at the age of 18 I lost the biggest role model in my life, my mum. Sadly she passed away at the early age of 57 to lung cancer. At the time of her death, it hit my dad and sister hard. Looking back I had to be the rock in the family, understandable devastated but felt I was given the strength to keep my emotions together for them.
After a few months my dad found the only way to deal with his emotions was to move on and met another companion. They are still together today and are very happy which is all I can ask for. At the time they got together his partner had also suffered heartache with her previous husband committing adultery, so it feels like it was meant to be. My dad sold up our family home and moved in with his new partner.
At the age of 18 your brain is all over the place and the thought of moving in with them didn’t appeal, so I hooked up with one of my close pals to share a flat. I spent years partying and getting myself into financial troubles. I can’t say I didn’t have fun but I think I was just masking over my emotions from the loss my mum.
I suppose you could say the loss of my mum came at the right time in my life, I had a big group of friends, some of them also loosing parents so we were all in it together, drowning our sorrows away. I don’t recall suffering from depression, probably too busy chasing a good time to think about it. I was one of the lads, self absorbed by everything life had to offer and obsessed with not missing out!
Me and my sister have always been the best of friends and it was only natural that she would step in as the new motherly figure in my life. She has always looked after me where she could, often bailing me out of many financial sticky situations. At the time she lived in Birmingham and similarly to me was living life in the fast lane. She has since moved to the Dominican Republic with her husband and they are living a lovely life in paradise. We speak often and visit each other when we can.
My family weren't religious and don’t recall ever going to church unless for a wedding or funeral. I have always been a curious person though and wondered the big questions why? Why are we here and what is our purpose etc?.
Ten years ago I met a girl at work that would help me to change my life forever. She was one of those people that was beautiful on the inside and out. She made me understand that I was wasting my life and needed to start making some changes.
For the first time in my life I was being honest and confiding in someone that I loved. This may seem like a very typical thing you would do in a new relationship, but the interesting thing for me was, this person was a Christian. All the recklessness if my life came to a sudden halt, I’m not saying I stopped drinking, nor stopped seeing my friends but I felt like something was telling me that this was time to start changing and I could feel a determined strength taking over me.
My new partner and family went to church on a regular basis. At first, I would go with them but I wasn’t very interested and felt I was only going for her. However I stuck with it and eventually my emotions towards church changed and I was starting to feel like I belonged.
A few years rolled by and I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this person, so we got engaged. We had a few conversations about me getting confirmed before we marry, but still with a 'street cred mentality', a part of me was saying it was a load of nonsense and I didn’t need the extra pressure in my life. Thankfully faith had a hold of me and I agreed to go ahead with it.
As part of the process, our church vicar visited me at home. We discussed what becoming a Christian was all about, I remember being very inquisitive and asking lots of questions. He told me how he had become a Christian and what he encounted. I was extremely gripped and it felt very real.
My sisters husband, is one of the most fascinating people I have ever met and has done all sorts of things with his life, works very hard and can party even harder. However he is a devoted Christian, doesn’t go to church much but he prays ever day without fail for his family, friends and the hope for peace in the world. Another person that had me gripped on the thought of me becoming a Christian.
I remember the day of my confirmation well, It was the summer of 2012 and England had a football match in the Euros, I had met up with my pals that day to watch the match. All day my brain was working overtime, half of me wanted to stay out and have a good time with my friends, whilst the other half was pushing me to go. I stuck to my guns and went. It was an surreal evening, held at a different church that I hadn’t been to before. It certainly felt like a big occasion because the local Arch Bishop held the service and personally confirmed me.
From that day, I was starting to feel I had a true connection with God and would pray regularly. I felt looked after and watched over.
Christmas that year, I had the pleasure of marrying the girl of my dreams, my soul mate and one of gods little helpers that was sent to help save me.
Life is full of obstacles, wrong doings and confusion, when I say ‘saved me’, you can only truly know what I mean when you find God in you life. You understand that life on earth is only the beginning and a place where you can earn your ticket into heaven. Every single person on earth is equal in God’s eyes. It doesn’t matter one bit if you have loads of money or you become famous, we all like these things but we shouldn’t make idols of it. Anyone can succeed in life but the main importance, is living by God’s rules and believe me, your life feels so much better if you do.
The day when I truly knew God was a solid part of my life was, me and my wife went on a course through our church called an Alpha course. The course lasted around 6 weeks and we had to go round to our vicar’s house once a week. We watched a dvd each week of inspirational Christian speaker Nicky Gumbel, he walks you through the life of being a Christian and the simple changes you need to do in order to become one. In the last week of the course our Vicar gave us a spiritual service inviting the Holy Spirit to join your life. Wow, my body tingled from head to toe and was the most amazing experience I have ever had. My wife who had been a Christian all her life burst into tears of joy. I would of thought, you would have to truly want God in your life to earn an experience like this, but I would recommend this to anyone who does.
I’m now 34, I have been married 5 years and now have another one of God’s great gifts in our life, a little boy. I’m still very close with all my friends, I work hard, train at the gym 4 times a week, love designer clothing, violent films and drinking wine. I’m still the same person I have always been I just now have a passion for god and understand my purpose!
One tip I would give anyone thinking about believing in God is don’t think you have to know the bible from cover to cover nor do you have to go to church every week, you can simple have a relationship with God right from your bedside if you so wish. Everything else will come in time.
Loving God is such a simple thing to do, he wants each and every single person on earth to love him back, all you have to do is believe and live buy his rules. The moral of my story is don’t be afraid to answer the door whenever faith comes knocking because it will only change your life for the better.
PS. Turns out my brother-in-law spoke with my mum as she was dying and I’m pleased to know she had found god before she left. Can’t wait to see her when my time comes.
PPS. I’m just helping my sister go through the process of finding her faith, which is an exciting challenge. I’m looking forward to reading her story on this blog one day!