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, but through the rollercoaster of adolescence I fully discovered that Jesus was really there for me and gave me love, peace and security in tough times when I prayed.
When I felt rejected by bullies at school or relationships that went wrong I found God’s comfort to be real. Jesus wasn’t just a ‘crutch’ for me to lean on. He became the power and purpose to helping me to make the most of the God-given potential in my life. I also got to see people being prayed for with big problems and having some incredible miracles in their lives.
It all just showed me how real God was and is and helped me realise what an incredible adventure living in relationship with Jesus really is.
My dad was a great bloke but not much of a father.
Throughout my life I have battled the twin challenges of Asthma and Eczema, using running and singing to try and improve my fitness.
I earned a degree from a top university but felt that my life lacked focus when I was growing up. It was not until I gave my life to Jesus in my room at the YMCA in Cheltenham that things started to take shape.
In my forties I learned to play Bass Guitar having dabbled with Guitars for many years.
The young people around me at One Church and their “can-do” attitude inspire me. I am gradually finding out what I am good at.
Lately I have been thinking about how young eagles leave the nest and flap their wings in order to soar. That’s how I’m seeing my life with Jesus now.
I always enjoyed myself at church, I saw Christianity as a great thing and classed myself as a good Christian- but I never really grasped the point of it…
As I grew older I began to live a double life, whereby on a Sunday I would tick all the boxes of Christianity then in the rest of the week, live however I wanted. I never rebelled against the church; I just didn’t truly understand who Jesus really was, and how he could really change my life.
I was at a youth conference when, for the first time, I truly met with Jesus. I now know, with Jesus, I can have the best life ever. I don’t need to worry about what my future holds, I am secure in the arms of a massive God.
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!
Before I became a Christian I was very cynical about God and felt that people who went to church were there simply as something to laugh at. At school I had attended some Christian Union events, again for an opportunity to mock religion. I was also very destructive with vandalism being a frequent activity along with my incessant swearing.
Through a new friend I met I was challenged to re-consider my dismissive approach to faith. This was the first time away from ‘the crowd’ that I seriously considered what God had done for me and where I really stood. By giving God an opportunity to work in my life I found him to be very real indeed. I discovered that I have talents that are creative not destructive. I am now able to see not only the good in people, but beyond that, the potential that they don’t yet see in themselves.
Let me start with a church service where two young lads are sat scribbling notes to one another. That was a normal Sunday for me. When my friend left church I had a choice, live life by my standards or by God’s. Later, Fire academy was advertised, something for people my age to help them grow closer to God and fulfil their potential by serving in the church. For many of the people my age this was a great opportunity, but not for me. I didn’t feel like part of the youth group, why should I bother to sign up?
My friend Nathan could see that I was struggling and thought that Fire Academy would be good for me and convinced me to sign up. Fire Academy has helped me to develop my God given talents and God’s love is real in my life and is real for everyone!