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Thread: How did you become a Christian?

  1. #1

    Default How did you become a Christian?

    I'm interested in finding out how others became Christians, or actually when, I guess.

    I go to a church where the majority of people have grown up there, have grown up in Christian families and are now bringing up their own families the same way. I sometimes feel decidedly odd because I'm one of very few who wasn't brought up Christian, and came to my faith much later in life. However, the church before we moved to Sydney was very different, and I wasn't so odd there. There's been enough time and distance now that it's not really an issue, fortunately.

    Sadly, DH's family still tends to see me as a bit of an oddity. I really hated the way they would always question me about it when we first met. The process I went through in becoming a Christian wasn't actually all that pleasant. It involved a lot of running away from my problems, only to discover that they insisted on coming along for the ride.

    So how about you? I'd love to tell a bit more of my story, but I guess I'm just hoping I'm not alone before I do!



    BW

  2. #2

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    I was not born into a family that believed either.

    When I was about 7 years old my mother put me into foster care. I was really fortunate to be placed with such a great family to start with. They were Christians but had not been to church for a while because of fostering (they didn't believe in forcing us into church if we didn't want to go). I do believe there was a family meeting about it and all 4 of us decided that we would love to try out one Sunday and see how we go. Church was a hit, free tea and doughnuts!!!! That is when I became a Christian for the first time. I did end up going down the very wrong path at 16 and only in the last 2 years I have turned that around and the last 6 months been making my way back slowly to God. Anyway that is my story in a nutshell

  3. #3

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    Well I was one of those who was born into a Christian family... I was going to church every Sunday, attending Sunday school etc and I remember praying for Jesus to come into my heart when I was about 6. I think I prayed that about 10 times just in case He hadn't heard me or I'd said it wrong Lol.

    Anyway, I went through major teenage rebellion, and totally turned my back on God - even though my parents went to church, some of my older siblings didn't go so I thought "why should I?"
    I didn't think church or God were relevant, and I didnt really understand what God had done for me, or that he did love me and that I could have a personal relationship with Him!

    When I was 16 I started singing lessons, with someone I really respected - and he was a Christian - he was the one who showed me that God is relevant, and that He cares about everything about us!
    Long story short, it took me another 2 years till I fully recommitted to Christ, but it was all in the right time as I got together with my DH who was going through the same sorts of changes. I moved away and started going to a new church that was great!

    Since then God has continued to be gracious to me, placing people in my life to help and encourage me along. Its funny that even though my parents are wonderful godly people, they didn't really play an active part in me becoming a Christian! Although I know they prayed for me continually and are now a great support to me.

    Sorry for rambling!

  4. #4

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    Thank you for sharing your stories Sarah and Darlissa.

    I'm currently feeling a bit like a frightened rabbit staring at the headlights of an oncoming car at the moment... I want to tell my story, but I'm scared of doing so. Particularly ironic as I'm the one that started the thread! I didn't become a Christian until I was 22, so it's a very different story to those outlined here.

    BW

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    I would love to hear your story when youre ready to share BW

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    Can't be too much worse than the thief on the cross BW. We'd love to hear.

    I'm another one who was born and raised in a Christian family, as was DH. I have never had a time of doubt or unbelief, although I find that as I teach my children the Bible, the truths I have confessed my whole life have become much more real and "true" in my mind and heart.

  7. #7

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    I was born into a Christian family, my Mum was catholic and my Dad was Church of England.
    I went to school in the Catholic System, High school Catholic system and then I decide that I didn't need to go to church as often anymore as I had enough of that at school.
    When I fell pg with DS1 I had him baptised in the church that my Grandfather went to as I didn't feel comfortable enough in the church that I grew up in, still I didn't attend every Sunday as I felt I didn't need to. When I moved closer to my grandparents, I was expected to go as often as they went but I told them no, I wasn't going to be forced to go. My son has been going since he was born.
    I now have 6 kids and all except the 2 youngest have grown up in the church, they usually go to church every 2nd weekend when DS1 is Altar Server. I still believe in everything I was taught but I can't bring myself to go as much as my family do.
    My DH was bought into a Christian family when he was born(he was adopted at birth), but his mother changed Churches very occasionally. Before he came over here(victoria) he hadn't been into a church for a number of years.He couldn't even remember how to make the sign of the cross!!!! His mother had joined a group called the Bahai and he didn't agree with their teachings.
    When we married it was a big occasion as he made his Communion and got married at the same time. He was 19.
    Hope our story helps.

  8. #8

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    I'm still feeling like a bit of an oddball, and still feeling a little bit scared of telling my story... but I'm getting the feeling that it's important for me to do so. So with pounding heart and shaking hands, here I go...

    First of all, there are many parts of my story spread over these forums, and this is only touching on one small aspect of it. I'm not going to try to bring all things together in one place - I'm way too complex a person for that.

    As a little bit of background, my parents met in church. They got engaged, they got married, all in the same church. But there were some unusual circumstances involved, and my parents were treated badly and left the church.

    They always said that they weren't going to bring us up in any religion, but it would be our (my sister and me) decision to make later when we were old enough. I've since learned that no matter what you think, it's a bit of a cop-out to raise your children in such a way. What opportunity do they have to make a decision if you never expose them to the things they are meant to be deciding between? How do they learn to make such an important decision if you never teach them? I guess you could say (and it's probably fairly obvious), that my children will be brought up very differently.

    When I was very young my sister and myself were sent to Sunday School. But that lasted only while it was convenient. Sunday school was located in a community hall across the road from our house, and we were walked across every Sunday morning. The church itself was some distance away, and my parents didn't go. Eventually the church built its own hall on their property and Sunday school was moved... and we were never sent again. I only have very vague and foggy memories of that time, I think it stopped when I was barely 4 years old.

    During my primary school years our parents had a religion listed on our enrollment forms, so we were required to go to scripture classes. I remember when I was in year six thinking that my friends who didn't have to go had much more fun back in the regular classroom, so I just stopped going. Someone eventually dobbed me in, and I returned with great reluctance... By the time I was 12, all Christian influence had been removed from my life.

    I recall most of my time in high school as a blur. I lived in a fog, I didn't really think or feel much, I just went through the motions. It was a coping mechanism to deal with abuse... I pretty much stayed that way right through until the end of high school.

    I must mention a particular friend here. A very close friend that was essentially my boyfriend for the final two years of high school. In the end, I treated him absolutely appallingly, but he stuck by. When I ended the relationship with him, he got more involved in his church. The reason I mention this now is because he features very importantly in the story later on, and I feel I must maintain some sort of chronological order!

    My years at uni where when my life pretty much started to fall apart. I'd gone from a girl living in a fog and not really knowing what was going on, someone who was kept very protected and sheltered (obviously not enough, in the end ) and had very little idea of what life was like in the real world... Suddenly I was at uni. I was in an educational instituation and encountered the concept of freedom. Free time where I wasn't in classes, wasn't at home... I made all sorts of interesting new friends, discovered that having a bar on campus created interesting possibilities... all of this going on around me and I had no idea how to deal with any of it. Due to the abuse I'd suffered in the past, I tended to be quite vulnerable to manipulative men... and so began a string of abusive, manipulative relationships, a time of me being completely out of control, of being pressured, coerced, blackmailed (emotionally) into doing things I'd always sword I'd never, ever do.

    It's a time I barely remember, and it feels like it all happened to a person I barely even know now.

    It reached a point where I was so hurt, exhausted and damaged by the people around me, I was tired of the stupid risks I was taking, but I could see no way to stop it. I knew I needed to change things, and I was silly enough to think that I could do it on my own.

    So what did I do? I ran away. An odd kind of running away, everyone knew where I was going, why I was going (to work for the Summer, or course!), when I'd be back... But to me, it was running away. It was running away for a fresh start, to take a break from all the things that had been hurting me, damaging me, basically destroying me as a person. Sadly, I discovered very quickly that all the damaging behaviours, all the things I'd tried to run away from, had come with me. Finding myself hurt and confused, I "ran away" again. This time back home. I realised pretty quickly that it wasn't a solution to the problem. I was then in a state where I was scared to stay where I was, I was scared to go back to where I meant to be. I knew that I really couldn't survive living like that much longer. There was a great big open wound on my soul, and it was bleeding badly...

    Fortunately, this time when I returned to where I was working for the summer, a friend joined me. A friend from high school who had to sit by and watch as I went into self-destruct mode. A friend that could only sit back and pray while I was going through it all. Fortunately, the ex-boyfriend I mentioned earlier was also there when I returned. It was actually through him that I made the contacts I needed to secure my summer job, and as I was returning to resume work after Christmas, he was returning from a short mission trip. He was someone else who watched me tearing around self-destructing, and all he could do was pray and watch and hope...

    I returned a very broken and hurting person. Everything I'd done to try to stop my life spiralling out of control had failed. I realised it was something I could NOT do on my own. I needed serious help...

    And so began several weeks of questioning, discussing, reading... I'd sit and talk with my ex-boyfriend about everything after work. While one set of his friends had dragged me along the paths of self-destructing further, another set of his friends were the opposite. They spent much time talking with me, praying for me... There were quite a few all-night conversations in there! The old school friend would drive me home for the weekends some times, and we'd spend the three hours in the car each way talking about the same issues. One of the first friends I'd made at uni had gone overseas for a longer missions trip, and emails were flying across the globe discussing things as well.

    It was a time of learning, healing, resting... A time of discovering the one thing that was going to enable me to turn my life around. The one person who was strong enough to make it all stop - God.

    I know many people can put an exact date on their conversion. I can only list it as "the first two months of 1997". I was supplied with many willing ears to listen to me, I was surrounded by people who were willing to talk it all through with me, would pray for me... but for weeks I hovered on the border - I wanted to commit, but I was so afraid that if I did, it would all fall apart when I returned home. I started going to church, and I felt welcomed and at home. I realised that I so desperately wanted to own this kind of life for myself, but I needed to know that it would work when I returned to my family. I eventually spent a weekend with my family - another oddity, where the people I was staying with travelled to Canberra and dropped me with my parents who were staying with my aunt at the time. I've always found it odd that so many different parts of my life would connect in different ways.

    I knew that I needed to be able to stand in front of my family and tell them that I wanted to be a Christian, and that they would accept it... They didn't. Remember those parents who raised me to make my own decision? They weren't exactly thrilled when I decided to actually make the decision I was allegedly free to make for myself now that I was an adult. They looked at me oddly, and I realised that I'd gone so far that I couldn't turn back. That as much as I hadn't actually prayed for Jesus to come into my life at that point, I was committed. There was no turning back now, the decision had been made.

    My parents returned to their home, I returned to where I was staying for the Summer... and a the discussions continued. I gave my life to Christ in that time, and finally found the peace that I'd been searching for.

    When I eventually returned home to my parents, they gave me more odd looks when I continued to go to church. I suspect they thought it was a phase I'd grow out of once I was home. They still don't necessarily approve now, but they've at least come to a grudging acceptance.

    One of the things I found hardest to deal with was the concept of forgiveness. I knew that God had forgiven me for all the things I had done wrong, but I was having a very hard time forgiving myself. It was one of the biggest stumbling blocks in my very new relationship with the man that is now my DH of nearly 10 years. We got there in the end... it was a rough few weeks, but the rocky start to our relationship showed us that if we could get past that, we could get past anything... we got engaged shortly after, and then married... on the anniversary of the day we'd actually first met.

    Before I stood up in church and committed myself to my husband, I knew I needed to stand up in church and publicly commit myself to God. I was baptised on the 15th of November 1997. It's one of those dates that always sticks with you. Being in a Baptist church, it was baptism by full immersion.

    People speak of baptism as a symbol of rebirth, the start of a new life, the cleansing of sin. For me, it was all that and more. I see it as cleansing me of the sin of my past, of rebirth into a new life, a new person... It's as though all the stuff that happened in the past happened to someone else, not the BW I am today.

    In the way that different parts of my life have an odd way of coming together... The friend from uni that was overseas at the time - she was responsible for setting me up with my DH, despite the fact that she was on the other side of the world at the time! My DH actually lived near relatives that we used to visit when I was very young. We'd have been in the same church at times. Later on, he was involved in an outreach program while I was in my final year of high school. I remember looking at him, and the amazing sound desk with so many knobs and buttons... Who'd have thought that over 15 years later, I'd still be looking at him sitting behing a sound desk filled with numerous knobs and buttons...


    There... it's done. It's with no small amount of fear and trepidation that I press the "submit reply" button...

    BW

  9. #9

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    BW thank you so much for sharing, you have an amazing testimony.
    Isn't it amazing that God sends us incredible people along the way to help and encourage us!
    I'm sure your story will be an encouragement to many

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    BW - you have (again) written beautifully about your transition to Christ. Be proud. Your baptism date holds special significance for me too

    Me - I am a work in progress. I believe. I always have. I just don't belong to a specific church community yet. I am working on that. God threw some challenges for me and I think they have deepened my spiritual resolve. I am working on how to express that in a recognisable Christian form. In the mean time - we (God and I ) have our own special conversations and connections where I use the meditation of candles to support my prayer.

  11. #11

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    BW - Thank you so much for sharing your amazing story! I hope you feel good about posting it, I'm sure it will touch everyone who reads it.

    I am one of those boring people that was raised in the church and became a Christian when I was about 5 years old. I had an extremely rocky childhood/teenagehood/early adulthood and God has been such a wonderful constant throughout my life. He is the father I never got to have on earth and we have a very special father/daughter relationship. I really don't know how I could have gotten through my life without him. It is thanks to him that I am set free from my sad past and can be a new creation!

    It took until I was 20 years old to understand the whole concept of being a new creation and when I finally got it I was a changed person. I went from being a shy person who thought I was ugly and hated myself to someone who could love herself (not in the up-myself kind of way!) and have confidence in who I am. It was very life changing and I almost see that time in my life as being born again AGAIN, if that makes sense!!

    God is always teaching me and I continue to grow in him every day. He takes me on some amazing journeys!

    Thanks again for sharing and also for starting this thread. I love to hear about everyone's experiences!
    Last edited by ~Trish~; January 11th, 2008 at 02:52 PM. Reason: Added more

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    BW thank you so much for sharing that story. It gave me a lot of hope, because DH has two sisters who are in the "self-destruct" part right now. They were raised as Christians, but left the faith about the time they went to university. They are both currently unhappy, in troubled relationships (one just ended an abusive marriage) and physically unwell. We are watching, hoping, and praying that they will come home, as you did.
    Isn't it wonderful to see the control that God has over our whole lives, even when we don't acknowledge him!
    By the way, I am reading a great book (actually a teachers book for a Sunday School or Bible class) that I really enjoy. It puts the story of God's love and the devils attempts to destroy us into a new perspective for me - it is called "Genesis" by Nancy Ganz, and it is a commentary on the book of Genesis, for children. You might enjoy it, and gain a new perspective also on your life in the midst of this struggle of Satan against the work of God.
    Last edited by Cricket; January 11th, 2008 at 10:49 PM.

  13. #13

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    BW, you are so brave to share! I can only say you inspired me to share as much as I feel I can right now...

    When I was younger, my parents were "Christian" in that they believe in God and Jesus but don't do much about it. I was sent to Church once a month with Brownies and later Guides but I ended up quitting Guides because I was the only Guide in Church attending a service aimed at 8-year-olds. My mother told me I had to go to Church to stay in Guides - I found that very hipocritical as she never went to Church or made my sister go before she quit Brownies! (I even was made to attend one year on my birthday, I didn't like that one bit!)

    So, teenage years. We were all given a Gideon's Bible (Psalms and NT) at school age 11 and I did read bits, but it was a truth I already knew so it didn't really sink in. Yes, Jesus lived, preached and died on the cross, what did it mean? Nothing, really. My brother died so I could live and I don't worship him - I was brought up knowing my mother's miscarriage was the only reason I am alive today, not overly healthy I believe!

    Age about 15 onwards, my life became a soap opera. Not only had I stopped eating but I was dating guys about 7-8 years older and living that lifestyle. My best mate's girlfriend didn't like me and was just poisonous - I ended up breaking up with PA because of the lies she fed me! We're still friends now and in fact I've worked for him and his wife, I also think it would have been a mistake for me to marry him, but who knows? All things for God's glory, I think now. Then I started dating a bloke (just after my exams at 16) who was very... off. Just creepy. I don't know why I dated him tbh! I remember my mother saying to me once that if I ever came home with a bruise on my face again she was going to stop me seeing him... please note the word again here. Then everything got worse. There was my best friend at school raped and I was the first person she told, so I had to get very involved with the police and getting her to actually tell the police and support. My parents knew about this, but tried to pretend it didn't happen. Then my dad went back to sea (he's in the navy) and my sister... well. I am not going to tell her story, but she and my mother didn't speak to me for almost 2 years, I had no support at home and none at school because my friend needed all the support we could give her. I had never really rejected God, just didn't know what to believe. I'd looked into the philosophies of other religions and nothing really felt "right" and tbh the bits of Christianity I half-remembered weren't too appealing: dirgy hymns and boring sermons, no relevence to me then or now! Anyway, I was with a very bad boyfriend, not eating, self-harming, ignored by my family and just nowhere to turn because I was told I wasn't allowed to talk about my sister to anyone, especially not my father.

    So, age 18, I was sat in biology class doing about ecology. I just looked at the field outside and thought "All this effort, and we humans cannot make even one blade of grass from scratch. God is there and I have to find Him." My mum had started going to Church about a month ago and I used to drive her and pick her up, so I said the next Sunday that was daft and I was going to Church with her. This was in the late May or early June 1999 - I started eating again around May 1999 too (I was having half a meal a day, if that, and had been like that for years).

    1st of November 1999 I was confirmed as a Christian in Church (Anglican). I realised almost the second I walked into Church that this was right, just as I knew when I knew I had to find God that I had to attend Church - does that make sense?

    I can see now how God worked all this for the best - I can now see that the not eating and self-harm were cries for attention; I know I no longer have to do that! I am no longer hurt by my mother's treatment of me - yes, it affects me, but I can mostly laugh it off. I'd have felt too guilty if she had been nice to me!

    Well, I hope that helps someone! Or just gives you a good read.

  14. #14

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    Thank you for the support, everyone. Last night I was leaning towards deleting it - just feeling a little too exposed. But this morning, I'm fine with it, and happy that I've told my story a little bit more in putting this here.

    Ryn, I sort of recall us talking about this in the past, about how we both ended up going through very similar self-destructive phases. It was working through forgiving myself for all that which was the biggest thing I had to get past at first.

    Cricket, I will certainly have a look around for that book. I'm glad you've managed to take something from my story - I can only imagine that the way you feel now watching your husband's sisters is so very similar to the way that my friends felt watching me self destruct. I was in that state for five years, and I'm constantly amazed by the fact that they were patient enough to watch and wait through all that time. And God's patience is infinite.

    Like Ryn, I know that all the things I did were from the desperate search for love and acceptance. It's amazing the lengths humans will go to in order to find it, and amazing just how much of a distorted idea we can get of what love and acceptance actually is.

    And in an odd way... I'm sitting here realising that this all happened 11 years ago. I guess that means I'm no longer a baby Christian... Which is the feeling I needed to lose in order to be able to do the pastoral care stuff that I'm supposed to be doing at work. I love the way God works. I guess the reason I chose to finally tell my story was because of those little nudges a kind of "quit bugging me, I'll do it!" thing... Now I realise that it was for myself, so that I could move on that little step further and become just that little bit more effective.

    BW

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    Wow so many stories... and some just as long & scary as mine. I'll see if I can do it... maybe in patches....

    I too grew up in a church. My life was pretty strange, go to church, put on a good face... come home & act like we didn't go to church. My family was pretty confused about what it meant to be a Christian. In fact I think we lived it like being a Christian meant we were supposed to dress and act a certain way on Sundays.

    When I was 10ish we were going to a new church & my dad was the worship leader... at the same time he wasn't really a part of the family, he lived in the same house but really wasn't involved with us. He was also having an affair on the side which not many knew about until later. He was also smoking & swearing the whole way to church & home... not much of an example to us kids.

    Fast forward... I was 14 we lived in a new town & only I went to church still. I had a horribly abusive relationship experience with my "boyfriend" and went a bit nuts. I started going to heaps of parties, going to Mexico and drinking all night with my older friends. I went nuts. I hung out with a ground of people that I didn't understand or enjoy but just had no idea what else to do with life.

    During this time I was also sick. I had heaps of physical issues, went to specialists weekly & had trips to the hospital for tests. During this time my father never came or spoke about it at all.

    So... at one point I had paid prior to everything for a camp with the church. I went, I went to the camp after an all nighter in Mexico. Needless to say, I met God there. In a way I hadn't ever before. I found peace in my spirit and I felt like He forgave me for the sexual abuse I suffered (I felt like it was my fault as most abused girls do). Then I proceeded to try & go home.... needless to say without support from my family or friends. I felt ostracised because I am/was different. I stopped hanging out with my friends & found some that didn't revolve around getting drunk. They happened to be musicians and punk. They embraced me no matter what & I found a true sense of community amongst them. Unfortunately the Christians I knew felt worse about these friends rather than the last group of friends I had. They were very judgemental towards my friends, the only people who accepted me. So I tried to live a dualistic lifestyle... at too young an age.

    I became a bit bitter towards Christians in general, I felt like people weren't living the way the Bible taught, judging others by appearances (obviously not what Jesus did). So I struggled in my beliefs as well.

    While I was at Uni I came to Sydney Uni as an exchange student & met some amazing Christians. They actually lived & breathed what they believed. They inspired me & allowed me to be who I am. Through them I met my husband, who was in a hard core punk band at the time & a Christian as well.

    Since then we have gone on a crazy journey... and been growing all along the way.

    Sorry, I didn't really just tell how it happened but a sweetened condensed version of my journey....

  16. #16

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    BW, I was familiar with some of your story, but not all in one place - but then, I know you know a lot more of my story than I was comfortable posting.

    Christy, that's the problem DH has with "christians" (with a small c) - he - well, we - suffered a lot of judgement at Uni because some of the Christian Union girls decided, without speaking to DH, that he wasn't a Christian so I wasn't allowed to talk to him any more, let alone date him. He was going to Church with me and had been a Christian for longer! But because of his misgivings about christians he knows very few Christians and as such his Christian growth has been slowed - it really hurts me to see him struggle with things I overcame years ago, but I had more support as I had plenty of Christian friends around me to whom I could talke about this.

  17. #17

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    My family were catholic until I was about 8 - then my mum met a christian man at work who invited her to church and then my whole family started attending that church(Pentecostal)
    I think I was about 9 when I made the decision to give my heart to God, but over the years, I guess I re-dedicated myself many times, because understandably my situation from 9ys to 17yrs changed alot. I was baptised when I was 14. At 15 I was the youngest youth leader in our church and was heavily involved in the youth group until I was 17. Its awful to blame others but I had a non-christian boyfriend and we had other priorities.
    Over the years, I broke up with him, and started a few other relationships through uni - also with non-christians and ended up going out with and marrying DH (an athiest). Over those years I probably attended church on average 6 monthly - my mum and dad, and sister and her family still attend the same church regularly and I would also occasionally attend.

    I've never given up believing in God but I did stop attending church when I was about 17 - so it was an interesting 14 years since then, with non-christian boyfriends, drugs, sex and not a very godly life really. It has always been in the back of my mind that I know that this wasn't the way I was brought up but over time I felt so judged when I did go back to church that it made it easy for me not to attend. Why is it that our own guilt and sub-conscious somehow becomes almost like a projection of what we percieve is coming from others? I still now, 14 years on, feel judged by people when I attend the church I went to from age 8 but in reality the people there are just happy to see me after 6 months or so of not visiting. I'm not sure where that feeling of judgement has come from but alot has to do with my own guilt of not living a "pure" life.

    Ugh this has become a majorly rambling post, but BW I wanted to let you know that we all come from different paths in our lives, and although you didn't become a christian until later in life my life being brought up in the church would not be what you would call a 'traditional" christian life. At the end of the day we all make choices and God doesnt look at how long our hearts have been his, he looks at the integrity of our hearts and how much we want to surrender and try to make our lives more like his. I hope this makes sense - I have so many thoughts running through my head right now I dont think I am really responding coherently and I too feel like I have overshared, but hey, this is my life and Im slowly learning that its my experiences that have shaped who I am now and that is not necessarily a bad thing.

  18. #18

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    Hey Tan,
    Just reading your post made me realise why, I too rejected my family's church - I did feel judged and felt like the "prodigal" who hadn't yet come home! Wow, that was like a lightbulb moment
    It was just my own guilt and shame that I projected onto them.
    So thank you for sharing too!
    I thank God that He has made me new and I don't need to be ashamed or feel guilty anymore

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