Wild Encounters | Ron Varley

Throughout my childhood I was aware there was a God and there was a man called Jesus who loved me. My Nan was a Christian and a major influence in my life. She prayed with me and taught me to pray.

Whilst at secondary school two Christians persuaded me after much persistence to go along to their youth group and church, but after a year I left.

Fast forward a few years and I am now aged 25, married with 3 children, I knew there was something missing. I felt drawn back for some time to the church I had previously visited when I was 14. My husband was keen to explore this with me, having not been from a church background, I was expecting a lot more resistance. Yet it was almost like he just knew it was right, he said ‘yes’ with absolutely no hesitation. We decided to go on the Alpha Course the church was running.

It was during week 3 of the Alpha Course that I made the best decision of my life. I do not remember the date, but I remember the moment like it was yesterday. We had just watched the session “Why did Jesus Die?” and Nicky Gumbel offered up the chance to pray and ask Jesus into your life. My heart was pounding so hard that I was sure people could hear it! I closed my eyes and listened to his words carefully, repeating them quietly, closing the prayer with ‘amen’. In that moment I wasn’t aware of anyone else in the room, it was as if time itself stood still and it was just me and Jesus sat together, my hands in His. I had never experienced such peace and joy, I began to smile. Then I began to gently laugh and laugh. In fact, I pretty much chuckled my way through the rest of the evening.

Everyone else had by this time rearranged their chairs into groups ready for chat time, but I was rooted to the spot, as if my shoes had been swapped for led boots, and gravity had tripled around me and my chair.

My pastor and my husband were asking me what was happening? I didn’t want to open my eyes, I was afraid that if I did, I would lose the peace and the joy, and all would be as it was before I said ‘amen’.

After a while I just opened my eyes, and to my relief His presence hadn’t left me. Jesus had come into my heart, never to leave me, and I was never the same again.

I started reading the bible and I was given a few ideas of other books to read. One of the first books I ever read was Battlefield of The Mind by Joyce Meyer. A quote that always stuck with me was;

“Satan will aggressively fight against the renewal of your mind, but it is vital that you press on and continue to pray and study in this area until you gain measurable victory.”

As someone who suffers from depression, I knew only too well how my mind can quickly become my own worst enemy. After reading this book, it really emphasized the importance of knowing the Word and speaking it out over my life daily. I realised that I was in a battle and to stand any chance of winning I needed to read my bible and renew my mind daily.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2 is one of my favourite life verses. It has helped me on my journey thus far and will continue to always. I have also been blessed with the most amazing people in my life, who have come alongside me, guided me in my studies and stood and prayed with me through life’s challenges.

I do believe that my Nan played an important role in my conversion. Since the day she knew I was conceived she prayed for me to know Jesus. She never gave up even when it must have seemed I was beyond His reach, and more importantly, Jesus didn’t give up on me either. God answers prayer. God is Good.

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