My Story 1 (Beginnings)

I guess my Christian story starts like many others do. I was brought up to go to church from the age of about 7 when my parents were converted at a Billy Graham rally at Wembley Stadium in the early seventies. I have a memory of waiting anxiously outside our first church whilst Mum went inside to investigate the possibilities of Sunday School. That Baptist church remained our home for some years. Here, my parents and my brother and I were baptised and stood to proclaim our faith in Jesus Christ. I know that for my parents it was a time of great spiritual growth and preparation for all that was to come later. We might say that in those days (the 70's) the things of the Spirit were still slowly emerging, and although my parents began to taste a little of it, I did not experience the Holy Spirit for myself in a real way until later in my life. By that Holy Spirit experience I mean the experience of knowing God's power and presence; hearing his voice in a tangible way. Nevertheless my experience of God as a child was real and natural, although I was very shy and rarely talked about it with anyone. My prayer life consisted of daily chats with God on my walk to school. My desire to be baptised was genuine and in my own way I loved God and wanted more of him in my life.

After my baptism at the age of about 14, I began to have a crisis of faith, perhaps like many others at that age. As a teenager I had too many questions and struggles and church for me was frankly boring! I remember during the extended time of prayer in the service, which seemed to cover most of the world and last for hours, I found the hymn book extremely interesting reading! I stopped going to church and simply retreated into myself. I could not reconcile the fact that God loved me and yet I was struggling with so many issues as a teenager. On reflection the next few years were perhaps the most unhappy of my life. Of course I never stopped praying. But I have found in my life that I pray most when I am in trouble and running away from God. When I'm close to Him I don't feel the need to say very much. During this time my parents also left the Baptist church with a few others and started a house church on their own. I was not part of that, and had no desire to be, but God was obviously doing a great deal there and I have no doubt that they were praying for me.

At the age of 18 I went to college and found myself living in halls with all the joys of college life, as well as the temptations. Although being at college was a wonderful experience, my feeling of spiritual unease persisted and I was continually struggling with my faith. I remember being at a party one night having drunk a little too much, and all this anxiety and frustration came flooding out as I tried to explain to my friend what I was going through. She knew very little about the Christian faith so I explained all that I knew and poured out all my struggles to her. She listened patiently and seemed very interested but I was left having come to no conclusions about the way forward. Imagine my surprise when I learned that after hearing all I had said she had decided to become a Christian, apparently against all my advice! Looking back it seems to me to have been an extraordinary experience, but I still held out against God, and struggled on.

It was not until my second year in college that the struggle finally came to an end. One weekend I found myself away with 3 others on a gig somewhere in the country, giving musical entertainment in a rather posh manor house. Our college was very good at getting us jobs like this, if rather measly fees! As the weekend progressed the subject of religion came up and it transpired that these 3 were all Christians, of the Roman Catholic variety. Now, I was brought up in an evangelical church that was suspicious of Roman Catholics, and I was absolutely certain that God wasn't going to speak to me through one of them! I'm glad to say that my outlook has changed now! However, God did speak to me through them and that weekend turned out to be a milestone in my life. No miracles happened. They didn't even try to convince me or evangelise me. They just were who they were. I saw peace and integrity in their lives, when I had none. They had Jesus and just shone with a love that was so attractive to me. Sounds corny doesn't it? But it was true. I knew then that it was something I wanted back in my life. I had to actually do something to get started again, so the following Sunday I slipped into the back row of the local baptist church and made my commitment to God. I spoke to no-one. I remember nothing about that service except that I was there, that God saw me and that it was important. To be honest, looking back over my life, I'm not sure of the exact day I became a Christian. I had been christened as a baby, fully immersed as a teenager and during my childhood I can't remember an appeal after an evangelistic sermon when I didn't say 'yes'. But I think maybe that slinking into the back row of a local church that day was very significant and I'll be surprised if it isn't written in a book somewhere in heaven.

From that day on things started to change and peace came back into my life. Things were about to happen that I would never have believed. I was about to discover a God who was beyond anything I had imagined. A God who was close to me. A God who would heal me, challenge and test me, and a God who would give me the most wonderful joy and purpose in my life.


Suz said…
well, I will be back to hear more. :)
SuzyQ said…
Thankyou for sharing your story.
It's a story I can relate to.
When I look back at the times in my life when I drifted away from God's plan for me I can see how close he actually was to me. Even when I had my back turned to him, he was there loving me and calling me. It humbles me and brings tears to my eyes to think how he loved me through it all. And loves me still.
Actually, this story reminds me of the poem "Footprints"
Take Care
Isadora said…
Thank you for our testimony Mike. We all have a private walk and a private Savior. What a privilege it is to be HIS.
Angie said…
I love hearing people's stories. We all have one, don't we? It's wonderful to see how God works so personally in each one's life. Thank you for sharing.
Kim S in SC said…
I am so glad you shared your story! I relate so much to responding to the altar calls. I think I asked Jesus in my heart evertime there was an invitation, always afraid that I had not "done it right" the previous times. God is so good and I love that you shared that you were in the back of the church , but the GOD of the world noticed you! Isn't that just like HIM! Love this, Love HIM! Praise Him!
Wanda said…
Oh Mike thank you for sharing you story...It's wonderful to see the faith journey of another believer. Can't wait for the rest of the story. It's our personal story that changes other peoples lives...who knows how many names will be written in that heavenly book because of this very story!!
Blessing on you dear friend! This is reality at its best!
Barbara said…
I just loved reading your testimony Mike and I'm sure there will be more to come. So many of us have the same experiences as you.god is so faithful in the end.
I have just added another chapter to my story if you wish to visit.
I have added you to my sidebar, hope that is ok.
Andrea said…
Great post. I was not raised in a Christian home. I did not accept Jesus as my Saviour until I was 24 years old. Since then I have missed very few church services and God understood my excuses the few times I have missed church in the last 24 years. I love going to church and worshipping our Lord. I did not marry a preacher but later in my marriage God called my husband into the minisrty. He has been pastoring the same Baptist church for almost 14 years now. Yes, I am a Baptist pastors wife.
lance said…
Very good story my friend.
Gudl said…
Thank you, for sharing your story.
It is so cool to get to know other brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world!
"Thy kingdom come"!!
Have a great day.
Amrita said…
thanks for sharing your testimony Mike
So happy you are telling your testimony. Can't wait to hear the rest. God is so individual to each of us!!!! BUT one thing for sure......HE IS FAITHFUL!!!!
Carla said…
I'm looking forward to the next chapter in the story. As I read, it reminded me a lot of my own story. I, too, was brought up in church. And as a child my parents left the church and began one in our home which consisted of only my family with an occasional visitor. When we all grew up and left home, my parents began visiting churches again and eventually settled in one. Of the five children they raised, four of us are Christians. One has struggled and still struggles, but we keep praying for her. Thanks for sharing.
Sidharth said…
Hallelu YAH! He is worthy! It made me smile to hear about how your friend gave her life to the Lord inspite of the fact that she saw you struggle! =)His humor...

I love your testimony...and I await to hear more.

Mulled Vine said…
What a great story! Thanks for sharing it with us.
Sandy Carlson said…
Mike, this is a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it. I'll look forward to reading more.

God bless.

PS I agree with you that Mary was quite a courageous person.
Thank you for sharing. Do I sound like everyone else? That's okay. I meant it. My husband walked away from God for many years, from a teen until he was thirty. We married when he was thirty-two. Interesting how God works. He truly never lets His children go and will pursue them... always.
Slinking into the back row of the local church is an excellent way to start! We go from slinking into the shining out from that place. It all starts when we turn towards Him, doesn't it?!
gaz said…
wonderful story.
isn't it wonderful how when god plants that seed your life is never the same again! :-)
Anonymous said…
Wow, that's some testimony, Mike! I can't wait to read more, brother.

I do identify somewhat with you -- I became a Christian at the age of 13, but since I was around 15 or 16 till my mid-30s I was a Christian in name only.

Yet God has been faithful where I have not, and He has slowly brought me back to Him.

God bless, and Shalom!
Steve said…
Thanx again 4 sharing your story,
Steve Unohoo Now a blogger
Sharon said…
Thank you for sharing, I enjoyed reading about your experience. Looking forward to the next chapter :)
TheNewBreed said…
it's a great story !
Tammie said…
I already left a comment - on the second part of your story but i had to say something as i feel very encouraged by your Testimony - I love how there is Power in our Testimonies...God moving, working, loving and pulling us to Himself. Thank you. I need that - we all need to remember He is pursuing US.
Hooper said…
Thanks for stopping by and reading some of my thoughts! I have enjoyed reading yours today! I appreciate your honesty in your conversion. I saw a few comments from people about how our relationship with God is private, but interesting isn't it, that as God was working on you, He kept calling you back to a community of believers?

Grace & Peace, brother,
Veritas said…
I've come a bit late to this, Mike, but I'm very glad to read these passages. I love reading of how others find God, or make more room for Him, or realise He was the one they were seeking all along.
And I, like you, can't help talking about the Holy Spirit - He is just so full of surprises and each of us is like a thread in a tapestry of His marvellous design. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
FA said…
Beautiful story. It can be a great grace to reflect on our spiritual journey...and for others who read story. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself.
ascu75 aka Don said…
Hi I have just read your story and had to say how nice it is keep strong life is a lovely and precious thing enjoy all experiences XXX Don
Reader Wil said…
Thank you for sharing the story of your life. I am daily struggling with the questions I have about what's going on in my life. And indeed I pray a lot and intend to keep doing this.
photowannabe said…
Mike, thanks for your transparancy and willingness to share your faith. Its thrilling to read how the Lord works in people's lives all over our world. I love the bond it gives us.
I'm looking forward to reading more.
Sue of photowannabe
Pietro said…
Really a great and uplifting story.
Thanks for sharing!
Barbara said…
Thanks for sharing Mike. Always amazing how God can speak through us to others even when we are not aware ot it.

Can identify with so much of this in my own life.

Enjoyed the You Tube clip.
catherine keen said…
thank you mike, thi story has shown me a part of you that i never knew. i might have been only just born around this time but i wish i'd known a bit more before now.

your loving sister, catherine