I was born in Cardiff just before the war broke out and have vivid memories of feeling frightened as the planes flew over the city and we had to stay in the air raid shelters. Later on, I contracted TB and spent many months lying in bed thinking about life and God. I always believed in God, and as a young child I would pray to him. I remember praying that he would make my dolls walk and talk. They never did, of course, but I still trusted that he was there looking after me. I had a little book called ‘My brother Jesus’ which I would read all the time. As I got older I tried to read the Bible, but we only had an old King James version in the house and I couldn’t understand it.
Searching for the truth
As time went on, I got married and soon had three children under the age of five to keep me busy. My husband worked long hours in the steel mill, so I was often alone at home with my thoughts. When I was 26 years old, the Jehovah’s Witnesses called at my door. I was thrilled to see their Bible in modern language and started to study with them. Maybe they would have the answers about God that I was looking for. For 15 years I went along to their meetings and made many friends. There were things that I didn’t understand though. Why did we spend more time studying their magazine, The Watch Tower, than the Bible? That didn’t make sense to me. Then, each year at their special service only two older ladies were able to eat the bread and drink the wine. I longed to eat and drink as Christ had commanded, but I wasn’t allowed. I asked why and I was told that only these two ladies had proved their loyalty to God by their length of service and so only they could be sure they were part of the 144,000 people who were sure of their salvation. I was so saddened to think that I could never share this meal.
I tried to tell my family about the things I was learning but they didn’t listen and my heart felt hard and sad. My prayers were full of fear. I was frightened at what God might do if I didn’t obey him. I never heard of God forgiving anyone. But God had not left me alone. My children were given a Bible in school which I started to read, and I could see many things had been changed by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I knew in my heart that not everything they taught was true and I stopped attending. At this point, all my friendships with them stopped too, and I was left feeling very lonely and at times angry with God. But I never stopped believing he was real.
I decided that I would just stay on my own with God. I didn’t consider going to church as I had been taught that church was Babylon the Great and would be destroyed at the end of time. However, there was a deep desire in me to talk about Christ, and I longed to speak to others about him. Sometimes I would try and speak to people or ring a Bible Helpline. Amazingly, this was all part of God’s plan. One day God prompted me to go into a Christian bookshop. They didn’t have the book I wanted, but they offered to help me, so I left my address.
A few weeks later two ladies called to see me from my local Baptist church. We talked, and they humbly told me that they knew they were going to Heaven one day. How could they be sure of that, I thought? Hadn’t I been taught that you had to prove your loyalty to God through years of service? They explained that they could be sure as the Bible teaches that Christ died on the cross to take the punishment for their sins. Because their sins had been forgiven, they knew they would be with God forever when they died. I thought they were very presumptuous, but I started to go along to some ladies’ Bible studies with them.
The answer – Christ
A few weeks later I was told I needed major surgery for cancer. The visits and support from the church continued and to my surprise, my husband, who hadn’t wanted anything to do with religion before, suggested that we should start going to church when my strength improved. As we sat and listened to the Bible being preached, the Lord Jesus started to reveal himself fully to us. Before I had thought he was just a created man, but now I saw him as my Lord and Saviour. I started to understand that he died to bring us to God and forgive us. This was the missing piece of the jigsaw! Christ had been missing from my life. Jesus had died to forgive me, so I could pray without fear. God became a God of love. My husband also believed and we were both baptised together. I was 47 and he was 54 years old.
A changed life
I was so excited at this time; I wanted to tell everyone about my Lord and my Christ. My prayers became so real, and I felt such a sense of joy at a new relationship with God. I no longer had to be afraid of him. I knew he loved me, and I too could say that I knew I would be going to Heaven when I died, not because of anything I had done, but because of what Christ had done for me.
Four years later, I suffered a severe brain haemorrhage while I was at church. My brain was so swollen, they couldn’t operate and I was given a 7% chance of survival. If I did survive, the doctors thought I would be severely disabled. I couldn’t move at all. I could do absolutely nothing for myself except pray. I asked God to help me not to be scared but to trust him. At the same time as the church was praying for me, I felt a great peace and joy flood over me, and I knew I could trust him. After ten days the swelling had reduced and the surgeons were able to operate. To their complete astonishment, I came through the operation and a few days later I was able to get up and walk around. The nurses even wrote ‘Miracle Lady’ on my notes! God had guided the surgeons’ hands, and I knew that I could trust him with all my life.
Continuing to serve
Now that I am approaching my 80’s I can see how God has been guiding me through all my life. He kept me during the 20 years I was searching for him, guiding me and sending the right people to me at the right time. This gives me the strength to know that I can trust him for the future. As I get older, God has different things for me to do, I have more time to think and pray as I have to slow down physically, but I know that he will be more than sufficient to keep me through all my days and I look forward to being with him in Heaven one day.