I’ve had a yearning desire to write this blogpost for a while now, but I’ve been putting it off as I was fearful that my thoughts are stupid, and people won’t really care about what I have to say, but if I have learnt anything from this weekend it is to follow the little voice in your head, to do the unreasonable, to use your talents and your unshakeable faith to make the decision to let go and let God take control of your life.
Yes, people might be judging me right now, thinking ah Anuschka, you Jesus freak, you show off, and how dare I talk about Christianity in the public spectrum. I, however, have come to realise that I don’t care what a handful of negative people think as long as I can impact the lives of several people through my desire to spread His word. I hope that you all can read this with an open heart.
God has been in my life since the day I was born, my grandfather was a pastor and my family has always planted a firm seed in my life when it comes to Faith. All my life I have been attending a Catholic church and going to church because I was told to do so. Sometimes I wouldn’t go to church at all for months at a time. I have always believed in Him but over the past couple of years I have come to realise that going to church and saying your prayers at night does NOT make you a Christian. Having a relationship with God is a whole different ball game. When you have a relationship with Him, He will test your faith on a daily basis. I only truly started on the path of growing and moulding my relationship with him when I got invited by a girl in my class to attend her church and was taken back by the crazy passion everyone displayed, clapping and singing at church, surely this wasn’t what He wanted but I was open to change and to experience something new. As the night commenced I felt the spirit like I never have before, I saw passion like I have never seen before, and I understood His Word and what God wanted for me in my life for the very first time. God can call you back to him in the strangest ways, he works through people, through signs, through opportunities, he may even use your lowest moments where you have given up all hope and need a miracle to make you stop and turn to him again.
My life has generally been quite an easy one, whatever I have wanted I have usually got and I don’t know if that was favour or luck but after my year in London I realised what stress and uncertainty felt like. “For God has a plan to prosper you and not to harm you.” London is a tough place to keep you faith up, at times it’s put on the back burner but I’m grateful that I made the decision to attend Hillsong London as often as I could. It was a safe haven for me, a place where God reminded me that He was with me throughout the week no matter what obstacles I faced. There were two defining moments last year which will always be a constant reminder of His undying love for me.
I will never forget the Easter Sunday we attended Hillsong London for the very first time, it was raining and we had to queue outside to try and get in for at least one of their packed out Easter services. At that time we were jobless and still living in hostels. I filled out a prayer request that morning begging God to provide us with a job and nice warm home, within that week my friend’s mother organised a job for us in a catering company called Elements: Favour, ask and you shall receive. We were still living in hostels and moving between houses but we eventually found a home.
The second defining moment was when we were almost homeless again, the house we were living in was not a healthy environment to stay in due to our steroid taking, drug dealing landlord and after an incident happened we decided to tell the landlords that we were leaving the home before our holiday to Barcelona. We had a limited time to find a new place to stay that was both affordable and in a good area, it was stressful and many of the places didn’t call back or didn’t give us a chance, after desperate prayers we found the perfect home. When we recalculated the figures we realised that we couldn’t afford to pay the deposit and monthly rent so we called the landlord and told him we couldn’t afford it. The landlord decided not only to waiver the agency fees but to drop the rent of the rooms. We paid the deposit and hoped for the best. The morning before we left we got a call saying that our flights needed to be changed and that we would receive 100 pounds back for the change. It was truly a blessing as the deposit we had to pay crippled our bank account. The roommates in our new home were amazing and from the day we moved in there our lives were instantly better. Favour: Ask and you will receive.
God has not only worked his wonders for me while I was in London but he was working his wonders back home for my family, my dad was blessed with a new job, and their faith was kept firm, we often spoke about how God was impacting our lives even though we were thousands of miles apart.
This year my Faith has grown from strength to strength, after my uncle was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer a few weeks ago and my friend was in a horrific car accident I decided to take a serious look at my life and what was truly important in it. The Friday prior to last was the night I knew I started to completely change, every sip of alcohol I took I kept thinking to myself I know God is not happy with my drunken state at this moment but I chose to ignore His voice in my head. That Saturday as I opened the Bible app on my iPod looking for answers the daily verse was from Peter:
1 Peter 4:1-11 (NIV)
"Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."
That Sunday I went to church and the message was about living according to His word again. This weekend I attended a conference called Lift and it was honestly one of the greatest experiences of my life. It made me challenge myself and question all that I stood for. Pastor Glyn Barrett joined us from Manchester and he tested us to be courageous, to listen to His voice and pay attention, to understand that sometimes God can be unreasonable, and to allow big moments to mould your life.
I believe I was brought to Urban Edge in Durbanville as it is right around the corner from Durbanville Medi Clinic where my uncle is currently at, nothing is by chance. On the last night of Lift I felt the Holy Spirit like I never have before, I felt the burning desire to go pray for my uncle after the service. My friend Natalie and I raced in there as we just missed visiting hours, he was so surprised to see us and as we stood over him praying I knew in my heart that God would provide a miracle, on my way out of the hospital a man approached Natalie and I in the parking lot telling us “No matter what you are going through God is always there for you” and that was exactly what God wanted us to hear! When I got home I wanted to tell my aunty about how amazing everything turned out that evening, without telling my mom about it, my aunty messaged my mom and told her she was going to come and visit us. As I told her about how God gave me the strength to spontaneously go to the hospital, I could tell that she was so happy. She made the decision to come to church with us this morning, and she encouraged me to invite my uncle’s son and her sons too. This morning I arrived at church with 6 new faces ready to listen to the Lord. During the afternoon I went to visit my Uncle, he was doing amazing today, smiling and looking healthy as a horse. I can see that there is a new fighting desire in him and I know that things are only going to get better from here onwards.
Sometimes you just need to stop, and look up; you need to have the courage to say yes to having a relationship with Him. You need to spread his love whether it be a smile, giving your hard earned money to someone who needs it more than you do or whether it be you waking up everyone in your home on a Sunday morning to make sure everyone attends Church to hear His word at a risk of being thrown with something sharp. No one is perfect but the fact the you’re trying is all that counts to Him, we all falter and fall and I might go back to the person I was. But I know Jesus believes in me and I will come back stronger. There are so many chapters to write in my life and as long as I am writing the right chapters I know I will have the Lord by my side and these chapters will be filled with abundant favour!