“I was very blessed with my upbringing in church, but it was not until I was a teenager that the news of Christ started to impact me personally and I started going to church out of choice rather than using it as a means to get into town for Sunday shopping.
In year 11 I had the opportunity of being a part of the Mark Drama at my church, where the entire gospel of Mark is acted out in 90 minutes. It was through this that I understood properly how Jesus was a real person who experienced the same emotions, pains and struggles as we do. He cried at loss, he was angry at injustice and he was tempted to give up. From this I realised that Christianity wasn’t about just looking up to some old role model but about having a genuine relationship with Jesus, who I can call my friend. Even more, the fact that someone was willing to go through torture and a horrific execution for my sake hit me like a ton of bricks (and still does!)
The family that I experience in churches and Christian Unions is something so genuine that I have yet to discover it elsewhere! We don’t claim to be superior or perfect for what we believe. In fact, by definition, I am a Christian because I am acutely aware of my flaws and humbled by them. I know I need help.
My first term at university was a particularly hard and humbling experience. There are times when all I have to cling onto is the knowledge that God has felt the same way and that he cares enough not to leave me on my own.
Finally, although I still grapple with it, my faith means I have purpose and identity. I refuse to believe that I am here on earth by accident. There is something bigger and greater going on. My faith is everything to me. It is the lens through which I see myself, my relationships and the world around me. I know I would be totally lost otherwise.
So, I am flawed. Massively. I have struggles and pain in life as everyone does, but there is love in my extended family of Christians, peace that I’m not defined by anything but my faith and hope in my future (which currently couldn’t be more of a mystery to me!). Best of all I have a relationship with a God who gave His life up for me and who delights in knowing me even though I may as well have nailed Him to the cross myself.”
- Kate Ayers, First Year, French