Lynette Mapson’s world fell apart when she lost her job, but she found a new life at The Salvation Army’s Family Store in Thames.
My life fell apart very suddenly in December 2016. The day started out like any other day: I went to work at the Thames Pak ‘n’ Save, where I had been working for 16 years—14 of which were in the office. As far as I knew, everything was fine, and I expected to keep working there until the day I retired.
Then, someone said, ‘Can I just borrow you for a minute, Lynette?’ They told me that they were restructuring and my role would no longer exist. I felt like I had been punched, it was such an unexpected shock.
It was the fourth time this had happened to me through redundancy or restructuring, and this time I couldn’t take it. I went into a deep, dark hole. It totally did me in and I was a wreck—I hit a real low. I had also injured my hand, so I felt both physically and emotionally crushed.
My parents are both committed Christians and worship at the Thames Salvation Army Corps. They are very much involved in their church—Dad is a drummer in the band, and Mum is involved in Home League and the Family Store. But I never thought that church was for me. I just wasn’t interested.
With so much time on my hands, though, I decided to help Mum out at the Family Store. This turned out to be a life saver, and it was then that my life started to turn around. Volunteering at the Family Store was my time each week when when I could push aside the anxieties in my mind, and just enjoy being there.
We had a great laugh and all got on so well. My new-found friends became like a family. The other staff and corps officers would listen to me, pray with me, and I felt so uplifted.
Mum and Dad always asked me to go to church with them, but now it felt like it was the right time. At the corps, people were so caring. They would say, ‘I’m here if you need me’, and they were so easy to open up to.
I felt that it was time to commit myself to following Jesus. My faith had always been there, but I had pushed it to the back of my mind. Then, when I hit rock bottom, rediscovering my faith in Jesus made me feel like it had all happened for a reason—I thought, ‘Jesus, you’ve come through for me, and now I want to give back’.
I became a Salvation Army soldier at the beginning of this year, while my husband Rob became an adherent. For me, being a soldier is my way of helping spread the word of Jesus.
God has given me so much, and now I just want to give back. I am still volunteering at the Family Store, and go to Home League. I was once in a dark hole, but God has brought light back in my life. Now I want to spread that light to others.
Thanks to all our amazing volunteers! | National Volunteer Week is on from 17–23 June—when you give of your time you are giving life to others. Thanks for being part of the mission.
by Lynette Mapson (c) 'War Cry' magazine, 16 June 2018, p11 - You can read 'War Cry' at your nearest Salvation Army church or centre, or subscribe through Salvationist Resources.