1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
This is a very special verse, it was read out on our wedding day by Avril. I wasn’t a Christian when we got married, but even so, I loved the words, they are so beautiful, but now I realise that they are not only beautiful, but also very very wise.
I wasn’t brought up in a Christian family (however, I have recently found out some family history and to my surprise, my Great Great Grandfather was a lay preacher, my Great Grandmother was a Christian and my Grandma did attend church so I’m sure they would have been praying for us to have our eyes opened to God) but since I was 10 years old I’ve believed in God but I hadn’t made the choice to receive him, his love, or understand his forgiveness, his suffering and grace in the way that I do now. I didn’t understand the sacrifice God had made for us, the unconditional love that God gives us.
I was given a New Testament when I first started secondary school by a Gideon. I can remember feeling that it was very special, I used to read it in my bedroom, I was intrigued, and knew that it meant something special. We didn’t talk about God in my family. I asked my mum if she and dad believed in God and she said no, but she would never have told me that I couldn’t. Nothing else was ever mentioned, but I continued to read my bible in my bedroom and pray little prayers, being a naive young girl, it was usually a prayer for something I desperately wanted, like to go to my best friends party or something! It was prayer that really got me thinking, because each time I did pray, God would answer.
When I met Dan, that was when I really started to talk about God. Dan was much more knowledgable and had a greater understanding coming from a Christian family, so he was able to answer my questions. Gods plan was coming together!
Although at this point I still didn’t fully understand what it was to be a Christian, I felt that I was getting a little closer. It was when we made the move here, to North Wales, 17 months ago, our lives changed, and my faith went from one extreme to the next in a very short space of time.
We started to attend CFC in November 2015, and at first it was difficult for me to settle, I’d find the service powerful, and a lot to take in, and wasn’t used to the fellowship and being in a room with so many kind people at one time, so I’d usually have to leave straight after the service. I know that might sound strange, but it was all a bit intense for me to begin with. I can remember asking God, ‘where do I go from here’ and he responded saying ‘it’s one way or the other!’. It was then that I knew I had a choice to make, and for me, I knew what that choice would be. It was at this point that I began to realise that although I thought I was OK as person, there was actually a lot of work to be done!
One example was during a service when Ben was talking about forgiveness, and I realised that I had it all wrong. I realised that I believed in the selfish form of forgiveness, when someone would forgive to have peace from that situation, and help you move on from it, rather than actually understanding the true meaning of forgiveness. I would also expect to receive a sorry if I had given one!
It wasn’t long after we began to attend church that I started to go through a struggle of my own. As you know, I am a mother or 2 beautiful children, and soon to be 3! Motherhood is challenging, but I didn’t realise that I would be challenged in the way I was. I’d always taken on challenges in the past, and thrived off a bit of stress, but for some reason, I began to struggle in motherhood. I lost all my confidence, and felt worthless. I didn’t know who I was anymore, I had, like many mothers, lost my identity. I reached a very low point, and it was at this point that I realised that I needed help. It was at this point that I realised I couldn’t live this life on my own anymore, I needed to speak to God. So that’s what I did. In fact I was so low one night that Dan said to me ‘go and speak to God!’ Little did I know that I wasn’t going to just speak to him, but I was going to breakdown, reach out and ask Jesus to take me, I, very unexpectedly gave myself to Jesus. He spoke to me and said ‘wipe away your tears, wipe away your tears, I am here’.
After, I felt so much closer to God, and stronger, but it didn’t take long for me to start feeling like a weak human being again. Then one night, I had a dream, where I moved into a house and there were lots of bible verses on the walls and ornaments of Jesus, it was a godly house, and I started to tear them all down and said ‘I just want to make this house a home!’. When I woke up, I realised that this was exactly what I was doing, removing God from our home, again, the realisation that I couldn’t live my life without Jesus in it literally hit home. I didn’t want my life to continue without prioritising God, at that point I was determined to change, not just my life but the whole families, and make sure that I was going to build my home with God firmly in place, and stop tearing it down. The proverb ‘a wise woman builds her house and with her bare hands an unwise tears it down’ is very significant to me and is with me everyday as a reminder.
It was at this point that I realised that it wasn’t just about giving yourself to Jesus, but also listening to him, letting him guide me through my life, through my pathway that he has planned for me, having a true relationship with him, and allowing him to show me how to grow and become closer to him each day and thanking Jesus for the pain and suffering that he endured, so that we can have our sins taken away and live life, something that no matter how much suffering we go through, we’ll never understand in comparison.
I realised that the more I pray the more communication and guidance I can receive from our father, and stronger the relationship I can have with him. Even through our trials we can be blessed, and I know now that I am a new creation, and without God, I am nothing.
Since my trials, I have been given the opportunity and blessed by God to be inspired to help other mothers who may be going through similar trials. Sharing God’s word and showing others that we don’t have to go through these trials on our own, and that our awesome father is right with us, is so important to me now.
Through all the trials I have been through, he has blessed me, and now I am able have the wonderful, exciting, opportunity to be baptised. He has also given me the opportunity to share with you and with many others what he has done for me, and his amazing, awesome, word.
Thank you so much for being here with myself and Dan to share this amazing experience.
I love you Jesus.