Nick’s story from The Difference Jesus Makes
As a child I was taken to Sunday School, and gained an understanding about Jesus but not really knowing him myself. I knew I needed to ask for forgiveness, but I never really knew how to ask, so I felt that to gain approval I needed to do lots of praying and going to meetings, which was a kind of superstition really. Through my teens I was a regular at the school Christian club, probably a bit of a pain!
I always found myself feeling the ‘odd one out’, never being able to fit in socially without putting on an act, and if a friendship needed too much acting I tried to keep out of their way. Others at school didn’t really know me – I went later to a 21st party and reunion and nobody knew what to say to me. I often felt stress in anxiety to be accepted, and sometimes I still do.
The answer came when I went to college. Among the many bits of paper shoved under my hall room door in the Fresher’s week was an invitation to ‘Coffee and Cakes’ with the Christian Union. Well, I was the only one that had the cake (and a good one too) but I met many good friends. My superstitious dedication continued – I was at every possible prayer meeting even when the host hadn’t got out of bed, and they must have assumed I knew Jesus properly. One early morning prayer meeting, it was just me and one girl, and we’d run out of prayers and sat in silence thinking. I was going over my pet prayers repeatedly in my head, and they included asking for forgiveness, when suddenly I felt tremendous peace. I said that I thought God had spoken to me (I’d learned the language by then!) and she asked, “What did He say?” I couldn’t say, but I realised afterwards that He was just giving peace and assurance, the missing link to my faith. From then on, I knew God loved me just as I was, I was forgiven, accepted and cherished.
That wasn’t the last time I felt such release. I was baptised in the Holy Spirit and then in water that year, and my first year was full of healings and excitement. Today when you see me playing trombone or waving a flag so hard it breaks, you are watching me receive that same release from God – not because I’m a show-off, but because I love to be free.
Spirit and then in water that year, and my first year was full of healings and excitement. Today when you see me playing trombone or waving a flag so hard it breaks, you are watching me receive that same release from God – not because I’m a show-off, but because I love to be free.