As I have said already on the main page of this site, I made this website to encourage fellow Christians around the world but mainly in the UK. And also the website sprung from an e-mail I sent on the 12th of January 2007.
I was filled up with the Holy Spirit after a very long time of not really feeling like a Christian and afterwards I realised there were some factors contributing to why I was feeling like that.
One was that I hadn't picked up a Bible since the beginning of August, since I got home from camp. The new Bible notes I had didn’t really work for me at all and I found it really hard to actually apply God’s word to my life through them. I decided to catch up with 15 more minutes of sleep each morning instead and after a few months I couldn’t really see where God was in anything.
Another was that I was listening to really depressing music, all the time, and therefore writing really depressing poetry. I still do write poetry, and I’ve noticed that nearly all the ones I wrote in 2006 were really depressing…
Fake, everything is fake,
From the ads on TV to my own family
My life is turning upside down
I can’t seem to get out of this town
I’m living in a web of lies
Drowning in myself I die
Everytime I try to pull the plug
It’s like my grave’s being dug
Alone, utterly alone
In this selfish world I’m running out of time
And space is obscure and pointless
I try to escape from this hopelessness
I guess I need someone to save me
And pull me out of this dark abyss
I know he’s sacrificed himself for me
And his name is Jesus.
I remember listening to Evanescence’s album ‘Open Door’ in the half term almost on a loop… I really became involved in all the feelings that are in all of the songs, of jealousy, desire for death, death of a loved one and many more. Songs like those were probably all I listened to really. When anything too chirpy or cheerful came up I really switched off completely.
My great-aunt also died in October from bowel cancer…I remember when we saw her more often when I was younger that she was sort of like a grandmother substitute, as I never really knew my grandparents on my mother’s side. I remember an extremely emotional visit to the hospice she was at in Bristol earlier on in the year. From being a strong and healthy looking woman, with hardly a grey strand in her hair, she looked frail, fragile and old, and I could see with my own eyes that she was dying. I was extremely upset by this, as she was really strong in her faith and she was lovely, caring and fun to be with. I deeply regret not going to her funeral, because that would have helped me get over the fact that her time on earth was over and remind me that she was going to Heaven at the time… but I didn’t and though it didn’t show to anyone else I still felt saddened and really reminded of death in this world. From not reading the Bible regularly I had forgotten the promises God promised us, that He has plans for me, of his amazing love that is incomprehensible and wonderful; that I am in his image and he lovingly created me and that I am perfect in his eyes. Like many girls my age, I often have low self esteem and every day I looked in the mirror and hated almost everything I saw.
In November I went to an event in London called Sorted? which really made me question where I was at the moment with God, but I was unsure what to do... I didn't work out then that I needed to read God's word and pray regularly at the same time - before I either swallowed the Bible (not literally of course) and never bothered to talk to God, or stopped reading the Bible and just prayed, not learning anything new about him or reminding myself about Him. I had stopped reading the Bible and just prayed that I’d get through this ‘wilderness’ I was in. It’s weird because in the poem above, it shows that I was actually still trusting in God to get me through it. I still went to church because I wanted to get back on the right track, though I still didn’t know how.
I basically felt like the people of Israel did in Lamentations and I felt like crying,
'See, O LORD, how distressed I am! I am in torment within, and in my heart I am disturbed, for I have been most rebellious. Outside, the sword bereaves; inside, there is only death’ Lamentations 1 v 20.
To you who is reading this it may sound that what I felt was silly and unneeded, and that I needed to get a grip. And eventually I did get a grip.
One Sunday evening in the first few weeks of January, I remember my minister delivering a sermon and him saying at the end that we should ask the Holy Spirit to really stir us up at the beginning of this year.
I decided to ask God to 'stir me up', not expecting anything to happen… I probably prayed something like this,
‘Okay God, if you’re there.. I mean really there - if you really care about me and want me to follow you, please stir me up. Amen’
From then on I actually began to get back on track:
I got some Bible notes called airlock, which I had used before and found really useful in discovering new ways of looking at passages before that I already looked at.
I also went shopping the next day after the service and bought a book by Beth Redman called ‘How to be a girl of God’, another book called ‘Dateable’ by Hayley Morgan and Justin Lookadoo and another book about plans for the future by someone who’s name I’ve forgotten at the moment, from Wesley Owen.
I recommend that everyone who calls themselves a Christian between the ages of 11-25 should read ‘How to be a girl of God’ – both male and female, because every chapter is very thought provoking - even Tim Hughes suggests guys should read it… but anyway.
The Bible verses discussed in those books I had looked at time and time again with no clue on how to apply them to my life, but the books explained them well.
One was one of my favourite verses 1 Timothy 4v 12:'Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.'
It was a real encouragement and I could feel God saying to me, 'open up the bible and talk to me... you can always talk to me, whenever you want. And read my word, for it is the truth, in this world full of lies'. All of the books got the fact through to me that God does care, and how I was beautiful in his eyes, no matter what and that he has plans for me that will make me happy. I felt so much better and I felt loved and special.
God answered my ungrateful and unimpressed prayer a few days later on Friday, when I came home from school and for the first time could really feel that God was there. The first few days back at school had been a lot better than I had anticipated and for the first time in ages I felt really happy. It was a wonderful experience and I decided as I was on a 'high' to actually do something useful with it. And then I sent the e-mail, and started the website so more people can view it and really be encouraged.
From then on, I felt, and feel now, no need for writing really depressing poetry or listening to depressing music all the time: there is no need to be depressed when we have God on our side and Jesus as our friend and saviour. Even though I never went to my great-aunt’s funeral, I know now she definitely is in Heaven, where there is no cancer and no pain and there never will be. And I also learnt that no matter how much we doubt God, He is still there, and he definitely, definitely answers prayer, even if we half heartedly don’t expect to get any reply at all. He will show his power to us in ways we cannot imagine. Before, I would never have dreamt of writing an e-mail like that, but through the Holy Spirit I was able to.
I’m not putting this on the website to seek attention or sympathy or anything… the primary aim of this website is to encourage people who are trying to live the way Jesus wants. I don’t want you who are reading this to make the same mistakes that I did.
If you aren’t already, spend quality time with God, devour his word and ask for his help to obey what it says - both on a regular basis. As a friend of mine once said to me: ‘Keep it up and keep immersing yourself in the word, soak it up, learn it, absorb it, think it, live it, breathe it’. Trust in God and you will be happier than ever before, I promise.