We're really encouraged that Emily has applied to become a member of the Village Church. In her own words, here is her testimony of God's grace in her life:
I had the privilege of being brought up in a Christian home and so have been taken to church since a very young age. I didn’t always see this as a privilege as I often felt like I was being dragged along to church by my parents and I didn’t see reading and learning from God’s word as particularly exciting. At the age of about 6 I can remember praying to God, saying sorry for all the things I had done wrong and asking him to forgive me. I did believe in God, and I did know that I was a sinner, but I think my prayer was more out of the fear of going to hell, rather than accepting and delighting in God's grace that led me to pray that prayer. In fact I prayed it several times for fear that I had got it wrong before and wasn’t quite a Christian yet!
As I grew up and went to secondary school, I desperately wanted to fit in, and so kept my Sunday routine of going to church very much to myself. I didn’t go particularly ‘off the rails’ and was always very keen to try and please people, and so felt like I became a ‘Sunday Christian’ who would go to church and give the right answers, but didn’t let it impact my day to day life. During the summer of 2010, I went on a Christian sports camp where I was surrounded with people my age who were Christians, but they were really living this out. During one of the evening meetings that week a speaker said, ‘If you are prepared to say you’re a Christian but don’t want to tell anyone about Jesus, you either don’t love them enough, or don’t love Jesus enough.' I felt hugely challenged and was made acutely aware that I was living as an 'in the middle' Christian where I would acknowledge the Lord as and when it suited me and the cost was small, rather than wholeheartedly and sacrificially. That evening I prayed a similar prayer to the one I had so many times before, saying sorry for what I had done wrong, and asking God to forgive me, but also asking the Lord to transform my whole life.
Since then I became more excited about reading the Bible, and hearing God, the Creator of the universe speak to me. My prayers became more frequent, real and sincere, rather than simply praying out of fear or when in desperate need, I would rely on God daily. Going to University a few years later was a significant time of spiritual growth for me. I was no longer living with my parents being taken to church every week and I suddenly had complete control over what I decided to go to. By God’s grace I got stuck in to the CU and church and made some really great friends who encouraged and challenged me daily on what it looked like to live as a Christian. Since University being a Christian has been a rollercoaster, and I have even had times where I have questioned if I really am a Christian. How can I be when I am still so selfish? So sinful? So unworthy? It was during this time that I learnt afresh the glory of God's grace. I am selfish and sinful, but Jesus wasn’t, and he took the punishment that I deserve on himself, so that I can have a real, true, intimate relationship with God, the Creator of the universe.