Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Blog 109 - My Testimony

I was asked by my home church, Bray Park Community Church, if I would like to have my testimony videoed to be played during a church service. I immediately said yes as I felt God wanted me to. It was very difficult to condense my life into 500 words, and as it was I wrote 600. I pray that God will use my testimony for His purposes. This is what I said:



MY TESTIMONY

Hi, my name is Jenny Woolsey. BPCC has been my home church for a few years now and I am a part of the KYB group. I would like to share with you my faith journey. 

My story begins in 1967 when I was born with a rare craniofacial syndrome, called Crouzon syndrome. To put it simply, the bones in my skull and face stopped growing too early giving me an unusual appearance. 

I was a shock to my parents but loved and wanted. As a baby I underwent life-saving skull surgeries. Growing up I had friends and was happy, but my childhood was hard. Looking different meant dealing with prejudices, constant stares and comments, and physical and verbal bullying. I also had a lot of medical appointments. We attended church and I enjoyed going to Sunday School where I learnt that Jesus loved me and I was special. (My favourite song was Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so...)

At the age of ten I gave my life to Jesus at a beach mission. It was a few months after I’d endured a horrific facial reconstruction where I lost a lot of eyesight resulting in a permanent vision impairment. I remember vividly the happiness I immediately felt. 

High school was difficult due to bullying. Caring friends and teachers, being in the Inter School Christian Fellowship and going to youth group helped me. Even though I loved God and I knew he loved me and was with me, I struggled with anxiety and a low self-esteem. I often felt mis-understood and tried to show people that I was more than how I looked. After school finished I underwent another traumatic facial surgery, which I only got through by clinging to God and listening to Christian music. I then studied to become a primary school teacher and came to Strathpine. 

My first marriage was abusive. My husband claimed to be a Christian and we attended a few different churches around Pine Rivers. After years of domestic violence, and in the deepest black hole, and suicidal, I cried out to God for help. He answered and provided an escape route. I should have been happy, but I wasn’t. I was really angry and turned my back on him.  

It wasn’t long after my split that I met a man who protected me and loved me for who I was. Later on we recognised it was God who’d brought us together. 

We married in 2000. I became pregnant with five babies but only three were born. My first two children having my syndrome, and my third with Down syndrome and a heart defect. I struggled with more anger and post-natal depression. 

Along with teaching, my life became consumed with paediatric doctors, therapies and many surgeries. My husband and I had little support and we decided to go to church, where we found what we needed. God also drew us to himself and we both reaffirmed our faith through baptism in 2008. I decided then that I would never turn my back on God again.

The stress of family life and the classroom increased my anxiety and depression. No amount of praying before going to school would ease it. God dealt with this situation by closing the door in 2014, on my twenty-five-year career. This hit me hard and I felt lost. It was then that God brought me to Bray Park Community Church where I have found friendship and support. 

I now work part-time as a tutor. I also write children’s books, and volunteer as a DV chaplain. This allows me to care for my children and my husband whose health has declined. 

I hope in some way that I have encouraged you with your faith. God never promised us life would be easy, but he did promise that He would always be with us, helping us through the tough parts, and this I can attest to.

Photos Included for my Testimony

Me as a baby. 1967/68.
Me in kindy
After my first major facial reconstruction, and just after I’d accepted Jesus into my heart. Photo taken January 1978.
Before my final facial surgery in 1985. I was 18 years old.
Graduating with my teaching diploma. Photo taken early 1989.
My second marriage. 2000

My three children. Photos taken 2007 and 2017.






My children’s operations
Our baptism. 2008
 
My books, 2018
    

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