Baptisms - April 2008
Jo Holmes' Story...
Have you ever wondered if Jesus loves you?
I wasn’t sure; I was coming to Church and believed it for everyone else but not for me.
I was a Christian but wasn’t walking in the freedom of knowing that I was truly forgiven and loved by God, I felt that I was hiding from him and that made me feel really distant.
It was at a church weekend a couple of years ago that I realised that I couldn’t go on feeling like this. So I spoke to Simon and he suggested prayer ministry. Which meant that Simon and Heather would come and pray with me. This was a relief for me as I really wanted to find out what was causing this distance, what was making me want to hide from Him and why I didn’t feel His love for me.
Jesus’ love and forgiveness is the reason why I’m standing here today. Through the prayer times God has slowly taken me back through my life and the time’s when I decided to go my own way and not trust in Him.
I realised that my sin was causing the distance between God and me.
I said sorry for the mistakes that I had made, please forgive me lord Jesus.
Jesus has brought me to a place where I no longer feel that I have to hide from Him, that the mistakes that I had made are not unforgivable ones, That the Jesus who died on the cross to save us all from sin has forgiven me, Jo, from my sin, and that I finally understand in my heart that Jesus loves me.
I’m here today, as I want to say Thank you to Jesus for the healing and freedom that he has brought to my life. That now when the storms of life come, that Jesus is my anchor, that I am fastened to the rock, which cannot move; grounded firm and deep in my Saviour’s love.
Lord I no longer wish to walk with out You and that I trust You with my life.
I want to encourage anyone out there today that if you feel that God doesn’t love you; that the mistakes you have made are so bad that you have to hide from Him. God really does Love you, He longs for you to return to His loving arms.
Knowing that I was going to be baptised quite a few people offered me advice, some of which I asked for and some of which was unexpected. The most common comments included “You’ll be fine” and “just keep it short” but did receive some more practical words of wisdom from my mother. My mum wrote to remind me to bring a change of knickers.
Significance of Childhood Church
I grew up in a Christian family and as a child enjoyed going on church camps and taking part in Sunday school, in fact it was members of the church family that first taught how to use a pencil correctly and others tried to teach me to read. When the family moved homes and changed to a much smaller church I became bored. Instead of being fun the church seemed dead- there was nobody there my age and nothing to do except sit still. I came to the conclusion that I would rather be in hell with my friends than in heaven with a bunch of wrinkerlies. I tried going to several other local churches, but as a teenager alone found it impossible to settle.
At 20 I went to university in Carmarthen in South Wales. I was the only person on the landing that September to have versachi jeans, Armani underwear, Calvin Klein T-shirts, even my tights were Christian Dior. At one point several girls were flicking through a magazine and one said, “I like that top” and I said I’ve got one of those if you’d like to borrow it? I all intense purposes I had everything a girl could want, but wasn’t content. I often felt angry or anxious in situations that really should not have been causing me any stress. Buying things made me happy for a short time, but then that feeling was lost.
Becoming a Christian
I had never forgotten the influence of my childhood and once again began looking a church. I tried several and found nothing met what I was looking for, and I had all but given up when a friend invited me along to church with her in town. The minister was saying that people needed to change. I couldn’t think of anything worse than changing, the thought was really quite frightening and a little insulting. I didn’t need to change, I wasn’t a bad person, but what I understood was that to a God who is perfect all forms of wrong doing are a barrier, a miss is as good as a mile. My revelation was not that I needed Jesus in my life to get into the kingdom of God, but that no efforts of mine, no amount of trying to be nice or friendly could be good enough to save myself. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t a bad person- I wasn’t an especially good person either.
The Change in me
I have changed as a Christian, but that change was not sudden or scary, and it’s only obvious if I take a long look back over my life. The first thing to change I wouldn’t have even attributed to God, if I didn’t know better. I read a book by Naomi Woolf (An American feminist) and realised that the money I had been spending on clothes and cosmetics was completely unnecessary. When writing this I asked a friend I’ve known since I was 12 if she thought I had changed as a Christian and she said I was now friendlier! While becoming a Christian was a significant point in my life I have not been able to mature as a Christian without a church family to learn from and with. The change in my life over the last 20 months has been more significant to my day to day life than at any point in the previous 10 years that has been made possible through the teaching and support that has been available through this church. I have 2 points to leave you with, the first is that my husband said recently to me “I’m glad you’ve found a church I was beginning to think that what you were describing was a myth!” The second point is I am reminded of those people who said short was sweet, so if you would like to hear more about what God has been doing in my life, please come and ask.