Renae Townsend - Conqueror through Christ
Physically and verbally abused, raped and molested, underestimated and cast aside are the building blocks that created a woman of strength, a powerhouse for God and an exceptional mother.
Renae Townsend told Family and Religion that she once sought a love that mankind couldn't offer, one that was pure and genuine.
She testified of how she was molested at age nine, dropped out of school and had her daughter at 17, of how she grew to hate men and how her own community and family members turned their noses up at her.
Townsend spoke of how unhappy and bitter she had grown while living with her daughter's father, of how she desperately searched for an escape, and when it did come, she had to leave her daughter behind, as painful as it was.
The parish of opportunity, as she called it, welcomed her with open arms and soon she was able to get a job, something she thought she couldn't have got because of how useless the father of her child made her feel.
Having a job allowed her to bring her daughter back with her to the so called parish of opportunity.
As if jumping from the frying pan into the fire, then 19-year-old Townsend was raped and plunged into a life unbecoming of a mother, one of smoking, drinking and partying.
She said she tried school but dropped out each time, having had negativity implanted in her by her past.
"I wasn't loving life. I wasn't a bad girl, but I needed to stop the pain and the hurt. I had promised God that I would serve Him, but I wasn't ready. How could He love me when no one else did?
"So I kept going in the wrong direction, with the wrong crowd. One day I got so sick. I didn't know what was wrong with me. I went to so many doctors, spent so much money, but nothing. I felt like I was dying.
"My landlord invited me to a fasting service. I didn't want to go but I had no other choice. The moment I walked into the building I felt a power I can't describe. It picked me up in the air and hit me to the ground. Soon after I felt fire in my body. My body started to vibrate like I was shocked with electricity and when I opened my eyes people were around me praying," she said.
Townsend said this continued for quite a few services until something else happened.
"One day, as the message was finished at the fasting service I sat with my head down. I saw a book open before me as I opened my eyes. All that I'd done had been registered in picture and written words," she said, as she marvelled at God's awesomeness.
"For the first time I heard Him speak to me. He said: 'would you give me your all?' I started to cry and said 'yes Lord.' He said: 'Get up and walk through the back door then walk back through.' I obeyed, and the moment I came back in I was different. I felt so much peace, no more pain. I was instantly and completely healed."
The now 30-year-old woman told Family and Religion that since then she stopped running. She went back to school and is now working as a nurse and will soon publish her first book, titled, Journey: Chapter One.
"People may ask why I chose to uncover my past to the world, but my past is my testimony and my testimony is my power. This is to show others that they, too, can overcome. In Christ I am more than a conqueror; you are not alone. Your past don't depict your future. It doesn't say who you will become or what you are, but it's a stepping stone bringing you closer to your destiny," she said.