Dawn Barker: Always Got Hope
Dawn came into her adult life thinking that her happiness would be fulfilled if only she had a family of her own - it wasn’t long before she realised this wasn’t true.
At seventeen, Dawn had her first child. After having her confidence and self-esteem battered by school bullies, this was supposed to be the start of her new life; emulating her loving parents by raising her own family. Sadly her relationship with her son’s father wasn’t good - already the cracks were showing in her domestic dream. Nevertheless, Dawn chased the happiness she so desperately craved; moving from house to house and having a second son with her partner.
It was in Southwold, in 1994, when the first major shockwave hit Dawn’s family picture. They had been at their new house only a few months when her youngest son, Damion, was in an accident and died, he was six years old.
Dawn was heartbroken. The question that kept going around her head was “what’s the point in living if we are only going to die?” The absence of an answer left Dawn in a state of despair.
When Dawn’s father heard the tragic news, he fell to his knees and, for the first time, prayed to God. By the time he got back to his feet, he was a changed man and had chosen to follow Jesus. Although her brother also had previously become a Christian, Dawn had always thought that the stories about God were nothing more than fairy tales. In her state of grief and questioning, therefore, she was not ready to explore the reason behind the peace her father and brother had found.
“What’s the point in living if we are only going to die?”
Two years later, soon after the birth of her daughter, Dawn found herself emotionally and mentally unwell; gripped by fear and worry. She left her home for a while to have some space and a rest.
It was in this place of rest that God came to her and spoke to her heart, saying “don’t worry anymore, I am with you.” After hearing this affirmation, Dawn took the first step towards trusting God and releasing her fear to Him. Steadily, things started to change.
Dawn no longer felt alone in the world, instead she began to feel true freedom. Where she had been trying to make a family of her own, she now realised she was a child of God with a greater spiritual family than she had ever thought possible. Looking back on the point of fear and desperation she reached before giving it all to God, Dawn said that “although I was breaking down to the world, it was a breakthrough for God.”
“Although I was breaking down to the world, it was a breakthrough for God.”
From then on, Dawn knew she needed to be around her Christian brothers and sisters and seek out more of Jesus. When she arrived back home to her partner, Dawn felt she needed to walk away from the abusive relationship. Despite the pain of this decision Dawn really felt God helping her. Because of her partner’s drinking and abusive behaviour, Dawn had come into a place where “I remember thinking I hated him, and I didn't want to hate him any more.” She left with her young daughter, though her son chose to stay with his father.
When she first went to church, Dawn was hit with uncertainty again; plagued by the feeling that everyone seemed so sorted and happy. Unlike before, however, she brought these feelings to God and was reminded that she is loved by Him no matter what. More and more, Dawn let go of her fear and trusted God - and the more she did that, the deeper her relationship with Him became and the greater her freedom in Christ. “I'm so glad to have a relationship with Jesus knowing he accepts me as I am, loves me with no conditions, I am free to grow in his love.”
Now a cherished member of King’s Mile Cross, Dawn serves wherever she can within the church with the hope of giving others a taste of the goodness God gave her. She has forgiven her partner for the way he behaved and has moved on from the hate she once felt. Far from being filled with fear and anxiety, now many around her describe Dawn as one who has always got hope - looking forward to a promising future with God.
On being asked her own past question, “what’s the point in living if we are only going to die?” Dawn now smiles and answers simply: “the point is God.”