You could say that I was born into a pew.
Some say I am a Christian because my Dad is a Vicar.
I say – I love Jesus because I experienced His adoration for me.
My Parents and Grandparents were all from the Brethren Church, although most of them not baptised in the Spirit they have an amazing biblical foundation. They are also really sensitive to the spiritual realm, causing some of them vulnerable to being influenced by the wrong crowds. A few of my family members are Wiccans.
“You have been specifically chosen to be born for such a time as this. You were not born into your home city by mistake.”
After having 2 boys, my Mum wanted a girl. She got pregnant at 43; my Dad was 48 years old. Being an experienced nurse, she knew the dangers of having a child so old, with Down’s syndrome. But my Mum wanted a girl and her name was to be Deborah Mary Joy.
From the age of 5 years, I had the simple faith that Jesus was God and he died for our sins, although I hadn’t experienced that reality. It was head knowledge that I could openly share.
In March 2000 when I was 6 my Mum, Esther Mary was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the bowel. A family who were close to both my parents took me in as their own, and cared for me. They loved me as my Mum and Dad loved me – I felt cherished and protected. I looked up to them, especially the Mum, Mandy. She stepped in the place of my mum temporally. Her heart for people still amazes me to this day. Spending several months as part of their family, I was quite oblivious to the seriousness of my Mums illness.
My family was broken. My Church family were distraught. Nevertheless, it brought the people together in agreement to pray for her healing.
Several months later in 2000, my Mum, Esther Mary Butt died. My Dad told me that her last words in her hospital bed were “I want to go home … Take care of Debbie.” In peaceful sleep she went.
Being so young, I did not know what to do but just cry as my Daddy explained that “Mum has gone to heaven”.
I don’t have many memories of this time of my life, but I remember vividly the morning that Mum had died and when Dad came back from the hospital. My eldest brother Tim, my sister-in-law Simone and I were all in the kitchen. I was playing my recorder to Simone and Dad walked in. The next thing I recall is crying in Simone’s arms. My Family soon realised that my Mum was the link to unity and peace in the family.
After Mum had died I became so close to my other brother, Simon who was still living at home. I loved giggling at how he used to chase me up the stairs – the tickle monster. He would talk to me about school, and I used to tell him of the nasty boy called Oliver who would make fun of me. He’d teach me about computers and sing songs composed on his guitar.
A year later, in 2002, my Dad re-married. There were constant arguments in the house between my Dad and Simon, at age 21 he had had enough. He changed his surname, blocked out the whole family and hasn’t been seen since.
After my Dad baptised me in 2007, my emotions hit rock bottom. I began to realise that I had missed out on knowing my Mum: her embrace; I couldn’t even learn to love her favourite perfume or colour. I started to self harm and take out my anger, frustration and pain by cutting myself with a pair of scissors on my wrist. I had lost two people that were so close to me.
I remember doing sports at school and trying to hide the cuts on my arms. A few of my friends started to self harm at the same time also. It takes a lot of people, including me, to hit the point of depression before things start to change for the good. I became desperate for Jesus realising He was the only person who could stable my emotions.
Things started to change as I got older and got to know Jesus and Holy Spirit personally. I desired the gifts of the Spirit and everything God had for me, so I dared to ask Him. Sure enough, He started to water and transform the seeds He had planted in me since I was as an embryo. I personally had a revelation of Jesus. I felt the deep love of the Father. His adoration for me, and the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross.
On 7th March 2009, one Friday night at Revival Fires (a church I used to go to frequently) I was just in worship and God was just showing me things about my childhood and past and where He was in all of it.
From when I was newly born, Jesus was there watching me grow up. When I fell asleep on the floor with Dad – Jesus was there. When Mum had just died and I put on lots of weight – Jesus was there. When I was in a depressive state cutting my wrists, He was there. After taking me through all these memories and images Jesus said to me “I will heal your heart, just like I healed your wounds.”
Jesus ministered to me personally, healing my heart and dealing with memories I had of my childhood and teenage years. He was bringing back a lot of pain that still remained in me.
He changed my life. He changed the way I saw things. He changed my attitude. He changed my uncontrollable emotions. He changed my everything.