Found By Grace: Lettie
Introducing a very beautiful and honest reflection of one girl's journey back to Jesus. Lettie is sharing her testimony for More Precious this morning and we are honoured! For all you feeling unsure or not-quite-good-enough in your relationship with God, allow Lettie's story to remind you of the unconditional nature of grace. Lx
I finally feel ready to write my testimony, and what better place to share it than More Precious! I’ve hesitated for so long in writing this, because I haven’t felt ‘ready’ or ‘enough’ (firm enough, strong enough, Christian enough, good enough) to write it. However, the fundamental truth that I have come to know is that I am always ‘enough’ in the eyes of God.
I was raised a Christian, going with my Dad to Church every Sunday until I was about seven. However, my family stopped going regularly to church, and my faith slowly fell away. I got to that age where it was ‘cool’ to declare yourself an atheist - rebellious and supercilious.
I say supercilious, because I hadn’t actually considered Christianity. Whilst having had a ‘Christian upbringing’, no one had really led me in my faith, shown me the promises of Jesus, or explained how or why to read the Bible. In all honesty, I didn’t know a whole lot about my professed faith, so it was easy to reject.
My path back to Jesus has been a long one.
I had many difficulties through my teenage years, the residual effects I still feel now, having suffered from depression for a long time. One night when I was about fourteen, I was really struggling, and I ended up praying to a God that I didn’t think I believed in - that if He was real, to give me a sign. I couldn’t explain it, but despite the depression and darkness of the night before, the next day I woke up filled with amazement at the world, its beauty, and my gratitude at being alive in it. I promised myself there and then that I would commit myself to God.
The problem was, I still didn’t really understand what Christianity was all about. I thought praying meant saying the Lord’s Prayer every morning. I thought when you read the Bible you started from Genesis and read it chronologically. By all means, if this is how you best connect with God, it’s a perfectly valid way of worship, but for me, I was just going through the motions.
I was desperately seeking God, I believed in God, but I didn’t know how to connect with Him. I did get confirmed near the end of that year, and I kept persevering in my faith, but eventually, once again, I walked away.
As my depression deepened, I stopped thinking about God entirely. I turned my back on Him because what could He do? If He was all loving why did He give me depression in the first place?
I wrestled with the darkness for two more years, before I reached rock bottom: I took an overdose. The morning after, when I woke up in hospital, I felt overwhelmingly guilty: I was God’s creation; He loved me; yet I was hurting myself repetitively. It took me months to get to a more stable place in recovery from depression and an eating disorder to where I was able to start thinking about my faith again. I had a friend, Mia, who invited me to her Church over and over again, and I kept saying ‘I’ll think about it,’ putting it off, because it was still all too painful and hard.
One week, about a year ago, I finally decided to go along to church. I was overwhelmed - the joy and love the congregation exuded was so encouraging. I felt God’s presence and peace for the first time in a long while. God slowly started to become part of my life again, over a period of months. I prayed sporadically, I went to Church when I could, and I once again counted myself as a Christian.
However, I still hadn’t grasped God’s grace, and what Jesus dying on the cross for us meant.
Even in April this year, I hit yet another stumbling block. I went away to New Zealand for two months and did a lot of things I regret. I definitely turned my back on God.Once I got to Durham, I knew I had to sort myself out. I went to church the first Sunday I arrived, before Freshers’ Week even started. I re-committed myself to God, and He has done amazing things in my life since I’ve been here.
What has become clear is how steadfastly and deeply God wants me and loves me, that however many times in my life I’ve walked away from Him, He’s pulled me back close.
He has forgiven me.
I am finally grasping the amazing thing God has done for us by sending his son to die on the cross: we are saved, forgiven and free. This miracle overwhelms me each day.
I am so bursting full of God’s grace and love, and I have such a passion to share this with people. Thankfully, Durham is well equipped to spread the gospel, and I’ve been able to get involved in Club Mission, Contact Café, DICCU weekend away, the carol service, King’s Church Outreach, and so on. I’ve joined a cell group at Church and I’ve (finally!) started reading the Bible in a productive and enlightening manner.
I’ve learnt that there is always another chance with God- that He will always want you back, and that He is always there, even when you don’t think you can feel it.
It says in James 1: 2-6:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
This is the scripture I always return to. The difficulties I’ve been through have strengthened my faith and given me perseverance, and my faith is so much stronger, deeper, and truer than it would have been otherwise. God has given generously to me and He can to you too, for he gives ‘generously to all without finding fault.’
I am no longer the doubting girl being blown and tossed by the wind, but I believe and stand firm in God.
Lettie is a first year English Literature student at Durham. Her aim this year is to try out all the cafes in Durham! Lettie loves social justice and helps run Mary's College Feminist Society. She's passionate about spreading the message that God's love doesn't discriminate, and is super excited to see more people get to know Jesus through MP.