Our journey with God is unique to each person, a relationship that is built upon over many years. We do not always 'get it right' and sometimes our path moves away from God for a while, but we know that he is always with us.
My journey to find God was full of turmoil. It has been a gradual journey filled with a mixture of friends and family dying through to teenage life of parties and non Christian music.
I kept my faith, though not going to church on a regular basis. The first time that I really felt part of the church community was after my confirmation at Bourne Abbey at the age of 48. I find the challenges of modern life actually strengthen my relationship with God and the church, taking time away for the rush and stress of work to offer thanks for my family and life.
The piece of advice I would give to someone starting out on their journey of faith is simple: enjoy it!
I was brought up with faith, but not necessarily an organised religion. My father had a strong faith and was a good teacher and role model. I joined guides and became a part of a church community but then drifted away in later teens through several distractions such as boys, music and the social side of school and college life plus a little study for exams.
I then came back to the church after the tragic death of a friend when I was in my early twenties; I took a lot of comfort from my father and his faith and was confirmed at this time. I have since this time been a part of a church community, it’s hard sometimes with everything that life throws at you, bringing up children, illness, work and many other distractions to set aside time for church and faith but in my experience the effort is always worth it and the sense of community and internal warmth through knowing you are cared for and give back that care and consideration is very rewarding.
My relationship with God evolved by being a part of a family involved with “church”. I have not experienced what some may call a sudden or blinding revelation or thoughts. I have a simple faith and struggle with religion regularly, especially some of the doctrines and the literal “preachers” quoted from the Old Testament.
Modern life presents many distractions and attractions and is a constant battle in resolving priorities. For someone starting out on their faith journey I would suggest they keep it simple.
Family based from an early age – reading and learning scriptural stories and looking at pictures of Jesus and scenes from his life. I never experienced a movement away from God, I was lucky to go to a church where my friends went.
My faith was strengthened through the belonging I felt at the youth group and being involved in church activities through the group. A real sense of inclusion and involvement This made my relationship with the church stronger and a feeling of ‘stand up and be counted’ and defending by beliefs. Also finding strength and support from other people was important to me.
I would say this to anyone who is starting out on their journey of faith (or continuing a journey): be strong and true to yourself and talk to people about your feelings, beliefs and try to help them on their own journey.