I was born and raised in a deeply religious family and became an ardent Born-again Christian at age 12. By the age of 15, I had already served as a co-founder of one of the largest Pentecostal Churches in my hometown in Africa. From my Sunday School days, I was exposed to this Christian view that holiness and service to God provide immunity from adversity and pain. I believed that God would help me live a happy life and eventually go to heaven by doing this. That is why I had a solid drive to enhance my faith from a tender age.
Initially, this attitude seemed to serve me well. Upon relocating to the UK, the country I have called home for over 22 years, I, by His Grace, recorded decent success in Ministry and life generally. However, it did not take long before my world fell apart. My marriage of more than twenty years fell apart. Shortly afterwards, I experienced significant emotional traumas, including several near-death experiences. My children suffered emotional trauma and were on the verge of being taken into care.
This experience was terrible for my pride and career as a clergy minister. Within a right-wing Christian circle (the extreme branch of religious faith that I had been part of), there had been (and still is) a strong emphasis on achieving and maintaining a “perfect” marriage. Divorce is perceived as a spiritual inadequacy and a cause for disqualification from the Christian Ministry. Indeed, I lost my Ministry. I was jobless, homeless, and survived on meals from food banks. Afterwards, a few friends took me to their homes and gave me food and comfort.
I struggled to understand why a loving God would allow such a tragedy to occur to me, His faithful servant. I was angry with God. The world was dark, and living was a painful experience for me. I was suicidal.
One night I was in one of the bushes in England, totally dejected and deeply embedded in evil thoughts. Unexpectedly I heard a text message ringtone; the first message I had had for a while. The two-sentence message was from my old friend who wanted to know if I was okay. That simple message not only lifted my spirit but took me out of that dark place.
By the grace of God, my life did not fall off the cliff. To cope with my emotional trauma, I devoted myself to fasting, praying, meditating, and learning from others who had been through tough times.
My transcendent moment happened on a particular night when the emotional trauma was almost unbearable. In an instant, the feelings of pain and anguish were replaced by peace beyond measure. My perception of life took a complete turnaround. Everything around me seemed terrific. Life seemed and felt beautiful like never before.
As I wondered what had just happened to me, I heard a small calm voice from God saying, “today I have baptised you in my love.” On that night, my spiritual eyes were opened. My life was filled with gratitude, humility, and concern for others. Beneath the wreckage of my broken life, I found something precious and eternally true. I found the love of God!
I have since learned that God’s love is the main ingredient of a fulfilled life. But I also know that God’s love is preceded by emotional pain.
In truth, I was highly privileged to fall in love with God. I use the word ‘privilege’ because I know that falling into God’s hands is a matter of appointment rather than choice or chance. I did not become a statistic because I was luckier or better than others. I survived adversity and discovered a fulfilling life beyond my wildest imagination because God drew me to the stream of His love by His very purpose, grace, and power.
Through my traumatic experiences and lessons learned, God planned to use me to help others find His love and live a life they fully deserve.
This is why I’m dedicated to the Dreamlife Mission.
Rev. Noel Maturlu, Rev. Noel Maturlu, MBPsS/PhD(s)
Theistic (Christian) Integrated Psychotherapist.
Founder & Executive Director