Growing up with an alcoholic, abusive father
I was a pretty happy artistic, energetic child who loved to play, read, write, sing and draw. Life for me as a child growing up was pretty normal, but by my early teen years, my dad's drinking had turned him into a full blown alcoholic. He physically and emotionally abused my mother for many years, hitting her on an almost daily basis and accusing her of all manner of things, and calling her all sorts of vulgar names. Our house was filled with shouting, hitting and quarrelling most of the time, and I did not know what it was like to live in peace. Because of the abuse she suffered from my father, my mother was mostly always crying, unhappy, and very strict with my sister and I.
Depression and suicide
When I was 16, my father tried to kill my mother one night, and the next day after intervention from my mother’s sisters and brother, they were separated. We moved to a smaller house which my mother could afford. I only saw my dad once more six months later in December, 1998 when he came to visit us, but I was filled with such anger and hatred for him that I showed him contempt and did not want to be in the house while he was there. I remember leaving and coming up late when I was sure he would be back, I met with him on the road when he was leaving and we said awkward goodbyes like strangers. Little did I know this would be my last time to see him alive. Six months later in May 1999 when I was 17, my father committed suicide. I was in my last year of high school, and my mind was in such torment that I’m surprised I managed to finish high school and pass my exams. My father’s suicide totally messed me up and made my already dark state of mine worse. I blamed myself and suffered guilt for the many times I was rude to my father and the hatred I had for him. I turned the grief inwards and grew even more hateful of myself and life in general.
My first three years of college went by in a blur. They were miserable years. I got involved in a relationship where I was introduced to alcohol and sex. Then I got pregnant at 20 and had an abortion. All these problems and sins were mixed up with my depression and my life was a living hell. All along I had wanted to be a good person but I found myself always self destructing and doing the very things I hated and it’s like I could not control myself and stop my sinful habits. I continued to struggle with more mental issues such as OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), bulimia (an eating disorder) and more anxiety. I visited many different places for counseling and therapy, but I never really got any help for my depression. I was constantly suicidal after the abortion and had a great fear of death and going to hell. Fear had so taken over my life that I was scared of leaving the house even to go to college. I would shut myself in the house for days with all the curtains drawn, filled with misery. I would drink secretly in my room to numb the pain, but it only made things worse. Once I drank so much alcohol that I collapsed and was rushed to a hospital where I was admitted for two days on alcoholic poisoning.
I had always wanted to live for God but it was always so hard for me to make the decision because I felt so unworthy. One day in January 2003, after months of wanting to get right with God, sitting at home alone, I switched the channel to Christian TV and after watching three shows. I repeated the prayer they said after the program and gave my life to Christ.
Falling back into darkness
In the year and a half to come I joined a church and focused on serving God and pleasing Him. I gave myself to fully serving God in various ministries in the church. My life finally had peace and true joy. Everybody noticed the change in me because I was no longer sad and withdrawn. My mum and sister started attending church once in a while because of me. However, the change was short-lived. I began again to struggle with depression and insecurity, and instead of staying close to God and looking to Him for comfort, I walked away from him and drowned myself in self pity and gave into the feelings I had of unworthiness, inadequacy, and low self esteem. Shutting myself away from God, church, all the church friends I had and isolating myself, opened the door for more depression. With time I found myself back to my old ways of thinking, and soon I met up with an old friend and ended up pregnant. I lost 25 pounds while pregnant because of depression and made two half-hearted suicide attempts. This was the worst period of my life. I went through worse misery than I ever had. I had disappointed myself, God, my family, and it was too much for me to handle. But I had made up my mind to keep my baby and suffer the consequences of my actions. I hardly ate the whole time I was pregnant. My body was weak; I became very thin and was filled with such severe hopelessness.
Being a new mom, with severe mental health issues, no confidence, depression and a lot of anger and bitterness at life and all my mistakes, despite having wanted always to be a good responsible girl, was not something easy for me. Being a mom did not come naturally because I had always secluded myself into this world where I was always alone, and it was difficult to now deal with having an innocent, helpless life be my responsibility. It took years for me to finally be at home and at ease with being a mom with God’s help. I had damaged emotions, trust issues, painful wounds, bitterness, anger and it made it difficult for me to easily transition to being a care taker of an innocent life but I loved my baby and the Lords grace was with me. My mother was also struggling with her own identity as a widow and alcohol seemed to be her only comfort. Added to it having to support me, jobless and with a child was not easy for her. It was very strenuous to our relationship since we both had bitterness and so much anger, and a feeling of receiving the short end of the stick in life.
I finally was referred to a psychiatrist by my aunt because she saw I needed the help. I couldn’t function. I was always tired and disoriented. Even after I got a job it was so tough for me to function because of the severe clinical depression I had. My mind was cloudy and dark; I was always sad, suicidal, and hopeless. The doctor prescribed anti-depressants for me, but I did not take them long because of the side effects. In the years to come, I would get into many wrong relationships, make friends with the wrong kind of people because I was lonely, go out to clubs with my new friends - something I had never done before - started drinking quite often, got addicted to wine, tried smoking weed, and tried getting into all manner of stuff to get peace. I even thought at some point that I may be a lesbian and sought this lifestyle out. I began to hang out with gay ladies, went to strip clubs and did all manner of things I had previously never considered; I was searching for identity everywhere and never found it. This lifestyle didn’t give me what I desired but left me even more troubled and guilt filled. I tried to find identity and purpose from horoscopes, personality profiles, through my writing gift etc., but even after trying all there was to try ... I still felt lonely and alone; I did not fit in anywhere.
My life was a big mess. I did my best to be a good mom to my daughter, because I did not want her to feel the same rejection I’d felt all my life. But being depressed and sad all the time, I could not really be a good mother to her. I knew only the Lord Jesus could help me, but I was so dejected and guilty at how far I had wandered from Him that I did not think He could take me back; I had written myself off but He never did. At the age of 27, I started to lose my mind completely. I was so tired, often sick, fatigued, hopeless and begging God daily to let me die. I knew if I didn’t make things right with God, I probably would end up dead for sure. I didn’t have much of life left. I was so frustrated with my life; I had no peace. I started seeing a psychiatrist again because I was at my wits end. He diagnosed me as severely clinically depressed and also having social anxiety, and put me on drugs. But I could feel God tell me it’s Him I needed, and I could keep medicating and drinking, but I would never have peace. By this time I was even drinking while at work during my lunch break in an effort to numb all the pain within.
After years of rejecting God and trying to fix my life on my own ... I couldn’t run any more. On July 7th, 2009, a normal day, I went home and put my daughter to sleep. I just felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit so strong that night, that I knew it was time to make things right. The Lord had been pursuing me so fervently. I would be in clubs and in sin, and I would hear the Holy Spirit of God speak to me to come back to God. The Lord's voice and conviction of my sinfulness and need for Him had become so strong that I couldn’t deny it anymore. Right there in my bedroom that night, crying like a baby, I confessed my sins, cried out to Him for His mercy, grace, and help; I rededicated my life back to Jesus. I knew right then my past was over and there would be no turning back.
The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9).
When I woke up the next morning, I was literally a new person, my mind was brand new; all my addictions, lusts and desires for sin and perversions were gone. The Lord delivered me instantly as He promises in his word. I never went back to doing the things I did before. It was His power not mines; Lord knows how many times I had desired and made promises to myself not to drink or commit sin before and how miserably I’d failed. I was a slave to sin and Satan, but that night when I called on the Lord from my heart, He delivered me from all that psychiatrists, counselors, my own efforts, and friends never could. He did it by His power and might! Nothing is too hard for God! Nobody is too hopeless and sinful for God. Jesus alone can set free; He is the WAY, TRUTH and LIFE; no one can come to God except through Him.
"He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and mire." (Psalms 40:2)
The Lord has called me as an Evangelist and I’m humbled at His love, mercies and call. I’m passionate about the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the POWER of God unto salvation to all who believe. Jesus was manifested to destroy the works of the devil and there is nothing too great for Him once we surrender our lives to Him and give Him all that we are. God has made my mess my message.
I also now have a blog which I use to share Jesus, articles, and messages on various life and faith issues. My aim is to share Christ’s love, forgiveness, healing, and encouragement and hopefully express his Grace and Love in what I write. God made me a new creation and He will do the same for anyone who receives Him and His salvation. He is no respecter of persons. There is nothing too hard for God. Eternal life awaits those who believe in Him and are saved by His blood.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new ..." (2 Corinthians 5:17).
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1)
Facebook: Hadassah Mwendwa