After being abused, Linda Walsh was plagued with anxiety and self-doubt, until she was invited to the women’s Home League group at New Lynn Salvation Army.
I was brought up in a Christian household and attended Sunday school. But after my 15-year-old brother died when I was 12, I really struggled with my loss. I was also abused, but didn’t tell anyone about it for 37 years. My young mind thought it was my fault and that no one would believe me.
This caused depression and anxiety to the point that, in my 30s, I would cry myself to sleep at night and worry about every small thing—although to most outsiders I was seen as a successful, hard-working, caring person in a banking career for 24 years. Little did they know about my inside turmoil, including wondering what life was really about.
In my early 40s my mum almost died and then I lost a series of family members and a good friend. I felt lost and had a great fear of being alone. I was like a lost sheep.
Due to my feelings of worthlessness I decided to leave work. So I rented my unit out and moved in with my mum in Mt Wellington.
Mum brought me along to Home League (a Salvation Army friendship group for women) at New Lynn Corps (Salvation Army church). I began volunteering in the kitchen and we attended church on special occasions. Mum and I needed to move house, so decided to move to the new apartments in New Lynn that were closer to The Salvation Army.
I really enjoyed Home League. I especially remember one particular speaker who helped start me on a new thought process.
I started volunteering on the catering team, which helped with my self-esteem, and I realised that I loved the idea of serving others.
I remember telling Mum, ‘Don’t expect me to go to church every Sunday’, but the Lord had other ideas. Because we were living close, I attended several of the Easter services and was touched by Jesus. I realised he went through tremendous pain and died to forgive me my sins—so I could, in turn, forgive the individual who had hurt me.
This lifted a great weight off my shoulders and my new life began. My relationship with the Lord helped me understand that I was never alone, but Jesus was always with me. I went on to become a Salvation Army soldier (member) and have never looked back.
My self-esteem grew stronger with the help of my new church family and I increased my volunteer work. This year I started working in Community Ministries, serving God and helping others in need.
My life has been enriched by my relationship with Jesus. I pray often, starting in the morning with the Lord’s Prayer. I pray anytime I feel the need—in good times and in hard times. I love to ask for his help for others, for strength for myself, and for continued understanding and learning from the Bible.
Just three years ago I was tied up in knots inside myself, wondering why I was even living. I never dreamt I would be looking to the future with a real sense of fulfilment, having a relationship with God and feeling great joy by placing my future in his hands. I love to help others and invite them to be part of our Lord’s family. I am blessed to be a blessing.
by Linda Walsh (c) 'War Cry' magazine, 13 January 2018, p11
You can read 'War Cry' at your nearest Salvation Army church or centre, or subscribe through Salvationist Resources.