Sigh.. another day of “same old, same old”, no idea what’s going on, how do I cope with the nonsense, topped with an attitude of “fine, whatever” towards the caring souls who I’m glad to say have stuck around! This was how my life used to be. I am delighted to say this is no more, but let’s step back in time, and I’ll share with you how AMAZING God has been in completely transforming my life.
I came to City Church around 6 years ago, looking for another home, and was greeted at the turny-roundy-bit by no other than Jude McBean (God has an ace sense of humour, I’ll explain later). I loved it so I kept coming. As so many do, I came with heaps of heavy baggage, not really any idea who I was, or what I was for, even though I was a Christian. I had been in and out of spirals of self harm, drinking and depression for years. I’d ‘get better’ then fall back in it again and again.
One day, I felt this need within me to talk to a good friend specifically about this. I felt so low, I really didn’t want to be here anymore. But hang on – I don’t talk about my feelings, I do destructive things instead, because that’s all I know! It turns out talking was the first step of the rest of my life. Of course, life didn’t change overnight, much to my disgust. It meant eventually doing some counselling (more talking about feelings? Oh no, thank you, I’m fine!) and doing some prayer ministry, which I loved and hated at the same time. Being vulnerable is not on the top of my to-do list!
It’s hard to explain how horrible I had been feeling – darkness over me all the time, a heavy weight around my head, negative thoughts – these are all normal, right? Well, apparently not! One verse that was prayed over me and has stuck with me is this:
‘Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind’. Romans 12:2
This ‘transforming of my mind’ took some time, and it also meant taking time out from serving in Stonehaven to find who I was and what I was for. I hated being on the sidelines! I was very grumpy at this decision, but I see now it was the best thing to do.
When the darkness lifted, I found JOY for the first time in my life, it was incredible. I felt as if my head had finally lifted, all around me was daylight and not darkness! This was really weird! I found myself almost looking around wondering “where has this heavy darkness gone”?! I was almost missing it, because it had been all I knew.
‘The joy of the Lord is your strength’ Nehemiah 8v10
I had found joy! With that, I now had a freedom to go and be who God had called me to be. Which takes us to the next chapter…
Over time, I got back into serving, being part of the worship team, and also found myself wanting to join the M.A.D. Minis team. What?! I had done kids work before in a previous church, but it wasn’t a particularly positive experience. I said God has a sense of humour right? When the Stonehaven site launched (when I wasn’t in a great place), Jude McBean came and did training with us about kids work. To be honest, I’ve no idea what it was about really – I wasn’t interested and wasn’t listening (sorry!). Jude has said to me since then that she felt there was something for me in the M.A.D ministry. My response was “nope, that’s way off, Jude”. WELL, fast forward some years…. I enquired about “maybe, just maybe” coming on a Minis team Turns out I LOVED being on Minis! I had an awesome time, and it was so valuable. God reignited a passion in me that I lost years ago, and over time I became a team leader for Minis.
In Summer 2016, I felt God speak to me about becoming Site Kids Leader (SKL). “That is insane, Lord, don’t be daft, that isn’t you speaking … is it?” It was also a bit awkward – no one had said anything to me about this role, I certainly hadn’t been offered a position, so I had to be the one to broach the subject – cringe! Turns out I didn’t need to worry – the conversation went much better than I thought it would. We both had the same feeling that it was meant to be me. Phew! And Rock on!
Being SKL is amazing, I love what we do, how we do it and the privilege it is to tell these kids about Jesus, it rocks! I am on a M.A.D. team now which came with some doubts in itself, but man, I love it. How could I doubt, when God had all this in hand? In recent months I have become more passionate about this ministry, and hungry to see God at work in the lives of our kids.
I’m not the most patient but I have learnt that God has a plan, and looking back, I know God’s timing is always perfect.
‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ Jer 29:11
Amen to that! Is life perfect? Not at all. I had a recent blip, but with some help and prayer ministry I’m doing better again. Hard times come, but great times come too! I also now know that talking about ‘my stuff’ isn’t so bad (once I get started) and that people have my back, and that God is right there. All the time. He will never leave me nor forsake me.
ABOUT ME: You can find me at the Stonehaven site, making a lot of noise either in Mad, or in the worship team, drumming away. Love. It. I’ve been married to Ola since 2015, you’ll find us walking around Stoney getting our steps done for the day [#obsessed] or feet up watching a movie or football. I love rock music, great coffee and spending time with the special people in my life.