17 December 2017

Unique by Design!

WORDS FAYE PORTER Avanti Ministries Ltd

raMy story is certainly not the most gripping one that you will ever come across, and up until recently I would have considered it rather worthless; however God has completely changed my view-point.

My first mistake was comparing myself to everyone else, as comparisons usually result in discontent. God says He has a unique purpose for my life, and He created me with everything I need to fulfil it (Ephesians 2:10). So if I do not have a life testimony with all the thrills and spills or if I’m missing particular gifts like artistic skills or organisational genius – it is pretty obvious that I won’t need them to accomplish what God has in mind for me. You see I have learnt that when God made me, He made me right!

God has shown me that every person’s life testimony is worth much more than you could ever imagine!! The story of when God won my soul from the enemy, regardless of how dramatically He did it, demonstrates over and over again that God is more powerful than anything!

I was brought up in a Christian family, and have always been surrounded by Christians and church activities. However, when it came to having a firsthand relationship with God, I’m afraid that I could never quite get there. Everything I knew about having a relationship with God was something I had been taught, rather than experienced for myself.

Throughout my early years I was quite a “tomboy” in the way I dressed and acted. For example, I always preferred climbing trees or playing computer games than going shopping and doing makeovers. I felt much happier being this way and it suited me just fine, until the age of 13. This was when I began getting picked on at school, firstly for my beliefs as a “Christian” (despite not really having a relationship with God); secondly, for the way I behaved; and lastly and mostly for the way that I looked. I have a vivid memory of one boy, who was supposed to be a close friend, telling me how he and all the other boys used me as an example of someone “disgusting to go out with.”

I faced put-downs all day at school and I was left feeling lonely, vulnerable and useless. This set off a major insecurity problem in me about “who I was” and the “way I looked.” The more time passed the more I grew to dislike myself, and my self-esteem and sense of self-worth was virtually null and void. I would look in the mirror and get angry at myself for being so unattractive. Throughout my last year of school I was absent most of the year, as I could not face the insults and feelings of insecurity!

Also at this time in my life, my parents decided to separate. I never had a close relationship with my dad and I started to crave for that special “daddy’s girl” type of relationship that you may see in the movies.

The combination of this desire, coupled with the way people were making me feel about myself at school, proved to be a dangerous formula for a young impressionable girl. I became increasingly vulnerable. If an older man showed me any attention, I found it dangerously easy to allow him to build a father-like relationship, making me all too easy to groom. One particular man would talk to me about my feelings, give me advice for school and tell me I was very pretty. He would always assure me that he would be there for me. I felt this was exactly what I needed to hear. Unfortunately, this man started to take things too far in both a verbal and physical sense.

I was so desperate to have a “father-figure” in my life that I switched off my mind from the things that I knew were unhealthy. I chose to ignore them regardless of how serious the situation became. Finally, when I rejected one of his advances he started to show his true colours when he mocked me for it. I came to my senses, realising that this was not how a father would treat his daughter!

I felt awful – like I had done something terrible and it was my entire fault. I didn’t say anything to anyone for a long time because I was so ashamed that I had let this happen. I felt trapped, not able to speak even to my mum who I was very close to. My low selfesteem developed into paranoia. I hated myself even more – and so I began to hurt myself in secret as a way of punishing myself for being what I considered to be “ugly and disgusting.”

The worst thing of all was that I harboured all of these twisted feelings towards myself silently and for so long. Beneath my “happy face” I didn’t tell a soul what I was really feeling and it ate away at me like a cancer. None of my friends or family knew and as a result I became very withdrawn. Living the life of a recluse, I began to despair of life and the loneliness that came with it.

When I literally had no idea what to do with myself I tried, what I can only describe as my “last possible hope” – to pray to God. I prayed like I had never prayed before. I didn’t reel off a mere repetitive liturgical line, but in my brokenness I asked God to “Help me!” I asked Him to sort out my life and offered myself to Him. I cried a great deal. I prayed, “Father God, help me…I’m sorry . . .” and it was almost as though He was interrupting me and saying, “Hush, child. We’ve got no time for that. All is forgiven. I love you and I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

This is the day that I became a Christian!

I know He has never left my side since! I did not have a “Damascus Road experience” or an amazing divine revelation. I felt nothing spectacular at all – but only now as I look back can I see that God began something in me that day.

I am now a totally different person. Healed, happy and in a personal relationship with a very real God! No-one can tell me that God doesn’t exist or that there is no hard evidence to prove it because for me, the evidence has been stitched into my heart! I have learnt what my identity is in Jesus Christ. “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). “He reached down and He rescued me because He delights in me” (Psalm 18:19).

“Therefore, any man in Christ is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Since everything is now “new”, I have discovered the importance of learning how to live like a child of God. It is a thrill for me to focus on who I am “NOW” in Christ, not who I am in the “WORLD.”

God didn’t do some kind of magic trick and make all my troubles vanish. Many of these issues are still in my life and I still battle with them. However, the moment I turned and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, like a father would, He came to my rescue and carried me through it all, and continues to do so. I have faced tougher hardships since, but I no longer face things alone, and I never will!

God has rebuilt my life. I am married to a wonderful Christian man and I was so proud to have my dad walk me down the aisle on my wedding day.

GLO Ministry

I now head up a girls’ ministry called GLO (Girls Living Out the Great Commision) with the aim of reaching as many girls as possible with the Gospel, building them up in their self-image, self-worth and faith in Christ. I do this full-time and without salary but the benefit of seeing a girl freed from the insecurities and burdens of believing she has to look a certain way, dress a certain way and act a certain way is more than worth the sacrifice!

GLO is now one year old and we have had more than 150 girls come to one of our local events. The main event we run regularly is in a local café in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. The girls can meet and relax in a safe environment with good influences around them and use the time to make friends, do homework, play games or receive counselling should they want to. Approximately 20 girls come to every one of these events. At each event we give the girls an encouraging message covering different topics such as self-image, self-worth, bullying, relationships, faith, encouraging others etc. Following our latest fundraiser, we now have some funds to enable us to start a homework group, a bible study group and potentially start up GLO in Brighton, Nottingham and France. I am so excited to see how fast this ministry is growing and the amazing way God always provides every step of the way!

For further information contact

Tel: 01702 333319

E-mail: faye@girlslivingout.com

Web-site: www.girlslivingout.com

I include a selection of Bible verses below that I have always considered more as personal declarations or confessions. These are powerful truths to declare aloud to ourselves and to meditate upon. The more we know who we are in Christ, the stronger we become in Christ! I am greatly loved by God. (Colossians 3:12; Romans 1:7; I Thessalonians 1:4; Ephesians 2:4)

I am an ambassador for Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:20)

I am the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. (I2 Corinthians 5:21)

I have the mind of Christ. (Philippians 2:5; I Corinthians 2:16

I am His elect, full of mercy, kindness, humility, and longsuffering. (Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12)

I am complete in Him who is the Head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2:10)

I am free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)

I am born of God, and the evil one does not touch me. (I John 5:18)

I am holy and without blame before Him in love. (I Peter 1:16; Ephesians 1:4)

I have the peace of God that passes all understanding. (Philippians 4:7)

I have the Greater One living in me; greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. (I John 4:4)

I have no lack for my God supplies all of my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

I can do all things through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:13)

I show forth the praises of God who has called me out of darkness into His marvellous light. (I Peter 2:9)

I am God’s child for I am born again of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God, which lives and abides forever. (I Peter 1:23)

I am a new creature in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I am a doer of the Word and blessed in my actions. (James 1:22,25)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, love, and a sound mind. (2Timothy 1:7)