As part of our month of thinking about 'faith', I thought I'd interview a few different Christian women about how they came to have faith in Jesus. Our first 'interviewee' is my mum - Carmen. I'm a bit biased, but I've always loved hearing about how she came to follow Him. I hope you are encouraged by her story.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Family, interests etc?
I'm married to Trevor and have two grown up daughters, Nicole and Louise and four grandchildren. I've worked on and off as a primary school teacher over the years (I stayed at home when the girls were young). More recently, I worked for a church organising the visitation and pastoral care. Over the last six years, I've chosen to stay at home again so I can help my daughters with their young families and serve in different ways in my church (Petersham Baptist). My husband is the Master of New College in Sydney, and I get to be involved quite a lot with him in the life of the college community. In my spare time (which I don't have a lot of!), you'll find me either reading or knitting.
What did you trust in before you trusted in Jesus?
I guess I wanted the 'normal' things that people want. I was focussed on Trevor's career, getting a house and having a family. I was very focussed on pleasing other people.
How did you come to faith in Jesus?
I was 31 and married with two young daughters. We had just moved to Bathurst a year or so earlier because of Trevor's job. I had been attending the local Baptist playgroup with my youngest daughter (after I was invited along by a non-Christian next-door neighbour). Because of the contact with the playgroup my husband and I decided to send Nicole off to Sunday School at the same church, but we just dropped her off and picked her up again. We weren't interested in going to church ourselves.
At the same time, I was getting to know a woman called Agnes who also had a 6 year old daughter. Nicole and her daughter caught the same school bus home and we would wait together at the bus stop every day and over time struck up a friendship. Agnes went to the Baptist church where Nicole was going to Sunday School and one day she told me that she was going to sing in a cantata and asked if I would come along. Knowing that I had never been to church before, she promised to wait for me out the front.
For some reason, I decided I wanted to go. My husband Trevor was a staunch atheist and I thought he wouldn't be happy about me going, but I plucked up my courage and told him that I had decided I was going to church whether he liked it or not. Miraculously enough, he replied 'what makes you think I don't want to come too?'. So we both went. Even more miraculously, Trevor heard one verse as part of the service that really hit home (Matt 11:28). He came home in tears and surrendered his life to Jesus.
At this point I still wasn't a Christian. I wanted to believe in Jesus, but I still felt like I didn't have proof - and I was a bit confused about what had happened to my husband who until then had been an atheist! In the same week that Trevor became Christian, Agnes turned up at our front door and handed me a Bible and told me to 'read John'. I did what she said. As I read through John I realised it is true. The words made sense and I believed that Jesus is the Son of God and I became a Christian.
What difference has your faith in Jesus made to your life?
It's given me hope because now I know that this life isn't all there is. I can now live knowing that the next life is more important, and now I understand what we are here for. I used to fear death, and now I don't in the same way. When I used to think about death I would just think about blackness. Now I am still a bit afraid of dying, but I am not worried about what will happen to me after I die.