Until my mid twenties, growing up in England, I would have described myself as “a Christian with a lower case c”. I believed in God, felt spiritual up mountains, hadn’t murdered anyone and was generally a nice person. I wasn’t Jewish like many of the girls at my school………so I assumed I was a Christian. That is, until I met God.
Happily married to my high achieving husband Al, with an excellent job at Gillette, a company car and bright future ahead of me, I should have been happy and fulfilled. But I wasn’t. Neither of us were. We felt like there should be more to life and we wanted so much more. We searched New Age thinking and self help theories. Tried partying more than was sustainable or healthy, and literally threw ourselves off mountains in search of what we were looking for.
Then I met someone who was intelligent, funny, well educated and a Christian. She was going out with one of Al’s best friends and she had something about her……….something of that “thing” we were searching for. She even drank wine! This seemed strange. Weren’t Christians sandal wearing, bible bashing, t-totaling social misfits who needed a crutch in their lives? She certainly didn’t fit that mould! After meeting her a few times, she invited me on a course that looked at whether there’s a spiritual side to life. I thought it sounded intriguing given all our New Age research, so I went along, still eager to see if there was more to life than what we were experiencing.
It was there, that I heard for the first time that Christianity isn’t a religion but a relationship. This blew my mind! I really liked the idea of a relational God and something in me desperately wanted that connection with Him. So, I innocently asked God to come into my life so I could meet Him. I really had no idea what I was doing or what I was getting myself into! Then, as the weeks of the course ticked by and I did more and more investigating, I also became convinced intellectually that God does exist, that Jesus is His son and that the weight of evidence for his resurrection is irrefutable. Wow, what a shift in worldview!
During the course we took time out (in a grimy hotel on the south coast of England) to look at the person and the work of the Holy Spirit. The idea being that it is so much better to meet someone in person than to just talk about them (and it’s through God’s Holy Spirit that we can encounter God)! It was there, that someone prayed for me and thanked God that He loves me. It was a ridiculously simple prayer, but I broke down in floods of tears, unable to hold back the wave of hope, longing and desire for that love. I wanted that love so badly but felt guilty for wanting it when I had such a great husband, family and friends. Why should I be ravenous for more? Shouldn’t the love I already have satisfy me? It was then explained to me that I, like everyone, was created with a God-shaped hole inside me and that only God could fill that void. Al, my work, friends, shopping, the gym, alcohol, nothing, not even the adrenaline rush of throwing myself off mountains, could fill it. That simple prayer was God meeting me exactly where I needed it. Telling me exactly what I needed to hear. Loving me in exactly the way I needed to be loved at that moment. At last I had met this amazing relational God. I could say that I know God is real because I have met Him, not just because I believe in Him intellectually.
Then I had to go home and tell Al! Tell my money making, ambitious, corporate ladder climbing, New Age husband that, not only had I asked Jesus to be the centre of my life, but that I had met Him too!! Naturally, his first reaction was to come and save me from this madness! So he came to church……..and that’s where our life really began!