Hope For The Future - The Message
30 Mar 2023

Hope For The Future

After seeing God move in her life and rescue her from rock bottom, Merlin is determined to use every day to share Jesus’ love with those she meets in The Mess Café. We caught up with her to hear her story.

‘For as long as I can remember, I wanted to own a fashion business. Growing up, my dad had a business and taught me everything he knew, so I gained lots of experience. Over time, I had the opportunity to start my own company and life was good. I was happily married with a daughter and felt like God was opening doors for me, and my business was growing.

But as more money came in, I started to want more. I decided to not trust God but go my own way so I asked friends if they wanted to invest, but offered them a bigger return than I could afford. Before long, I found myself owing so many people money that my debt was out of control.

Eventually I was reported to the police, arrested and released on bail. During this time, my marriage broke down, I lost my business, and getting ready to go to court was mentally exhausting. 

I started struggling with anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, until one day I hit rock bottom and thought ‘I don’t want to go on anymore’. It felt like there was only one way out. 

So, one day, I waited until my daughter was asleep, got painkillers out of the cupboard and started to crush them up with a plan to take them all that night. As I did this, I prayed ‘God, if you are with me and I’m not meant to die tonight, would you show me?’ 

I went to get a glass of water, turned around to where I’d left the tablets and a note for my daughter and saw that everything had gone! I checked three times, running around the house to make sure there wasn’t anyone else there before believing what I was seeing.

‘That’s when I realised I wasn’t alone. I knew God was there.’

I got on my knees, closed my eyes and said to Jesus, ‘I surrender myself to you right now.’ That was the beginning of everything. ‘God cleared my mind of all the suicidal thoughts and replaced them with his peace, and gave me pictures of what was going to happen next in my life. It was then I knew I was going to go to prison, but that I wasn’t to be afraid because God would be with me. Everything changed for me in that moment.

That week, I was sentenced and sent to prison, but it turned out to be a time where God used me more than I could imagine. I made a friend who I prayed with every day and as other women heard about this more joined us. Each day we’d study the Bible, encourage each other and press into what God was saying.

I became a safe person that new people in prison would speak to. As women shared their stories with me, I was able to pray with them and tell them how loved they are by Jesus.

I decided to use this time to retrain and took as many courses as I could, getting qualifications in beauty. It was then that I met the Message in Prisons team who ran Bible studies and encouraged me in my faith.

When I was released, The Message offered me a job as a beautician on their enterprise programme, where I also got discipled in my faith. It felt like I’d hit the jackpot! Since Covid, I’ve switched my role to work in The Mess Café and I love it. People here don’t care about my past, they encourage me, see my giftings and equip me for the future.

‘The Message found me when I was in my darkest place and became my family. Here I have a home, a community, a family and know that I’m loved.’

Now, I’m the manager at The Mess Café, helping to train others as baristas and I know my future is bright.

Looking ahead, the most important thing is my faith. I’ve been given a second chance and need to use it. I know God saved me and I want to share my story to help others turn things around. I want to show them that there is a hope and there are people who love them and believe in them, like The Message showed me.’

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Find out more about our work at message.org.uk/enterprise