I went to church with my parents as a child, so I knew about God, but I came to know Him in a personal way on 2 October, 1999. My friend Alex was a backing-singer in a worship group at the time, and she invited me to her church. I went for the music; I wanted to hear what the group sounded like (it was Saturday night, so I wasn’t expecting a sermon!). When the pastor preached, I listened! He talked about different things that were wrong in people’s lives, and (though I didn’t know it at the time) God put His finger on the one most relevant to me - envy. (My sister was having driving lessons, and as I’m registered blind and had no concept of a God who still works miracles today, I believed getting behind the wheel of a car was something I’d never be able to do, and I was envious.) The pastor said: “Envy rots the bones”! I didn’t know this was in the Bible, but I remember thinking if that’s true, my bones must have well and truly rotted away.
Then he spoke about heaven and hell. For the first time, hell came across as a real place - not just somewhere I heard about in a story at primary school. “Imagine you’re in a room,” he said, “and it’s hot. There’s nothing to cool your hands, and there’s a chain on the door ... and you can’t get out!” He explained we were on our way to hell, but when Jesus came along, He could make all those wrong things in our lives disappear.
I realised I didn’t know where I was going, and I was scared, but to come to the Lord out of fear seemed a weak thing to do, so I said that to Him. As everyone else sang the last song, I said in my heart: “Lord, I don’t want to come to You just out of fear”.
I had never known God speak to me before, but immediately, I felt Him say: “Come because I love you” ... and I said yes. Now I know what it is to be loved by God, and it’s His love that keeps me journeying with Him.
“‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought ... Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig-tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit. "‘From this day on I will bless you’" - Haggai 2:18-19.
I couldn’t write songs (both the words and the tunes) before I was a Christian. I wanted to; even listened to a radio-series on song-writing to see if that would help, but I could never do it. All that changed when worship-leader and songwriter Godfrey Birtill came to my hometown for the weekend. He led a song-writing workshop on the Sunday afternoon, and prayed for me at the end. I don’t remember all he said, but my first original song (“To do Your Will”) came 3 days later.
And, in case you’re wondering, the day I was prayed-for was the 24th day of the 9th month - 24 September 2000.