“My mum died in front of me”

Italla Warburton’s mum was feeling unwell but what could have been treated with a visit to the doctors turned into a tragic event that scarred her life for years to come. Here she shares her story.

“I was 13 years old when I lost my mum. She had been suffering from PneumoniaItalla after and her breathing was getting slower and slower until she lost the ability to eat and started deteriorating quickly. It was very sad to see her like that. Within only two weeks, she died in front of me. I felt completely shattered!

“It didn’t seem real, especially since her death was completely avoidable. She just needed to go to the doctor, but she didn’t. It wasn’t until this point that I realised that she had been depressed.

She didn’t make any effort to get better, she had gone through so much and I guess she reached a point where she just gave up. Not even my siblings and I were motivation for her to keep living.

“Her passing left me in a very dark place. I felt that I didn’t have a reason to live either. If the person who was supposed to care about me the most gave up, then what was the point in me trying?”

Italla understandably went through a period of deep sadness during that difficult moment. Timepassed but her low mood did not improve. She found herself feeling persistently sad and hopeless. The melancholy went on for months, then years. She lost interest in the things she once enjoyed and life was no longer worth living.

“I struggled with this feeling constantly. I thought that if I had lots of friends, I would feel happier but I didn’t. I started smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and partying but it didn’t help either.

“I remember that after nights out I would go home and feel so empty inside. As time passed, I became very secluded and barely spoke to anyone in my house. My self-esteem was so low that sometimes I didn’t bother eating or taking a bath.

Italla being invited to church“I lived like that for about five years, until one day my cousin received a copy of the City News through her letterbox. She knew about my situation and after reading about the Universal Church and how people were able to change their lives through the spiritual help they offered, she invited me to go there. At the time I recognised that I needed help and was looking for a solution, so I accepted her invitation.

“The first time I went to the church, I felt that there was still hope that my life could change. However, at the same time I felt kind of nervous since everything was new to me. When I heard that God could be with me and in me, it seemed unreal. I struggled to understand this. I’d always seen myself as a nobody, so why would God ever want to live inside of me?

“It took me roughly two years before I started taking the teachings seriously. One of the things that I struggled with was doubts.Italla sad I found it hard to believe that anything good could happen in my life. It was hard to change this mindset, but I really wanted to move forward. I saw that other people were sharing testimonies on how their lives were changing for the better and I wanted that too, so giving up was not an option.

“As I kept attending the services and listening to the messages, I began seeing myself differently. A pastor helped me understand that it is a promise from God that we can receive Him. It was still hard to believe at times, but if this is what I needed to be at peace, it became a priority for me. That’s when I decided to give 100% to practising what I was hearing. Once I made this decision, I felt a peace inside of me and knew I was no longer alone. God was with me. I felt an inner strength that I had never had before. From that moment on, things really started changing. I was no longer looking down on myself.

“This new-found strength and faith had a direct effect on my day-to-day life, including my finances. There was a point when I was experiencing difficulties at my previous place of work. At that time, I had tried everything to solve the problem but nothing seemed to work. I participated in a purpose of faith focused on my finances and left that place empowered to start looking for something better. This is something I would never have done before. I was completely out of my comfort zone because I’d never had issues when it came to my finances.

“It wasn’t as smooth sailing as I’d expected. In fact, within a month of quitting that job, I had a setback. The interview I was hopeful for fell through. It was disappointing but this time it didn’t beat me down. Previously I would have been in pieces but this time, I held on to my faith and trusted that God would make everything turn out well in the end, and it did. I had another interview after the setback and this time, I was successful. This is just one example of the many experiences I’ve had.

“Fast forward to today and I can say with confidence that I’m free from all the traumas from the past.

I no longer have low self-esteem, insecurities or need to rely on substances to be happy. Compared to before, I am a completely different person. I no longer fall into long bouts of deep sadness or wallow in the past like I used to.

“I feel happy, I feel fulfilled, I feel peace and I feel like I can overcome any obstacle because I’m not alone. God is with me – He helps me, He strengthens me.” – Italla Warburton

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