I looked back and realised
One day I looked back over the previous few weeks and realised.
Having grown up in a non-churchgoing family in the Midlands, church was not something that impinged on my life at all until we moved to Bristol in my late 20s. Peter, my husband, had been brought up as a Methodist but hadn’t gone to church regularly for many years.
When we had our first son, however, we both agreed that we would like him to grow up in a family of faith. We were a long way from our natural families and knew we needed the support of a bigger community.
After trying a few churches we settled at St Michael’s Stoke Gifford. David and Becky Widdows drew us into the life of the church and within a short time I found myself leading the youngest Sunday School class, a great way to learn theology! At the same time, David invited me to a ‘seekers’ group’ – like Alpha but before Alpha was invented.
It was interesting but I was pretty much untouched by the experience. A little while later David invited me to another seekers group – different people, different material but still, nothing stirring in me faith-wise.
A few months after that course, David was planning the next seekers group. He later told me that he’d hesitated about inviting me a third time – what more could he say or do to encourage me to make a commitment? – but at the last moment, he picked up the phone and I was doing course number three.
As part of that course there was an evening of prayer for the Holy Spirit and, whether it was that or that Jesus just got tired of waiting for me to decide, somewhere in that course I stepped off the cliff of faith and have never looked back. I can’t even say it was a conscious decision – one day I looked back over the previous few weeks and realised that Jesus was now Lord of my life and nothing would ever be the same again.
My journey since then, into ordination and onward, has been like a rollercoaster – one of those really scary ones when you suddenly find yourself facing what looks like a sheer climb or a death-defying plunge and thinking, “I can’t do this!”
But in Christ all things are possible and, if you’re doing it right, he’s in charge of the accelerator and the brakes.
Just before I was about to start theological college, I was driving home from work and thinking “This is nuts. I’ve only been a Christian for a very few years. What do I think I’m doing!?”
A song came on the radio and the chorus was about stepping off a cliff into a new relationship.The refrain was ‘We may fall… but what if we fly?’ It has been the refrain of my life for the past ten years and long may it be so.
Revd Sam Rushton has been the Adviser for Licensed Ministry for the Diocese of Bristol for the last seven years, and is about to move to the Diocese of York where she will be Archdeacon of Cleveland.
Rollercoasters may not be your thing but do you have faith in the possibility?
Do you have a community, maybe your church, where there are people who can lead you to live in faith?
Think about the last few weeks since Lent began – has anything caught your attention?
Only in the face of the impossible does it mean anything to agree with what Jesus said, “In God, all things are possible.” Look for opportunities to put hope in and rely on God.