I started going to church regularly shortly before my youngest son was born, having been inspired by my child-minder’s life. It was some years later that I became a Christian, and only within the last 5 years that I have really lived the gospel message of hope and love. An abused childhood and 20 years battling depression made it difficult to grasp. Though I knew the gospel message in my head, it took a significant depressive episode, when I was so broken that hope had all but deserted me, before the message finally moved to my heart and I began to live in God’s transforming grace.I had discovered the power of prayer, and God answering it, before I moved up to Yorkshire in 2003. He put people in my way, on my way, with the right words and actions at just the right time. This enabled decision making and helped me deal with a number of difficult situations, including the move north that signalled the end of my marriage.Prayer continued to be a significant part of my life. My journey of understanding, which had begun with Alpha while still living down south, continued through a variety of Bible study groups, courses, conferences, reflective opportunities and quiet days. I started conversations with God in the car, throughout the day, wherever I was. I realised that just as human relationships survive on communication, so does relationship with God. Spending time with Him became very important, and I learnt that prayer time, quiet days and retreats were not a self-indulgent luxury but a necessity in the ‘too busy’ world that was my life.When I was very ill during my breakdown I somehow knew God was there. I held onto the fact that He had brought me through severe depressive episodes before and I was sure that He would do so again. He was with me in the storm, even in my darkest moments.It was while I was recovering that I went on retreat. I was the only one there; it was basically me and God in the middle of nowhere. The wilderness I found myself in mentally was matched by the bleakness of my surroundings. But in that bleakness there was also beauty and the message of the gospel that I had known in my head began, at last, to make the journey to my heart. As I glimpsed autumn in full swing out of the window, I was inspired to write poetry – something I hadn’t done for quite some time.And there God’s transforming grace began to heal. I was very, very broken, and God was very carefully mending me. He allowed me to rediscover my gifts and to discover who I really was. I realised that I was not defined by my past, by the mistakes I had made, by what others had done to me. Having completed another retreat to do the Freedom In Christ course, I began to live, really live in that freedom. Forgiving those who had harmed me enabled me to be free. Repenting and seeking forgiveness enabled me to finally accept and embrace God’s unconditional love.I have learnt that healing is a long process. Mending is designed to strengthen and make new, but it’s a process of stripping down layer by layer until the core can be healed before being built up again. I still battle with depression but it no longer controls me, my faith does – and there is nothing I cannot face with Him, and those I love, by my side.
Kay Short is pictured here on the left (with glasses) being interrogated at Wakefield Cathedral during the All Saints Community youth event, Murder in the Cathedral. She played one of the suspects.Kay worships at St John’s, Wakefield.