“I have always prayed: for a boy to like me, or for no more spots, or good GCSE results. But, the time I prayed the most was when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.”
As a new mum of 25 it was a devastating shock to undergo surgery and chemotherapy. I questioned my faith, but when I think back now, sitting in that hospital on my own at night it was God I spoke to the most and I asked him to bring me home.
As I got better I accepted that I was unlikely to have more children. So when our second little girl arrived five years ago I started to think that maybe someone up there might be listening.
My uncle Peter died and I went to his funeral service at BRBC. I was in a troubled state. As well as saying goodbye to Peter, my Mum had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. The prospect of death scared me, and I had many unanswered questions. Where do we go? Is there a place for us? Where is that place called heaven?
I started coming to BRBC regularly and found it a comfort. Before I'd tried to find comfort in the bottom of a Merlot bottle, but that only had a temporary effect and the next morning I’d feel even worse than I did before.
I joined an Alpha course. It was a weekly group for people like me searching for answers about life. I couldn't believe that on a Friday night (which had always been pub night followed by a lift home via a shopping trolley) I was going to talk about Christianity.
The Alpha away day at Micklepage in Nuthurst was an experience I shall never forget. We all talked loads about our big questions for God. Before leaving, I sat down on a tree stump alone, closed my eyes and said a prayer. That moment all the worries I had about life — money, cancer, death — I handed them all over to him and said, ‘Right I'm going to trust in you that you’re going to do what's best for me. And I will accept it. I will follow you through whatever I am faced with.’
Walking back to the group everyone was staring at me. They said I looked different. I felt different.
I thought to be a Christian you had to be a certain type of person, but I now realise you don't have to be perfect. You just have to believe in Jesus and take a small step towards him.
I don't just pray for me any more — I pray for other people too. At the end of each day I simply just say,
“Thank you for keeping me here and giving me the gift of another day.”