Three Coffees

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Posts Tagged ‘confidence’

Steve – Extended Story

  My parents took me along to church from day one, so I grew up hearing about Jesus. As a kid I thought it made sense went to Sunday school and was part of a good church that provided opportunities for kids to learn about God and have fun. I do remember going to evening church services though and sneaking out the back to get the keys to the church hall and playing footy in there with my brother at every opportunity!

Through the rollercoaster of adolescence I had my heart broken by a couple of girls I really liked and felt really rejected. It wasn’t their fault, but both break ups hurt me really deeply. I was also pretty zitty and got plenty of grief at school suffering some bullying for my Christian faith, my refusal to doss around in classes and desire to please people in authority by trying to get along well in class. That didn’t go down well with most of the guys in my school so I was the ‘creep’, ‘boffin’, ‘vicar’, ‘gaylord’ and whatever other daft names get thrown around at that. So I guess my confidence and self esteem took a bit of a battering and it was in those teenage years I began to lean on God, talk to God personally and relate to Him as more than just some big guy up in the sky. I found genuine, consistent peace, security and unconditional love in all the rejections I faced and made the decision to call God ‘THE BOSS’ in my life. God was going to be my unshakeable foundation who would never reject me.

I remember specifically after being rejected on one really painful occasion I was in tears and crying out to God for comfort. I felt prompted to open my bible and found this amazing bible passage that’s stuck with me ever since from Isaiah 43:18-21, ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.’ It was amazing and the first of numerous ‘coincidences’ in my life where I’ve opened up the bible and read stuff that was directly relevant to what I was struggling with at the time. Not coincidences at all! When we cry out to God He speaks to us, if we really want to hear the answers! That’s my experience anyway.

When I got to around 19 I felt God challenge me about how much I trusted Him with my future. I had grown to love God very deeply, been given some great experiences through my local church and going around with my dad seeing the power of God bringing healing, miracles, freedom from emotional and demonic oppression for numerous people. But now God was asking me ‘if I don’t want you to ever get married will you say yes to me and trust that I have your best interests at heart.’ That was a huge call for me and I took a few weeks to think and pray. I got to the place where I gave God my answer. ‘God you know how much I want to get married, but I love you, you are my rock, my BOSS and if you don’t want me to get married ever then I trust that you know best.’ I really did mean that and left it with God.

Only about 6 months or so later after lots of personal thinking, praying, chatting to friends and family I started a new relationship with a girl called Julie. I’d got the nod from God that His question to me months earlier was a check on my priorities rather than an absolute request and so Julie and I started dating on 14th February 1996. After Julie spent 3 years at Reading Uni studying History and trying to escape me I managed to drag her back to Gloucester and we were married at Sandhurst Village Church in Gloucester on 24th July 1999. It was a glorious summer’s day, we loved each to bits and can both genuinely say that we love each other more deeply now, through all the random twists and turns of life in the last 12 years plus, than we did that day. We’re hugely grateful for a marriage where we’ve aimed to put God in the centre and pray together from our first date and ever since.

I could ramble on for days about all the ways God has proved Himself repeatedly to be the rock of our lives since our wedding but 2 examples in the last few years of God’s wisdom and care for us come to mind. The first was a few years back when we looking to move from our first home to a larger house. We had looked around lots and found a place we thought was ideal. We prayed about it, put a bid in and it was accepted. Everything seemed spot on. But the weeks dragged by and then the whole house move fell apart. We had prayed, trusted God, felt it was right and it had all gone belly up. What was God up to? Well the short story is that we ended up with a bigger place for the same price in the same area of Gloucester that suited our long term needs far better than the original place we had lined up. When the first move all went wrong we were stressed and didn’t get it. But we kept praying and looking, tried to trust God’s wisdom and plans and they prevailed yet again. God knows what He’s doing!

The second thing was in 2007 when I had worked for a few years as a part-time youth worker at a local church. We felt God calling us to become foster carers and needed to make some tough decisions to prepare for that, including me resigning from the job as youth worker. We were all set for me to find a full-time job and for Julie to be the full-time carer at home once we started fostering and then this ‘perfect’ job came up for me to apply for, full time school chaplain. I went for the interview feeling strangely relaxed and confident for me. I waited for the verdict and got some great feedback from the headmaster there. He said I had really impressed them but hadn’t got the job. I was their second choice and had come very close. I was very confused and that old ‘what are you up to God?’ question came up for us both again big-time. It’s only in hindsight that I can genuinely see how a promise from God in the bible from Romans 8:28 is always so true, ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’ The job wasn’t right for me and God’s wisdom prevailed as we ended up both going part-time and sharing the role as foster carers for our boys, that we continue to share with a real sense of partnership rather than one of us being the carer and the other the breadwinner. That’s unquestionably been better for us and better for our boys, but we would never have gone that way if I’d been given that job.

So my life’s been pretty ‘ordinary’ in some ways, no major sex, drugs and rock n roll I guess. But I could write an encyclopaedia about all the many times Jesus has been so much more than just a ‘crutch’ for me to lean on in life. Jesus is, and has been for the last 25 years, the power and purpose to helping me to make the most of the God-given potential in my life. I have experienced God’s love personally, powerfully, life-changingly and see God working in the lives of people around me all the time. Jesus came to this earth to give us ‘life to the full’ (John 10:10) and my whole life to this time has just proved to me personally how real God is. Being a Christian is an incredible adventure living in relationship with my rock, Jesus Christ!


Becky

BeckyI was brought up with the title of ‘Pastor`s kid’; my father was a Pentecostal minister and until I turned fourteen I was everything that the daughter of a minister should be. At that point in my life a car accident caused a stroke in my dad and my world was turned upside down. I abandoned God and sought ‘love’ in the arms of any man that would have me.

This continued until the age of 18 when I finally realised that the only place to find the love I’d been so desperately craving was in the arms of the Author of love; my Lord Jesus. Since returning to that place I’ve never felt so secure, so loved; all of the depression and guilt that haunted me through my teenage years were lifted and now I live in the confidence and assurance that no matter what, He is still with me.


Kathryn

Kathryn

I have been brought up in a loving Christian family where I was always encouraged and pushed to live bigger and better. I made my own decision at the age of 12. Since then I have grown massively in confidence. I no longer depend on other people for affirmation and my self-belief. I know that I am wonderfully made and that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.

I’m just trying to follow God’s plan for my life which led me to Gloucester this year where I am being stretched and challenged beyond my expectations. I love being part of FAX and being able to serve in part of such an incredible church. Not only that but I also have an amazing new job and some great friends!

God is good!!


Emily

Emily

Having been brought up in a Christian family my whole life; people may say it’s easier. But there comes a point where you have to make your own decision with what you actually want to do with your faith.

After my parents split up, I moved to a theological college in Nottingham with my mum and sister, so my mum could train to be a vicar. It was there I felt like I didn’t have to try as hard because of my surroundings but yet I still really enjoyed it.

After seven years, we moved back to Gloucester and my mum was a priest and in charge of a church. After a while I started feeling like I was just going there to give support to my mum and not for God. I came to a service at One Church for the first time and I really enjoyed the liveliness of it and how nice everyone was.

It was here where I felt a better and stronger connection with God. I already feel a more confident woman and a year ago did not think I’d be doing what I’m doing now in this church.


Ryan

Ryan 

I was brought up in a Christian home, which meant I was taught from the start what is right and wrong, and I was set strong moral ground to grow on by my parents. You’d think with this upbringing I’d have an established connection with God and I’d lead a life full of confidence and happiness? Not at all.

 

As a child I struggled with a low self-esteem and a learning difficultly, which grew into a pessimistic outlook on life that I carried into my teenage years. My relationship with God was always there, but I never called upon it.

 

I constantly prepared myself for the worst and believed that I could offer nothing good to the world, I worried about what people thought of me and at 15 I was facing depression.

 

Through several personal experiences, God has broken and remade me into something totally new, now at 18, I have a gift of compassion for people. Do I still struggle with my negative mind set? Of course! But is it only through God that I can face each day with a smile? Totally.


Jon

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As a child I came to church with the rest of my family, thinking it was the way it was, not knowing any different, but not a confident person. One year we went to a conference called ‘Grapevine’ held in Lincolnshire, I remember seeing three guys getting up onto a stage and picking up instruments and playing songs without any music sheets, cycling through songs and the presence of God falling, completely unknown to me. All I could focus on was the three musicians on stage leading the worship, and simply saying ‘I want what they have’.

 

Now I’m part of a Music team leading within worship, taken on leadership roles, and have confidence to be who I am through God. This had led me to take such roles on and grow me into more than I have been, with a stronger faith and hope for what God has planned.


Amy

Amy

I came to church at the age of 15 through the youth group every Friday night.

 

They talked about God being able to take all the worries and sadness of my childhood from my shoulders and him taking care of them for me.

I wrote them down and gave them to him and never looked back. I knew from that moment God treasured and loved me and he’d never stop.

 

From an unconfident, self conscious teenage girl came a woman full of life and love ready to impact the world with what Gods put in me.


Louisa

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Looking back I now realise that there was a part of me that was always looking for God. When I was a teenager I questioned things all the time and had an opinion on everything.

I enjoyed life. I had a job, boyfriends, a great family and social life, but I remember always feeling like something was missing. I remember lying in bed almost every night thinking about life and death and feeling this overwhelming feeling that I was missing out on something that I was supposed to be a part of but didn’t have a clue what it was.

Through a series of events I ended up at Robinswood church where I finally found all the answers to my questions in a relationship with Jesus. Someone once said to me that everyone has a God shaped hole in their lives, that was me, I didn’t realise what it was until God filled it.

The knowledge that God has a plan and purpose for my life gives me peace and confidence in everything I do. I have been a Christian now for nearly 23 years and I have never looked back.

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Dave

Dave

Having been taken to church since I can remember there was always a danger that I would just carry on a family tradition. It was at a very young age that I would state a belief in God and the fact that Jesus came to earth for everyone. However, as we all find there are things that happen in life that test our resolve, confidence and faith. The fact is bad things happen, no matter if people are ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

Having come to my own adult conclusions I now find that when trials come I lean on God and as my faith has been tested it has been proved. Knowing that God has been there in the past has increased my sense of hope for the future. I still have a lot to learn, but I move forward with true confidence.


Daniella

Daniella

As I grew up I soon realised how hard life could be.  I was bullied at school for many years.  This affected my whole life, knocking my confidence and how I see myself.  As I was searching for something I tried different things but nothing filled the emptiness inside of me.  I started to go to a church near where I live but didn’t stay.

I bumped into some old friends who had become Christians and they invited me to their baptism.

The service was different to anything I had experienced before.  I felt that God was there and I realised that Jesus was what I was looking for.  The emptiness was filled.

God has done so much for me and I am much happier now God is in my life.  I feel that God has fixed me from the inside out and I am not broken anymore.  I am whole and God can use me to make a difference in someone else’s life.


Laura

Laura

I am naturally a private person which means others will confide in me as I am a good listener. However the truth is, growing up through school and college I never knew who I really was. I hid my true self, scared others wouldn’t accept me which led me down a series of dead end streets. Studying performing arts at college taught me how to live my life as an actress and mask who I really was. I felt alone and unloved and wasn’t sure which direction to go in.


I was brought up on Christian values but didn’t really experience God for myself until I was in my early twenties. God started to peel off my layers of insecurities and the barriers I built up around me. I discovered that the person I thought I was, was just an image created to please others. Life with God has helped me find my true identity. I am accepted!


Kirsty

KirstyEven though I had been a Christian and had been to church since I was a child I was still unconfident and had low self esteem, which meant I followed the crowd and let them dictate how I should live my life instead of relying on God. I used to think that what everyone else thought of me was important which limited how I lived my life.

However, within the last few years many great leaders have taught me that God is calling me to be a great leader who is ready to be an example to others, to not hold back and to believe and have faith that God is guiding me and with me every step of my journey. I now know that life is not about material things, I don’t need to worry about what other people think of me and to go for it and never look back!


Becky

BeckyWhen I was younger my parents weren’t Christians so I attended church with my grandparents. I was such a shy person that I used to just sit at the back listen to the meeting and as soon as it was over I would go back home and settle back into “normal life.” I lived a double life, attending church to make my grandparents happy but not living like the Christian I pretended to be on a Sunday.

At the age of 14 I realised that my life was going no where so I decided to live fully for God, as I did this my parents noticed the change in me and when I was baptised they decided to come back to church!

I have now grown so much in my faith and have become more confident in who God made me to be!


Rob

RobI have been a Christ follower for 22 years, but have not always lived a Christian life. I lacked self-esteem and self-confidence and so, suppressed the ‘Real me’, creating a ‘Social me’ that I thought people wanted me to be and found myself living to please others. About 7 years ago I came to a crossroads in my life where Jesus showed me 2 roads; 1 where I could continue as I am going nowhere, or a road where I could place my full trust in him and this would lead to a full life with purpose and destiny. I decided it was time to stop messing around with God and stop living the ‘social me’ and to live for Jesus. He has turned my around, given me an inner strength and a confidence in him and I have found the ‘real me’ again.


Dan

DanI have been raised in a Christian home, I have fantastic parents that I am truly grateful for. They educated me about God not by telling me, but by showing me in everything that they did.

But life is not always a smooth ride. At the age of 11, a very low point in my life, I tried committing suicide. For the next 7 years of my life, I battled with depression and self harm and felt like I could tell nobody about it, struggling with not only my own confidence but my confidence and faith in God. It came to one moment… I made a decision to get to know God personally and to go through life in relationship with Him. I suddenly knew I was loved, cherished and accepted by God, despite how damaged and bad I felt on the inside. Now, aged 22, I can see how the grace of God has been on my life and changed my life for the better.


Jessica

JessicaWhen I was four years old my dad left the family home. Although I grew up in a loving family I was extremely unconfident; I was scared of life, of dying and worried about everything.

At the age of 16, God came into my life and my life has never been the same. I realised that God was my father, He was all I needed. My confidence is in Him. Once I understood the meaning of life, I stopped being restricted by fear and started living with an exciting purpose.

As a result I have had the confidence to fly to America on a gap year, preached to one hundred youth and graduated as a primary school teacher. All thanks to the grace of God. I am not perfect but I feel so blessed. I know I am safe in God’s hands and my confidence is in him. I trust the plans he has for my life!