Patricia, London, United Kingdom
I was traumatized at a very young age. At only around 8 years old, I was regularly kissed by men in their twenties. My parents had no idea. At age 10, an aunt living in France offered to adopt me and three of my cousins. My parents happily gave their consent, so I left Cameroon for Strasbourg, France.
Things quickly took a turn for the worse. Our aunt insisted that we consider her our real mother and made us tell everyone that the four of us were real sisters. I gradually began telling friends the truth and, when she found out, I was branded a rebel. Around age 15, I decided that I might as well act like one.
It began with stealing. Then, I started hanging out with neighborhood gangs and staying out overnight. This was a dangerous lot, but I didn’t care. They were my escape from home. I was desperate for love and affection and I thought I could find it with these boys. On the contrary, they sexually assaulted me.
It happened in a basement. A guy I knew led me there under false pretenses. When I arrived, there was an entire group waiting. They immediately began asking me for sexual favors. I thought I wasn’t hearing properly, but it was all real. They didn’t let me go until they each had what they wanted.
I didn’t feel like I could share the truth with anyone, so I didn’t. The boys’ version of the story got out and my reputation was tarnished. Many of my friends were banned from hanging out with me. And because I had no one else, I just kept hanging out with the guys who hurt me.
Eventually, my aunt told my dad that I’d been staying out. Worried and fed up, he made me leave France for Germany, where other family members lived. I settled in fine, but I soon found a new rebellious crew and began consuming drugs. From morning to night, I smoked weed, drank, and partied as much as possible. I also entered into a very tumultuous, violent relationship.
At age 20, I got pregnant and my family told me to get an abortion, so I did. The vacuum aspiration was a horrible experience, maybe the worst of my life. I continued to spiral thereafter and was twice admitted to a psychiatric ward due to suicidal thoughts and my cannabis addiction.
Around this time, my father encouraged me to get a fresh start in a new place. I’d always wanted to move to an English-speaking country, so my boyfriend and I decided to move to the United Kingdom. My boyfriend and I were glad to be in a new environment, but things between us were as bad as ever.
To make matters worse, a month after our arrival, I found out that I was pregnant again. Things were bad; the two of us once fought so brutally that the police were called. After this fight, an onlooker invited me to church. I was desperate for change, so I didn’t even hesitate.
I felt something as soon as I got to the church. Somehow, I was able to understand everything that was preached. I knew there was truth here, but I wasn’t ready to surrender my life — and my addiction — to God.
Then, I gave birth to my son and child welfare initiated the custody loss process. When it hit me that I might truly lose him, something snapped. I returned to church, this time with a genuine desire to meet and know the Lord.
The more I pressed into God, the more He showed me that He had a purpose and plan for my life. The first time I heard Him speak directly to me, I was shocked; I couldn’t believe that a holy God could have such a fierce love for a sinner like me!
Not only did God love me where I was, but He began working to renew me. He’s since freed me from so much, including addiction, violence, sleep paralysis, and suicidal thoughts. And, of course, He let me keep my kid.
Today, I’m the host and producer of “Freedom & Life Now,” a Christian TV show airing in the U.K.. My show carries a message of deliverance; He did it for me and I want to broadcast how He’s done it for my guests. I also published a book titled 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting: Try God & Receive Your Powerful Victories Now. Many of my breakthroughs came only after dedicated fasting and prayer and I wish to encourage other believers to engage.
My journey has taught me many things; one is this: being a born-again Christian is not the prison that the world thinks it is. It’s the beginning of freedom. He is the only One who can restore unto us the things that the enemy has stolen. He is the only One with the power to undo the damage that the enemy has done. If you allow Him to lead you, He will show you all of the good that He has for you.
“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:5-6)