The Transformation of Kathy Ansin
The abuse and violence I experienced as a child, really messed with my head and gave me a twisted idea of what love was, and also of men. The men in my life had either abused me or left me. I was raped, by a family member, repeatedly between the ages of 8 – 13 years old.
I blamed myself and thought that it was something that I was doing wrong. I stopped grooming and washing my hair. I have been badly beaten, knocked out and hospitalised.
I wore very baggy clothes and learnt the skill of being invisible. I used alcohol to numb myself from the pain.
I remember the feeling of abandonment and panic when my mother escaped from my father without me, and I was left to fend for myself against his violence.
I remember the ache of hunger. Days on end without food. The numbness of perpetual hunger.
I remember shopping days – I would wear dad’s overalls tucked into his gumboots and walk around the grocery store shoving food and other items into my clothing - wherever it would fit.
My father taught me how to work within the government system and use it to our advantage. Very little I did was honourable or legit. As I grew older, I learnt to know what men wanted and how to get what I needed through manipulation and cunning.
I had shut myself off from feeling anything, while the real me became an expert at being invisible.
My son connected with Destiny Church in his Intermediate school years. I was drinking and doing drugs, and I was happy to let him go and be a part of the activities. I could carry on with what I was doing and felt better about it ‘cause at least my son wasn’t doing criminal activity like the other kids in our neighbourhood.
Every time he was in a performance or dance, he would invite me along and I would go to support him – I’d always say, “that was good son, but that church is not for me.”
That’s the way it was for years – me living my life of alcohol and drugs, and my son going to Destiny Church. Essentially, my son has been brought up by Destiny Church from the age of twelve; significant adults encouraged my son when I wasn’t there for him.
They told him that God was giving him the strength to be the breakthrough for his family. That he could save them and that he could rise up above his circumstance to a brighter day.
He was mercilessly mocked and persecuted by me and his aunties, but yet he continued.
Eventually, it got to the stage I couldn’t ignore the church any longer, they had moved from Mt Wellington to Wiri and were now only two streets away from my home!
I’d wake up, hung over on a Sunday and my kids would be gone – gone to Destiny Church!
My Date with Destiny
At my daughter’s water baptism, I decided to find out more about what this church was about, so I went to the Inside Out classes, and as I let the teaching retrain my mind, I slowly began to make changes.
My speech and attitude changed: I stopped the mocking and ridicule of my son and of the church, I even started standing up for him! I also decided that I would make a stand with my son, and no longer allowed alcohol, drugs or patched gang members in my home.
For the first time in my life, Christ was real, it wasn’t a religious thing or an obligation out of guilt.
One Sunday, at the altar, I made a commitment to God, and to Bishop, as my spiritual father – this time it was for real.
During my Legacy journey, my son confronted me on my continued drinking habit, we had an argument because I didn’t want to give it up. He was hurt and angry and almost in tears. But it was what he said to me that bought me to my knees.
“Mum, I forgive you for all the alcohol and drugs you brought into our home, and Mum, I forgive you for all the different men you bought through my life, and Mum, I forgive you for the beat ups I used to get as a child … I just forgive you, Mum.”
I didn’t ask for that forgiveness! I was standing there absolutely blown away and confronted by the sh@* I had put my kids through. Yes, I had done that. Everything he said was true.
My son’s forgiveness of me, enabled me to be able to forgive too.
There were so many traumatic events in my childhood that I was able to face and eventually forgive. I have forgiven my dad, and the man who raped me, and my mum who had left me when I was so young. I realise now, that forgiveness is not a “get out of jail free card” nor is it letting them off the hook.
“Forgiveness gives me permission to get on with my life and gives me the power to let the pain go.”