Sarah had a vague feeling ‘that God was out there somewhere’. Her life changed after her boyfriend became a Christian and encouraged her with beautiful flowers to go to church! Romance is still alive!
A feeling that God existed
When I was young, I loved nature and enjoyed looking after animals. My parents encouraged me and told me that God made the stars and things, so I had a feeling that God was out there somewhere. We went to church at Christmas and Easter and I was fascinated with the baby Jesus and enjoyed some of the songs. I had no real concept of who God was and certainly didn’t know that I could talk to him anywhere, at anytime.
I remember various brief encounters, which left me wondering about life and Christian stuff. These encounters included:
1. The Gideons came to our school and gave each person a little Bible. I read it a few times before it was forgotten, and lay unnoticed.
2. A retreat that I went to in high school, at which we reflected about our lives, talked together in small groups, and looked at the beauty of the night sky.
3. A letter from an old friend with lots of references to God that I didn’t understand, and an invitation to a Billy Graham Crusade in Brisbane. I refused – a decision I regret now!
Watching over me
Looking back, I believe that God was actually watching over me. For example, I was involved in a serious car accident at nineteen. The car I was driving was written off, but I escaped with no serious injuries. And there were other situations in which I could have been harmed but wasn’t. All coincidence? Perhaps, but I don’t think so. After finishing high school, I enjoyed new opportunities to explore life but I was also surprised to find that school had provided a relatively ‘cushy’ environment. I started nursing and enjoyed the challenges as well as meeting new and interesting people. A friend invited me to a Christian group for nurses. I found them to be lovely, friendly people but I didn’t go back.
Some of the encounters that I had while nursing had a profound effect on me. There were those people who were so patient as they suffered so much and yet truly thankful for the help they received. Then there was the tragedy of a young mother dying of a brain tumour, and the effect on her family. And the anguish of a 21-year-old guy who survived a car accident in which his fiancée had just died. That seemed too close for comfort as I was only nineteen myself and I felt his pain.
Security in relationships
I looked for security in relationships but it wasn’t readily found. My parents were struggling and, superficially, things were okay with me. Underneath though, I was not satisfied with my life and felt restless and alone. My boyfriend wanted to get engaged. Naturally, this was an exciting proposal until I started to reflect on the commitment that I would be making. I felt that this was not the right relationship when I really thought about being committed to someone for life. I took the difficult step of leaving that relationship behind.
A gradual, downward spiral
Shortly afterwards, I left nursing because my life basically felt like it was out of control. I felt the need for stability and peace but wasn’t sure how to get it. There was a gradual, downward spiral taking place in my life. I got involved with drugs and became suicidal at times. There were questions inside: Why is this happening? Why am I reacting like this? What is going on? Eventually, I began a college course and met some new friends. Although I enjoyed college, I still felt an emptiness inside.
A life-changing letter
While I was overseas on holiday, my boyfriend David became a Christian. He wrote an intriguing letter to me and I really wondered what he was talking about! Each time I read his letter I was curious and began to grasp what he was saying. He said his experience of meeting Jesus Christ was the most significant, life-changing thing that had ever happened to him. Now, I couldn’t help being interested! Following this, I noticed some interesting Christian books including one titled ‘Surprised by Joy’ by C.S. Lewis. On the back cover, it seemed to describe the same experience David had written about in his letter. I also began to read another book, ‘Mister God, this is Anna’. By the time I returned to Australia, I was ready to hear about God and how he had made such an impact on David’s life
God comes closer
A few weeks later, I was in a nearby park on a beautiful clear morning. I was reflecting on my life and recent events. I sat near a tree that was laden with magnificent peach blossom. A butcher bird landed on the branch nearest to my head and sang a beautiful song then promptly flew off. The bird was unusually close and it seemed as if it was singing to me!
As I looked out over the bushland view, I saw a blue neon cross shining in the distance. It stood out on the horizon even though it was completely surrounded by trees. I was freaked out because I had never noticed that cross before, despite visiting the spot many times previously. Returning from my walk, I reluctantly offered to drive the others to church and they agreed. Upon arrival at the church, the guys all hopped out but I stayed put in the car, refusing to go in. I felt a battle raging inside and a feeling that if I didn’t give my life over to Jesus that day, it may never happen.
God sees the beauty in us
Inspired with an idea, David spontaneously picked some flowers from a nearby tree – a peach blossom! Passing them through the car window, he assured me that I was far more beautiful to God than those lovely flowers. He didn’t know that I had been admiring the beauty of those same blossoms in the park only an hour earlier. By now I was convinced that all this was more than coincidence! My heart softened. I went into the church, listened to the message and then responded to the invitation to give my life to Jesus. The song ‘Amazing Grace’ never sounded so good as on that day! It was the best decision I have ever made.
Abundant life in Jesus
Following this decision, I realised that I was no longer swearing and that I had been released from the grip of bulimia, an eating disorder I had been struggling with. Previously, when I was under stress, I would turn to food for comfort and was unable to stop eating until the packet was finished. Those feelings of hopelessness had been replaced by joy. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus comes to give us abundant new life in Him. Over thirty years later, we now have five wonderful children and God has taken us on an amazing journey together. I have learnt first hand that God is indeed faithful and that He keeps his promises.
Come to know your Creator (animation)
The Reason (music video)