All posts filed under: FLAM Faces

God a faithful father when parents gave terror, torture, neglect

This article is part of the #flamfaces series. Here, Chaya Rainbird shares a snippet of her story. Grief and faith have both featured in many seasons of my life. Sometimes it feels like a tug-of-war, other times like I’m walking many steps of grief to get to a new “faith landing” where I can look out the windows and see how far I’ve come. I don’t think I’ll ever stop looking at where I’ve come from. It certainly has shaped me and I’ve seen great healing. But I still carry a lot of grief from it, especially since becoming a parent. I’m not really sure what to call myself… a child abuse survivor? Abuse doesn’t really describe the pain and grief. Terror, torture and neglect might be more accurate. To have my own parents hurt my body and my mind so greatly, I don’t know if there are even words to describe that. To watch my siblings beaten and starved was another type of torture; my mind screaming that this was wrong, but feeling utterly powerless to help. I’m …

Bullied and teased to the point of despair

This article is part of the #flamfaces series. Here, Aaron Summers shares a snippet of his story. Throughout my school years, life was tough. I was teased and called many names; ugly, freak, you get the picture. I was a bully myself at times too. At the root of it was a constant struggle with self image. I didn’t feel I was good enough for anything or anyone. I felt that no one wanted to hang out with me, and that I was always on the outer. I remember tearing up my leavers dinner photos because I felt so ugly and down on myself. Depression got a hold of me and I was in a very dark place, in and out of church at Summerhill Baptist and Door of Hope. My mum encouraged me to keep coming along to church. It was a hard time for her, seeing me go through this, but she kept spurring me on. I was going home most days from school turning the lights off and going to bed. I’d just basically given up. …

“I collapsed and died in the hospital ward”

This article is part of the #flamfaces series. Here, Noel Towns of Launceston shares a snippet of his story. I put my faith in Christ at the very young age of eight years and have felt His guidance throughout my journey, maintaining regular times of Bible reading and prayer. I have wrestled with the challenges and tensions between my faith and real world experience in both personal and business spheres for my entire life. Over a 40-year real estate career I often experienced my faith values intersecting and informing appropriate ethical behaviour in the work place. Our faith also led my wife ‘Chris’ and I to adopt four Ethiopian siblings to add to our family of five biological children. This has been an exciting and rewarding experience and an ongoing journey. We now have 25 grandchildren and still counting! A major turning point in my life occurred in August 2016 when I was raced to hospital with a septic gallbladder, which needed to be removed. Before that happened though, I collapsed and died in the hospital ward due …

“Indescribable peace” in the midst of cancer battle

This article is part of the #flamfaces series. Here, Matt Kuipers of Launceston shares some of his story. Being a Christian, I always thought I was a pretty ‘good’ person, who contributes well to society. As far as I can remember I have always been assured of belonging to God’s family, which gives me comfort and assurance in a life after death. However my faith had never really been significantly challenged. In December 2016 I was diagnosed with rectal cancer at the age of 34. After many scans it became apparent that the cancer had spread to my liver upgrading it to stage four. Through chemoradiation and surgery the cancer was successfully removed from my rectum but the tumours in my liver continued to grow in both size and number. Throughout the whole crazy journey, including diagnosis, never have I questioned my faith. I do not put this down to having a really strong, well-developed faith. In fact, I think the opposite is true. To sit there in total peace while one of your doctors is telling you that …

“I was pregnant with our 3rd child when my husband died”

This article is part of the #flamfaces series. Here, Melissa Lubke of Launceston shares a snippet of her story. I was 11 weeks pregnant with our third child when my husband died. I drove to the church barbecue down the road, while Andrew rode his motorbike shortly after. Half an hour passed, mingling with people, and a friend said, “Where’s Andrew?” Then it clicked. Where’s Andrew? What are all those sirens? Andrew used to joke that I jump to conclusions, but this time I was right, honey. I went to see. It was less than a kilometre away and they were turning cars around. I kept going. I just knew. I kept driving closer to the police car and I wound my window down and said, “Is it a motorbike?” And she said yes. I’d seen people come off motorbikes on TV and they were fine. So at that stage I imagined it would mean a lot of bed-ridden rehabilitation. I rang our friends and asked them to pray before following him to hospital in another ambulance. That night, …

Beyond the brink of anorexia and back

This article is part of the #flamfaces series. Here, Susan Brown of Launceston shares a snippet of her story. As a teenager, I had a number of supposedly trustworthy men and guys try to seduce me. Fear and shame cast a shadow over my life, warping my view of males and changing the way I saw myself. No longer was I a girl with many valuable qualities. Instead, at least to guys, I was ‘just a body’. Most people didn’t realise what had happened to me. Years passed. I finished school, took a gap year then started uni. All the while a storm brewed silently inside me. When I was 20, my sister suddenly got engaged. She and her fiancée were planning to marry in a few months time and settle an hour away from our home. I felt like I was losing my closest friend. My grief was overwhelming but I stuffed it down, not wanting to dampen my sister’s joy. Seeing her so happy only intensified my longing to be loved – maybe if I had someone …