April 22nd 2020 was the day my life changed forever and trust me when I say that I was the last person who saw it coming: It was the day I fully and completely gave myself to God and I was born again.
As a child, I remember having strong faith in God. I have a vivid memory of walking down the road with my mum, who isn’t a believer, and saying that God is like the wind, you don’t need to see Him because you can feel Him and see the effects of Him all around us. I remember talking to friends about Him and going to the local youth club at church and enjoying the bible study more than the play time. At that time in my life He was an accepted fact, but I can’t say I had a true relationship with Him. I prayed with my step-dad before bed and I would pray on my own for my mum, but God wasn’t my priority.
Then something changed in my mind. At age 11 I was diagnosed with M.E, a debilitating illness that leaves you with extreme fatigue and lots of pain. I had to stop school and my life changed drastically in a very short space of time. I also developed out of control anxiety and panic attacks. I was convinced 24/7 that I was going to die. During this time, God, who I was already slipping further away from as I entered adolescence, fell completely from my life. I can’t say that I didn’t believe, but I was angry, angry about the life I had been given as if it was somehow God’s fault. I was ill for 7 years and at some point, during that time my anxiety fixed on God. I was convinced I was going to Hell, convinced I was a bad person and it consumed me. It combined with the anxiety about my health and for 16 years it dominated my life. I tried to fight it by completely renouncing God. During the day, I would shout loudly that God did not exist for every reason I could think of, but then at night I lay there terrified of the judgement of someone I claimed was not real.
My step-dad is a huge part of my life and is a huge inspiration to me when it comes to faith and serving God. For as long as I have known him his faith has been resolute and true. It has withstood every question and sneer and doubt I threw at it to the point where I couldn’t even talk about God anymore without feeling like I was going to have a panic attack. I wanted more than anything to have definitive proof that He was not there, that when we died there was nothing. I truly believed it would give me peace. But of course, no one could give me that, because no one has ever been able to disprove the existence of God.
I have just finished studying a degree to be a counsellor and on April 21st my step-dad approached me about Christian counselling as a possible change of career for him. He wanted to know if I knew anything about it, which I didn’t, but I said I would try to find out some information for him. This lead to a conversation with my mum the following day about God and it was the first time I had ever heard her talk like she believed. We talked for quite some time about the peace God creates in the lives of the people who believe in Him, how content they seem to be and how nice that must be to have. After that call, I went upstairs and for the first time since my childhood I prayed truly and honestly, with no motivation other than to know God. I asked for His help. His help to rid me of the anxiety, to forgive me and to guide me. I have never experienced a moment like it, it reduced me to tears as I felt a weight I hadn’t even known I was carrying leave me. He had shown me the truth, completely and irreversibly. He was there and I could no longer doubt Him or run from Him and I no longer wanted to. He loved me still, in spite of the wrong choices I had made, the ways I had shunned him and blocked him from my life. He was still there, still willing to help me fix my life. His love is like no other.
I wanted to share my story of losing and then finding my faith in the hope of showing you that you are never too lost, no matter how truly you have renounced Him, God will always welcome you back.
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