I was brought up in what I used to call a 'Christian family'. From very young we went to church and Sunday School every week and my father was involved in various roles at the church (still is actually). I was baptised and later confirmed at age 14, although I really didn't know what I was doing at the time. In fact shortly after this I stopped going to church, I guess I became a typical teenager and just found it all BORING!! However a few years later I did start going to a youth group with a friend at another church although to be honest I think the attraction was more to do with a rather nice chap there, who I subsequently dated! I didn't really have much faith at this time - I did try to believe and sometimes I thought I did but from what I know now, I didnt really have any faith at all.
In my later teens I went travelling and didn't go to church for some years. I did the typical teenage thing of 'going off the rails' and got into all sorts of things that I am not proud of. That said, those things have mde me the person I am today and if I hadn't been there maybe I wouldn't now be following God. We are all the sum of our lives so far and I know the things I went though in these years have made me the person I am today. Anyway I digress.... So, I gave up my uni place and went travelling. Although God was often in the back of my mind I pretty much ignored him during this time. I did lots of very stupid things (drugs, sleeping with people, generally being very careless and foolish) and looking back it makes me shudder to think of the path I was on. I don’t want to make this seem worse than it was, I wasn’t an addict (except to nicotine!) and certainly wasn’t at deaths door but I was on a destructive path, I didn’t really care about myself. I was very insecure and had issues with not eating too, which didn’t help.
To cut this long part of the story short, I ended up pregnant, a long way from home. Despite my situation I knew I could not have an abortion, I just wouldn’t even consider it – from the very second I found out I was pregnant I knew I would have this child. Looking back I realise that it was meant to be, an act of God, and considering the many factors surrounding both our relationship and how we lived it is a miracle I got pregnant and a miracle the baby was born healthy and happy.
I actually left the father (one of the best decisions of my life), came home and settled near my family, who depsite initial reservations (thats a bit of an understatement... :) ) were very supportive. I did go back to church and actually got involved a bit with it, everyone there was very helpful and lovely but still, this was more because I fely I ought to go and not because of any faith.
A few years later I got toegther with an old friend, we fell in love, subsequently got married and had more kids. We continued at the same church (it was very traditional) and even got involved helping out but my heart wasn't in it and we rarely, if ever, talked about our faith. As I look back I’m not sure why or what I even believed over this time – I think I had some small measure of faith then but I was and continued to be plagued by doubts. If I tried to pray (which let’s face it was not very often, I just got thoughts like ‘no one is listening, what are you doing you idiot…’)
So about 12 months ago I made the decision to stop going to church. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I had been confused for so long and the final straw was the thought that my children would go through the same as me – constantly wondering whether God was real or what to believe. That had plagued my life and I didn’t want them to go through that too. We were actually going through a really tough time in our relationship too. 2008/9 was not a good year for us! I felt we were drifting apart and I really doubted my love for him, I couldn’t see us apart but we certainly weren’t together. So in faith terms, throughout this year I started looking for spiritual growth elsewhere – I had no problem believing in a God – I mean just look at Creation….. I always felt closest to God or most at peace being near the sea, or out in nature - being in a summer field for example, but I just couldn’t really get my head around it all and relate that to MY life.
I had been going to yoga for some time (I think I’d done it on and off for about 10 years) and after effectively ‘giving up’ on a Christian God I started to ask my yoga teacher about going on yoga retreats, doing meditations etc, generally I guess I was looking for answers elsewhere. I began to embrace this and having always thought of myself as a ‘bit bohemian’ and being rather arty I felt comfortable that it fitted with me and my lifestyle.
and that is when God showed up!
At this time we were planning an extension on our house and although I was dreading it, it was actually fine, I didn’t get stressed (which is very unusual for me – I am not good with disorder!), we got on well with the builders and it all went smoothly (well, mostly…!) we became friendly with most of the builders, one in particular. I remember one day him saying he would tell me his story when we had time. A few days later (and the timing was totally lousy – the house was really at its worst point with stuff everywhere, my son was ill, I was due to leave imminently to drop him at my mums etc) he started sharing his testimony with me.
This changed my life. It was totally full on right from the word go. I had never heard this kind of Christian testimony before, a real warts and all approach. I was completely blown away. Over the next few days and weeks he spoke to me more about his faith and what he had experienced. Some of it was really hard to believe, real ‘supernatural’ stuff (now there’s a term I had never heard in relation to God before!) and all the talk of Satan, the force of evil, demons and so on. In all the years I had been to church I had never heard anything vaguely approaching this. I wasn’t even sure I believed in hell. But I needed to hear this – My approach to anything in life is not to do anything by halves, I want to know everything about a subject and do tasks with my all. Now, I was totally overwhelmed but couldn’t get enough at the same time. Prior to this I was one of those who thought that if I lived a good life and did the ‘right’ thing I would be going to heaven. How wrong I was! I didn’t even really know that the only way to God was through Jesus. I had always been confused about God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit and all I needed was someone to explain it to me really!
Anyway I can’t remember how long this went on for (but a few weeks I guess) just being ministered to each day, he just shared with me whenever he was here working, over coffee or just chatting and I gradually started asking more questions – things I had always had difficulty with or things I wanted to ask more about and he was totally honest but most importantly totally committed to his faith. I know at times I must have been a pain in the arse, just asking, not always accepting his answers, disputing things, but during this time a few things started to happen to make me think more about it all. There have been way too many 'coincidences' (theres a word I don't believe in any more!) for me not to believe. (I'll share some of those in other posts...) Eventually he just said to me 'I think we should pray together' and that's when I said the Sinners Prayer on 16th December and gave my life to Jesus, surrounded by chaos, screaming kids and the clutter of life - but it was perfect - that is what my life is like anyway and God knows that!
The very nexy day I led my husband in the sinners prayer too, and shortly after that we started attending a local church - but this time one that is perfect for us. I know that I am saved. That I am starting a relationship with God, that I have a new life, I am reborn. I don't recognise myself most of the time but it is the most awesome feeling! I know that my life has purpose, in fact I almost feel a bit smug some days (sorry Lord) that I know this great secret that others don't know. I wish everyone could know it, if only it were so simple :)
So that was about 6 weeks ago and things are still happening, changing, we are so hungry for the Word, hungry to seek God, just finding our way in our new lives and it is AWESOME! If you're still reading, well done :) I hope you can feel some of my enthusiasm, and reaslie how this has changed my life.
So the inital part is done, I have given my life to Christ, but now I want to live for him, do Gods will, know his purpose for my life, seek him more and that is what this blog is really about. My journey, to seek God, to know him better, to know his purpose for my life so that I can serve him as he wants me to do. I know it will be both wonderous and hideous, there will be highs and lows, I will be tested and tempted, battered and bruised but I know through it all I will have my faith, and He will be right there with me. Where I go from here, who knows, but I will share the journey with anyone who wants to share it with me. I can't promise to blog every day, or even every week, but I will write about every step of this awesome journey...
'And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age'. Mathew 28:20