This is the story from one of Diamonds Scotland’s volunteers Emma Jamison who has bravely decided to share her story with us to encourage us as we learn more of who God is for us in our own lives. We hope her story will inspire you as much as it has inspired us. Thank you Emma for sharing.
I love how God loves to reveal himself and his character to us through other people’s stories. I love it on a Sunday at church when it’s open mic and people are invited up to tell stories of what God is doing in their lives! I remember lying in bed this time last year battling with the Lord in prayer over the fact that He wanted me to get baptised. I protested and complained because that meant I would have to get up in front of more than 300 people and share my testimony. The thought terrified me! I hate public speaking! I struggle presenting my work at university in front of five people that I know super well, let alone 300. The fear was real! But I just knew I had to do it. And I knew that I would have the right words to say and that the Lord would speak into other people’s lives through me, through what I have experienced, and through how He changed my life! So I did, and this is the story that I shared.
So my name is Emma! I study Textile Design at Edinburgh College of Art – my prints tend to be fun, colourful, bold and kind of cutesy! I grew up on the other side of the world in Hong Kong and then moved back here when I was 14. Edinburgh is definitely now home! I grew up in a Christian family with amazing parents, so God was always a part of my life but it was only ever head knowledge. I knew all the bible stories – but they didn’t really mean anything to me. For a long time I believed that there was a God, and that there was a man called Jesus who lived a long time ago. Jesus seemed like a great guy, and he did amazing things, but what relevance did he have in my life? And it took real difficulty and loads of pain in certain areas of my life to realise that even though my external circumstances seemed awful, that there was still good things and hope to be found in God.
When I was going through my teenage years all I wanted to do was break free from all the rules and restrictions that I thought religion and Christianity had placed on me. “Don’t drink, don’t do this, don’t do that” that is all I chose to hear! So when I moved away from home and started boarding at a school in Edinburgh I took the opportunity to indulge in a way of life that wasn’t good for me. At the time I was seriously insecure and had no confidence in who I was so I thought I had to look a certain way and do certain things to be loved and accepted. The insecurities that I was struggling with at the time then manifested into an eating disorder at the end of sixth form. I then moved to London at the age of 17 to start a Foundation in Art and Design. I knew no one, I had no friends, and I lived in a room in halls that had no natural light – literal darkness! I was in a place of constant denial, where I knew I needed love and support, but I was scared that if people really knew me and the things I had done that they wouldn’t or couldn’t love me. The first six months that I was in London, I pushed away everyone that was close to me and I became even more vulnerable to myself. Everything was spiralling out of control around me so I controlled what I could and pretty much stopped eating. It got so bad that during the Christmas holidays of that year, my parents found me on the bathroom floor struggling to breathe, as my body just was not coping. Safe to say that was a HUGE wakeup call. I knew that something had to change but I didn’t know how that was going to happen because I didn’t have the strength myself.
I decided to give church another go and it was at a service at Holy Trinity Brompton in London where I really met Jesus for the first time. It was then that all my head knowledge became heart knowledge. I began to realise that if Jesus died on the cross for me whilst I was still a sinner then I wouldn’t have to do anything to earn his love and compassion. He died for me because He loved me, and that there was nothing that I could ever do that would separate me from God’s love! So over the next few months, Jesus showed me who I really was, He told me that I was loved, that I was beautiful and that it didn’t matter what the world said about me. Jesus radically freed me from all the insecurities that I had and I stand here today fully healed all thanks to Him.
Even though I have gone through some pretty crappy stuff, I honestly wouldn’t take any of it back because in the process I got to know Jesus for who He really is. He isn’t a rule maker. He is kind and compassionate and only ever has my best in mind. He brought me out of darkness and into the light because He LOVES me and He delights in me.
God will always be my strength. He will always be my hope. And this will always be my story!