Article of the week: My heart and my life are God's

25 July 2020

TESTIMONY

Sareann Walsh (Clitheroe) shares how God transformed her life

I WAS born with poor eyesight, but I had a good childhood with my loving parents and two sisters. I had an older brother, John, but he died, so although I was the second child I became the eldest.

My eyesight had an effect on my childhood. I could not see very far so I could not play outside. I wasn’t able to see to play when the sun was very
bright or see in the dark. I couldn’t play with a ball unless it was big and brightly coloured, so I was not able to play tennis, golf or games like that.

I went to a special school for blind children, where I felt more comfortable and fitted in well. I learnt braille, went swimming, horse riding, mountain
climbing and did lots of other activities.

As well as poor eyesight I had a heart problem – an extra valve that was piercing my heart – and the doctors said I would die by the age of 12, which scared me. I did not know it at the time, but God was with me, and I don’t know how to thank him for my life.

I went to Sunday school in Sutton Coldfield. I enjoyed it but didn’t like it when I was on my own, as I was teased and picked on by other children because of my eyes. I left church when I met Geoff, who did not believe. We got married and moved to Lancashire, and I put God to the back
of my mind.

My family life was difficult as my husband abused his medication and smoked cannabis. I lost my first child, and then had a son and two
daughters. At the time I asked God for help, and he did help me.

My husband developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and was eventually on oxygen 24 hours a day. My children suffered during this
time, and the days leading up to Geoff’s death were unbearable to watch.

After Geoff’s death I found being a single parent hard. The children were free of their dad’s illness, but they went off the rails for a while. I was upset and found it hard to cope. But when they saw me upset, I told them I needed them to help me and they began to do better.

A while later my father became seriously ill and I wanted to go and see him in Birmingham before he died. I had no money for the train, so I contacted Citizens Advice, which contacted The Salvation Army to ask if it could help.

Corps leaders Territorial Envoy Brenda Wise and Aux-Captain Elizabeth Smith met me at the station and paid for my return ticket. I was so grateful. My dad passed away, and Elizabeth and Brenda said: ‘You know where we are if you need anything.’

As time went by I found myself in debt, so I asked Citizens Advice for help again. Ann, a lovely lady, suggested I go to The Salvation Army
for company. I went into the building one day when the Job Club and Drop-in were taking place. I sat at a table with a cup of tea, and Elizabeth came and sat with me.

I told her I had a lot of guilt about how the children had suffered during Geoff’s illness – I felt I had not done enough to protect them. Elizabeth talked to me about how Jesus could take our burden of guilt away if we said sorry for our part. I went home and thought about it, and I asked Jesus to forgive me for not doing more. I felt free and I had a sense of peace in my heart.

One Sunday morning I woke up and heard a voice say: ‘You are going to church today!’ I said: ‘Am I?’ The voice said: ‘Yes, you are.’ So I got ready and went to the Army – and I have been going ever since.

I was enrolled as a soldier earlier this year, on the first Sunday in the new corps hall, which was really lovely. I am so happy and blessed to be a soldier in God’s Salvation Army. I have changed so much since I gave my life to Jesus. Even my children have commented on
the difference.

My heart and my life are God’s. I am so grateful to him. Jesus is wonderful. He is my shepherd and I am his lamb. I shine with Jesus in my life. My past is no more because of him, and I am happier than before. I want to serve him for the rest of my life, and I thank him for all he has done for me.

From the editor

An early look at the editor's comment

Salvationist

Salvationist is a weekly magazine for members and friends of The Salvation Army.

The War Cry

The War Cry is packed with features, reviews, mouth-watering recipes, puzzles and more.