A clubfoot and partial facial paralysis was not what troubled Ansoo du Toit, instead it was what family and strangers said that caused a disabling belief that her life was a mistake.
"My mother never gave me love or even a hug, and she blamed me when things would go wrong," Ansoo recalls.
"She gave all her attention to my younger brothers. I did not feel wanted at all."
As others mocked her features, Ansoo sums up her childhood feelings: "I felt like a big mistake and a failure."
Her father tried to make life easier for her, but Ansoo felt so unlovable that his efforts made her feel guilty for taking his attention.
Her sense of personal failure led to using alcohol as "an escape route".
"It took the fear away for a time, but it surfaced again the next morning. I was an alcoholic for ten years, and the last two years were very bad."
A few traumatic experiences in 2009 stopped Ansoo from staying on this wrong path.
"On one occasion I nearly died of alcohol poisoning," she recalls.
After this narrow escape Ansoo realised that God was protecting her no matter where she was.
"I knew all along that God was there, but I was too selfish and stubborn to admit that I had a serious problem. If I went on drinking it was only a matter of time before I would be six feet under the ground."
She humbly admitted herself into a Noupoort Christian-based addiction treatment centre, where she remembers, "I confessed I had a problem and that Jesus was the only way out."
After being raised in a traditional church, Ansoo realised she was not truly right with God as she had thought.
"I was taught a certain way of being 'a Christian', but I did not have an intimate personal relationship with God."
She then remembered a Bible verse about Jesus being the light of the world.
Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (see John chapter 8, verse 12).
Ansoo continues, "I wanted to live in the light and no longer in the darkness. As John chapter 3 says, God loved me so much that He sent His one and only Son (Jesus) to die on the cross for me.
"I gave my life to Jesus on January 10, 2010. I wanted to live a life without sin (wrongdoing against God). God forgave all my sins and gave me a second chance."
Her life changed at that moment. In the Christian rehab centre Ansoo was baptised in water as a public demonstration of her new life in Jesus.
"I am not nobody anymore - I am loved by God," she says.
"After I gave my life to God, it was much easier to trust God and to be with Him. I had a purpose in life.
"Jesus has a passion for broken people. He heals and restores. I am a walking miracle of God's undeserved favour and never-ending love."
Ansoo then enquired of God why she was born as she was.
"I read in Romans chapter 9, 'But who are you, a mere man to criticise and contradict and answer back to God? Will what is made say to it's Creator, "Why have you made me like this?" This told me that I cannot ask God why He made me disabled in a way.
"I have to learn to accept His wisdom. I know within me who God is, because He lives inside me, and I can testify of His good work on earth."
Ansoo advises others who want to know peace with God, "Submit and humble yourself to receive God's everlasting love and grace."
Ansoo finished studies in Christian pastoral counselling with honours in 2015, and hopes to encourage others with her story.•