HellenMy life fell apart 5 years ago when I was raped while living abroad.  I started self-harming to cope, but have no idea why, I didn't even know anyone who self-harmed.  Eventually I was under the care of the mental health team on medication and was admitted a number of times to the psychiatric unit.

I met a friend on a college course and he encouraged me to come to his church; I had never been involved with church before and did not believe in God. But as I went sporadically and came to know the people there I began to see that there was something different. I became a Christian at Easter 2009, believing in and giving my life to Jesus - the Son of God, the only One who will never let me down, and Who gave His life in my place, for my sins. I was baptised that following September.

My life was starting to change; my self-harming, however, was now more serious and becoming life threatening but then I really started to feel who God was. I didn't understand love; to me, someone who loved you also hurt you.  My trust had been totally broken.  It was hard because I could not see God as a father figure, but I came to understand that He really was my Dad and He loved me so much whatever I did.

Each time I self-harmed I knew I was hurting Him too and I did not want that. It has been a long hard struggle but it is over a year since I last hurt myself. My life has now changed completely; I still struggle with contact with my biological family, although I am regaining a relationship with my sister. But I see the people at church as my family, through their love towards me and unfailing support through such tough and hopeless times. I now understand God's love for me. I feel that love so strongly every day. I know that I was at rock bottom, I could not forgive myself but He did and continues to do so every time I feel I fail. His love has changed me.

It's been a slow step by step process, but I know He will and is using the things I have gone through to help me grow strong and also to help others.