All my life (from as young as I can remember) I have always believed there was a God. In some weird way I was so scared of Him! I was raised by catholic parents who, although they weren’t really practicing, they had a reverence towards the Lord. One day my mother was witnessed to on the train by a lady and what made this very special was that (unbeknownst to me) mum was having marital problems with my dad and my mum had called out to God for help and for TRUTH.
My mother came to a meeting and received the Holy Spirit and spoke in a wonderful prayer language and her journey began with the Lord…naturally she wanted her only son to come to know the true God but my father would not allow me to come to church. My mother was posed with a decision. Leave her new found love & faith for Jesus, or trust the Lord with all her heart, soul, mind & strength.
Dark world of drugs and alcohol
Thankfully she stayed firm with the Lord and stayed patiently in her marriage, always remaining faithful to God, even with my dad trying everything to stop her from going to a meeting. It was a trial that would last 6 years, yet she stayed faithful and her heart never wavered once. Although my Mum had a found peace that she so desperately needed, my life as a teenager went off the rails into a dark world of drugs and alcohol. This is where the foundations of my mum’s faithfulness would establish a testimony in my life and ultimately would lead me to the truth and life in Christ Jesus.
Being an only child meant I was constantly tugged between two very different worlds. My dad offered me all the freedom to live an unruly life of worldly freedom, fighting and alcohol and my “Churchie” mum who would beg me to change my life and come to know God (an absurd thought when all I cared about back then was how high I could get with my friends on the weekend!). In those 6 years from my mum first bringing me to a meeting at 11, I had gone from an innocent, scared child to an arrogant, bratty teenager with a huge chip on my shoulder and an attitude to match.
However, in the back of my mind there was always this fear and love of God, for reasons I could never quite explain. I later found out I had a very faithful mum praying continually for me, never giving up that I too could have what she had with the Lord. My outward man was stern, arrogant and volatile, but my inward man was a child who was scared and didn’t know how any God could love or forgive me for all the wrongs I had done… especially a God who deep down I believed to be real!
Fast forward 6 months, I was invited by my mum to come to a church convention in the city. I wish I could say I remembered the actual meeting but unfortunately, I was hung over from the night before of binge drinking and drugs and I sat at the back and slept. The pastor called for anyone who wanted to come forward for prayer to come into the prayer line and I asked myself (and God!), should I go up? In the back of my mind, I remembered the amount of fun I had over the weekends prior and I thought I could never give that up, so in my seat I remained.
The Sunday meeting came along and again I sat at the back, bemused that people my age (19) and younger were praising God, had their bibles opened and were actually listening to the pastor preach. Oddly, I couldn’t fight this niggling feeling that somehow I was missing out. The pastor called for anyone to come up for prayer and this time I went up and asked the brother praying over me to have the Lord show me the way the truth and the life (Not knowing what that meant at the time).
Monday came along and I came to the meeting at Box Hill and I sat at the back and listened. This time my heart was pricked and my mind all of a sudden was filled with light and clarity. The question that came to me was “Why don’t you live for Jesus, Jesus is king and if you belong to Him you have nothing to fear”. In the break I went to The Glen shopping center and was deep in thought while having a cigarette when 3 brothers came up to me and introduced themselves.
Holy Spirit received with evidence
I poured out my heart on how I was feeling and they asked me a question which hit me for six – “If Jesus returns while you still sit on the fence or are standing on the cliffs edge and you miss out, how would you feel?”. My response was that I’d be devastated as I knew in my heart Jesus was the only way. I went back to the meeting and I was sitting and truly listening for once. The song “Glory Glory” came on and in that moment, it felt like the scales were removed from my eyes. My heart and I said YES… Jesus IS the only way! It was so clear to me and made so much sense that Jesus had me in his hands, a feeling of safety and love that was so lacking in my life. I prayed with a brother and started to pray in my own prayer language, a language that has not left me since and has been a great comfort to me in life’s many ups and downs.
All my addictions left me instantly
I remember running over to my mum and saying- “Today I have decided to follow the Lord, Today I have been set free!”. My longsuffering mum looked at me politely said “That’s nice” as she had heard many promises in my 6 years of doing the right thing in life but failing miserably each time. I knew this was different and I was right. All my addictions left me instantly, the very smell of a cigarette would make me feel physically sick, as did the thought of taking another sip of alcohol.
It was a true miracle, I was made a new man and in my now 17 years walking with Jesus I have seen many wonderful things – people receiving the Holy Spirit and baptized, people healed in front of me, even people on the brink of death with hours to live, miraculously healed and restored… I wish I could write so much more as the Lord has been truly gracious and blessed me with the greatest understanding “In Jesus I live, no matter what happens in the world I am safe in Him I will never let Him go”.
The Lord has blessed my relationship with my mum, blessed my life with friends who are closer than family, blessed me with a beautiful wife and 3 beautiful kids. I am eternally grateful for my mum’s testimony in such difficult times and her prayers for me to change my life, but what I am most grateful for is Jesus’s sacrifice for me and everyone who will accept His message of love and hope of being born again the bible way.
Jesus is the Only way, Truth & Life.