I grew up without a father – and with a mother who didn’t want me. I can remember a sad childhood. I never felt loved.
We lived with my grandparents and, as grandmother was a medium, spiritualism was part of everyday life. By my early teens I wanted to find happiness but looked in all the wrong places.
I hung around with gangs, being popular because I was an angry young girl without fear. I knew I was doing wrong but I wanted to ‘fit in’. I felt strong and in charge of my life.
But really I was lost, lonely and in need of help. I was off the rails, out of control and I wouldn’t stop until the end of the line.
Wretched yet joyful
I eventually met and married my husband and, as our family grew, I was happy as a wife and mother. Yet I still felt something was missing. A career move took us to Bury St Edmunds where a neighbour invited us to an Evangelical church.
Our first visit was an embarrassing experience. We had to sit at the front with our three young children who had never been in a church service before. Even though I really didn’t want to go again, I just had to go back – I couldn’t understand why.
For the first time in my life I was hearing the gospel preached. I felt wretched yet at the same time joyful. I needed to hear more, I wanted to learn more.
God searched me out and, 16 years ago, through the preaching of his Word, I saw myself as I really am – a sinner deserving judgement. It was as if I had been arrested, convicted and found guilty! I had broken God’s holy law and the penalty was death.
Alive in Christ
But the Bible also showed me how I could have forgiveness and eternal life. It was through Jesus, who died on the cross as a ransom for sinners. Could it be that Jesus had died for me too?
Yes! I believed that if I were the only sinner, Christ would still have died, because he loved even me.
I begged him for forgiveness of all my sins, and through Jesus I was pardoned. The protective walls I had built around my heart were crumbling. I shed tears of guilt and shame – and yet of happiness, hope and joy.
In a moment the transaction had taken place – Jesus’ righteousness for my sin. His precious blood washed me clean. My salvation had cost the Saviour dearly, yet he gave it freely to me.
God has turned me around and now I am alive in Christ. I know a love that is above all others – the love of Jesus Christ. He is all, and in him I have everything.
I cannot forget the misspent years, but I can look back in amazement at how mercifully God dealt with me. I am still a sinner, but I can say with assurance that I am a sinner saved by God’s grace.