New life growing out of heartache
24 March 2020
It was the darkest time of Emma’s life. The moment of her most intense heartache.
“One of my daughters was having some terrible struggles with her mental health … paramedics were fighting to save my daughter’s life,” says Emma. “[I was] sitting in the hospital with her not knowing if that was going to be the last time I had to say goodbye to her.”
Emma admits “I couldn’t see God” in those times. But, she adds, “Now I reflect on those times … I can see how God fought [for] my daughter’s mental health with us.”
One of the most obvious ways God brought hope into Emma’s heartache was through the relationship with Leanne and Peter, ministers at the local Salvos.
“God set Leanne and Peter on our path so that we had support. I was blessed to [have their] support and strength,” she shares.
Emma spoke to Leanne from the back of the ambulance she was in with her daughter. And both Leanne and Peter were quick to arrive at her daughter’s hospital bedside not long after she was admitted.
A journey to relationship
The friendship began when Emma’s son started going along with friends to the Salvos kids club. “I planned to just drop them off and pick them up and not engage with anyone,” says Emma. “But over the next two or three years, Leanne would say ‘Hi’ and ask me for coffee and we would chat.”
Over the years, Emma came to appreciate Leanne and Peter’s support even more as she experienced trauma, battles to get her daughter help and her own emotional breakdown.
In the meantime, Emma’s son had continued his involvement with the Salvos and wanted to go to church. “I said to him, ‘Look, I’ll come to church with you the first time only.’ But I went that first day and I’ve been going ever since. Leanne and Peter provided me and my children with a safe, patient path to God. I can never thank them enough.”
Having found a “new life” with God, Emma says she feels “like a different person now”.
She shares: “I don’t get caught up in those feelings of loneliness in hard times as I know I will always have God beside me to help me through them. I feel his love each day. Through learning how much God loves us his children, I have learned my self-worth. I have learned that even though my life has sent things that damaged my soul, God has been there healing it along the way.”
A new life with hope to share
A couple of years ago, Emma started volunteering at the church as a welfare worker. She also volunteers with the local rural fire service and is exploring becoming qualified as a chaplain.
“We have a high level of vulnerable people with generational problems in our community and unfortunately society often gives up on them before they get the opportunity to change.
“But I know firsthand about God’s love that changes people. People here can’t believe the change in me – honestly, I can’t believe the change in me. Now I’m all about passing that on. [I want to encourage people] to reach out for support. [I want them to know they] are never alone. God walks beside us even when our belief is failing. He holds us close and loves us more.”
This Easter, as Emma thinks about the sacrifice God made in sending his son Jesus into the world, she is ever more encouraged in her personal mission to journey with others through their hard times.
“I want to continue on my path with others and show the love of God as Christ did all those years ago,” she says. “Not in judgment, but in hope, and in love of community. Christ made the ultimate sacrifice so I could live in the perfect love of God.”