If you had told me ten years ago that I would now be working for a church I would have laughed in your face.
I had a wonderful family and a happy childhood but in my mid-teens I had cripplingly low self-esteem. Bad choices I had made and the shame and rejection associated with all those things haunted my every moment. Anti-depressants took the edge off it but with no obvious cause of the depression I found counseling unhelpful so I stopped going. I wasn't particularly miserable but I wasn't exactly happy either; I thought that was just how I was made and got on with life. I went through a phase of going to mediums and dabbling with other "new-age" stuff in a hope of finding something more to life but quickly gave up on all forms of spirituality and religion as stupid.
"I kept making excuses as I had absolutely no intention of setting foot in a church"
Many years later I started working with a lady who was quite upfront about her Christian faith. To be honest I found her a little ridiculous. How could such a clearly intelligent and well-educated woman believe in fairy stories? During the quieter shifts she began telling me about her faith in Jesus and I slowly began to realize that Christianity didn't teach what I thought it did. She invited me to come to a church in Brighton with her one Sunday evening and I kept making excuses as I had absolutely no intention of setting foot in a church. After what seemed like the millionth time of her asking I agreed to go just so that I could say I had given it a go and hopefully, she wouldn't ask me to go again.
Within 10 minutes of the service starting I was a blubbering mess. I was surrounded by people that looked so genuinely joyful and at peace. I had no idea what was going on, but I knew that I wanted at least a little of what they had! Their Alpha course was starting that week and I signed myself up so that I could begin my investigations. Gradually as the sessions went on it dawned on me that all my preconceptions of what Christianity stood for were wrong and that belief in Jesus didn’t mean leaving your intellect at the door. I was studying science at degree level at the time so was quite used to looking at things critically and weighing up evidence. Once I found out there is sound evidence for the resurrection of Jesus I realised that if that is true than the things he taught can’t be ignored.
"In that moment all the sadness I carried lifted."
Alongside attending Alpha I began going to church regularly on a Sunday to see how everything I was learning played out in practice. It was on one of these mornings that the worship songs were talking about surrendering our lives to Jesus and very quietly (I certainly didn’t want anyone to hear me do it) I told Jesus my life was his. In that moment all the sadness I carried lifted. All the episodes from my past that were constantly replaying in my head so vividly became fuzzy, faded memories and I walked out of that building with a happiness I hadn’t felt in years!
After looking for a church closer to home I began attending The King’s Church Mid-Sussex and I now work in the offices here. I have a wonderful husband and have never felt more blessed. Don’t get me wrong, my life is not perfect and I have had the occasional relapse that has needed medical treatment but I no longer let it define me. None of my family are Christians but they have all seen the change in me and know that it is as a direct result of my faith. Every day I pray that one day I will find myself at church, surrounded by my family, all worshipping Jesus together…..and I won’t stop sharing the gospel with them until it happens!