My husband and I, along with our six-month-old daughter, first attended CityLife Church Manningham in September 2008. At that time, my husband and I were looking for a church where we could start afresh and raise our family. I went through the first five months of motherhood with post-natal depression. It was a really difficult time emotionally to adjust to the role of being a mother for the first time. I really struggled to make sense of a whole host of emotions I felt, and, coming from a Christian family, it was hard to reconcile these feelings of depression with my Christian faith. Becoming a mother wasn't easy for me. I felt a sense of a loss of identity, I felt very lonely and ill-equipped for motherhood. I stepped AWAY from a career which I loved and stepped INTO this new job of motherhood which was overwhelming, exhausting and was without pay! A couple of months after coming to church, Pastor Joe asked me to consider leading the first Kidz Bizz Playgroup for Manningham. Honestly, I didn't feel at all qualified to be leading a playgroup after all I had been through. But I felt this was the gentle nudge that God was giving me to get out there and use my gifts to serve him again. So I yielded to his promptings. And stepping out to volunteer was the best thing I ever did! Being involved in Kidz Bizz Playgroups helped me discover life-changing friendships with other mums. It also made me realise that God can use ANYONE to serve and be a blessing, even if your hands are busy caring for young children. I felt that God really enabled me to share the gift of teaching and leadership that I used in my job (before kids) to help other mums who were also in the same season of life that I was in. God used the hurt and the pain of the post-natal depression I went through to soften my heart. He showed me how I can encourage, love and support other mothers who were going through many different issues. From Kidz Bizz Playgroups, I also went on to lead a Mums Life Group at CityLife Manningham. The last seven years of leading the mums Life Group has been amazing, coming alongside mothers from all walks of life, and helping them grow in their understanding and expression of their faith as mothers, wives, and women of God. We cheer each other on, serve one another in practical ways, pray together for our children, our marriages, our families and our communities. Isaiah 61:3 says, “God has bestowed on me a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise, instead of despair”. THIS is my story of transformation. It is about God bringing me from a place of depression and desperation to a place of total victory, freedom and a renewed sense of purpose for my life. I thank God for the power of real community found in Life Groups. I thank God for the genuine love and care that our pastors have for the people in our church. Above all, I thank God for he truly does work all things together for the good of those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose.

Posted in September 2015

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