My name is Grace, and I’ve been attending CBC for quite some time. My parents brought me up at CBC when I was a baby and I’ve been attending ever since. I have the stereotypical Christian story of being born and raised into a Christian family and am very thankful for this blessing. My first friends were from this church and we grew up together, attending Sunday School and Timothy/ Blaze youth and the majority of people I knew as a child in my life were from church. It seemed like a normal thing to attend church without even questioning why. When I started attending primary school in the public education system, I couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t attend church, but I didn’t question it and accepted it as the norm.
It was in 2002 whilst I was attending a short school holiday program at a family friend’s house, where I was introduced to and explained the ‘good news’ of Jesus Christ’s purpose on earth, which was essentially, the gospel. At that time, I wasn’t even 10 years old yet, but maybe because I was a child, and also an only child, I took everything quite seriously. It was towards the end of the program where I really questioned myself about what this ‘Jesus story’ was and what I believed in as a person. I decided to make the decision to follow Jesus wholeheartedly and to ask Jesus to be Lord over my life after returning home one day.
Since that time, there have of course been ups and downs in life as every child turning into a teenager experiences. But because I had not made my decision to follow Jesus known to anyone then, I didn’t know what to do about it. I kept it to myself, and continued attend- ing church every week as usual. With the help of my Sunday School teachers, youth leaders and the aunties and uncles around church, they taught me more and more about Bible stories and about what Jesus had done for each and every one of us whether we accepted His love for us or not and how we should be as Christians. I think it was up until I was in year 9 that I knew all of this in my mind and also thought that I knew it in my heart. I didn’t think too much about my actions and choices then, and it wasn’t until I transferred back to a public school in year 9, which didn’t have Christian teachings integrated into the school curriculum and where not everyone was a Christian, that I re-evaluated my life and walk with Christ.
It took me about two years to re-evaluate my life, not about how I wanted to live it, but how I needed to live it. I slowly grew to understand about how as Christians we should love to the best of our ability and ultimately lay down our lives for the sake of making God’s kingdom even bigger. By then, the senior years of high school started and I thought my walk with God could only get better from there onwards. Little did I know that God had so much more planned. I thought that now I fully understood what it meant to be a Christian, I could consider publically proclaiming Jesus as my Saviour in the act of baptism. During this time. I came across a situation in my life where I didn’t know how to handle it, or the people involved in it. A best friend of 10 years and I went through some conflict, and it went on for about half a year or so, into our final year of high school during the HSC. It was constantly on my mind all the way through to the HSC since she was the one constant friend I had for 10 or so years. Through this time of trial, I could only depend and rely on God for strength and I constantly sought Him for guidance not only on how to treat the situation and the people affected by it, but every other situation I may ever come across and everyone else along with it. When I felt like it was too much to handle in the midst of my HSC year, I would open my Bible and no matter where I would turn to – whether it was just one verse, or one whole chapter – God would remind me that He was constantly there by my side, teaching me a lesson about my character. One of them was Psalm 32:5, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel and watch over you.” He would still be teaching me how to mature as a Christian in any and every situation as I gradually came to realise that God’s love for us was so immense for us that He would never put us through something He knew we couldn’t handle. Through this realisation, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminded me to, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” It taught me how to be thankful for absolutely everything I had experienced and ever will experience. Though I had found comfort in God’s Word, there were of course small periods of time where I wallowed in self pity and it was Matthew 11:28-30 which encouraged me to cast all of my worries onto Jesus. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” It was at this time that I really changed my thoughts, actions and attitudes as a Christian.
Completing my high school studies, and entering into tertiary education, I became a Sunday School teacher. I wanted to help teach the children about God’s Word and His love for them just as I had once learnt in Sunday School. Seeing their enthusiasm, curiosity and love of learning about our Lord really encouraged and helped me mature in my walk with God. Their constant thirst of wanting to know more about who Jesus was and what He had done for us every week at Sunday School urged me to reassess my own spiritual growth and where I was at. I am still learning and adjusting my life in accordance to God.
I want to thank all of the Sunday School teachers and youth leaders I’ve had taking their time out to lead me over the years, and all of the brothers and sisters in Christ who’ve helped me progress in my walk with God. I know that God has blessed me with so many people in my life to help me grow and spur me on in my walk with Him and that nothing can replace His love, grace and mercy for each one of us no matter how big of a failure or how unworthy of His love we may think we are.