Jennifer King had never felt valued and didn’t believe anyone could really love her.
"I was a confused, bitter, and angry young woman," Jennifer admits, "For many years I believed my purpose in life was to be consistently knocked down so that others would get the free ride – the life of joy and happiness.
"I had been sexually abused by my eldest brother over a period of about 10 years beginning when I was 4 or 5 years old. Initially, he was navigating his way through puberty and I was the person he experimented with, later I was just an easy target.
"Finally, at the age of 14 I was able to tell him to leave me alone!"
This, however, was not the only heartache that Jennifer had to deal with.
"At 15 I was involved in a car accident where I ran over and killed a little girl," Jennifer confesses sadly.
"By 16, my parents sold the farm that we lived on and we moved to the city. I left school on a whim and got a job. I now had the means and opportunity to commence my underage drinking and partying lifestyle. I became a very promiscuous, hard, and heartless young woman. I had little respect for authority and none for myself."
At 18, Jennifer committed herself to a psychiatric ward because of her deep depression.
"They were willing to assist me in dealing with the fall out of my car accident but were unwilling to even discuss the abuse I had endured at the hands of my brother. This was a taboo subject in those days.
"My anger simply grew and my self-destructive behaviours increased. I realised my life was a mess and I had to make some changes. So I went and joined the army. I fitted right in with the booze culture the armed services had at that time.
"I sought direction from mediums and tarot card readers. They told me I would find the man of my dreams and have a happy marriage.
"Fifteen months later I was pregnant and as was the norm in those days, I got married. This was not a wise decision. Predictably, the tarot cards had got the message very, very wrong."
Jennifer's marriage was an abusive disaster. She felt like she was failing as a mother and had very few friends. She now realised that the few times she had been to church had been times of peace.
"I felt God was real and He was out there somewhere," Jennifer explains, "I just didn't think He would want to have anything to do with a person like me. From time to time I called out 'Why me?' I know I wallowed in self-pity. What I should have been calling out was 'God help me!'"
During a visit to her family, Jennifer's younger brother asked her to accompany him to church. There, Jennifer was confronted with some hard questions about herself, her life, and where she was placed in her relationship with Jesus.
"I was led to say the sinner's prayer, in doing so I was guided to ask Christ to forgive me of my many sins, to ask Him to become the Lord of my life and to be my Saviour."
Jennifer returned home and began attending church. She "tried very hard to be a good person" but because her understanding of God was a mental assent to the truth of God rather than embracing a love-relationship with Him, she found herself 10 months later drifting from church and stopped spending time reading her Bible.
She admits that a major factor in this falling away was that she still; "could not comprehend how God could possibly accept a sinner who was as defiled as me," and her life continued to be very difficult.
When Jennifer's marriage collapsed completely, she began a new relationship, moved interstate, divorced, and quickly remarried. "I had once again found a controlling and abusive person to share my life with. This marriage also failed," she confesses.
Then Jennifer began attending a new church where her pastor encouraged her to examine each of her life experiences and to lift them individually to Christ.
"It was during this meeting that I finally came to understand that Jesus loves me!" Jennifer exclaims, "My knowledge of Him finally moved from my head to my heart. I was now in a position to commence a heartfelt relationship with Him.
"Jesus has been with me every step of the way and He will never, ever leave me. I am confident that my sins have been forgiven, my chains have been broken, I have been set free and that Jesus Christ really does love and accept me. I have value as a child of God.
"I know I have been healed of the scars I carried forward from my abusive childhood and marriages. I have been restored from the brokenness of the past. I am not alone, Christ goes before me and He will never leave me!"•