Fearing rejection from family and friends, 24-year-old Terrah Modulathoko Mapaila spent most of her time alone until she realised how much God loved her.
"I felt so unwanted growing up," Terrah says.
"I grew up without friends because I thought friendship was the hardest thing to do. I felt like it would only lead to disappointment so I enjoyed my own company. I wouldn't spend much time with my family either because I felt like they had rejected me. I spent most of my time alone in my room."
In her mind Terrah thought it was better to live in her own little world where she could stay in her comfort zone and would never fail. However, this mindset only lead to feelings of depression and loneliness.
"I also had a bad attitude with pride and hatred in me, and I was quick to become angry. I felt like I was unwanted and that everybody hated me so I pushed away everyone who tried to come close."
As this hatred and anger built up, Terrah says her heart was hardened towards forgiving anyone.
One day she had a bad argument with her sister, who responded by saying she would no longer pay for Terrah's college fees.
"That meant my dreams were shot down. I didn't want to stay at home but my pride wouldn't let me ask for forgiveness," she admits.
"I kept telling myself that I was not the one who was wrong. I wanted to spare myself the humiliation of being the township gossip as a 'drop-out kid' so I decided to take my own life and tried to commit suicide."
Terrah is thankful today that God stepped in and saved her from herself and she started thinking more about Him and His plan for her life.
Before this calamity, she remembers often wondering what God would have to say about her life but doubted His existence when her family buried members year after year from 2006 to 2009.
"I thought to myself that if God really existed, why didn't He step in and save my loved ones?"
It was during a long night that her question was answered.
"The pastor was preaching and he said God's ways are not our ways, quoting from Isaiah chapter 55, verse 8. I was more eager to know what this meant and went to read my Bible. I found comfort here and realised that God is alive," she explains.
“I found comfort here [in the Bible] and realised that God is alive”"I learnt how Jesus, God the Son, was the perfect sacrifice for our sins. It was impossible for the death of sacrificial animals to pay the debt for sins, only the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. I read that His forgiveness and everlasting life is a free gift that anyone can have if they accept it. Jesus died for me so that I can be free."
Later she was at church with her family when she heard another message that touched her heart.
"The pastor was preaching about how God feeds birds and clothes the grass of the field. Then I asked myself if God can feed birds surely He cares about me. I went outside, sat down and said 'Lord if you can do something with my life you can have it'."
As soon as she surrendered her life to God, Terrah says she had an overwhelming sense of wanting to know more about Him.
"I realised God loved me from when I was in the womb of my mother so I knew I had to do the searching to know Him more," she says.
"I became a born-again Christian when I admitted that I am a sinner and asked God for His forgiveness. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, so now I know I am a Christian because Jesus' sacrifice cleansed me of my sins and I know it was because of this that God can forgive me."
Terrah says since God touched her life and it has never been the same again.
"God placed in me the Holy Spirit of love and power to overcome my sins and bad attitudes. As it says in his Word – I am a new creation," she adds.
"God also helped me to reconcile with my family. I apologised to my sister and we made peace. I made friends and also found a friend in Jesus."
In all that has happened, Terrah says she has learnt to be thankful and now channels any sadness and anger she might have into something good through her passion for writing.
"God is always available to help us and he knows our hearts desires and He has a purpose for our lives."
To others Terrah concludes, "God is bigger than the giants in your life. He gives us the Spirit of power so that we can do what He asks us to do and the Spirit of love to deal with whomever. God loves you and His love endures forever. Keep on praying, He is never too busy to answer you (see Psalm 136)." •