As a child, I was brought up as a Catholic and attended church regularly. I was confirmed when I was 14. The discipline of a Catholic school and going to church every Sunday planted the seed of belief in God in me, and I certainly felt God was in my life. However, I now see that I expected him to be there for me, but it was not a two-way relationship. When I prayed, I often prayed in a selfish way, for example, asking for things to happen or for help when life wasn’t going so well. I always felt that God was there, and I often felt that He was guiding my path, but I know now that I wasn’t really committed to my part of the relationship.
Then I fell in love and thankfully met a Christian, which I strongly believe was part of God’s plan for me.
Becoming a mother found me searching again for God. Matt and I were attending another church in Cambridge and it was Sue Doye with her cheerfulness and warmth who first invited us to Eden. She was cycling home laden with her children’s works of art after church one Sunday morning and I asked where she had been to church. The following week we came to Eden and were warmly welcomed and I believe God has used this church family to open the door to me.
Sue and I met regularly for a joint Bible study and before she left for Oxford she made sure she found me a new partner to continue the one-to-one Bible study. She kindly arranged for Jo Rigby to take over. The friendship and commitment of both Jo and Sue has helped me enormously. Through Bible study, Julian and Marvin’s sermons and individual prayer I have learnt what it really means to be a Christian -- the commitment required and also have felt the joy that it brings.
Earlier this year our house group spent a weekend away and Pat Blake gave a very useful quote of how there are many links in the chain for a person coming to Christ. My links started when I was a child and more recently, my husband, Matt, and my friends in particular, Sue, Jo and Sian, as well as the encouragement and examples set by many in this Church, have helped me understand how to grow as a Christian.
I found it difficult to know when I was ready to be baptised. I had plenty of encouragement and when my youngest daughter was 3 there was a time when there were a lot of baptisms. She asked if I had been in the water and I replied not yet. For a while after that, she persisted and nearly every Sunday she asked “mummy are you going in the water today?”
I think I was actually ready quite a few months ago, but now that more time has passed I feel that I have been growing spiritually and I can see the difference God is making in my life from the inside.
I have accepted Jesus into my heart, and through his actions of dying on the cross, my sins have been forgiven and I have the promise of eternal life. I know that God loves me and he sacrificed his son for my sins. I know that he is always willing to listen to me and guide and discipline me.
As I begin my Christian journey I know I have a lot more to learn. I also know that God is a faithful teacher. A verse I find particularly encouraging is James 1 verse 5: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him”.
Another verse I find helpful as a new Christian is one that the children have helped me learn following the Easter holiday Bible club -- Proverbs 3 verse 5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”.
I can already see this in my life. The more I trust God, spend time reading his word, the more I grow.
In a way, the fact that I am standing here about to be baptised is an example of this trust and new understanding. Less than a year ago I questioned whether baptism was right for me. I had a personal relationship with God and why did I need to make such a public statement - both this testimony and a full immersion baptism? I was nervous about speaking so publicly and I kept putting it off. With all the support I have had from my Christian friends, no one has pressured me about getting baptised, but I have felt God calling me to not delay this day.
Through reading the Bible, I have come to believe -- as Jesus demonstrated -- that baptism is an important step. I now see that my baptism is both a symbol and a celebration; a symbol of my sins being washed away and a celebration of the start of my new life with Christ in me.