Good evening everyone, I can’t believe it has been so long since my last post… I have started back at uni now so I am really busy BUT I had to wait in for our new internet to be installed today so it has given me a great opportunity to get a bit of blogging done!
I didn’t quite know what to title this blog… I actually find titling my blogs really hard as I want to come up with something punchy and quirky and it usually ends up being a bit drab and boring. ANYWAY, I thought of calling it ‘how me and Jesus became BFFS” but Josh told me that was super lame. “How I found my faith” is a bit misleading however, because it isn’t something I just found on the side of the street one day… it has kinda of grown and evolved over time… but anyway. I have decided to categorise my faith*** journey in to three main sub-sections which I hope will make it easier to read.
My parents became Christians when I was quite young, and I went to a Church of England primary school. I always had a faith, I knew God was real and I never really questioned it. Being a Christian wasn’t a particularly huge part of our home life, but my parents took me to Sunday school where I learnt Bible stories, songs etc. and I was pretty happy. I’d bring my friends along to the club I went to at church and never tried to hide the fact I went to church. I can’t say there was a specific day or time when I gave my life to Jesus, I just always believed in Him, I was a child so I had no reason to question!
Beginning my own story
When I was 12 years old, in year eight at school, my sister started going with her friend to a youth group run by another church in our town. We had previously been going to a C of E church, which no disrespect to anyone, just didn’t captivate me. I was starting to prefer sleepovers at my friends to going to church on Sundays and I just wasn’t really in to it. There was nobody really my age there so nothing to keep me going. My sister told me there was a younger youth group at this church, and that I should go along. I don’t know why, as it was totally out of my character, but I decided to rock up to this youth group of people I didn’t know totally on my own one Thursday night! WELL…. although that youth group wasn’t the perfect fit for me, I started to going to the one for year 9s after Glenda suggested it and there was no going back! I’d never known any other Christians my age and the prospect of having friends who also went to church was amazing. Plus this church was so vibrant, charismatic and fun! We had so many days out and sleepovers and we went to a festival called Newday in the summer. My first summer at Newday, I decided to ‘officially’ give my life to God and it went on from there. I guess being at this church taught me a lot about worship, faith and relationship over religion and it taught me about fellowship. I loved my time there and it brought me through so many tough years and helped me overcome my struggles with binge eating disorder which you can read about here and helped me to find strength and healing through my depression which you can read about hhttps://kltmarler.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/jesus-calming-the-storm/ere. However, as I was younger than all my friends, eventually I was pretty much left alone in Braintree as they all went off to uni and although still very passionately believed in Jesus, the pull of the world became a lot stronger. As I got to college, I started working at the weekends and not going to church and although I still had some people around me walking through my faith with me, I’d say it had become almost lip service, no relationship there at all. During these years, there was no denying that faith was a part of my life, and often a huge part of it, but my life was never based around my faith and my faith never really seeped through to other areas of my life.
As I was deciding about uni and stuff, I decided I wanted to do a gap year, and pretty last minute God lead me to a place called The Foundry, to do a Christian gap year called ‘XL academy’. I knew that it was where God was going to transform my life, and whilst I was there I began to understand the Bible and desire to read it. I learnt what it was to have a personal relationship with God, spending daily time with him and constantly praying throughout the day, keeping dialogue open with him. I learnt the amazing moments of feeling His presence (if you’re a Christian you’ll understand and if you’re not you’ll probably think I’m totally mad!!) and through that year focussed on Him, I gained a platform on which I could learn to live my life centred around Jesus rather than just having him as a part of my life. After this, I started university whilst staying plugged in to the Foundry which is where I met my husband, Josh! Although things since XL haven’t always been smooth sailing, it has been amazing to be on this journey of faith with Jesus!
From now, who knows? Maybe in a few years time I’ll have another section to add to my testimony. All I know is that since I have experience what it is to live for God, I will never go back. I’d like to say, whether you believe in God or not, He loves you…. He wants a personal relationship with you and if this post has stirred anything in you regarding Jesus/ faith in general PLEASE contact me and I will to my utmost to talk you through it, although I don’t suppose to have all the answers!
Lots of love
***You might notice I always talk about “faith” rather than “religion” and there are plenty of reasons for that! Best way I can describe it is through this video which if you’re interested, have a watch of!
Credit to Jefferson Bethke, who you can find on YouTube here.