'The peace I now feel'
I guess you could say that I have always been a Christian.
I grew up going to church with my mum, and have always believed there was a God but didn’t really understand what it was to know God. I have always admired my mum’s faith, her trust in the Lord, the first thing she would always do was pray, and no matter how small she would always praise God for everything. I would go to church with her and love listening to the sermons, and couldn’t understand why I’d get goose bumps but somehow feel hot at the same time during worship... I now know was the Holy Spirit working in me even back then.
My relationship with God started to change though in 2015. My older brother who had been going through a tough time at work had started to go church in London where he lives, and each time he came back to visit I would see such a massive change in him, and when I spoke to him that change was God.
My sister Abbie then went on Alpha the same year, and each Thursday when she came home, after debriefing me on the amazing menu, she’d tell me all about what she’d learnt, and the change I saw in her in all different areas of her life made me think ‘I need a piece of this, I want to know more’! Not least because the road rage me and her used to share seemed to disappear from her overnight, and she started telling me off when I’d get angry at other drivers... something I am still working on!
So I went to her Alpha closing evening, and after confirming the food was amazing, I signed up for the next Course and it couldn’t come soon enough. In the meantime I started going to church more with my mum and Abs, and couldn’t believe how much I looked forward to it, sometimes even going straight after a night shift which was unheard of for me!
The next Alpha Course came around and I couldn’t wait to start. I learnt so much, historical facts that I had never even heard before, and it strengthened my belief in Christ.
I remember vividly though at the end of one session John Denney said that he was going to read the prayer of commitment out loud, and if we wanted to ask God into our lives we could say it in our head with him… I knew I wanted to make that commitment but for some reason I started to feel panicky and remember my palms feeling all sweaty and my heart racing (not much different from how I’m feeling now but for a different reason!). I felt like there was something stopping me. I thought from that point I had to be perfect. I wanted to be perfect but felt so far from that that I didn’t feel I could say it.
But then we went on the Alpha Away Day and John Denney spoke about the Holy Spirit, and after one of the talks we had a quiet time for prayer, and all I kept thinking was I wanted to say the prayer of commitment but again something was stopping me. Then, while we were all quiet, John spoke and said that he felt like God was telling him to speak, and that he felt there was someone in the room that wanted to make a commitment but something was stopping them, and they should have faith, and it felt like he was speaking directly to me. And the next thing I knew I was crying and Sue Swanson came to me and asked if I wanted to pray with her, and that’s when I asked God to come in to my life and be my Lord and Saviour.
And I would love to say that since that day I have been perfect, I definitely haven’t, but I try and live in God’s image. I used to struggle a lot with anxiety, always worrying about something, as my sister will confirm as I used to ring her a hundred times a day just to check she was ok! I still have worries but can’t explain the peace I now feel, especially knowing that when I do have worries I can put them all before Christ and know that he is there and listening.
Baptised 2nd July 2017