wrbc_life_pwAs a child I felt forced to go to church. Sometimes I went kicking and screaming! At about 13 I told my parents I didn’t believe in God.

I wanted to rebel against them, and so I hung out with my friends. Most of us smoked and we would drink as much and as often as possible. We sniffed anything that made our heads buzz, picked and ate magic mushrooms, took speed, acid, smoked cannabis. We got high on whatever we could. I enjoyed hanging out with our gang, an unusual mix of rockers, skinheads, punks and mods. There were some great friendships. We did daft things but overall we weren’t bad people.

I met my wife to be when I was 15 whilst still at school. We got married when I was 22. Although I loved Alison very much, my friends, my addiction and enjoying life came first. So for the next twenty odd years, my life was about trying to have as much fun as possible whilst being a father to two kids, a husband and working as a builder. Eventually I had no belief at all. When you died that was it – worm food. Looking back I consider myself very fortunate Alison stayed with me.

When I was 44 I managed to quit smoking cannabis. That’s when things started to happen. I was invited to a men’s group by a friend. Meetings were held in bars and that involved drinking. Playing golf and cricket in church groups once again meant I could drink. During this time my daughter had become a Christian. She shared ‘God stuff’ with me. All this made its impact, especially simply seeing Christian guys were normal and could have fun.

One day the dad of my daughter’s best friend came round to invite me to an Alpha group. “There will be a few guys sitting round having a discussion about Jesus and God.” And there would be free food! So I gave it a go and enjoyed it! I had plenty of questions. They seemed to have answers. They showed me Jesus had existed. It got me thinking. If Jesus was real that meant God could be real too. And if God was real then I wanted to know him personally. But I was afraid. It would change my life and I was enjoying my life the way it was…or so I thought. Anyway I decided I wanted God to be part of my life. So I decided to ask him. The first couple of times I was a bit flippant saying, “Okay then God – if you’re real, show me. Let me know you’re there.” Nothing seemed to change in me except a growing desire to know God. What did these other guys have? I thought about what my parents had been trying to tell me for the last 30 years. Now my asking was sincere.

That’s when God showed me he is real. I had this feeling through the whole of my body. It’s hard to describe in words. It was a bit like taking magic mushrooms for the first time. I was high on love! There was an amazing feeling of overflowing. God was real! There wasn’t a shadow doubt! I cried with joy! I felt like shouting it from the rooftops! I couldn’t wait to tell my friends………. unfortunately they thought I’d banged my head or something! But it’s made a difference and that’s real. Life is fuller, richer, and we’re pulling together more as a family. Life has purpose and meaning – no longer worm food but knowing God!