Jill - A gradual awakening
Jill was born in Skipton, North Yorkshire. Her mother was a Christian and saw it as her duty to take Jill along to church until she was 16 when she was allowed to decide for herself.
Jill remembers a series of special youth meetings at the church when she was 11 yrs old. The meetings seemed to be very long and boring! At the end the speaker invited anyone who wished to accept Christ into their lives to come out during the singing of the last hymn. By the last verse of the hymn no one had moved. “I felt so sorry for the man… so I went out – and almost everyone else followed me!” When Jill went home she told her mum that she’d accepted Jesus into her heart, though she didn’t really understand what this meant. However Jill’s mum encouraged her to keep to her promise to read the Bible every day.
Through school Jill was nicknamed ‘Jesus Junior’ and regularly attended Christian Union meetings – she would definitely have called herself a Christian at this point: “I was covered in ‘Smile Jesus loves you’ stickers and I believed that all was well between me and God.”
As a young adult Jill met and married Andy (who went on to become the minister of our church). He was a committed Christian and attended a church in Cardiff while studying in the university here. Jill began to attend the church with her husband and was struck by something that she had seldom experienced before – real preaching from God’s word, the Bible. Rather than a ten minute message telling her to be good Jill was now hearing that she was a sinner before a Holy God. “Nothing I could ever do could bring me peace with him, not my church going, not my sticker wearing, nothing!” At first Jill felt angry with the preacher for saying such things as she much preferred her ‘Cuddly God’.
Then one day she remembers singing a hymn and the words struck her:
‘Was it the nails O Saviour that bound thee to the tree? Nay, ’twas thine everlasting love, thy love for me, for me.’
“What a relief! There was nothing that I could do, because God had done it all for me. I was overwhelmed by the fact that this Great, Majestic, Holy, Magnificent God loved me. God had sent his own Son to die so that I could have peace in this life and certainty of heaven to come.”
Since becoming a Christian, Jill’s life has not been a bed of roses. She has known bereavements and anxieties but she knows that whatever she faces, she faces with Him and in his strength.