When I was 22 I finished my degree in Fashion design at Manchester University and was unsure what to do next. My teenage years had been full of compromise and I didn’t feel like I had a deep enough relationship with my father God to survive as a Christian in the city.
Around that time I attended a Christian conference and over the couple of days I was there, I believe God gave me a passion in my heart to see teenagers delivered from the pressures of the world, and to discover their true value and worth.
Over the next few years myself, and a close friend, created a teenage magazine that was wholesome yet still on trend. We went in it full throttle and relied on God all the way. He blessed us with all the finances, a free office space and we travelled all over the country meeting amazing people, including our now husbands!
One of my favourite and most memorable moments was when we felt like we should proceed with the design and print of a certain issue but we didn’t have the funds to cover it.
We were at a prayer meeting one Monday morning and we were starting to get to the point where panic and anxiety was rearing its ugly head. We were asked if we had anything specific that we needed to pray about and we told them we needed £1000 sooner rather than later. The whole room prayed, not really knowing just how urgently the money was needed. A visitor to the group approached us and placed a ten pence coin in my hand. He said ‘Invest this and the Lord will bless you.’ At that point we had a choice, we could either look at the 10p coin, laugh at the ridiculous thought that 10p would lead to £1000, or do as we were told and invest it.
Later that afternoon we wrote a paying in slip for ten pence and took it to the bank. We felt a surge of embarrassment and excitement as we handed it over to the cashier. The next day a friend of ours came to see us and handed over £10 telling us they knew it wasn’t much but it was all they could afford at the time. We gratefully accepted it and again took it to the bank and paid it in.
On the Wednesday a man from our church came to visit us at our office, he’d never been before so it was a surprise to see him. He said he’d been meaning to visit for a while and had wanted to give us a cheque. He handed it over to us and we saw that it was made out for £100! He couldn’t quite believe how excited we were about it, so we shared with him about the ten pence coin and so he prayed with us that by the end of the week we would have the £1000 that we needed.
Thursday came and we were really expectant that we would receive the rest of the money, but it never appeared. Trying to keep positive we prayed that we would receive the money soon and hoped that God would somehow pull us out of the mess if we didn’t.
The next morning as we drove into work we couldn’t help feel a little down hearted but vowed to keep pushing on and doing what we felt was right.
When we entered our shared office it was surprisingly empty and so we turned on the lights and opened the window shutters. To our complete amazement, as the light flooded in, there on the desk was a neat pile of £20 notes. As we sat with our mouths half open we counted it and miraculously there was £1000!
14 years later we still don’t know how or who put the money there, but the experience is etched on my heart and has taught me so much!
Some people may think we were crazy deciding to go ahead with something without the funds in place, but at the time we strongly believed that God was showing us that He was our provider and that He had the funds for it ready and waiting.
I’ve never felt that strongly about a financial situation since but it definitely taught me about trusting God with all of my heart.
After a few years of running the magazine we decided to hand it over to a lovely couple from our home church. My business partner was getting married and setting up life in Swansea and I was also planning my wedding whilst supporting my family because my dad was fighting lung cancer. Things had got too much so handing it over to someone who could fully concentrate on it was definitely the right decision at the time.
My dad sadly passed away 6 weeks before my wedding day. I then entered the whirlwind of getting married, moving out of my family home and starting married life with my new husband. The more people told me how brave I was the more I put on a brave face and kept my real feelings hidden deep inside. I would silently cry myself to sleep at night longing to be back at home, with my mum, in my own bed.
During this time I couldn’t talk to God. I was terribly confused and couldn’t understand why a loving Heavenly Father would take an earthly father away from a daughter so close to her wedding day. I was very angry and disappointed but I continued keeping my feelings inside and pretending everything was ok.
I would go to church, go through the motions, smile nicely at people and go home. But it was fake, I had stopped praying and had stopped reading my bible. My relationship with God had come to a standstill. This silence lasted for 6 years.
3 years after getting married I gave birth to my daughter and she brought me some of the joy I needed to keep going. When she was 2 we decided to try for another baby and I conceived straight away. At this point I realized that it was time to sort out my relationship with God. How could I teach my children about a loving father in heaven when I wasn’t even sure if he was?
I started going for Christian counseling, which really helped me process my thoughts and feelings, and started to tell God how I felt. I’ve realised now that it’s best to tell God your feelings even if you are angry with Him. He’d rather you shout and be mad than go silent.
From there I started building my relationship back with Him. A book called ‘Crazy Love’ by Francis Chan really helped me understand why it happened the way it did. I realised that God loved my dad and I both the same and it was time for him to go home, it was just a shame it happened when it did.
After I had my son I started to sew again and was looking into setting up my own business. I had been working as a freelance workshop facilitator but it was taking me all over the country and I wanted something a bit more stable.
I was booked to do a workshop in London during the summer and I vowed it would be my last.
At the start of the year I had been praying for the year ahead and was asking God to show me what it was I needed to be doing. Whenever I prayed I kept hearing the words “this year you’re going to die.” I heard it maybe 4 or 5 times over the next 6 months and each time questioned whether it was God or the enemy.
Just before I went to London to run the workshop I went to a Christian camp with my children. During one of the meetings I heard the same thing again. This time I asked God some questions. “Is this you God?” “Yes” was the reply. “Where is it going to happen?” He replied “In the car.” “Will my children be ok?” “Yes” was his response. “Will I be ok?” (Silly question!) “Yes, you’ll have a testimony from the experience.” Wow, so maybe I’m going to die, meet with God, and then be brought back to life? I thought!
That evening I drove back to Manchester clutching my steering wheel tight. I prayed in my spirit all the way home and was so relieved when I pulled up onto my driveway. My husband was waiting for us and it felt so good to have us all safe, for one night at least.
The next day I packed the car ready for my week in London and said goodbye to my family. I hadn’t told my husband what I thought God had been telling me and so I just hugged them all a little bit tighter than I normally would and waved goodbye.
It was a sunny day in Manchester and I had the radio blaring and my sunglasses on. I really didn’t know what was going to happen but I just told God that whatever it was I was ready.
As I got onto the motorway I decided to put on a worship CD. The minute I started worshipping the Holy Spirit filled my car. The presence of God was thick and I was singing the worship songs at the top of my lungs. I felt like something was on the horizon, but I wasn’t sure what.
Just as I entered Birmingham thick, black clouds filled the sky and within seconds huge hailstones were pelting down on the car. It was daytime, during the summer, but I couldn’t see anything in front of me so I had to put my headlights on and slow down to 30 miles per hour. I was praying and praying saying “Jesus, my life is in your hands, my life is in your hands! If I’m about to meet you, I’m excited! Please forgive me for all my sins!” I felt like I was on top of a roller coaster and I was just about to go over the edge. I kept praying the same things over and over. After a very long five minutes I drove out from under the storm clouds and back into the sunshine. I pulled over at the nearest service station and sat in my car stunned. After a while I said “Lord, what. Was. That?’ and then He replied “You just died.” “You just died to yourself and put your whole life into my hands.”
After that experience my plans changed. I wanted to do whatever it was that God wanted me to do. I started to have dreams and visions and I believe He set me back onto the original path of wanting to see young people set free. My heart definitely aches for young girls and the things they face daily.
I originally thought God wanted me to write a book, but I wasn’t quite sure I had enough words to fill a whole one! As I started to think about chapters I realised that the chapters lent themselves to sessions and before long I had written a course! What I had written, with God’s help, was a course called ‘Be Loved’ that helps girls thrive within their relationships, faith and within themselves. My problem was I wasn’t sure how I was going to get the girls to sign up to the course. After waiting on God for an answer I kept going back to the book idea and thinking there must be something that would entice the girls. God then revealed His idea of a creative journal that would help the girls document their journey and engage them during the sessions. I set about designing the journal, which took me a year from the idea stage to having it printed.
I had no finances at all for the project but miraculously the Lord provided every penny that I needed within two weeks from 4 different sources. I never asked anyone for money, they approached me with the cash, Praise Jesus that He is our provider!
I have just completed the first trial of the course and I have been overwhelmed with the response. I’m so happy that God has me exactly where He wants me and that I’m in the palm of His hands. It’s the safest place to be. I’m not worried or scared because I know that this is the path that He has for me. If I hadn’t been bold that day and got in my car for London then my story may have been different today. When I finally told my husband he couldn’t quite believe that I got in my car thinking that I may die, and I hadn’t told him. For me that was a true act of trust between me and my Lord, and after years of not knowing who He was, it was a declaration of how much I love Him.