Toni was only 11 weeks pregnant when the father of her baby left her.
Lost, broken and abandoned, Toni Kinghorn now faced the huge responsibility of raising a child alone. How could she possibly manage when she had no one to turn to for help?
“The life I was living was a hopeless dead end going nowhere,” Toni says, “I was broken and had lost everything and everyone in my life. I was alone.”
This was not the first time Toni had been left feeling depressed and confused by the way others treated her.
“I did not have an easy life as a child,” Toni says, “Both my parents were alcoholics and I was in children’s homes quite often … When I was growing up, being in and out of various homes was normal for me.”
As a young child, Toni also suffered from child abuse and negligence.
“There was some form of child abuse at some stage but I cannot remember much,” Toni shares. “My mum also suffered with anorexia and used to underfeed me. My dad died when I was young.”
All this added multiple scars to Toni’s heart and as she grew up, she attempted to forget her painful reality by taking drugs, and became involved in casual relationships as a way to gain the love she had never experienced at home.
During this tough time though, Toni never went to church or even thought about God and spiritual things. “I used to mock people going to church,” she admits.
But God was watching over Toni, as evidenced by her life being spared on two specific occasions.
The first time, when she tried to commit suicide from the 13th floor of a building at an hour when no one should have been awake. “I was really out of it,” Toni recalls, “and yet I was saved by someone.”
The second time when she had an epileptic fit in the middle of a busy road.
“A doctor in a nearby car attended to me. God was already there,” she admits.
When Toni fell pregnant and ended up in a home for unmarried mothers, she still felt insecure and unsure of herself.
everything”“I first heard about Jesus through social workers at the home,” she shares. “It was there while I was in church one Sunday that I felt prompted to stand up for the altar call. I was the only one and was pretty nervous.
‘’I gave my life to Jesus that day because I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit of God within me.
‘’From then on, God was dealing with my heart about forgiveness. I found it so hard, but He put the right people in my path, both in the home and beyond.
‘’And slowly, but surely, I learnt to forgive.
‘’It wasn’t an easy road,’’ Toni admits, ‘’because, as a new Christian I was pulled back into worldly situations … It was very hard at the beginning but circumstances began to change. The Holy Spirit started working in my life and convicting me.’’
Now, there is peace and security in Toni’s life.
“God has healed me of all addictions and desires,” she says joyfully. “I have been free from promiscuity for 11 years and clean from drugs for 10 years. I have no desire to go back to my former lifestyle.
God has changed me completely since I became a Christian. He has restored all that I lost.
I now work at my church. I have a family. I have a wonderful supportive husband and two lovely little girls. I have relationships with my other kids. My life has been given back to me through Jesus.
“Pray, pray, pray,” Toni urges those in similar circumstances.
“You get to a point where there is nowhere else to turn but if you look to Jesus, you can’t go wrong! He will answer you at your point of brokenness and need.
“I take one day at a time, I give everything to God. I make sure He is the central point of my focus in everything I do. I have learnt to rely on Him and trust Him fully.”
A verse from the Bible that is very special to Toni is Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 11, which says: “For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”•