11 September 2017
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It pained me to see my mother struggle alone

Even though Khanyisa grew up attending the Universal Church, she still struggled to forgive her father who was not involved in her life.

"I knew who my father was, but we didn’t have a relationship. When he left my mother, I was still in primary school. It pained me to see my mother struggle to provide for me and my younger sister with the little she earned as a domestic worker. Every day my anger towards him grew and the very thought of him made me hate him even more. There were months when my mother had to ask for my school transport fees to be waived because she didn’t have money to pay. Whenever I asked my father for anything, like new clothes or school necessities, he always made empty promises. I excelled in sports at school and needed to travel to tournaments, but we could not afford it. I had to depend on sponsorships. I sometimes took my anger out on my mother and told her that I cursed the day she gave birth to me," she said.

Even though Khanyisa was a member of the church, she still harboured anger inside because she had not learned the importance of forgiveness.

"It took very little to irritate me and I always acted like a victim. One evening after an argument with my cousin I went to my room and was about to take an overdose of pills to commit suicide, when my mother walked in and stopped me. My father’s family was told that I almost took my life, but they didn’t show any concern. That convinced me that everyone from his family hated me and didn’t care if I lived or died," she said.

After that incident Khanyisa’s grandmother, who lived in Johannesburg, invited her to move in with her.

"My grandmother is also a member of the Universal Church. She spoke to one of the pastors about my anger issues towards my father. The pastor suggested that I start investing in my spiritual life by attending the Wednesday services, so that I could begin to resolve the issues I had with my father. I also attended services on Fridays for deliverance from suicidal thoughts.

"Gradually I learned the importance of forgiveness. I also understood that it was of no use for me to continue coming to the church, but still harbour anger and grudges.  If I died with all that inside me I would not be saved and my soul would go to hell. I asked God to give me a clean heart. I was able to forgive my father and I can now call him just to check up on him. By letting God work inside me, other doors were opened for me. I was offered an internship as an administrative assistant and the company has also offered to help me further my studies. Trusting in the Lord has given me serenity and a bright future," said Khanyisa.