Sorry it’s been two weeks! I have just had to move, so its been a little crazy. You may have read part one of my journey to faith in Christianity. As promised the story continues below. As a reminder, you can read the first blog here.
The temporary job I mentioned at the end of my last blog, I worked as a publisher recreating VW’s internal training manuals. It was a start, which was a little different to my background in Digital and Marketing, that I had left several months before. I also started going to Church on Wednesdays at St Mary’s, with the more ‘mature’ group. I remember my first time attending church (for the actual reasons of learning about Christ, rather than admiring the pretty architecture!). I was so nervous as to how I would be received. For example, things like ‘what will they think of a brown person, going to church?’ or ‘has she walked into the wrong place?’. Haha…silly now I know, but at that time, that was my genuine thoughts. I was welcomed by a lovely lady called Maureen, some of the elderly ladies turned around and wondered who I was. Maureen had come up to me, and given me such a warm welcome, along with a bible and took me to a seat. As I nervously listened to the service, all I remember thinking is ‘what am I doing here God?’. Anyway, I continued to go back every Wednesday and slowly eased myself into church, I met a lovely vicar called Norman and his wife Bettine, who became part of my small by growing church family.
I started the Alpha course in January 2013. For those of you who are not familiar with the Alpha course, it is was started by Nicky Gumbel a Vicar at Holy Trinity Brompton. It allows you to explore Christianity without any strings attached. So those questions that people ask like ‘are Christians really against homosexuals?’, ‘why do people suffer if there is a God?’, ‘why does God allow rape and young children to die?’ or ‘less’ serious questions like ‘can I still go out on a Friday night and party with my friends?!’. Each week that I went, I physically used to get shudders through my body (I still do), I started to understand that this was the Holy Spirit. By the 4th week, I already knew I wanted to be Baptised.
One of the talks at Alpha was about evil. Now I love when people say ‘well if there is a God, why is there evil?’. Everything has an equilibrium. Before and after my experience with God, I had this thing about seeing spiritualists and so-called psychics. I wanted to hear from my loved ones who had passed, or to know if I was going to be with this guy I had fallen head over heels with etc. I remember meeting up with Catherine the Vicar for a cuppa in town. I had told her about my visits to these people, and she had warned me to steer clear, though at that time, I had no understanding of what she was saying. I remember one of my visits being 3 hours! By the time I had left I was drained…because I had been drained of all my goodness. Not long after, Catherine had given a talk at Alpha about evil. One of the things she talked about was seeing psychics, tarot card readers, and how do you know what’s on the other side? As Christians we know that the enemy exists. So exactly how our angels know us, so does the enemy. The exact wording was ‘how do you know who you are talking to?’. I remember going home that evening and crying, because I realised I was wrong. The only real reason I kept seeing these people, was because I hadn’t had closure on my mum’s death. I felt like I was close to her. I know for some people that’s hard to understand, but if you’ve lost your mum at the age of 16, all you want to do is have a connection with her, and that was mine…until I learned it was wrong and I knew that.
I continued getting deeper into my learning of Christianity through Alpha. Things happened along the way, where I just thought wow…this is nuts. One of them was a conversation with a lady my grandmother knew, she is a big believer in Hindu Goddesses and I remember whilst I was living with my Grandmother, her telling me to never leave her and that God would bless me if I stayed, which you know, at the time was nice. When I moved back home and got a job, I called this lady to say thank you, as she had prayed for me. The response I got was cold and well quite frankly really upset me to the point I was trying to hold back my tears.She had been that way towards me, because I didn’t adhere to her words. I put the phone down and cried, thinking ‘I am always nice to people, why does she think that’s okay?’. I went to my Alpha class with this heaviness in my heart, and I remember getting that shudder, that horrible feeling disappeared. That was again the Holy Spirit. Through my whole Alpha experience, I had met some lovely people, though there were key people in this journey. My two leaders, Gill and Ben, then Tim the Alpha course leader.
The Alpha course finished and as Gill and Tim know, I was adamant and passionate about following Christ, I kept asking when the next church baptism would be. Tim, you kept me waiting until October 2013 and that still felt like a lifetime! Gill has become an integral part of my life, when I first met her, I felt like I knew her from somewhere, it turns out I did, as she was one of the lovely ladies, who had worked behind the desk at my dental surgery all those years.
After Alpha finished, I took a spiritual networking course, which was about finding your God given gifts. Skip forward to 13th October 2013 and after a few weeks of preparation, it was my Baptism day. Yay! I had a little get together at mine with all my family and friends from home, university, holidays and music.
You can watch my baptism here and my full testimony here. The experience was incredible, I literally was washed away of my sins and old life, to be created into something new. My new identity in Christ. How amazing is it, that we are forgiven of our sins? All the mistakes I had made…bad choices in men, my temper, my attitude…living for the world, all forgiven. I am not forgiven just once, but over and over. God loves me for who I am. How many people can you say really love you for who you are and accept you completely? How many times, do you feel pressured to conforming to the world ways? Money, materialism, how you look/dress, what you say or do, self-absorbed etc?
My baptism, was the start of a brand new life and a brand new day in Christ….and new challenges, one which followed within weeks…but not I wasn’t alone in facing them. God had a plan for me.
So if the question still stands why I became a Christian…its simply because I allowed God into my life, I have felt peace and joy like never before. I do not feel alone in a crowded room, I know that when times are tough, I have people who will pray for me. I know I can rely on Jesus, to be my light, to lift me up and guide me.
As I continue with the blog, you will see how my life has changed since my baptism…and even if you don’t believe in God, I pray that it inspires you if nothing else.
Have a great week!
Lots of love