My name is Jane. I’m a believer recovering from childhood sexual, emotional and physical abuse.

I gave my life to Jesus eight years ago, on fire for the Lord. I then found the fire going out because God was revealing issues in my life that needed to be dealt with going way back into childhood.

This was a pattern of sexual abuse which first began at 6 and 14. My mother’s reaction was to get angry and to hit out physically, which in turn caused me to feel guilt, shame and that I was as fault.

It also affected my relationship with my mother. I felt I could never gain her acceptance, trust or love.

I felt unwanted, unloved and that I didn’t fit into the family.

In later years I was to be labelled ‘the problem’.

As far as I am aware none of these incidents were ever told to my father. As I grew through my teenage years I became more resentful towards my mother, a kind of love / hate relationship and to cope with my feelings I would suppress them and withdraw, particularly into books.

Later, through friends at school and my family, I was drawn into the occult through Ouija boards, levitation, horoscopes; anything paranormal or unexplained. I was 15 when I visited a clairvoyant with my mother.

I was searching for something but in all the wrong places.

I was looking for love and acceptance, feeling lost and alone. At 17 I left home to begin training as a nurse in Nottingham. It was the first time I gained approval and praise from my mother and family. I felt both overjoyed at the praise but guilty, shameful and unable to speak to anyone about what I had done in complying with the abuse.

It was during my training that I suffered my first attack of depression and left nursing to go back home. I thought it was homesickness but going back home only made matters worse as memories came back and I was tormented by the ‘if only’s and the ‘yeah buts’.

I was 19 when I attempted to take my own life through an overdose of tablets.

After a stay in hospital, an older sister invited me to stay with her family at Derby. This I did but I still could not find anyone to speak to.

I settled and found work in Derby and through a mutual acquaintance met the man who was to be my first husband.

I was able to disclose the abuse to him and I thought it would give me release but it was like taking a stopper out of a bottle and I realised there was more to come. My husband was not able or qualified to cope so again I began to repress my feelings and carry on as best as I could.

This was not easy as my husband was verbally abusive and had quite a temper. After I had our two children I suffered from post-natal depression and felt isolated and very alone. My husband became more verbally abusive, very much a Jekyll and Hyde character. You never knew what was going to happen.

I felt unloved and starved of affection and kind words.

It was when we moved to Eastwood and again I was spiraling down into self-destruct that I sought affection elsewhere and my husband suspected and eventually I told him and things got worse.

He became more aggressive through drinking and verbal abuse was accompanied by physical. My past was held in emotional blackmail should I disclose his plans for revenge against the person and their family that I had been indiscreet with.

Everything came to an end after my husband physically assaulted me and we were divorced three months later. Again I thought I would gain some release but I could not grieve. I felt numb inside and I had two small children to care for. Shortly after this I had a phone call to say my father had died. I had not been given the chance to say goodbye as my husband would not let me go to the hospital.

I coped with all this through drinking to ease the pain but everything began to crumble around me. I could not cope any longer.

It was at this time a lady in the aerobics class I attended, the mother of my son’s school friend, gave me a leaflet about an Alpha Course, which I attended, and through this course I gave my life to Jesus.

At the same time, a programme called Celebrate Recovery had begun in Derby. I could not attend at this time as I had no transport but as I said at the beginning, God was working on this and three years later, after hearing a testimony at the church in Derby I came on the programme.

So, what has Celebrate Recovery done for me?

It has given me a safe and secure environment to look at what I was responsible for, my actions and choices. It has given me, through support and acceptance, a place to share and realise that I am not on my own; other people have felt and thought the same as me.

Through the principles, steps and teachings, I have come to understand the power of forgiveness and through this gain at last the release that I needed.

Through Jesus Christ, my Higher Power I have forgiven my abusers and, the hardest of all, I have forgiven myself and received the strength to make amends. The scripture which has given and continues to give me the most comfort is this; “Fear not for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I am your God and I will strengthen you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

Celebrate Recovery has given me someone to celebrate, the person who God created me to be.