Breaking free from her restrictive parents and joining the rebellious school kids was what LeeAnne Dunn wanted most as a teen, but now as a mother herself she is glad for the miraculous change that happened in her life.
"I went from being a grumpy, selfish, unforgiving, proud, full of bad attitude teenager to a loving, forgiving and humble girl," LeeAnne shares about the decision she made that changed everything.
Before then she most wanted to be like the popular kids in high school.
"I started swearing in year 9 and was tempted to try alcohol," LeeAnne says.
"I felt annoyed by the restrictive religious beliefs of my parents. I am glad now that they were careful to protect me."
As LeeAnne grew older she realised that she did not know God like her parents did, "But I fought against making a decision about who Jesus was to me, even though I was very fearful of dying and having to answer to God."
She remembers a time when she believed her parents were favouring her brother: "I punished them by not talking to my mum other than what was necessary. I knew this hurt my mother and I was utterly miserable and unhappy. When I laid my head on the pillow at night I knew there was no peace in my life."
At an Easter camp her attitude began to change. She remembers being amazed by a vivid description of what Jesus did on the cross.
"I knew it was for me He suffered terrible pain and anguish. For the first time the Easter story hit me with full force," she says.
"The speaker described how it would have felt for Jesus to die on the cross for me and he cried. It shocked me because I had not seen a grown man cry."
As she now clearly understood God's great love for her, she says, "I knew I had to decide on whether I wanted God's forgiveness, and that this may be the last chance God was giving me to turn to Him."
For the next six months, LeeAnne recalls, "For some reason I kept living that miserable life I had chosen. I was in agony thinking about the weight of my sin (wrongdoing before God)."
Finally in May 1990, LeeAnne says, "I knew I did not want to keep fighting in my spirit against God. I asked my mum to forgive me and she explained from the Bible that I needed to decide to stop rebelling against Jesus, trust in Him, and surrender to God's will for my life."
After making this decision Leanne says her mother saw a "night and day" difference in her personality and outlook.
"The peace I felt was amazing – because I knew was held secure in God's hands," she explains.
"Why would you put off trusting the most loving Saviour? He gives you peace and direction in life, and offers you a home in heaven for eternity with Himself.
"I am amazed that Jesus would suffer for a horrible person like me."
Although LeeAnne was sad to see her own mother pass away, she feels joy knowing her mum is in heaven with Jesus and they will one day meet again.
"My dear mum always said you can't take anything to heaven with you but your family and she is right! Becoming a mother made me realise that the most important thing I wanted to pass onto my children is how to have a relationship with Jesus," she explains.
"Jesus has been my comfort and my joy and I want my children to know this for themselves. The Bible is the best parenting manual I've ever come across!"•