by Colleen Hansen

"The Lord Lifts Up Those Who Are Bowed Down." (Psalm 146:8) This was something very much more than a Scripture verse to Jenny Kennedy, who, as a young person, had been so depressed and without hope, she had been driven to attempt suicide, and had actually died...

"I had a very emotionally unstable upbringing." says Jenny. "Our Mother was a beautiful and kind woman, but was often prone to physical sickness, so my sister and I were sent away to boarding school. The Nuns really lacked any semblance of humanity, and the result was that we had a miserable life filled with rejection, and the severity of the religious system."

"At home was little better in that my Father was a very harsh man, made so by his own upbringing, and had trouble expressing affection for his children. Our parents then separated, and this background, coupled with the severity of our Catholic upbringing, drove me to become a very rebellious teenager. I rebelled not only against the system, but against God, leading me into catastrophic situations."

"So bad did it all become, that my parents decided to get back together, as my Father wanted to take control of my life. But it was not really done with any affection. Despite my Mother being a lovely person, our household was full of stress and unhappiness. I had reached a point of no return by the time I was seventeen, where I felt there was nothing to hope for from life, and I tried to take my own life. I took various tablets and turned on the gas. I passed out, and later my Father told me that I had actually died, and it looked as though I couldn't be revived."

"What happened to me was rather weird. I went down this dark tunnel and saw a very bright light. This happened more than once. I wanted instinctively to go to that light. My life was very miserable, I could not bear to return. I did not actually see Jesus, but a voice spoke quite clearly to me and said I had to go back. The only wish I really had for going back was to marry and have a family, and the voice told me I would achieve this, but I must go back because I had not fulfilled the purpose I had been born for."

Jenny had no idea exactly what this purpose was. There was no tangible startling thing that happened, although she was now more receptive to God. She had always known there was a God, but now He was much more real and a search had begun...

"I went back to my job and normal life (if you could call it that), resumed. There was no significant change at the time, although I did leave home. At the age of seventeen I met Don Kennedy, my future husband, and we fell very much in love. He was thirty-two, quite a bit older than me, but proved an invaluable stability in my life and we had four boys."

"As a non-Christian, I felt a search was underway, and in my thirties when we moved to Inverell, I began reading the Bible. As I did this, a powerful thought came to me one day, as there were parts of the Bible I chose to believe, and parts I didn't. It was along the lines of, "You either accept the Bible as the Word of God and believe it or not at all." It was a challenge where I was called on to make a major decision, and for me with my shaky upbringing and the religious schooling which had been so terrible, it was like stepping over a cliff and having to believe God was out there to catch me. Nevertheless, I did decide to believe it totally, and when I did, such a joy and peace enveloped me - something I had never experienced before in a lifetime."

"I began to attend a Salvation Army church, then went with a friend to an Apostolic church. Here I was baptised, and a further truth was added to my collection - that the old Jenny had gone into the water and an entirely new person had come out. The old depression which had so dogged me fell away - it had clung to me without my knowing it. But with such truths as 'the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness,' and 'He gave me beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,' my life was entirely new. It was now full of hope and an adventure."

"We lived on a farm at that time, and I had to milk cows. This proved an agony as I had chronic arthritis in my left hand. When I was filled with the Holy Spirit, though, this pain just melted away and I've never had it since."

"He did so many miracles for us during our time in Inverell, and later Glen Innes, that one could not possibly recount them all - it would take a book, but I would say this, that truly God is faithful, and He saved my life in more ways than one."

Jenny's story appears here courtesy of Angie Testa, Coffs Harbour, Australia.


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