My name is Helen Mengistu, I am a born again Christian and this is my testimony.
I grew up in an Orthodox household but religion was never my thing nor was it for my family. We never really attended church unless there was a wedding or a baptism or unless it was Christmas or Easter. Because of this, I was never really close to God or had a proper relationship with him. I knew who He was but I never knew what He was capable of doing. I knew about His son Jesus who died on the cross but I was never really close to Him either.
At the age of 6, I was molested and raped multiple times. This continued for a year. It was torture. Before I could even start being a kid, my childhood had been taken away from me in the blink of an eye. I was sexually molested and raped until my tiny little body ended up in the emergency room. At that age, I learned to shut down my feelings. I grew up with fear of getting close to people. I was even scared to hug my siblings or friends because of my experience. So, I decided to separate and guard myself.
My pain was my badge of honor.
Growing up things got hard. At the age of 12, I was placed in a foster care by child protection due to child neglection and abuse. “It will only be for two days in the foster home”, I was promised by my caseworker. But 2 days became 6 years in the foster care and it was tough. Betrayal was my best friend. I was placed in a home with other children whose parents were either dead or couldn’t take care of them due to many reasons which meant that child protection had to take action. I felt like I was living a double life. In the home, I was a foster child and at school, I was putting a mask that nobody could see through. I had so much bottled up inside me that I wondered if I would start crying in front of strangers someday because it was getting hard to live the double life. I suffered mental illness, I was battling with depression, I had become suicidal, cutting my wrist became addicting to me, with every cut I felt the pain go away. I would overdose myself with medications that weren’t prescribed to me. I just wanted my life to end, I was over it. If someone was to ask me what depression feels like, I would say it feels like being 10 feet underwater with your feet tied to an anchor that’s pulling you down, down, down. You know you need to find your way back to the surface but you can’t seem to untie yourself. So you slowly die and your body slowly fades. No one can save you because they can’t see you or your struggles. So you die.
I might have seemed strong in the eyes of people, but I was broken. I was not okay.
Since the day I was taken away from them, I never heard from my family. No calls, no letters, just nothing. Years went by and each passing day broke my heart. It was eating my soul. I was missing out on seeing my siblings grow, I was missing out on birthdays. It was as if I was dead and didn’t exist at all and they were living their lives. Why is God making me suffer? What did I do to deserve all this mess? Can He not see I’m slowly dying from my troubles? I became terrified of mirrors. Every time I looked into one, I felt like I was under a magnifying glass in a science class where each flaw of mine stared back at me, mocking me. I look around and saw so much perfection, and my own imperfections made me feel so small. Tiny little Helu. I’d look in the mirror in the morning. I mean there is this girl in there and I would wonder who she was. Sometimes, I thought I knew her and sometimes I wished I did. There is a story in her eyes – pain and hurt.
When she looked back at me I could tell she was hurting inside. It was my own reflection.
My foster parents were evangelical Christians. My foster dad was a pastor so I’d hear about Jesus and of His cleansing power. How he made those who walked with him healed by His cleansing power, causing the blind to see, turning water into wine, telling the future, revealing the past, calming storms, walking on water, feeding thousands, casting out demons, raising the dead, even rising from the dead himself. June 16/2013 was the day I dedicated my life to Christ. It was this one evening I was in my room looking out over my city and all of a sudden in my heart, I felt God talk to me and say “I have heard your cries, my child, let me help you”. He was telling me He knew what I was going through. I was scared terrified. I wanted to surrender my life to Him but I was scared I’d lose everything. I had so many mixed emotions. I had this negative voice telling me not to do it “you aren’t worthy of Him”. Then my other voice would say “your father is waiting, reach for his hand”. I was battling with my thoughts. I broke down to my knees and cried so much and called out for Jesus to help me. I yelled His name from the top of my lungs, “Jesus I need you more than anything, I need you in my heart, I need you in my life”. I thanked him for paying my debt. I thanked Jesus for dying for me and rising again so I may know God. I asked him to come and heal my broken spirit. And somehow Jesus came and brought me to VICTORY! I felt the holy spirit working in me. A burden was lifted off my shoulders. I was free. I was saved. It was real.
Jesus saved me.
I don’t believe in such thing as being born a Christian. I made the decision to follow Christ and the thing is, He is the one who pursued me first. So after being a born-again Christian everything was starting to make sense in my life. I had found peace in my heart although I was being tested by temptations and obstacles. But I had God with me who was there to help me and guide me. If you want the closest of relationships with God, you have to risk opening your heart. There’s no other way. When you give yourself to Jesus, when you talk to Him often and step out in faith, He will reward you by giving you more of Himself. Stepping out takes courage and it takes time. Don’t be held back by your fears. You can move beyond them only through the encouragement of the Holy Spirit. I admire anybody who is really genuine and walks with Christ. It’s a huge commitment. I used to say, “I don’t think I’m ready” because it’s always scary at the beginning when you can’t see the other side. But God always has so many beautiful things on the other side. It’s just a matter of trusting him. Before understanding everything, just TRUST. That’s how it works with God – by faith. He will then reveal more of Himself then you will understand more and more. It’s not “let me understand you first and then I’ll see if I want you”. Let God be God and just trust him.
God never turns away anyone who seeks Him.
I sought him and I found His love. He will give you every help you need to build an intense, intimate relationship with him. I can lose whatever in life and I wouldn’t care as long as my God is with me then I have everything. How many times does the bible tell us to not be afraid? A LOTTT! Once again, it’s trust you need to put in God. The more you study Matthew, Luke, Mark, and John the better you’ll understand Jesus. When you meditate on His parables, you’ll discover the love and compassion that comes from Him. As you read about Jesus healing people thousands of years ago, you begin to grasp that our living God can reach out from heaven and touch your life today and help you no matter how many times you turn away from him. If He can help me and save me then He can do the same for you.
Sometimes we answer our own prayers before we let God do His will. He’s real. He does things a certain way and it’s not up to us to figure it out and try and understand everything. I constantly remind myself I am a daughter of a King, therefore, He is GREATER than me. I am just His daughter. Just humbling yourself before God changes everything. So bring yourself before the Lord and completely rely on him.
You don’t need to figure everything out yourself.
What I learned through my journey is when we ask for strength God puts us in situations where we feel weak so we develop strength. God offers us short-term pain with long-term pleasure. Jesus was able to suffer the cross because He looked past the pain to the joy that was set before Him. And if you CHOOSE to trust in Him and surrender yourself to Him, He will make something good out of the storms that devastate your life.
By guest writer Helen Mengistu
God Loves You, Always & Forever!117