I had a basic Christian knowledge being sent to school, and Sunday school when I was a child.
My parents split up when I was 8, my Mother left me for her new man, and had three more children all boys. My Dad got custody of me, but because he was in the Navy, he was away a lot, and his sister, my aunty took me in. I felt really lonely, because my uncle didn’t want me there, and I couldn’t do anything right. Sometimes, I’d have to make a cup of tea, two or three times before it was good enough. My aunt had arthritis, so I had to do a lot of the housework, getting up at 6am to clean the kitchen before school. I loved my times with my Dad when he was home, but most of the time, I just spent longing to see him, and crossing dates off a calendar. I also realised when I was 9, that I was a ward of court, so I also started counting down the years until I was 18 and could leave.
I loved Sunday school, but when I got to 12, I was told I had to have confirmation classes, get confirmed by the bishop and go to church instead of Sunday school. I wanted to learn more, but instead went to services that lasted an hour, and listened to 5 minute sermons that went over my head.
One of my friends told me about a little church that sang lovely songs (How Great Thou Art) and had a youth group. I started going there, and discovered a lot more about the bible. I found it difficult to read, but in the early 60s the New English bible was being published, so I was given a New Testament version, which was better than the Verily verily, I say unto you etc. They also had a summer camp and I persuaded my Dad to let me go. It was one week before my 15th birthday. He was a bit cautious as this was the Brethren, but the pastor came to see him and my aunt, so reassure them I wasn’t getting brainwashed. I did give my life (to Jesus) during that camp because I heard the gospel clearly, and realised that Jesus wanted to live in my heart. When I got home I was very enthusiastic about being saved, but was met with strange looks, and generally light mocking. I wanted to know more about the church when I saw one of the girls baptised in full immersion, but realised the Brethren were very very strict. I was told no tv, no cinema, no pop music (I had just fallen in love with the Beatles) and not only had to marry a Christian but one within their own denomination. So I left.
I didn’t bother much with church after that, although I did pray now and again. I joined the Navy when I was 17,
and met my husband when I was 20. I did have the teaching in the back of my mind, even though I had only been to church maybe two or three times a year (back in the Church of England with naval padres) I asked my fiance if he believed in Jesus and he said he did. That was enough for me. We married and I wanted to get back with God, because my Mother had been saved a couple of months before my wedding, and I made sure she was at the ceremony.
I was still tootling along in the CofE, and got more involved with children’s work, and then secretary of the Parochial church council. My then husband had a drinking problem but wouldn’t admit it, but we managed to keep the family together. I was praying for God to help me and heal my marriage.
After 21 years, he finally admitted he was having an affair with the barmaid at the pub, and wanted to leave me to marry her. I was in a terrible state, because I felt God had let me down. It was the most difficult time of my life, as my local church didn’t have a minister at the time, but I did work with a lady who was a Christian and had also been deserted by her husband. She talked to me for hours, and I decided to go to her church, which was Huddersfield Christian Fellowship. There I learned lots about Jesus, the Bible and how to apply it to my life. I know my ex -husband regretted leaving me, and I had already forgiven him. This forgiveness was a hard task over a ten year period and I had to ask the help of the Holy Spirit.
Eventually I met and married Mark, this year we celebrate our Silver Anniversary.
I knew then God had a plan for my life, a plan for good and not for evil Jeremiah 29:11.