Studying ethics uncovered Phoebe’s need for a foundation of love after abuse, an affair and divorce
Witnessing her parents' divorce as a child, Phoebe Seir wondered if any relationship could last after the meltdown of her own 21-year marriage.
The tension between her Burmese father and Australian mother shaped the insecurities Phoebe says she developed as a child and she struggled to fit in anywhere.
"I was unable to establish and maintain deep friendships and relationships; I guess I had a sort of inferiority complex – everyone else was so much better than me and my existence was fairly insignificant," she admits.
Wanting to avoid long-term employment as a journalist, Phoebe preferred freelance or contract work so she did not have to develop established relationships.
She also says her marriage "felt like a business relationship", admitting that she lacked a sense of deep fulfilment from what should have been a more intimate and personal relationship.
"Because I was so unhappy in my marriage I started drinking a lot just to drown the emptiness and try and take me out of the trap I felt I could not escape," she openly confesses.
"As a consequence of this dissatisfaction, I also engaged in a relationship outside of our marriage.
"I did tell my husband and we tried to work through our difficulties but the core issues seemed unsolvable."
Sadly, these issues led to escalating emotional and mental abuse towards Phoebe.
"I had to have a clear head so I stopped drinking, started my nursing degree, exercised, kept really focused on keeping the family together and tried to pretend the abuse would go away."
When the abuse became physical, it marked the end of Phoebe's marriage.
"At that point I couldn't see beyond the darkness and emptiness. I believed I would feel desolate, depressed and unfulfilled forever," she says.
While attending an ethics course, Phoebe became interested in what was taught and later discussed with her Christian friends about being able to have a personal relationship with God.
She could feel herself searching for something more than the relationships she had experienced.
After attending a church for a while and reading the Bible, she says Jesus started to "make sense" to her.
“A dark part of me disappeared, and like the sun beaming down through clouds, joy and release filled me”"I was astonished by how powerful His undeserved kindness and forgiveness is," she recalls.
After becoming more and more conscious of the wrong actions, thoughts and attitudes that had characterised her life, Phoebe knew she needed to ask God for forgiveness and turn away from the habits of her old life.
"Suddenly a fixed, dark and immovable part of me disappeared and, like the sun's rays beaming down through clouds, joy and release filled me," she remembers feeling at that moment.
Understanding that Jesus had made a way for her to right all her wrongs through sacrificing Himself on the cross in her place, Phoebe felt the burden of her past life and guilt, lift off her shoulders.
"Without a doubt, my life changed when Jesus became everything to me – and He is front and centre the most important influence in my life.
"I now really enjoy embracing life, warts and all. This confidence, I believe, comes from putting my faith in Jesus – just knowing He cares and forgives and died for all our sins. I know I am truly unworthy of this."
Not wanting anyone to have to go through the same things she did before accepting Jesus' free gift of eternal life, Phoebe says she hopes people will give God a chance.
"Without a doubt faith in Jesus is the only true, solid, proven and credible source of attaining a real and ongoing life, that is rich in joy, forgiveness, meaning, hope, fulfilment and ultimately love," she says.
"Shopping, surfing, yoga, family, occupation, hobbies, passions, activities, travel, education, fame, success... don't even come close to touching the sides to the richness and fulfilment one can have through faith in Jesus."