I grew up in North-West London with my parents and brother. As a child I was sent to a Methodist Sunday school although my parents were not churchgoers. At the age of fifteen, I left school and started work, and all contact with anything religious ceased. My father died at a very early age, forty-five, and this was a great sadness to me, now aged seventeen. I felt angry towards God for not answering my prayers for his recovery.
The years passed, I met and married Brian and had two sons. My mother passed away and we decided to move from the area. At about this time I became friendly with a young woman from Borehamwood and often visited her. My husband and I both liked the area and we moved into our first house with great excitement.
Is this all there is to life?
It was not until I was in my early thirties that I felt something was missing in my life. I was happily married with two lovely sons, enjoying all the activities of family life – yet even after enjoying a night out with friends, I would often think, ‘Is this all there is to life?’
Then new next-door neighbours moved in, a newly married couple, Kathleen and Phil. It was evident right from the start that they were different. They were regular churchgoers, carrying their Bibles on Sundays. They were always helpful, polite, and friendly. In 1971 I felt a great desire to go to church. It was Easter time and I went to the parish church, but I felt rather uncomfortable, as I was not familiar with the form of service. Another Sunday I tried the Baptist church and felt it was more like that which I was looking for, although I still didn’t really know what that was! While I was there I noticed my neighbours, but they stayed on for another service called ‘Communion’ which I didn’t understand about, so I left.
What is a Christian?
Later that week I asked Kathleen if that was where they went regularly, and to my surprise, she said that normally they attended Cowley Hill Free Church, a local independent church in Borehamwood. I had never heard of it and didn’t understand what ‘Free Church’ meant. Gradually over the weeks I became friendlier with Kathleen and was able to ask questions about spiritual matters. I remember telling her that I, too, was a Christian, trying to live a good life and help others when I could. I believed that this was enough to please God.
She asked me if I would read a tract about what the Bible teaches on being a Christian. I did, quite willingly, but as I read it I was very aware that I had no idea of the true meaning of being a Christian. I had no knowledge of Jesus Christ as a Saviour for sinners; I had never repented of my sin, or really ever thought about being a sinner in God’s sight. I returned the tract to her and acknowledged that I wasn’t a Christian.
Kathleen invited me to go to her church several times before I finally said yes. I’m so thankful to God that she never gave up on me. I started to attend regularly the evening gospel service. Gradually as I heard more of God’s Word I began to realise that the Bible was God’s way of speaking to people, and in one particular service I knew God was speaking to me and revealing my sin. I went home convinced I was under God’s anger, yet still didn’t know the Lord Jesus as my Saviour. I had begun to read the Bible every day, and on one particular occasion I was overwhelmed with the knowledge that my sin deserved to be punished and that God would be right and just to do so.
I cried to the Lord and it was then that I understood that Jesus had died for sinners and that he had taken the punishment for my sin. I knew that he loved me and had given himself for me. My tears were now tears of joy as his wonderful love flooded my soul, and I was filled with love for my Lord and Saviour. From this time my life was changed. I had new desires, to serve the Lord, and to be with other Christians, and even reading the Bible was wonderful. It was now a delight to read and I did read it every spare moment. A few months later I was baptised as a public testimony of God’s saving grace in my life, and of my new life in the Lord Jesus Christ.
That was twenty-seven years ago and though life has brought many trials I have always known that my heavenly Father works all things for good and that he never changes, he remains faithful.