This is the second time I’ve written this page. The first one being back in 2008 when I first started this blog. I read it today [February 14th, 2017] and realised how dated and convoluted it was so, time for a re-write.
I was profoundly called to Christ in June of 2006, Wednesday 21st to be precise – I was 43. I had dabbled in Christianity from my late teens but nothing with any substance or commitment. My family was atheist and anything I’d done regarding church or faith had been done alone. I had been a Buddhist from about 2001 which, I now realise, was God’s way of quieting my rather chaotic mind down for long enough for me to hear His call. I suspect He’d got tired of shouting lol. I thrived as a Buddhist and have carried with me a lot of the mindset and meditation practices from that period. There is nothing not to like about Buddhism.
Writing about my Calling is hard because no matter how I describe it or what words I use nothing can do that moment justice. Nothing can truly portray what happened to me that night or how it made me feel, but I’ll do my best. It was a beautiful sunny summer evening and I was watching a religious documentary [The Convent] about a group of four women who had gone to live for six weeks in a Poor Clares convent in Arundel. I was alone which was unusual. I remember being quite frustrated by two of the women who, I felt, were not embracing the whole experience fully and were wasting the opportunity. One lady on there [Debbie] had had an Epiphany of sorts which had shaken her completely and reduced her to a quivering wreck. Another of the women [Angela] felt a bit frustrated at this, claiming that she’d been praying daily, attending all the Offices and generally ‘doing her bit’ and she was not impressed at her lack of ‘hearing’ from God. All that work she’d put in and zilch, nadda, nothing!! I remember sitting there thinking that would be me, I’d do all the work, attend all the services and Offices and would probably not recognise God if He showed up bit me on the bottom! At that precise moment, God did indeed show up. . . .
This is the point at which it becomes difficult to say what happened….it’s one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments but anyway. . . . The room became full of light [yeah, yeah I know, you’ve heard that one before and I did say it was sunny but this was different], a kind of enhanced light, a beautiful almost tangible light that gave everything the most amazing crystal clear clarity. There was a sense of calm and total peace. There was also a sense that everything would be alright and I felt totally loved and comforted. All the worries and big questions I [and most people] had had about life, death and everything in between suddenly ceased to matter. I really didn’t need to know the answers because I just knew, beyond doubt, that everything was going to be fine because it all suddenly made perfect sense. I heard God say, ‘Do you recognise me now?’ The Holy Spirit came to dwell in me at that moment. I cannot tell you how long that lasted, more than a few minutes because I just sat there in wonder for what seemed like ages, not wanting Him to leave because I knew I’d probably never feel anything quite like that again this side of death. However, leave He did, or at least the moment passed and I realised that tears were pouring down my face. In fact I cried for pretty much the next two weeks. Not because I was sad but because I was insanely and overwhelmingly happy, so happy I couldn’t hold it together. As soon as I tried to explain to anyone what had happened I cried. If I recalled that evening, I cried. If I spoke to a member of the clergy, I cried. It was quite annoying in the end. I knew I had a choice about whether to follow God or not that night but seriously, who would say no to such a personal invitation? That event is as vivid to me now as it was at the time and I still can’t verbalise it without crying.
So, to move things on a bit, I remained non-denominational for the next three years. I met Simon in December 2006 and, not long after, moved to MK to be with him. I visited many different churches at that time in an effort to find a spiritual home. I was welcomed and warmly received by them all but none was quite right, although the Anglican Church came very close. My mother is a lapsed cradle catholic and had put the ‘fear of God’ into me regarding the Catholic church and how ‘terrible’ it was, so I never gave it a second thought until I met Fr James Evans…..and I knew I was home. I was received into the Catholic Church on April 12th, 2009 during the Easter Sunday Mass.
I have travelled such a long way spiritually since 2006. I’ve matured in my faith beyond all recognition from that woman who met God in her lounge that night. In fact, I don’t actually recognise [or like very much] that person anymore. The difference is massive, absolutely huge, God has worked wonders. It’s not all been great. The Catholic Church has, at times, been scarily dogmatic and unforgiving but that’s a worldwide issue, not a Parish problem. Fr James [who has now moved to another parish] and everyone in my church are lovely and no one points the finger of hell and damnation at this divorced and remarried catholic woman, despite what the world at large would have you believe. Don’t get me wrong, there are people who would disapprove, there are Priests who wouldn’t have let me through the door let alone give me communion, but clearly God was on my side at that time and I’m where I’m meant to be. If you ask any of the Deacons or Clergy in my Parish they’ll tell you firmly that God meets you where you’re at. . . which is just as it should be.
Ethan is being raised catholic, he is baptised into the church and has been educated in catholic schools. This will continue until he’s old enough to make his own decisions about his faith [or indeed to choose no faith] and I will support and respect what ever decision he makes.
There, I think that’s a much better and more concise version of events. I may update it again if and when anything of any import happens. At this point I’m contemplating taking Private Vows and you can read more about that HERE. Thank you for taking the time to read if you’ve stuck with me thus far. May God bless you with His love and peace.
Good to hear from you and that your journey has continued closer to God. I wish you every blessing in your new home and that you will continue to hear and respond to Christ’s calling on your life. Continue to be gracious and share your love and peace with all you meet. You have such a warmth about you.
My Journey has moved on somewhat since we did the YMCA lunch at Christmas. I am now involved as a Street Minister patroling MK center every Friday night between 9pm and 5am. Rubbing shoulders with the clubbers, Police, Door Staff and Security. We have been able to be a positive impact for change on the street already to make MK a safer place. Just by being there people are seeing something of Christ in their everyday lives.
Street Ministers is a non denominational organisation linked with the City Chaplaincy and we have volunteers from all walks of life, religious and non-religious. If you know of anyone who would want to give an evening or two to this work every month please point them in my direction.
Mobile 07510 253611
PS err this ended up becomming an advert didn’t it?
Steve – lovely to log on and see your comment. Made my day!!
I am not in the least bit surprised to read that you’re a Street Minister. I thought at the time the Street Pastor visited our group that you were so well suited to that ‘calling’ and I’m so glad you’ve decided to take it further. You will be such a blessing to those whose lives you touch! A signpost for Christ if ever there was one!!! I bet those you go ministering with are occasionally thankful for someone ‘useful’ to hide behind too ;o).
I will bear the cause in mind and if I ever meet anyone who I think would be interested I’ll be sure and give them your number.
Thank you for your good wishes and kind comments, this is such an exciting time for me!! Give my love to Jumoke and the boys. Please say ‘hi’ to the LIFE group from me and I’ll be sure and remember you all in my prayers.
This was a lovely story and thank you for sharing. I was just surfing through some of the catholic blogs when I happened upon yours. It seems a bit difficult to be catholic in UK (I’m an American, by the way) and so I have a certain fondness for your British Catholics. I wish you the best, and God bless.
Thank you for stopping by Manny. I appreciate your comment ~ do surf by again sometime.
I have a friend..well she just transferred from roman Catholic to a born again religion….and she is a member of a Catholic group and and in fact she is one of the leader with this she had transform i Think 5 person into her religion I and our other member was concern of whatshe was doin..plz help us… and pls..help me pray for my friend and our catholic community…
Dearest Nathalie ~ I will most certainly pray for your friend, you and your catholic community. May God lead your friend to a place where she can clearly see Him and feel his love and light guiding her. With love and every blessing upon you.
Dear Sharon, I happened upon your blog while googling ‘fabric of our faith’ – inspiring to read of your journey and the comments of fellow travellers. I am a Presbyterian minister in the US and only recently returned from a sabbatical in the UK. I was touched by the street ministers I met in Liverpool (and by the Bread Church on Bold St in Centre City). My thoughts and prayers are with you as you enter 2012 – blessings of Christ,
Dear Nancy ~ thank you for your kind words. How wonderful that you’ve been to the UK and obviously found the experience a positive one. We have street ministers here in Milton Keynes also. They seem to be becoming more common in the bigger cities where poverty/homelessness/drugs are an issue, you only have to scratch the surface of a seemingly affluent city to find the underlying sadness/unhappiness. [link below]