Feelings of abandonment and emptiness often overwhelmed Tash Head as a teenager when she reflected on the suicide of her father when she was just a baby.
"In high school I struggled a lot with self-worth, and I made a lot of bad decisions which left me very bitter," recalls the 21-year-old.
"Due to these decisions, I was angry at myself, which made me angry and hateful towards a lot of people in my life and that included God, even though I did not believe in Him."
Tash says despite having a loving family, she pursued things that would distract her from her emptiness: smoking marijuana, binge drinking and sexual relationships.
"I had my first relationship at the age of 14, and it was a bad experience which left me with a lot of issues," she admits.
A few years later the news that her Grandma had six months to live brought further grief to her life.
Despite her devastation, Tash looks back on this event as the beginning of the turning point in her life.
"While visiting my Grandma in hospital, I met a nurse named Brittany who was working on her ward, and she prayed for my Grandma," Tash explains.
"When we were arranging the funeral after my Grandma passed away, my mom wanted Brittany to sing, so I went to her church to hear her sing and heard about God."
The church service prompted Tash to ask more questions about who God is and she decided to go home and watch Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, a film that led to a life changing decision.
"I realised the seriousness of my sin and what Jesus had done on the cross. I knew that I was lost and needed Jesus' forgiveness, so I decided to follow Him."
As she surrendered control of her life to Jesus, Tash shares that her attitude to life changed.
"God took away all my hate and bitterness. My whole mindset and view of the world changed."
Since then she says that God has sustained her through rough times.
"God has helped me through trials. He has humbled me when I needed it, and helped me rely on Him and not myself."
"I once was lost but now I'm found", were words from one of her favourite well-known songs – Amazing Grace – that took on a whole new meaning in her life.
"For years I thought that Christianity was only for people with Christian families, but that is far from the truth," Tash adds.
"God saves anyone."•