I wanted to write this post so you could get to know me a little better and learn what motivates and drives me in life, and how I came to be the person I am today.
Growing up, my favourite thing to do was to sing. I therefore loved going to church. This wasn’t the only great thing about church, there also were a lot of other kids with whom I could play and there always was a great selection of biscuits and juices (at home we usually only got fruit and herbal tea – #hippielife).
If that had been the only thing about church that drew me there, I probably would have stopped going sooner or later. However, there was something I found much more attractive than juice and biscuits and games and singing. I learned about this man, Jesus. He gave up his home in heaven and his power and authority to come to this earth and be a human like us. But he wasn’t quite like us – he was the most amazingly cool guy ever. He had loads of good friends, he walked around spreading great wisdom, he healed people, he stopped injustices and was just incredibly kind and humble. This ‘lifestyle’ really resonated with me. I hated when people were treated unfairly or seeing others suffer. The children’s worker explained to us that Jesus still fights injustice and suffering today. But he doesn’t do it alone, he invites us to get alongside him in bringing hope, peace and justice. Of course I wanted to be in on that. Adventures with Jesus! I was excited about being his friend, I talked to him all the time and when I was scared at night I would pray and immediately I feel safe.
As I approached my teenage years some things in my life got a bit difficult and I had real trouble to trust other people and confide in anyone about my problems. It really helped me to be able to talk to Jesus. However, somehow along the way, slowly but surely I lost this constant feeling of being safe and of being loved that surrounded me as a child. I started to constantly feel inadequate, my confidence was really low and I often felt guilty about stuff that I had done, said or thought. I didn’t really like myself very much at all and felt a constant pressure to be better, to be perfect. I wanted to be the perfect daughter, the perfect student, I wanted to be thinner and more fun and have more friends and be more popular. None of what I did ever was good enough in my eyes. I started to feel really hopeless. Everything seemed pointless and everyone around me appeared fake to me. After a few years of living this way I had a breakdown. From the outside it probably was a long time coming, I had suffered with constant headaches and terrible stomach aches for a number of years and had less and less energy and was emotionally and physically exhausted.
At that point, I felt incredibly low and I asked Jesus how I ended up like this. How he could put up with me? How disappointed was he in me, seeing that I was completely useless and that I did nothing to help the poor or sick or people suffering injustices? I felt incredibly hopeless and desperate about how pointless my life was. Suddenly, in that moment, a line of a song came into my head, it said something like: “God takes brokenness and out of it he writes history” (this is a very rough translation from German). Instantly I was overwhelmed with the love and grace of God.
I suddenly understood that I didn’t have to be perfect. That I never would be. I am a flawed human being, driven by selfish desires and constantly messing things up (like every single human being on the planet). I was right in identifying this state of imperfection and sinfulness as a problem but I didn’t realise that the solution was not for me to try harder. The solution was Jesus. He had achieved perfection. And his death paid for my selfish actions, my careless words and my deprived thoughts. And through his resurrection I can have a new life. There is a verse in the Bible that says we are in Christ, that means that we are in his perfection; when God looks at me, he no longer sees all of the ways in which I am inadequate but he sees Jesus’ perfection as if it was my own.
Knowing this has transformed my life. I am no longer comparing myself to others because I now know that God has made me purposefully different to another person. I no longer strive for perfection to somehow earn God’s approval because I know that he has loved me more than I can ever imagine even before I took my first breath. I no longer feel like a failure because I know that God has a purpose and a plan for my life. Of course there are still days where I feel overwhelmed by the world or where I doubt myself but in those moments I can turn to Jesus and pray and that always gives me peace and comfort. After experiencing all that, I got super passionate to share this knowledge with others. This freedom and joy and peace is to good to not talk about. Like when I was a child, I want to be on an adventure with Jesus, spreading hope and justice. I want to be like him, I want to be the kind of friend that makes people feel loved, safe and happy. I want to say the truth and call out injustices.
Then I met my husband Edd. And he was even more passionate to tell others about the great freedom and joy you get from knowing and following Jesus. Before we got married we talked a lot about how that can look in our lives and we read in the Bible that Jesus calls the church his own body. He wants the church to act as him, to be the very thing that brings his gospel to all people. When our good friends Ben and Jen announced that they would move to Blackpool, a town with a lot of poverty and many social problems, to start a new church so that light and hope and freedom could be brought to that place we were super excited and decided to join them and to be a part of that church.
And here we are, living the adventure.
Our dream is to spend every day of our lives building up the church and through God’s power and grace make it what he designed it to be: the hope of this world.
I would love to hear what you think about all this and what it is that you believe and what motivates and drives you in your life. Please leave any thoughts or questions in the comments section below or send me an email.
If you want to know more about the church in Blackpool, you can visit the church’s website here.
For more information about Jesus and Christianity and the Bible and all that stuff I would highly recommend the Alpha Course. In an 8 – 12 week (free) course different topics like suffering, the Bible, the church, science and faith and other topics are discussed. You can visit the Alpha Course website to find out more and find a course that happens near you (they literally are all over the world).