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 my mother in law. I wasn’t a christian when I got married, but even so, I loved the words, they are so beautiful, but now I realise that they are not only beautiful words, but true and living.
I wasn’t brought up in a christian family, (however, 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 didn’t know Jesus and didn’t know that I could have a relationship with Jesus and that he is alive right now! I didn’t know that when you give your life to Jesus he lives within you through the holy spirit every single day. My life was about to change in a mighty powerful way because of Jesus, because of the resurrection, because of the privilege of being blessed with the spirit of Jesus Christ, our Saviour.
I was given a New Testament by a Gideon when I first started secondary school. 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 young girl, it was usually a prayer for something I desperately wanted, like to go to a 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, (now my husband), that was when I really started to talk about God. Dan was much more knowledgeable and had a greater understanding coming from a christian family, so he was able to answer my questions.
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 to North Wales, 5 years 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 a local church 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, 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 a good person, I needed God to forgive me and transform me.
One example was during a service when my pastor was talking about forgiveness, and I realised that I had it all wrong. I didn’t understand the true meaning of forgiveness at all, and I would expect to receive a sorry if I had given one!
Not long after attending church I began to experience difficulties at home. The consequences of moving 5 hours away from family and friends, starting a new life in North Wales, not really having any close friendships and staying at home with the children started to effect me. Being a mum became very challenging, but I didn’t ever think that I would be challenged in the way I was. I’d always taken on challenges in the past, and thrived off them, but I began to struggle. 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, became depressed, and it was at this point that I realised that I needed help. I realised I couldn’t live this life on my own anymore, I needed Jesus. I remember sitting on the floor in the living room one evening, feeling physically paralysed, I didn’t want the children around me, I didn’t want anyone to touch me, I couldn’t lift my head, then, my husband compassionately said to me ‘go and speak to God’. My intention was to get away from everything and lie down in bed and try to pray, little did I know that I wasn’t going to just pray to God, but I was going to breakdown, reach out and ask Jesus to take my life into his hands, I knew I couldn’t get through without him, and very unexpectedly I gave my life to Jesus. The Lord 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 and the struggles in motherhood continued. 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 family’s, 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 repentance, asking Jesus to forgive me, 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 in freedom, 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 keeping my eyes on Jesus is everything.