I woke up this morning and realised that I’d missed an important anniversary yesterday.
On the 7th July 2002, I attended an event that would forever change my life.
Frans’ mom had come over to the UK to live with us. She missed us so much that she asked if she could come over and stay. After extensive Visa application process, she was allowed to come over.
Her and I had only known each other in a relatively superficial way when we lived in SA. She took an instant dislike to me when she met me and things were a little strained for a while. I knew, however, that she was alone and so I agreed for her to come over while we set about converting our garage into a ‘Granny Flat’ for her.
To say things were difficult is an understatement. We REALLY did not see eye to eye on most things and either she or I were in a huff , most of the time.
She came from a very strict Pentecostal Church in South Africa and I knew only a little bit about Christianity. It seemed that everything I did was not up to her standards and certainly not up to God’s standards either (she let me know this often)
We’d taken her all over our home town looking for a Church to which she felt she could go every Sunday, but she didn’t like any of them.
So, when we saw a sign advertising ‘God in the Park’ one day, she jumped at the chance to go. It turned out that a local Church had put up a big tent in our local park and they were holding services every evening. There’s very little parking over there and she really wanted to go, so I agreed to walk her across as her hip was giving her trouble and she couldn’t make the journey alone.
My experience of Church was literally going to a couple of Sunday School classes at our local Church, when my sister and I were very young. It didn’t seem that exciting and I remembered only a couple of the stories we learned. During school, we all attended RE (Religious Education) and the main topic was Christianity. My generation all grew up with an understanding of the fundamentals of the religion.
So, as we were walking across the park, we began to hear loud and cheerful music coming at us from the tent. When we eventually got to the door, we were greeted by so many smiling faces and the music just seemed to have gotten better and better. As I looked over the crowd of people that were gathered, I was really struck by how happy they all looked (was that allowed in Church?). Everyone was clapping their hands and dancing (shock/horror) along to the music. Surely they’d be punished for being that exuberant! The people who were singing on the stage were having an even better time and looked like they were literally in heaven ;-).
We were shown to some seats and left to join is as we chose. I looked at Ma and she had a broad smile on her face and seemed to be loving it. I tentatively joined in (so that I didn’t look funny) and soon found myself enjoying the music too.
The music came to an end after a couple of songs and we all had a seat. We settled in to listen to whoever was going to talk and it turned out that the couple who were leading the singing, were going to do the talking too. The gentleman had been a member of a very popular pop group (I don’t remember which one) and he was going to share a little of his story with us.
I have no idea what he said, but what I do vividly remember was being totally amazed at how he talked about God and Jesus. All that I had always thought about Church and Christianity (and all I’d ever known) was slowly being blown away by what this guy was saying.
I had seen, firsthand, that Christians were allowed to have fun (and they wouldn’t be struck dead by a bolt of lightning from on high)!
By the time he’d finished talking, I also realised that Christians could, and should, be ambitious and excited about all that life holds. I am a very ambitious person and all I’d ever heard and experienced about Christians showed that they were weak and always being walked over. What I learned that day, showed me that they were actually the ones that hold all the strength and power.
As he talked, I could feel the huge weight of responsibility that I have always felt on my shoulders, slowly lift off. I realised that I don’t have to be the one that carries that weight around all the time – that Jesus was actually able (and willing) to help me with it.
That day, a lovely lady by the name of Doreen Sanford, sat with me while I simply said that I was going to give this Jesus, and His ways, a try to see if what the man had said was true.
That was ten years ago on 7th July 2002!
My life has changed COMPLETELY over these 10 years.
My relationship with Ma is totally healed and, even though she’s back in SA, we talk often and love each other very much.
I have learned:
- how to forgive and let go
- that it’s better to be kind, than right
- that love is the most powerful force in the universe
- how much more amazing it is to walk with God, than without Him
- that we all make mistakes, continuously, but He loves us so much that He helps us fix them
- that He will NEVER give up on us – no matter what
- that He always has good plans, even when I can’t see it
- that He is the only one that can help get rid of the bad and bring on the good – in me and around me
- that I NEVER want to live any other way than with Him 🙂
He’s my BFF (best friend forever) and he so longs to be yours too. Just ask Him and He’ll throw His arms around you and you’ll begin the most amazing journey of your life.
Go on, I dare you.
An example of what you could say:
I admit that I am not right with You, and I want to be right with You. I ask You to forgive me of all my sins. Jesus, I want to know more about You and get to know You better, so I’m asking You to help me do that please. I’m looking forward to letting go of all the ugliness of the past and finding out more about Your way of living. Thank You that I get to live my life with You :-).
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Sleep well and see you tomorrow