Sara Field says she was lost until she rediscovered God.
As early as I can remember God was always with me, I just didn’t realise. However, by the age of 24, when I attempted to end my life, I had drifted so far from God that I couldn’t hear or feel him.
I was born in 1980 and 15 months later my awesome little brother was born. I had the best mum. She loved me, wanted and cared for me; at least that’s what I was told. But everything started to fall apart just after Christmas 1981—life as I knew it, anyway.
Mum collapsed at home and several tests later a very aggressive form of colon cancer was diagnosed. In June 1982 she passed away at 27, just before my second birthday, with my brother only seven months old. It seemed so cruel.
My father had already decided that single parenting wasn’t for him and, as if to cement that decision, he moved to the US to be with his sister only a few months later. My brother and I spent the next few years being passed between family members—my amazing maternal grandmother, being responsible for most of our care.
Every day I would wait at my grandmother’s front door calling out ‘mummy’ to every passing car but mummy never came. My Gran was there though, broken hearted, exhausted and caring for a little girl who found comfort and warmth sitting on the cupboard in her bedroom. They all said I was confused.
My father returned in 1985 and took us from our one constant, our Gran, back to live with him.
My father’s parenting could best be described as ranging from providing the basics, such as a place to sleep and eat, to displaying terrifying, unpredictable acts of violence and abuse. He was a very violent, angry, uncontrolled and sexually-deviant man.
As I grew, differentiating truth from the distortion my father created became increasingly challenging. He told me I was fat and ugly and that was why he had no respect for me. He said I was stupid and useless, that no-one would believe me about his behaviour and I would never achieve anything.
The day he tried to take my life, he told me I was a mistake anyway.
I totally disconnected from everything, myself, my body, my education, my love of sport and that comfort I used to be able to sense.
By the age of 17, I suffered from bulimia nervosa and regularly abused alcohol and self-harmed.
However, I graduated from high school and through sheer determination and the help of God, I started my university education in 1998.
I also left my father’s home that year as a damaged 18-year-old and, as you might expect, the independence came at a high price.
I stayed with friends, had various jobs, started partying and studying hard and using uppers and downers. I spent the next few years in and out of mental health facilities in Perth on my path of hedonistic self-destruction.
My father was finally imprisoned and I had effectively ostracised everyone close to me. In March 2004, in reckless contempt for my own life, I tried to take my own life with a cocktail of drugs. I spent the next seven weeks in a mental health facility, where I was angry, frustrated, sad, scared, tired, empty and so very lost—all at the same time.
A nurse spoke to me about Jesus and how God’s plan was for so much more. I left hospital much the same way I went in, but that nurse gave me a licence to imagine that there could be a plan for my life that was bigger and better than this mess I was in.
I started to get my life together, despite some ongoing struggles, and I watched my Gran’s heart begin to sing again. In 2009 I married the man I was in love with, graduated from university with a Masters in Social Science and later attained a further qualification in family dispute resolution.
A close friend of mine invited my son and me to come with her and her daughter to ‘mainly music’ (a children’s music program) at the Balga Salvos church (WA). As soon as I walked in the door I felt love on a big scale. It was overwhelming at first—who are these people and why are they so friendly, warm and welcoming? I asked myself.
Soon I could not get enough of that Salvos church. I felt so at home, like I had found what was missing. I became a Christian but I already knew God, I had come home. I had wandered so far the journey back wasn’t easy, but that nurse was right—what God has for my life is so much more and His love conquers all.