I have always had a faith and believed in God. I was brought up an Anglican, but was only an occasional visitor to church because my Dad worked shifts and our church was about 20 miles away.
As I got older, my faith became dented by life. I worked as an Ambulance Paramedic, and some of the things I saw and was involved in made me question God's existence - although in the back of my mind I knew he really was there. I just couldn't understand why He let children die so young, why some people could be so viscious to others, or why "Godly" people like my Grandad were made to suffer so much through illness. I still don't have the answers to these questions - but I still have a lot of growing in my faith to do!
When I married Ian, we decided to move to Harlow, Essex, as it was halfway between our two families. But when I had Joe I felt so alone and isolated. I joined the local Meet A Mum Association group, and met my good friend (and since then, Godmother to the boys) Jane, who is a Christian. We talked about God from time to time, but I don't think I was ready to accept him fully into my life at that time.
I went through quite bad Post Natal Depression, and told Ian that I couldn't go through another pregnancy so far from my Mum. So, in 2003, we moved to Barnehurst, about 10 minutes drive from my parents. I still suffered with PND and Antenatal Depression with James, but having my Mum so close made it easier.
While I was pregnant, we went on the rounds of the Nursery Schools for Joe. It was when we visited the nursery for Barnehurst Infants School that I met Linda. I now know that God guided me there, and held out Linda's hand in friendship. Over the time Joe was in nursery, Linda and I became really good friends - I should explain that Linda is the wife of our Pastor!
She asked me to come on an Alpha course in September 2005, and so my conviction began! By the time we were halfway through the course, I could feel my beliefs and feelings changing. I started going to Bexleyheath Community Church and found that I LOVED it - which was a bit of a surprise as I'd always thought of churches which were not Anglican as "happy clappers". Now I clap along with everyone else!
We all went along to the 2005 New Year's Eve party at the church, and had a great time. At midnight, we watched the fireworks in London on the big screen - and it was the most amazing display I'd ever seen. I stood transfixed for a full 15 minutes, totally oblivious to everyone else around me. When we got home and went to bed, I was lying in the darkness and heard a noise which sounded like a deep, male voice on an out of tune radio. It stopped, and then I heard it again about 10 minutes later.
Next morning, I said to Ian, "did you hear that radio last night?" and he looked blankly at me and said "what radio?"
At the worship later that morning, I asked Linda if she actually "heard" God speaking, or if it was in her head or just a feeling? I explained about the noise and she just smiled and said that I was ready to become a Christian. Next minute, Linda, John (our Pastor & Linda's Husband) and a couple of the ladies from the church were praying with me, and I gave my life to God!
I left that morning with a huge grin on my face, but kept it to myself for a few days before I eventually told my family!
I was baptised in water on 5th February 2006, and in the Holy Spirit at a Sunday Worship just before Christmas. My life has been so full of love, support and fellowship - and I know it can only get better!