Missing her mother's love
Resentment and anger filled Lerato's life when her mother lost her job and sent her to be raised by her uncle. "I was about to start grade eight when my mother lost her job. She then took me to my uncle because she could not provide for my school needs."
I was the only child at my uncle’s place because his own children lived with their mother elsewhere. I sometimes spent some time with my aunt who didn’t have children of her own. Being the only child at my uncle and aunt’s place was not enough to fill the void of an absent mother in my life. I felt like my mother didn’t love me so she sent me away. I needed her in my life. I only spent three days of every school holiday with my mother, but those days felt like weeks for me because I could not relate to her. I was also angry with her and felt she had denied me the right to be loved," she said.
Her mother then had two more children and that fuelled Lerato’s anger towards her mother even more.
"I resented my two siblings and felt they were the only children my mother loved. After I finished matric I had to go back home and live with my mother and my siblings. I hated every minute I spent with her because I did not know her that well and I still harboured resentment because she had abandoned me. I disrespected her and refused to help her with home chores," she said.
In 2013, Lerato decided to attend a service at the Universal church.
"I used to walk past the church, but on that day, I decided to enter because I was feeling down and burdened. I felt at ease after I started praying and worshiping in the service. I continued attending the services because I was at peace when I was at church," she said.
Lerato's anger, however continued to haunt her.
“I attended youth services and took part in the chain of prayers on Wednesdays for my spiritual life to grow. I was able to forgive my mother after I understood that forgiveness was the nature of God and His children needed to walk in forgiveness, too. I then asked my mother to forgive me for my disrespectful behaviour and told her how I had felt about her over the years. I started building my relationship with her and my siblings. I also started helping with house chores. We are now a close-knit family.
The presence of God in my life helped me to unburden my heart and forgive my mother and also to understand that she had sent me to live with relatives because that was what was best for me at the time," said Lerato.