22 - Middlesex
Before Christ, what was your world-world view?
I believed in the Trinity, and I believed in heaven and hell. I lived by works only, and I was very scared to face my beliefs. This was due to the fact that the life I was living was not a reflection of the God I had heard about.
When did you first hear the Gospel? How did you feel about it?
I was raised in the church, and I honestly enjoyed the routine of going to church on a Sunday more than anything. What I was hearing at the time seemed great, but in hindsight, I was not actually taking anything in. I was aware that Christ died for my sins, but that is where it stopped. I did not understand grace, and what I had actually been saved from.
What was your biggest question before you became Christian?
My biggest question before I became a Christian was “what is love?” I found myself questioning what love was whilst writing my dissertation, and I was asking those around me what they defined love as being. Everyone had a very cliche response like ‘love is complex, its a feeling and you just know when someone loves you’. But I found that most answers included an explanation of love as being contingent on an individual’s behaviour towards you. Like they had to do something to deserve it. And that's how I felt in all of my relationships. Like I had to earn my place by doing something, but it never felt like I was doing enough.
What was the turning point in your attitude? When did it all change?
I had a very rough year, I suffered from depression and anxiety, and a long list of other things lingered over my head like a dark cloud, and it all changed for me on the 18th July 2019. After all my questions about love and my anger/frustration towards myself and so many others, I can only owe it to the prompting of the Holy Spirit that caused me to go back to my Father.
I decided to find out what the bible said about love. And we all know 1 Corinthians 13. My curiosity to know what it meant caused me to find more than I had anticipated. God absolutely spoke to me in every chapter of Corinthians I read. I found out about His grace, I found out about his love, the love that I didn’t even deserve mind you.
What changes did you see in your life, actions, attitudes, problems?
The biggest change was my desire to study the word. This may seem like such a basic thing, but for someone who was brought up in the church, I can only say the only book of the Bible that I read religiously was Genesis and Proverbs. And that was mostly glancing over the pages, not studying.
I loved English Literature at school, and I decided to study the bible like I was studying “Of Mice and Men”, or a Poetry Anthology. This meant taking into account historical context, highlighting and annotating specific texts, and reading commentaries for extra understanding.
The more I studied the word of God, the more it read me, and by the grace of God, I realised I had to get rid of my “me, myself and I”, attitude, and begin to fellowship with God’s people.
How long did it take before you noticed changes?
Honestly, change was gradual for me as I did have a stubborn nature, and I did not want to completely release those whom I felt had wronged me. But the beauty of studying the word is that I had come to the understanding that God sent his one and only son Jesus Christ, who humbled himself on the cross for my sake and forgave me of my sins. I did not deserve forgiveness, but I was given it anyway!
So my prayer became “God, teach me to be able to extend grace in the way that it was shown to me”. By the grace of God, I am learning to walk in that forgiveness!
Where are you now?
I am planted in a local church, studying the word, and worshipping God in every way I can. There is a common misconception that because of my faith, I will have no trouble at all, but as C.S Lewis says “Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace in difficulties”, and this is what I remind myself of in all my seasons of life now.
What is your favourite bible verse and why?
1 Corinthians 15:55-57
Death has lost its sting! The devil no longer has a hold over me, and I have been given eternal life through my saviour Jesus Christ! This scripture reminds me of the authority I have been given as a daughter of the Most High! I am able to laugh in the face of the devil because I have the victory and I already know how the story ends. I have been taught to “take back my agreement from the devil and co-sign with what scripture says about me”, and this scripture reminds me of that victory.
Advice to a non-Christian:
Come as you are. Nothing is too dirty, you are not too far gone and the price was already paid for you. God just wants your surrender, don’t worry about trying to clean yourself up first. He is sovereign, all-powerful and all-knowing. He knew the things you were going to do before you did them, and yet still, He loves you, and wants to be in relationship with you. He can do the work in you. But only if you let Him. So I say again, come as you are.