A harsh home and a spinal injury affirmed Naomi’s choice to look outside herself for answers
Despite the scars of a paralysing pool accident at age 12 and a stepfather who was a harsh disciplinarian, Naomi Wheat has found hope in her darkness.
Her immobilised body bobbing in the pool, Naomi recalls her state of mind: "I knew that God wanted me to live and would be there with me because He had got me through my childhood difficulties.
"I pleaded for help and my youth group leader rescued me on a surfboard. As I lay paralysed on the board my pastor held my hand and I asked him to pray."
Following that 1983 accident and four days in hospital, Naomi has recovered the use of all her limbs. She points to Jesus Christ as the source of her physical and spiritual strength, as He enabled her to forgive those who abused her as a child.
"I have forgiven those who have hurt me, because God forgave me when I trusted in Jesus. Nothing compares to the sin we placed on Jesus when He died for us and yet our merciful Father forgave us."
Naomi says she is grateful for her mother who worked hard to provide for her family and, more importantly, ensured all her children went to church every Sunday.
In Sunday school and church, Naomi says, "I learnt about a Heavenly Father who cared for and loved me very much and He would never leave me alone."
This was not just talk for Naomi, as she explains that "the niceness and softness of the people at church" encouraged her to seek the God they knew.
"At a young age I gave my life to Jesus and knew that, as my protector, He would help me."
Despite making this choice at a young age, she says firmly "this did not mean I was immune to struggles growing up."
Naomi says forgiving hurtful people has been difficult but God made it possible.
"I know that there will be Godly justice from Him one day, and the only way for me to move forward is to give it all to Him and forgive.
"The very act of learning to forgive at this young age set me on a path that I can teach my own kids today. No matter what happens next, there is a loving Father waiting for us, so that He can heal us and take over control.
"God will not give you anything that you can't handle," Naomi explains, referring to 1 Corinthians chapter 10, verse 13.
"Most of all, I know that with God He can give me the strength to keep going. God has changed my life enormously. He is my protector."
Naomi thankfully reports that her neck has since completely healed.
"My latest scan a couple of years ago shows no evidence of a break and the scar tissue on my spinal cord was reduced," she says.