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Melinda prayed for 30 years. This is how God answered. 

Thirty years ago, I had a mental breakdown and went to stay with my mum for support. Because I was there for a long time, the council property I lived in was taken away, including all my belongings. Suddenly I was homeless.

After requesting another council property, I was offered a two-bed flat for me and my sons. It was lovely. But then, in a short space of time, I encountered abuse from my neighbours. I was so afraid of them that I wouldn’t go out. I also struggled to get the council to carry out necessary repairs on the property. It was a nightmare. 

All the while, I was struggling with thousands of pounds’ worth of debt. I had to stop working when I had the breakdown, and raising a family on benefits was hard. I struggled to afford basic everyday things that most people find easy to deal with, and my mental health condition made everything more difficult.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 

Philippians 4:6 (NLT) – one of Melinda’s favourite Bible verses 

Asking God for help

Even when my boys grew up and left home, I couldn’t handle the issues that confronted me. I had always believed in God, but I didn’t know how to ask him for help. All I did was say, Please, please God, let me get another flat’. Besides the abuse I’d been enduring from the neighbours for years, I was told I could no longer live in the property as it had two bedrooms and I was the sole occupant. It felt hopeless.

You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it. 

Matthew 21:22 (NLT) – another of Melinda’s favourite verses 

I viewed six properties, all of which were substandard. At the sixth, I was so desperate that I said I would accept it – but God had other plans. The woman showing me around rejected it on my behalf. She didn’t believe I would be happy there.

Meanwhile, the cost of living started to go up, and my energy bills rose from £89 to £268 per month. I was using credit cards to buy food which meant I wasn’t able to clear any of my debt. Then, in the space of one week, my washing machine, cooker, fridge freezer and TV all gave up. I didn’t know where to turn.

At one point I was so low that I attempted suicide. When I woke the next morning, I really cried to God for help. The plea was from the bottom of my heart. Strangely enough, it was from then on that everything began to turn around. I was under the care of a mental health hospital and was referred to a local charity that helps those over 50, and they suggested getting debt help from CAP.

When I met CAP

The first time Peter and Jill from CAP visited, I didn’t own a sofa, so there weren’t enough seats for us all to sit on. Peter immediately started thinking about how he could help me, beyond the debt, and he was able to get a lovely, comfortable sofa for my flat. Both he and Jill were supportive, helpful and understanding right from the start.

Peter gave me a list of scriptures to read. There was one in particular, Psalm 118:5–6, that really helped me: When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’ I started to feel that I wasn’t alone.

Peter invited me to his church, and I’ve been going regularly ever since. Attending church gives me something to look forward to as I live by myself and don’t have anyone to talk to. I was able to ask for prayer for my family, as well as for my search for a smaller, more peaceful property. I’ve rededicated myself to Jesus Christ and found that I can pray in earnest and truth. Although sometimes I doubted, I quoted scripture in my prayers where the advice was to ask anything in faith and believe that it would be given. I’ve learnt that when I seek God first, he will give me everything I need.

Create in me a clean heart, oh God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. 

Psalm 51:10 (NLT)
A woman smiles up at the camera as she goes up a flight of stairs

Answered prayers

He really and truly has answered my prayers. Thanks to CAP, I’m now debt free and I’m able to put some money into savings. And, this summer, I moved into a lovely, one-bedroom, ground-floor flat with a garden. God even supplied a place that had been fully refurbished. There’s nothing I need to do!

I still have struggles with low income and my mental health, but having God in my life and a church community around me has made a world of difference. I want to encourage anyone reading this that, no matter what you are going through or longing for, seek God first. Read your Bible and pray every day. Find a church group where you can gain fellowship and receive spiritual guidance and direction. Most importantly, trust in him. He is with you.

Written by Melinda, mum of two grown-up boys, now debt free and thriving.

Photography by Tom Price

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Ruth holding a sign that reads 'There is so much need. I'm at my limit.'
Ruth, Co-Debt Centre Manager

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Ruth holding a sign that reads 'There is so much need. I'm at my limit.'