Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Testimony

Hello and welcome to Laurelia Cottage. I'm not a writer or a preacher but I love God and I love sharing what He has done in my life. If I find a book, video or article that I find helpful or encouraging then I want to tell other people about it. This blog is a place to do both of those things.
This is my testimony, written nearly 5 years ago.

10th October 2006
How I became a Christian.

Both my parents were raised in Catholic families and went to Catholic schools. When they became adults they did not attend church or have a personal relationship with Jesus. My sisters and I were baptised shortly after our births and attended our Holy Communion. I grew up through my childhood and teenage years with a limited knowledge of Jesus, taught at school in Scripture lessons and at Christmas time. I attended a Catholic Church less than a dozen times over the years, usually at Christmas or Easter. I did not understand anything about the service or why people kept standing up and sitting down. I did know the verses they were repeating and I remember feeling out of place. Sometime around the age of 20 I had a small urge to attend church, but I pushed it aside, more concerned with travel and studies at University.

Funnily enough, these two things led me to visit a very different kind of Church with a wonderful Christian lady. When I was 21 I went on a University exchange program to the United States where I signed up to have a host family. This was a family who volunteered to meet with me every few weeks to help me adjust to being so far from my own home and family. The host family were Christians and one day they invited me to the local church they attended. I was shocked that the minister was wearing normal clothes, it was packed with young people my age; there was a band on stage that lead the congregation in modern songs and people seemed to be truly focused on the message, as if waiting to hear something that would change their lives. The whole experience was somewhat strange and amusing to me.

During my next visit with my host family my host mum and I were chatting at the table in her kitchen when we got into a discussion about her faith. She told me that she read the Bible regularly, met with other ladies for Bible study and prayed to a loving God who answered prayers. She also told me that being a Christian wife meant submitting to her husband as the head of their house. In their family, this meant that they would discuss things but that her husband would make the final decision because he was responsible to God.

I remember thinking at the time all of this was happening "Well, that's great for them but I've got more important things to do and think about". I was getting involved with a man I had met at University and the relationship began to consume most of my time.

Over the next couple of years I travelled back and forth from Australia to the US, Canada and England. Each time I returned home, often confused and lost in where my life was headed I had an urge to go to church.

During my last trip overseas the urge to find out about God became a little stronger and I braved -40 degrees weather in Canada to attend the local Catholic church there. Once again I did not understand anything, but was too scared to try other denominations, as I did not know which were the "cult" like ones that the majority of religious folk shunned.

The relationship that had been keeping me overseas deteriorated and I returned home in January 2004 at 25 years of age. I had a very strong resolve to find a church. It seemed to stem from a belief growing inside me that if I could figure out the whole "God" thing and what Christians believed then my life would change for the better. I asked my mum if she would go to some different churches with me and to my surprise she said yes. I think she thought it would help me to settle back into life at home if I made some new friends and connected with a Church.

We went to a few different churches and found one we were both comfortable with. We started attending regularly and someone mentioned a lady called Joyce Meyer who had a television show on very early in the morning. I started taping her show and absolutely devoured every thing she said about the Bible and how to have a personal relationship with God. In obedience to what God placed on my heart I began tithing and reading small parts of the Bible.

Not long after this I got down on my knees next to my bed (that's how I thought I was supposed to pray) and asked God to send some Christian friends into my life to help me understand everything I was learning. The next week at work I happened to be talking to a new girl and asked her what she did on the weekend. She told me that she had gone to mission fair run by a local church to find out about going on a mission trip. I asked her if she went to Church and she said yes. I told her I had just started going. She attended a different church to me but invited me to her Bible study group. I said no thank you but luckily she was persistent. She asked me a couple more times until I said yes.

I very nervously went to the Bible Study with her that night not sure what to expect at all. The group was small and friendly about my age and I sat there silent, trying not to look totally out of place. I was embarrassed that I couldn't contribute to the discussion and had trouble finding the Bible verses they were referring to. At the end of the study the study group leader's wife asked me if I would like to do a one-on-one study with her to learn about the love of God. I agree and we set up a time.

For the next eight weeks we met on a Monday afternoon and read through parts of the Bible together while following a study booklet about God's love and grace. God was surely at work because it was as if my eyes were opened to a whole new world. Everything I was hearing made perfect sense and I accepted it all as truth. My new friend also spoke to me about being baptised again, this time as a believer in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. I felt a strong conviction to follow this command from the Bible and eight months after returning from overseas I was baptised at my church. During this time I joined a Bible Study group at my own church and continued on my journey. The group were very supportive and showed me lots of love as I began to heal from past hurts.

It has been just over two years since that time and the Lord has blessed me in so many ways. My faith continues to grow as I try to live each day in a way that brings glory to God and fulfils His purpose for my life.
If you want to learn about becoming a Christian feel free to email me or have a look at these websites: