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Sonja told about her experience of ACBC at our 33rd birthday celebration, April 24th 2016.
Good morning friends - or should I say brothers and sisters. I feel so privileged today to be here celebrating such momentous birthdays: the church, David, Hilary and Swayze. It is always so good for me to be here amongst you, my family.
Let me tell you a bit about myself. I was brought up in a very Christian home and there not too many distractions, so there was no questioning. You went to Sunday School on Sundays and then to church as you got older. It was just the ‘done thing’. In my early teenage years I still went to church but as I got older my attendance was not so regular. Once I was married and the children came along I started going back to church more regularly so I could introduce them to church. But, as they got older and more distracted and I was bogged down with a job and running the household Sundays became more precious for a different reasons. This was a day off and a late ‘lie in’. However, I still maintained my Christian values. I decided that I was a good Christian, but I didn’t need to go to church. I led a decent life, I was kind to people, I read my bible and prayed occasionally; surely that was enough!!
When I retired and the kids had left home there was no excuse for a lie in on a Sunday and I felt something was lacking in my life but I didn’t know what.
Then something happened. Just over 2 years ago my mother died and David led the funeral - this is how we met. In the following weeks and months he would visit me and we would have great talks about the Bible and its contents. I found this most interesting and wanted to know more. I did a more in depth course “The Life Course” - what a revelation. Could this be what was missing in my life? In the mean time he introduced me to a House Group. I was very shy at first but everyone put me at ease straight away. I remember Roy saying to me one day ‘So when will we see you at church?’ My reply was ‘I’m working on it’. Not long after God intervened and gave me the courage to come to church. I can remember the day so clearly. It was a beautiful, sunny day and I was greeted at the door by David who began to introduce me to some of the members. WHAT A FEELING!! I was immediately enveloped by this massive hug and warmth, love and welcome. During the service I realised that this was what was missing in my life. We need to worship together, not alone. There is the time for quiet contemplation and personal connectivity with God. I realised just how little I knew about Jesus’ life and was hungry for more knowledge.
One day at House Group we were talking about prayer. Eileen said something that will stay with me for ever; that ‘NO’ is also an answer. In fact I have told my friends this. I can now accept that when things go a little awry and I don’t get my own way it is my Father looking after me and saying ‘The time is not now’. So, whenever I am feeling down, I repeat what Jesus said to His father in garden the night before His death, ‘Not my will but your will be done’. It isn’t always easy, but I put my trust in Him and accept.
I am now doing another course, ‘Freedom in Christ’ which also very fulfilling. I now acknowledge that I am a child of God (as all Christians are) and that I am important to Him as He made me and has a purpose for me.
I would urge any of you who want to learn more to join one of these courses; they are very enlightening. There is so more to learn about God and my relationship with Him and I am enjoying the journey. I feel at peace now and that I can face anything with God’s help. I am also enjoying my journey with you all as my companions and I thank you for letting me worship our Father together.