Growing up, Elizabeth Laine struggled with impatience, impulsiveness, and theft. Her father was in the army so they moved around a lot. Elizabeth and her family had each other, but she still battled with loneliness and insecurity.
"We were regular church attenders but I found it boring," Elizabeth admits. "It was a waste of time and a day off from school that should have been for play."
At five, Elizabeth took a little girl's flowers and at thirteen, she stole money from the church collection box to pay for a bottle of coke she wanted.
"I struggled with stealing the most," she acknowledges. "A lack of forgiveness was a close second followed by impatience. Impatience made me short-sighted, as I didn't think serious decisions through – I was impulsive and was borderline compulsive."
As a child, Elizabeth firmly believed going to church did "it" for her and her family. No harm could possibly come to a church-going, regular family of four.
"On 12th April, 1970, not long after stealing from the church," she recalls, "the story of Saul turned Paul [in the Bible in Acts 9:1-22 ] came to be shown at church. The movie convicted me and I became a 'Christian'. However, I never read my Bible after that."
Elizabeth got married and stayed in a doomed, loveless, abusive marriage for 27 years.
"When my husband walked out on a prayer for reconciliation by our Bible Group leader, I wanted to give up, curl up, and die," Elizabeth admits sadly.
However, this drastic turn in her life convicted Elizabeth about her relationship with God.
"I got the full message," she says. "I wanted to become the person God wanted and needed me to be. I found 'Liz' again after 27 years of an abusive marriage. God gave me a second chance with my next husband.
"He was a godly man – a true man of God. He was warned by the Lord that I was in danger and to take me quickly as his wife, which he did! No questions."
Sadly, life did not become easier for Elizabeth and her new husband. In fact, things took a downward spiral.
"In an act of revenge, my ex-husband, who blamed me for his mental illness, went around defaming and slandering me to everyone - family members, friends, church associates. I lost every primary relationship, including all four children (who were adults at the time) and my dad. (My mum had passed away in 2007, and my sister in 2012).
"My husband and I were shunned at weddings. My dad disowned and disinherited me, saying that I was a bad wife, daughter, and mother; that I was a nothing. I was cast away like used garbage.
"Five years after the divorce that he asked for, my ex-husband committed suicide. I received the blame for this also from my children."
Elizabeth doesn't choose to wallow in self-pity and hopelessness, though. She turns to the only one who will never forsake or leave her.
"God gives me the strength every day to overcome the sadness of losing all my family, friends, and the five grandchildren I will never have in my life," Elizabeth states. "The broad way is easy and many follow it, but they face loss, negativity, racism, abuse, mental illness, drug addictions, alcoholism, anger, bitterness, lies, blame and suicidal thoughts. Ever since I let Christ into my heart, He never lets me down in my darkest times."
A Bible verse that has really helped Elizabeth get through the crises of life is Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says Jehovah, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end." She is also encouraged by other Bible passages telling her to stand on the truth and continue to pray, even though her whole family may stand on lies.
Elizabeth has written two books, Eagles on the High Way and A Butterfly Landed an Eagle. The books resonate with experience, pointing out the best way to deal with bad situations in a good, positive, healing way.
"Therein lies the secret of 'overcoming'- a tried and tested phenomena," Elizabeth says in conclusion. "As a Christian, I am commanded to overcome and obey ... I challenge Christians and non-believers to ask the right kind of questions in trying situations.
"Instead of blaming God and asking, 'Why me?' I suggest that we overcome and obey. When a disaster or crisis has occurred, what are you going to do about it? We can overcome all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13)."•