Norwich pastor's journey of faith brings hope
A journey of faith has helped Norwich man Steve Mott through childhood rejection and personal tragedy and he is now able to offer help to others facing life’s challenges. Mike Wiltshire reports.
All of us face simple rejections at various times and often we can get over them with no long-term effect. But a traumatic experience of rejection in childhood can trigger a lifelong “killer problem,” says Steve Mott, a family counsellor and church leader who recently told a Norwich audience how his own early life was crippled by family rejection.
As a boy, his personal world collapsed after a parental divorce - dejected and lonely, he would walk the streets till bedtime - “or do crazy, stupid things, just to win acceptance.”
After serving in the Royal Navy (including submarines), Steve’s inner journey to recovery really began in 1986 when, at the age of 31, he was invited to a fellowship gathering in a Bowthorpe community hall.
Steve wasn’t a churchgoer and had no idea what to expect, but it led to “a life-changing encounter with God’s unconditional love”.
Eventually, Steve and his wife, Elaine, became involved in helping others in deprived areas, seeing families and communities changed. They knew that rejection can be a springboard to many other issues such as loneliness, low self-esteem, aggression and depression.
Steve and Elaine’s work has attracted links with ministries in many nations. Their faith has also sustained them through massive family loss after their son, David, died of lymphoma in 2004 at the age of 22.
He also recalls the time when he had no faith at all and could make no sense of the Bible. Although he knew one verse in Psalm 23 where it said “The Lord is my Shepherd . . .” He wondered what on earth does that mean?
Ray Simpson, the minister at Bowthorpe Church at that time said: “Well, Steve, we’ll pray for you . . . that the Holy Spirit will help you understand.” And, sure enough, right at the end of the meeting, after tea and biscuits, Ray prayed – “and the power of God shot through his hand”.
Steve’s new Bible fell on the floor and it fell open at Psalm 23, the famous Shepherd’s Psalm – and for Steve this was the start of “a spiritual voyage of discovery” as he began to read and understand the words of Jesus who said: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).
The promise in Psalm 147:3 that God will “heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds,” also became a reality to Steve as he also learned to forgive those who he felt had rejected him.
Now a gifted speaker, Steve is a man with a message. His inspiring story has been “a key that has unlocked the lives of many people” who have faced similar traumas and challenges. “My own life has been transformed,” he says. “We’ve seen miracle after miracle.”
As Steve and Elaine grew in faith, they were able to demonstrate family life in their community, seeing local people “restored, released from addictions of many types, and seeing troubled families reunited.”
Today, as an experienced church leader, Steve says that deep rejection has a way of destroying a person's life in a way that few other things can – but those who find freedom and healing through the love of God “should also reach out to the hurting people around us and share how we’ve been healed,” he says.
He adds: “The greatest love story in the world is revealed through the Cross of Jesus – who rose again to set us free from bondage, as we trust in Him.”
Steve Mott was speaking at a men’s monthly breakfast of the Living Stones Christian Fellowship at the Willow Community Centre, Cringleford, Norwich.
Pictured above is Steve Mott.