Sarah Weaver

In January 1998 I went on a food hygiene course and met a man that would leave a lasting imprint in my heart and life. It was that day that I met Matt Weaver.

Faced with a dilemma

At the age of 16 I left home with the support of my teachers and my mum and moved into a hostel. I decided to continue with my GCSEs and then went on to do my A-levels. After being in the hostel for 9 months the policy was that you needed to move on. So there I was left to find somewhere else to live. I moved into a shared flat. My room was a small box room with bright pink painted wood-chip. The flat had no running hot water or heating and we had to share the kitchen with the shop below the flat all for the grand price of £45 a week! The dilemma was that I wanted to continue with my education but wasn’t entitled to benefits so I had to find part time work. That is when I started to work at Domino’s Pizza which brought me to the food hygiene course in January 1998.

I was always pretty sensible when I was at home and at school but I was suddenly faced with this freedom, so the partying started! I would go out every Saturday and Monday night to the local night club and would get drunk. My value started to come from how attractive men found me, how many guys could I ‘snog’ that night. This didn’t get any better and I started to struggle with depression, low self-esteem and started to self-harm.

I had no-one to talk to and I felt isolated. However, through my friendship with Matt I started to develop a trust and started to talk to him about what I was going through and spoke to him about the abuse I had suffered when I was younger – emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Matt started to talk to me about Jesus. I was polite and nodded and thanked him but inside I had no interest whatsoever.

Faced with darkness

Time went on and Matt and I became very close friends, we chatted more, hung out and developed a deeper trust. The time came for me to go off to university and I remember this day clearly as Matt handed me a Bible. I had no idea what to say, I just looked at him. I guess I had the same face you have when you open that seventh pair of socks on Christmas day! I did nothing with the Bible apart from put it on my book shelf and leave it in its box. I did however take it to uni with me.

At uni the drinking increased, and I became proud of the fact that I could sink 8 pints of snake bite and black and still walk home without throwing up. Despite all of this Matt remained a close friend and we would talk twice a week on the phone for at least an hour at a time. It’s important at this point that you remember we were just best friends. I had no secrets from Matt – he knew what I got up to and who with, yet never judged me or condemned me.

Uni life went on, and in March 2001 I made a serious attempt to take my life. I had been out drinking, made cuts to my arms and took every tablet I had in my draw and locked my door. It was here that I hit my darkest hour. I slept for two days solid and no-one could wake me up. I remember when I did get out of my bed I instantly thought ‘wow, there must be someone out there looking out for me because I shouldn’t be here right now.’ I looked in my mirror and I wasn’t able to see the blue of my eyes because my pupils were so big. It was then that Matt called me and invited me home for his brothers 21st birthday later that month. I accepted the invitation but didn’t tell Matt what had happened.

So, Nathan’s 21st party came and along I went. I felt somehow different. I had lots going on in my head. Matt and I were in the car on the way home and I remember turning the radio down and asking him if I could go to church with him the next day. He was speechless and the other voice in my head was saying ‘what …. what have you just asked that for?!’ It was Matt’s friend in the back seat who answered for Matt and thankfully said ‘sure Sarah it would be great to see you there.’ Matt and I said very little on the way home.

Faced with a date

It was that day in March 2001 that my life changed and I became unrecognisable. I asked Jesus into my life and became a Christian. I can’t say that I had been thinking about it, I just remember feeling completely overwhelmed at church and found myself putting my hand in the air when the Pastor asked if anyone wanted to have a relationship with Jesus.

I went back to uni later that week and felt like a different person. Things changed – I didn’t swear, didn’t want to get drunk and definitely didn’t want to sleep with anyone. Matt stayed in contact and called more frequently. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. It was driving me crazy. Before I knew it I was back home for the Easter holidays.

Another significant date arrived 16 April 2001. I was staying at Matt’s mum and dad’s house. Matt came in to bring me a cup of tea. I said to him that we needed to talk, at which point he dropped bourbon biscuits all over the floor! There I was telling this wonderful man that I couldn’t stop thinking about him and actually thought that we should consider dating. Thankfully Matt agreed!! So there our long distance relationship began and after many tearful goodbyes at the train station getting ready to embark on the three and half hour journey back and forth between Loughborough and Bangor. At the end of my degree on 30 August 2003 I married my man!

Faced with a debt

Just because I am a Christian doesn’t mean that from March 2001 my life became easy and I have sailed through over the past 11 years. There have been lots of difficulties and tough times and challenges. One of these was around the issue of debt. Just after we were married Matt revealed to me just how much debt we were in. We thought we could handle it on our own and almost buried our heads in the sand. However, we reached the point where we didn’t want to answer the phone or get the door, never mind open the mail. This was a really scary place to be when you’re only 22 years old and have very little ‘real life’ experience after student life. We knew things needed to change but struggled to face up to things until April 2004. Why then, I hear you ask. Well completely to our surprise I discovered I was pregnant! It was at this point that with the love, help and support from Matt’s parents that we started to address our debt. It was tough going as every penny had to be accounted for and we needed to be accountable for our spending, but we did it. We were overwhelmed by the grace of God. His comfort and provision at that time still blows my mind. On 2 October 2004 Matt and I were debt free! We had to work hard to maintain being debt free as it is easy to be tempted when credit card and loan offers come through your letterbox, especially when Christmas is just around the corner. So when I was pregnant with our second child we enjoyed every second of it without the worry and added stress of wondering how we were going to manage.

Faced with a death

The debt journey was a tough one and brought its own strains and stresses. However, the toughest journey started at 3.25pm on the 4th August 2011. My life was completely turned upside down and I had to say three words I never thought I would ever have to say… ‘Boys, daddy died.’

I was faced with sitting my beautiful boys aged four and six on my knee and explaining to them that their daddy had died at the hospital when he had gone in for a simple procedure. This was horrendous, I had no words to speak and wasn’t able to offer an explanation. I just held them and sobbed. It was at that point that I was hit with the reality that my husband wasn’t going to kiss me goodnight again and that I wouldn’t hear those words, ‘I love you so much honey.’ Whilst this was by far the worst moment of my life so far I also had a comfort. I knew that because of our faith Matt was in heaven and we would one day be reunited. God’s peace and comfort was indescribable.

The pain I felt and still feel is hard to describe but I know that I would not be able to face each day without Jesus. During this journey I know Jesus has had to carry me and cradle me like a small child. He has given me the strength to face each hour. I was so numb after Matt died but had a peace too. It’s difficult to explain but I know that without Jesus I would not be able to face each day and go forward. There have been many times in my journey with God when I have needed Him, but never as much as I have since Matt died and I can say hand on heart that He has been with me and surrounded me with His love, grace and mercy.

I am thankful to Jesus for the relationship Matt had with Him and that Matt knew Him as his Saviour. The truth is that if Matt hadn’t shared Jesus with me I would not know Him. I would not have my boys or be full of wonderful memories of a beautiful man. I know that Jesus died for me and rose again so that I can have a relationship with Him. Jesus has kept His hand on me in my darkest hour and kept me strong when I have been at my weakest. The great news is that Jesus isn’t exclusive to me. I didn’t do anything to deserve the grace of God. He didn’t give me a list of conditions He took me as I was … completely raw, full of hurt and pain and He started to heal the pain and take away the hurt at a time that wasn’t rushed but in a timescale that He knew was perfect for me. Jesus sat with His arms wide open waiting for me to come to Him and just like His arms were open to me, He waits in the same way for you.

I guess there are three different types of responses from reading my story:

  1. You could say, ‘That was interesting, but not for me.’ If that’s you it’s fine, you can throw it away. Thank you for reading my story.
  2. You could be saying, ‘There could be something in this.’ If this is the case, you owe it to yourself to discover more about having a relationship with God through His son Jesus.
  3. Or you might say, ‘Well actually I’m ready to receive Jesus into my life now, and to trust Him with my future and eternal destiny.’

You can do this by saying this simple prayer –

Lord Jesus Christ, here I am, I can come no other way, so take me as I am. Thank you for loving me even though I haven’t loved you. You know the things I have done which are not great and have not been pleasing in your eyes. I ask that you forgive me for all the selfish and sinful things that I have done of which some are still in my life. Thank you for forgiving me and coming into my life. Help me now as I start over again, but this time with you at the centre. No longer am I going to go my own way. Today I am deciding to follow you by asking you to be my saviour and Lord. Lord Jesus, send your Holy Spirit, to help me know without doubt that you have come into my life. Amen.

If you have said this prayer and meant it I would like to say you have just made one of the best decisions you will ever make in your life time – Congratulations!
I would love it if you let me know that you prayed this prayer. ‘Why?’ Because I would like to send you a booklet that will help you develop your new relationship with Christ Jesus (free of charge!). You can get in touch by email.

Thank you for taking time to read a bit of my story – I hope you have found it helpful and that it’s maybe got you thinking!

Sarah

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