i thought it was about time for a new project.
so that’s what you’re witnessing right now: BEDA – a Blog Every Day in April.
how do you get Heather to do something more than she has been? you set her a ridiculous challenge. i love writing, and blogging is good for my heart; so, this is my attempt at getting the words out of my brain and into the world.
some pieces might be short. some might be long. some might be new thoughts – and you are welcome to come along for the ride as I work them out.
one of the things that I’ve been thinking about recently, is how to share my story in a way that is helpful, and in a way that points to Jesus. the I Am Project is a few years old now – and while I share a lot about my life and my day-to-day, I’ve not yet shared my God-story with you.
and that seemed like a pretty great way to start this little project.
so here we go:
This is the Story So Far.
I grew up in a town called Basingstoke, in the south of England: the Rogers’ are your standard family of four, plus the cat, and we all just seemed to bumble along through life – the most normal of high schools and then the most normal of sixth form colleges. It was a life without God – but I wouldn’t have known that He was what was missing; we just grew up without church, or without much interaction with faith at all. The Rogers’ were just fine, thanks very much.
What I do remember is a giant, heavy feeling of being totally unlovable, totally out of place; and as I become a teenager, with a bit more power in the decisions that I was making, this feeling became heavier, and the situations that I was putting myself in became a bit worse for my heart. I was a bit of a mess, really: I’ve had a diagnosed anxiety disorder for a few years, and an undiagnosed anxiety disorder for a lot of years before that – and while I’ve got strategies around that now, Teenage Heather became this scared, tough, I-don’t-need-anyone kid; I was the kid who never smiled.
The girl who saw through that was my best friend, Claire – single-handedly holding the award for the best human in the world. She had been inviting me to church and youth groups for years, and her perseverance eventually paid off, despite me telling her what I thought of church for years (“if you’re staying at mine this weekend you’re coming to church – that’s the deal”).
One of the first conversations I remember having in that youth group was with the youth leader, who told me that he was glad that I was there, and that I was loved – and those words were enough to start to soften my heart. I went back, and then I went back again; and then again, and again – I’d play football with the kids, and be fed dinner by the older people, and help to pack wires away; all the while, overhearing more and more about Jesus.
And then, a few months later, I ended up at a youth meeting at another church with Claire. Within minutes of starting, the leader of the group had a word for healing: “there’s someone in here with an issue with your ears,” he said – “and God wants to heal you. Come and grab some prayer”. At this point, I’d had an ear infection for a couple of years, which was constantly massively painful, and I’d pretty much lost the hearing in one of my ears – Claire was elbowing me in the side with the biggest look of joy on her face.
I went up to the front, and it was a moment I’ll never forget – he put his hand on my ear, and then there was warmth, and the pain was gone, and I could hear completely again.
That was the moment that I said yes to this adventure with Jesus.
And it has been an adventure – the girl who never smiled became this girl who can’t stop joy bubbling out of her. Life is an adventure – because I am totally reliant on this God who saved me, for everything – I don’t live a life of half measures. He plucked me out of Basingstoke and landed me in Cambridge, where I studied theology, and it has just been one adventure after the next.
For me, it was a total transformation – in that moment, He became my Father and my best friend – and so the doubt of Him being real is not something that crosses my mind. I’ve dived headfirst into Him, and it could not have been more wonderful.
Life with God is never promised to be without trouble – in fact, quite the opposite. But He does promise that He is faithful – and He has proved that to be true time and time again.