and He will be doing!
As it is written in Psalm 104:33: “I will sing to the LORD all my life. I will sing praises to my God as long as I live.”