Stepping into a parents' shoes
Nelly was only 12 years old when she had to look after her four younger brothers who were between the ages of five and nine.
After her parents separated, her mother left and never visited them while her father worked in another province. Her grandmother lived nearby their house and she made sure Nelly and her brother had food, cosmetics and other things they needed in the house.
"My elder sister had her own place to stay and I was left to care for my younger brothers while I was also a child. The youngest brothers were twins of five years while the other two were nine and seven years old.
I woke up early in the morning to prepare myself and my brothers for school. I had to make sure they ate and were neat every morning. I could not play with other children on the street after school because I had to cook, do laundry and other house chores. The responsibility was too much for me to handle, as a result I could not concentrate at school. I was always tired during classes and I did not have time to do my homework. I eventually failed grade nine," said Nelly.
Taking up the responsibilities of my parents while they were both alive, left me angry and made me resent my mother. Her mother only came back home when Nelly was 15 years old.
“It was after my father pleaded with her to come back for us. I still felt she never wanted to be there for us, but she only came back because my father asked her. I was still angry and bitter inside, but I was happy because I was able to enjoy my childhood again. They made peace with each other before my father passed away two years later,” she said.
Nelly was only able to forgive and build a relationship with her mother after she was invited to the Universal Church in 2006. She took part in the chains of prayer on Wednesdays and prayed for inner healing and peace.
"In the church I learned that God wanted me to forgive others in order for me to lead a peaceful and blessed life. I told my mother how I felt about the time she left us alone and the pain she put me through as a child. She appreciated my openness and asked me to forgive her. Forgiving her was the best thing I ever did, it made me feel closer to God and delivered me from anger and bitterness.
We now have a good relationship and she is my best friend. The presence of God in my life healed the painful childhood scars and gave me peace," said Nelly.