I attended church all through my teenage years, was confirmed and attended youth on Friday evenings. I got married at 23 years old and had my son at 25 years old. I continued attending church but that dwindled until I no longer went to church. I got divorced and tried to find “me” again but I was lost. I found myself feeling isolated and not knowing who to socialise with. The stigmatism of being divorced with a child was hard for me to accept and more so that I had said vows and failed at that. I disappointed myself, my parents and God.
In the years after my divorce I got up everyday and went through daily living but not really feeling attached to a purpose and the sense of being lost and alone grew over the years. At 13 years old my son, Riley, asked my ex-husband and I to attend a meeting with him and the minister at the church. He wanted to give his life to the Lord. I was taken by surprise but was so proud listening to him speak with the minister in that meeting. Watching him grow in his relationship with God made me wonder why I didn't have that. Three years later my son invited me to church on a Christmas evening with my parents and himself. I was not in a great space in my life at that time, having come out of a very bad relationship breakup. The last thing I wanted to do was go to church.
I begrudgingly went with them because I didn't want to go to church and I was a very disillusioned at that time in my life. I remember that I sat in the pew and said “okay Lord I am here, what do you want with me?” As Pastor Allan preached, he said “ you can go through your whole life and have a home, family, all the things you could possibly want but you can still feel a void! “ That’s exactly how I felt and I remember how I resonated with what he said and it hit my heart. I then said “okay Lord, that’s how I feel, there is a void in my life, so what do you want from me?” I was looking around and then I saw the pew leaflet and I opened it. Inside, it said the Alpha course was starting in mid January. Now my parents spoke of this course and my dad had gone on it. I looked at my mom and showed her the invitation to the Alpha course. I mouthed softly to her – “I will go if you go with me ?” She nodded and said we could go together.
The first night of the Alpha course I remember walking into the hall and in my mind I said “oh dear, am I really here with all these church people in this church hall”
I enjoyed the meal and meeting people and listening to the talk. In our group I felt really relaxed and everyone, including my host, was so friendly and I didn’t feel different to anyone, and they didn’t make me feel different from them.
I went back each week, my friendships grew and I felt love and a sense of belonging growing not only with my group but with God. I started to pray and talk to God. Then I went on the weekend away. On the Saturday morning we gathered in the hall in the morning at the venue away. We sang worship and it made me feel so connected to everyone including God.
Thereafter we had the talks and then we invited the Holy Spirit to come in. I remember Pastor Allan coming over to me and he placed his hand above my head. As he did that I felt this overwhelming warmth and this peaceful feeling come over me. I dropped gently into someone’s arms and lay on the ground. I sobbed for an hour and I felt all the hurt, pain, brokenness, sense of not belonging, flowing out. The next morning I remember waking up and I felt lighter, joyful. The Sunday morning in worship I sang and I knew I was a different person because I felt loved by God and all the things of the past happened and I knew I needed to move forward, to love myself and to allow Jesus to love me more. I was excited to read the Bible and spend time in God’s presence.
That was 6 years ago.
I was working in a job at that time that I was not very happy in and I prayed for God to use me for the purpose I am meant to be used.
I was in Church April 2013 and I picked up the pew leaflet and there was a position at St Luke’s Church for the Church Administrator. I was earning well in my current position but I knew this was the answer to my prayer. I applied and was successfully offered the position. I took the job at less salary but my relationship with Jesus developed and deepened while I worked there.
In June 2016 I felt a nudge from God. I was working at St Luke’s but I prayed, “Lord if this is where you want me to be use me more or open the door.”
I was off Facebook and I reactivated my account and the first thing I saw was a position at Alpha South Africa being advertised. I thought wow Lord this can only be from you.
I applied and went for the first interview and second interview and was offered the position. I started 1st September 2016 and this year September I will be with Alpha South Africa for 3 years. I work as the Church Support Coordinator and I have the most amazing privilege to support churches to get started to run Alpha. I engage with many people on the phone and email and I never miss an opportunity at work and outside with strangers on the bus or in social settings to shine my light and let others know that Jesus is alive and you can have the best relationship with Him. The one who came to save us and give us life.
My whole life changed because Jesus met me that morning on the weekend away. He poured out his love and healing into me and most importantly He loved me for who I was at that time, broken and needing the void to be filled with Him.
Today, I am blessed as God answered another prayer, He blessed me with an amazing man, Neil, who came into my life and who I have the privilege to walk alongside and see God working in his life as he grows in his relationship with Jesus. Neil and I are now married and together we are a blended family of five, Kelly 25 years old, Riley, 21 years old and Cassidy, 19 years old. God continues to work with Neil and I as we strive in his Kingdom and in our blended family which has its own challenges and blessings. I am grateful to God as I see how he has worked to heal Riley, myself and my ex-husband. I am grateful that I enjoy a healthy relationship with my current husband, my ex-husband, his girlfriend and our children.
We give God all the glory for how He continues to stretch, grow and bless us daily.
These verses are significant to me now.