Many people in church look at others and assume that they know their stories. They ‘assume’ because you come to church, you’re a Christian. They ‘assume’ because your parents are saved, then you probably are. Or they ‘assume’ because your whole family live a Christian life, then you do too. People look at you and your family, see your parents are Christians, see you at church, and think that that's basically your testimony. You've grown up in a Christian home, saved at a young age and have attended church your entire life. For a few people that's true, but for me… it's wasn't that straight forward.
Yes, I grew up in a Christian family with Christian parents and grandparents. I had a great childhood with a very loving family around me. In February 2000 my Papa, who I was extremely close to passed away, which was the beginning of me falling apart. I still attended Sunday school at Bute Hall, but I was losing interest in God and as the kids dwindled from the church, my faith dwindled too. When I reached 15 in the August of that year I was the only ‘kid’ left, so I decided to stop going. That wasn't the only bad decision I made. I left school at 16 and went to college where my eyes were opened to a whole other way of living. Even though I was underage, I started drinking and going to the pubs and clubs at the weekends. Going through a depressive stage for a number of years, my dress sense and music choice reflected how I was feeling. I certainly wasn't happy.
Things started to change when I turned 21, I started to ask questions and think more about God. Wondering whether or not to go back to church so I was asking for a sign. A few months went by and I bumped into an old friend from church in the Beanscene. She asked me along to a Saturday night meeting at Glenburn the following week so I told her I'd think about it. Was this the sign? I decided to go, but in all honesty, I didn't listen to anything the man said… I needed something more, a good kick up the backside (so to speak) which is just what I got.
Ten years ago to the day was Saturday 2nd December 2006 and I went out for a drink with a friend. We were in a pub in Ayr called McArthurs (ironically) and we got talking to a few guys. At this point I had had two glasses of wine and was now holding a can of Diet Coke. One guy asked me the time so I gestured to the clock on the wall which read 10:45pm. The next thing I knew, I was waking up at 5:30am and I was laying on a hospital bed not knowing how I got there.
Having no recollection of what had taken place over the last seven hours, I had to rely on my friend Shelby and my family to fill in the blanks. Later that evening we went to the Club de Mar and after 10-15 minutes I was thrown out on to the street and left, mistaken for a drunk. My friend, Shelby, was terrified at this moment and didn't know what to do. In fear, she ran away. With only a bouncer to keep an eye on me, I lay there in the street…I don't know how long for. Shelby and her dad arrived some time later and took me home, her dad singing Jingle Bells in an attempt to focus my attention and keep me conscious. He lay me in my parents' hallway where I pleaded for my dad, screaming that I was blind even though my eyes were fully opened. I was not in control of my own body. My pulse had been slowing steadily for some time and I needed help.
I was taken to hospital in an ambulance, in which I had to be revived. We arrived at the hospital and I was taken into an A&E cubicle, where a number of tests were carried out and blood tests were taken. Although I have no memory of anything, apparently I was able to talk properly and was aware of my surroundings. I was kept in the hospital overnight for the doctors to monitor my heart rate, as it wasn't steady. Whilst I slept, my heart stopped twice, I was not told how long for.
It was 9.30am when the doctor made his rounds. His words were… “So, you've been on the sherbets I see.” I didn't have a clue what he was meaning and it must have shown, because the nurse looked at me and said “Drugs.” He stated the name of the drug that they found as flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) which is more commonly known as ‘date rape’. The doctor left and the nurse stayed to talk to me for a while and tell me a few things that had happened throughout the night. She said that I was very fortunate to be here.
My mum came to collect me shortly afterwards. When I got home everything hit me, I burst out crying and couldn't stop. I started to pray and I felt an overwhelming feeling to open a bible. I looked out the only bible I had, a Psalty Kids Bible (NIV) and opened it up. The chapter I saw was Psalm 30…
1. I will exalt you, O Lord,
For you lifted me out of the depths
And did not let my enemies gloat over me.
2. O Lord my God, I called to you for help
And you healed me.
3. O Lord, you brought me up from the grave,
You spared me from going down into the pit.
4. Sing to the Lord, you saints of his;
Praise his holy name.
5. For his anger lasts only a moment,
But his favour lasts a lifetime;
Weeping may remain for a night,
But rejoicing comes in the morning.
8. To you, O Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
9. “What gain is there in my destruction,
In my going down into the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10. Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me;
O Lord be my help.
12. That my heart may sing to you
And not be silent. O Lord my God,
I will give you thanks forever.
I started to cry again and pray again because this was confirmation that the Lord speaking to me, crying to me to come back to him. This time, I listened. I started going back to church. I went to a praise night in TCF, and I remember the first hymn was ‘I saw the light’. I knew what I needed to do. I applied for baptism and on February 27th 2007, I was baptised in Bute Hall.
Since coming back to the Lord, life’s never been the same. Before I felt like I was trapped in a room of misery and depression…the Lord freed me of that, I could finally breathe. I felt like I was back where I belonged, and I have felt that way ever since.