Where did you grow up?
London, specifically North East London.
How would you describe yourself?
If you first meet me I might seem quiet, shy and reserved but once you get to know me you will see a complete different side! I’ve definitely got a child like spirit! I love being silly and playful with my friends and family. I’ve always been known as the cheeky one in the family! (Might be a trait of younger siblings…ha!)
Did you grow up religious/ secular or other?
I grew up in a Christian environment. We all believed in God but we didn’t have a relationship with Jesus till much later. My sister, my mum and I would attend Church every Sunday. My dad would come with us sometimes. As a child, I absolutely loved Sunday school but as I grew older I just found church boring and found excuses sometimes to not go. It seemed quite old fashioned especially as there were not many young people at my local church. It was at University where the gospel was presented in such a fresh way and I really understood what Christianity was really about – a relationship with Jesus!
I really understood what Christianity was really about – a relationship with Jesus!
How was your childhood?
I had a very happy childhood! I had great parents and an amazing sister! We were a very loud, fun loving close -knit family! But if I really think about what I was like as a child, I would say that the seeds of insecurity were planted at a young age. At primary school, I was desperate to fit in with the ‘cool’ crowd, which meant that my identity was left at the mercy of other people. This seed definitely grew throughout my life as I was dependent on whatever people thought about me.
What is the biggest lie you had to overcome?
The biggest lie that I had to overcome was not being able to conquer social anxiety. I would never forget when my confidence was stolen…yes…stolen. I was 11 years old and was serving as an acolyte at Church (I would hold candles in front of the priest at specific points of the service). It was something that I had done for about 3 years. No problem. But one Sunday as I sat in front of the congregation, I heard a voice say, “Look at how many people are looking at you!”. As soon as I heard that fear just engulfed me and I was shaking throughout the whole service. As soon as the service finished, I said to the priest that I did not want to serve anymore. After that day it was a downward spiral. My anxiety tormented me every single day. I couldn’t speak in class and would always run out in tears if I were asked to say or perform something. If I had to do a whole class performance for a school celebration I would worry about months or even in a year in advance because I would dread having to go up in front of people. Anxieties also lead me to dread walking out the house. I got extremely paranoid that everybody was looking and talking about me. I strained to listen to every single conversation to make sure that they weren’t talking about me. It was exhausting! At parties and events, I would latch onto someone to be my support but if they left or had to go somewhere else I was lost. I would panic. Where do I go? What do I say? Can people see my anxiety? All these questions would plague my mind and I’ll just end up crying in the toilets. I just wanted to disappear. I began to hate myself for feeling this way. At the age of 15, I started seeing a therapist. This helped me to open up and express how I was feeling and truly believed that this was the initial stages of God healing me and it took 9 years before the truth of who I am finally got into my heart.
My anxiety tormented me every single day.
What was your revelation of truth?
Throughout my anxiety, I knew the truth of God’s word. I knew that I was ‘more than a conqueror’ and I had the spirit of ‘power, love and sound mind’ and not ‘fear’. It was the faith I had in God that made me believe that I was going to overcome. Even when there were days that I would contemplate suicide, I just felt in my heart that God was going to turn it around. The years that followed therapy I was making small victories such as trying to answer in class and talking to new people. These small victories gave me the confidence to keep on stepping out. It was a long process with its ups and downs but I believed God truly gave me the strength to persevere.
When truth finally hit me was last week at the age of 23! The place where the Devil tried to steal my confidence is the place where it was restored …CHURCH! As a kid’s ministry leader, I was asked along with two other girls to lead the service to the main congregation. This was massive step for me, as I had not spoken to a crowd of that many people ever! I was nervous but also excited because at this point in my life I knew where God had brought me from. So when the day arrived and I spoke fear left me (I couldn’t believe it!) I wanted to do it again!! I was so thankful to God and wanted to do something to honour him. I felt he told me to share my testimony and here it is! Wow.
It was the faith I had in God that made me believe that I was going to overcome.
What does your future look like with truth?
I feel empowered! I feel bold and confident, which is what I had been praying for for such a long time! Although fear will always arise, I know that I the strength in Jesus to overcome it! My prayer and advice to anyone going through anxiety is to seek help if needed, never suffer in silence! Talk to someone about it and get the right help. I also pray for you to never give up on the truth! It will carry you through those dark moments. Though it may seem long you will get there, God is with you always! Much love to you all!