When I was little, growing up, I used to look at flowers in the hedgerows and think – “someone made these, they just didn’t get here by chance, they’re too beautiful”. My family attended the local C of E church, and my brother and I attended Sunday school, more out of a sense of having to, rather than wanting to – we lived next door to Grandma, - a Wesleyan Methodist who was very keen we attended. Being a rebellious child, I decided I didn’t want to go to church any more – so I told mum, who said well you can, if you tell that to your grandma – so I did, and consequently stopped attending – except for emergencies – such as when our pet goat was ill.
That was how it was until I was almost 13,. Dad was very poorly with cancer, but Mum never let on, she just kept going, so Dad’s death came as a surprise and left me wondering. Mum received many cards and words of comfort – which I read. This must have started us going back to church, because as a teenager - starting to get into music – I was looking forward to being part of the youth group due to attend a gospel concert in Manchester at the Free Trade Hall. The group of us went and I can remember was how loud it was – and at the end someone was talking about Jesus – his death on the cross, and that he died in my place to take the punishment and penalty for my sins – the gospel message was personal, and before the call was made for anyone to come forward, I sat and realised that if Jesus did this, he must have really loved me and there and then in my heart I asked him to forgive me for the wrong things I had done, and to be my Saviour for the rest of my life.
When the speaker gave to call to go forward to talk and pray with someone, I was already halfway down the steps on my way to the front, I could not get there fast enough. I prayed with a lady and she encouraged me to go and tell someone. So I went home and told Mum. She was not very encouraging –“I was like that once”, she said, “I’ll give you six months”. We were warned that if we told our parents, they might not be too enthusiastic. Anyway, I continued to pray and read the Bible at home and joined in with the Christian Union at school.
On leaving school, I was still quite rebellious, and went to University. I married at 21, and emigrated to South Africa. This marriage was not good, but I thought we were OK, until we came back to the UK, to live in London. My husband was working on various mining and civil engineering projects which sometimes took him away from home. It was during this time that he wrote and said he did not see a future for us. It turned out that he was seeing many different women. He returned one day and announced that he wanted me to divorce him on the grounds of his adultery. My world fell apart. In the same week, I was also made redundant from a fairly well paid job.
I believed in God, - He was my saviour but I had forgotten Him – in amongst all this mess, I was beside myself, and searched the Bible, prayed and cried a lot. I cried out to the Lord and He heard me – I searched for the Lord, and found Him – and he forgave my rebellion and sin. During this time. I can remember praying and asking “Oh Lord, is there a Ruth anywhere?” – Ruth was someone I had shared a flat with during my student days, and although I didn’t mean a literal Ruth, I meant someone like her – a solid Christian, who could help me. I decided to return to church –. There were two churches on opposite sides of the road junction – one the C of E and the other a Baptist. I got the service times wrong – and ended up going to the Baptist church instead of the C of E. Anyway, I figured that it would be OK for once, so I sat down in a chair next to a nice looking lady called Ruth! Not only did God answer my prayer literally, He had already prepared Ruth and her husband Simon the help me through the dark times of divorce.
During this time, the Lord was so good to me – he forgave my rebellion and sin, and restored me to himself. I was baptised about a year or so after this. He also provided me with a new job..
At this time, Simon and Ruth had a good friend . Having been so hurt by divorce I was not really in a frame of mind to meet anyone new – and struggled with the issue of divorce. Unbeknown to each other – he and I had both asked the Lord to take away our feelings for each other if they were not right in his sight. We fell in love, and married in July 1994 at the Baptist church where we originally met.
Since then, the Lord has always been faithful> There have been struggles, but we have known his protection, provision, guiding, leading and saving love and grace on many occasions. G.M