02 October 2017

I hated my father

Losing her mother at the age of 13 was heart-wrenching for Refilwe whose father neglected her and stopped providing for her after he remarried.

"I moved away to stay with my grandmother who was already a pensioner. My father did not visit me and he stopped providing for me. I also stopped visiting him or asking him for anything because I didn’t feel welcome in his life. My grandmother continued providing for me from her pension money.  That made me hate my father for turning his back on me. I was always sad and felt like I was a burden on him and my grandmother," she said.

After Refilwe completed her matric she moved to Johannesburg to live with her aunt.

"Living with my aunt didn’t fill the void of losing my mother because I still found it hard to deal with her passing. I also felt she treated me differently from her own children as she made me perform more of the house chores. I sometimes felt that no one cared about my wellbeing, and that taught me to rely on no one else but myself," she said.

She later found a job and moved out of her aunt’s place. A year after she started working, Refilwe was invited to the Universal Church.

"At the first service I attended, a pastor preached about the importance of believing in yourself and using faith to change your situation. I did not know anything about faith, but I knew I wanted my life to change. I prayed and asked God to show me His power. I continued coming to the church and I committed to the movements of faith.  I asked God to break down the walls of hatred I had towards my father and the inability to let go of my mother’s passing, because they were delaying my blessings. After six months in the church, I understood that forgiveness was God’s nature and I needed to live like Him because I was His child. I was then able to forgive my father for neglecting me, something I battled to do for many years. The love of God gave me the comfort I could not get from my aunt and my father. That comfort was able to heal me from the pain of losing my mother and gave me inner peace. I started working on building my relationship with God," she said.

The same year she came to the church, Refilwe met Monde and they dated for a year before they were married.

"Building a strong relationship with God made it easy for me to handle my relationship with my husband. Giving my life to God and trusting His ability to change my life made me stronger.  I now have a family of my own -- something I did not have as a child.  All the walls were broken down and I am now living a joyful life.  In Him I found true love and serenity," she said.