I didn't go to church. My family stopped going when I was a teenager and we moved from Edinburgh to Glasgow with my Dad’s work. It was a time of transition but I didn’t realise at the time just how much would change.
How much I would change.
When the time came to go to university, along with it was the partying, drinking and what I thought was just having a good time. I didn’t have a very clear sense of purpose or identity and was very influenced by my boyfriend and his friends. For him, weekends were about drinking, football and socializing. Family and home life didn’t seem to matter to him and at times I drifted away from my family and felt distant to my close friends. I was being swept along with his lifestyle but to be honest I never really felt like I fitted in, like I belonged.
In retrospect, I can see I was quite lonely and that’s why I filled the void working overtime and deciding to study for a Masters degree in my spare-time. I was suffering spells of anxiety and depression. By now I was married but after 5 months my partner left me for someone else and I was devastated.
That’s when I moved back in with my parents. I was in shock; I was also very wary of people and did not know who to trust anymore. During this time, a girl I had studied with, but not a particularly close friend, really helped and supported me. Despite living in Edinburgh she made time to see me and always had words of comfort. I could see ways that her life was different from my own. I worked out that it was her faith that had led her to a different way of being.
She invited me to go along to church and even arranged it all, telling me where and when to go.
I walked into a local church one evening and straight away I was invited to try Alpha. I agreed to go along mainly because I was then living on my own and knew I would meet people my own age if I went and would get a cooked dinner!
When I arrived on the first night I didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous but I was struck by how friendly people were. People my own age who seemed normal. They weren’t weird like I had imagined. They were just normal people.
There was a real mix of people too. I was surprised at how open and honest everyone was. When some of my group spoke of their lives and what mattered to them I really listened as it was a real contrast to my own values and lifestyle.
Someone told me how she spent her spare time volunteering at Glasgow City Mission with disadvantaged people. She also carried an old photo of herself to show people how Jesus had transformed her life; she was previously a drug-addict and weighed less than 5-stone. The change was so visible I couldn’t help but feel taken back. How and what made her turn her life around?
For me, the real highlight was the weekend away together. I had an amazing experience being prayed for for the first time. I felt loved and cared for. I felt I could trust people again.
I went home. I was alone in my flat and I remembered the words to the song ‘Amazing Grace’. I suddenly found meaning to those words and believed them to be true. It was from that moment I would say my faith in Jesus started to grow.
I phoned my friend that had previously encouraged me, to tell her that I had become a Christian and she told me that she had been praying for me for over 10 years. I couldn’t believe it.
The way my life has changed has been amazing. I was always pretty much self-focused and now I have compassion for other people. My own experience of life means I can relate to others that are broken and vulnerable. I can walk alongside people, supporting and empathising with them.
It was at church that I met my husband Stephen. We got married and have two amazing children and another one on the way.
Jesus has changed everything in my life for the better.
Lynsey is currently training to become a pastor in the Church of Scotland. Since speaking to us she has given birth to baby Malachi.
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