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From confusion to conversion

December 2018

My mother very sadly died when I was only 11 years old. My uncle and aunt, who already had five children took me in. They were kind but poor. After the war I was introduced to a very lovely man, who became my husband. The marriage produced two children, a son and a daughter.

I recall that the thought of becoming a mother filled me with delight and also fear. What a huge responsibility! Could I, could we cope? However, the children did survive! We had them christened, as we thought that was the right thing to do. But we really had very little knowledge about what it meant to be a Christian.

Church

Through their childhood years we took the children to church intermittently, but again with little understanding. At the age of 12 my daughter was preparing for confirmation along with her school friends.

As the confirmation classes progressed, she became concerned, as she really didn’t understand what she was supposed to be committing to. She did not want to proceed any further and was not confirmed. I was disappointed. I offered my help, but it was a case of the blind leading the blind.

I really was so confused about Christianity. ‘Had I failed my duty as a parent?’ I asked myself. ‘Where is God?’ ‘There must be a being, a force’, I thought. One looks at the glorious creation, the order and renewal of all things, as the seasons change; a new life as a foetus emerges from its mother’s womb to live independently, as God gives breath. It can’t all be chance.

A few years later my daughter was about to leave home. She had recently become a Christian and her priorities had changed. Her thoughts then turned to me: ‘What about Mum in her confusion?’

She was concerned that I should come to understand what it meant truly to be a Christian. I was invited to a weekly Bible study, but I did not want to go. I considered myself a moral, religious person. I thought, ‘What could this group of people possibly teach me, a mature person’ (Oh, the sin of pride!).

Bible study

My daughter tried to explain her conversion to Christ, but I remained confused. Finally, I ran out of excuses for not attending the Bible study and reluctantly went along to lessen the relentless pressure she was putting on me.

I met a group of people, who gathered in a home specifically to study the Bible and pray to God. These people knew and loved God; they had peace with God. They had been born again, and I wanted this for myself. The new birth is a gift from God, which brings repentance of sin and faith in the substitutionary work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.

I knew that all my moral striving and church-going to find peace with God was not the way. Rather, Jesus said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6). Jesus also said, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life’ (John 3:16).

Forgiveness

These Scriptures spoke to me. My sinful rebellion against God was over. I felt compelled to pray and ask God for his forgiveness, although I still had some doubt whether he would answer my prayer. Praise God! He did answer, and gradually I knew a growing relationship with him through the work of his Holy Spirit.

There have been highs and lows in my faith over the many years. God has always proved faithful and has kept me. Looking back, I can see that he has led me all the way, and now at 92 years of age I look forward to an eternity in heaven with him.

What a prospect, a certainty! I thank God for his great patience, mercy and grace towards me, a rebellious sinner, but now a child of God.

Dorothy Barker