I’d been advised to have a break from teaching. Where to next? A degree is no training for anything, unless it’s a vocational degree. After a few weeks, I found a job as a laboratory technician at a plant that processed chemical waste.
It was there that I met my husband. We used to do The Telegraph crossword in our tea breaks. There was one snag: he didn’t share my faith (and still doesn’t). But I had a ‘word’: ‘it’s better to marry than burn’ [1Corinthians 7:9].
At the time, neither of us had any savings, yet somehow we managed to get a 100% mortgage, bought a maisonette and T came to live with us. C got a better paid job, we had our first son, moved to a larger house and had another son. Materially we were doing well: house, car, holidays abroad…
But I was not happy: I still had bouts of feeling suicidal. [I’ve since self-diagnosed that I might have had RBD – recurrent brief depression – which was recognised in 1985. It lasts from hours to a few days; which explains why doctors told me at the time that there was nothing wrong with me.]
Doctors told me that there was nothing wrong – and by the time I saw them I was fine. They never asked the ‘suicide’ question, and I was too ashamed to tell them.
I can remember standing in my kitchen, tears streaming down my face, thinking ‘there must be more to life than this’.
By this time, I’d stopped going to church, didn’t read the bible because I kept coming across verses like ‘a dog returns to its vomit’ [2Peter 2:22], and I rarely prayed.
From time to time, I’d hear about what was happening in Christian circles, and wistfully wished I was still part of it. But I thought that I had ‘blown it’; I wasn’t a ‘proper Christian’. I didn’t like to think about where I might go if I died.
Then, there was a lot of fuss about the then bishop ofDurham, David Jenkins, and how he didn’t believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus. I thought, ‘I believe more than him. Maybe there’s room for me in the church after all.’ My beliefs about the resurrection hadn’t changed because they didn’t depend on anything I did.
Next, I was pregnant again. This was a big surprise as I’d had a sterilisation operation the year before. C and I had decided that our family was big enough.
I had another ‘word’: ‘God is not mocked’ [Galatians 6:7] – and with it an interpretation: ‘my plans are not thwarted’. God was letting me know that this baby was his idea.
Some think that ‘God is not mocked’ sounds harsh; but it was said very gently and the interpretation came immediately. He knew that I knew that ‘God is not mocked’ is in the bible. ‘My plans are not thwarted’ is also there (in Job and Isaiah), but I didn’t know that at the time. God was reassuring me that this was his plan, he had things under control. I needed that reassurance as C was not happy about another addition to the family. We had decided that our family was complete, but God had other ideas.
This pregnancy was the most troublesome: I’d feel nauseous at the smell of food, I could barely breathe so walked very slowly, and at check-ups they kept muttering about my blood pressure. The delivery was also more complicated. Instead of being at our local cottage hospital, I had a gentle ambulance ride to the maternity hospital because they couldn’t find the cervix (???!!!). I was half made ready for a caesarean, then threatened with forceps and wired up to everything bar the kitchen sink. In the event, we had a healthy boy by ‘normal’ delivery.
A few days later, I was sitting in a chair, back at the cottage hospital, reflecting on things: being thankful for a healthy baby and being able to breathe again. Then I had this overwhelming sense of God’s acceptance: I didn’t have to do anything; he loved/loves me just as I am. It’s difficult to describe: there was no vision of angels, no heavenly choir, I just knew.
And I haven’t looked back since. If you believe that to be a Christian you have to be ‘born again’, my spiritual birth had taken just under 17 years!
But why? And why then?…
See at: https://delemares.wordpress.com/category/my-story/ for earlier parts of my story.
Have you had a special experience of God’s presence? Have you had a ‘turning point’ moment in your life? Please share.