An opened door


    Category
    Voices
    Date
    11 March 2015
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    And I thought, What am I waiting for? This is the opportunity I want, this is the way to step forward.

    jane white web

    I was born in the fifties when everyone always went to Sunday school but my journey into faith began in about 1989 when the good Lord God in his infinite wisdom decided to give me a friend.

    Until then I had no feeling of faith in my life, it was never mentioned in my home life. I stayed away from it because I found the whole idea quite frightening, that there would be this person - this huge body of something – that knew all about me. At the time that was frightening because I probably wasn’t the nicest person in the world.

    My friend’s name is Sandra Haskins and she and her husband have been my friends though good times, bad times, thick and thin, smiles, laughs and lots of tears, but they are still my tears and because of them I’ve come to faith. Because my friends were Christian and I would always introduce them to everybody as "my Christian friends" which was my code for "behave and mind what you say". They never pushed their faith on me but I always knew it gave them a huge amount of strength.

    I’d like to say they tricked me but actually they conned me with free food! An Alpha supper is a wonderful thing. They promised me a free meal, as soon as I realised the meal was in the parish hall I thought, "It’s church!" but I went…

    I thought people were going to judge me. I found myself lacking in an awful lot of things and I realised there were an awful lot of ways I could be a much, much better as a person. I won’t say Alpha was easy – I can be quite argumentative at times, quite strong in my points of view. The first couple of weeks I probably didn’t listen very much but I found I listened more and I got it. For some reason I got it. There’s something about Alpha that draws you in. People listen to you, they understand that you’ve got fears, that this [faith] is not an easy concept to some people.

    It was during the course we were given a picture – ‘Light of the World’ by William Holman Hunt – and I put it on my front door. God knows I’m a practical person and I like to be poked, like ‘this is what you do’. The picture is of Jesus stood outside a weed-covered door that has no handles – so you have to let him into your life, he doesn’t walk in unasked.

    I had an electronic doorbell - and this sounds such a silly story even to me – and the doorbell would ring and there would be no-one there and I was getting quite annoyed. And this one night I was sat reading from the Alpha book and thinking about all the things that had been said and the door bell rang and I walked out and I could see through the glass panel that there was no-one there but I felt this huge sense of peace come over me. And I thought, “What am I waiting for? This is the opportunity I want, this is the way to step forward.”

    I opened the door and I said, “Sir, if you really want me that much, if you really want to come in, please come into my home.”

    And He walked into my home that night and He’s never left. The picture is now framed; it hangs by my door and it’s always going to be by my door because that was the step I took to let Him in.

    It’s a privilege to be part of Christians Against Poverty (CAP). People phone us up in the most awful state but they know that when I walk in their house that I’m a Christian; they know that we’re going to do everything we can to help in a completely non-judgemental way. I love going in and helping people. If they give me a black sack full of unopened envelopes with bills in, I can sort that out. God’s given me the will and the ability and the training to sort that out. We help people.

    CAP helps people budget, contacts creditors, gives food parcels, Christmas presents, birthday presents… come and see me and I’ll help you. We do such a lot but we only do it because God says we can. I couldn’t do this if I didn’t think his hand was on my shoulder the whole time. It is amazing, the grace He gives us.

    Psalm 139 was the first time I ever realised God loved me: “O Lord, you have searched me and known me.”

    J

    ane White works with Christians Against Poverty and worships at Christ Church Downend.

    Christians Against Poverty can help you or could use your help. Find out more at

    www.capuk.org

    This was adapted from a live BBC interview at Bristol Cathedral, which can be heard

    online here

    .

    Contemplate now

    Imagine you’ve just found out God knows everything about you and loves you.

    What doors are there that maybe you keep shut?

    Are there doors you might be called to knock?

      Meditate through the day

    The life of the Church – the Body of Christ – is both spiritual and physical.