We're really encouraged that Rachel 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 was brought up in a Christian family so going to church every week was part of the normal routine. I knew all the right answers and would call myself a Christian. As I grew up, I realised a Christian wasn’t someone who was generally a ‘good person’ and went to church each Sunday, but someone who had a real and personal relationship with God, and that was the most important thing in their life.
I didn’t have a big dramatic transformation, so I couldn’t tell you the exact date I became a Christian, but over the years God opened my eyes, and I’d see more clearly how He was working in my life. I believed what the Bible said, and I was sorry for my sins and I believed Jesus had come to save me. After I committed my life to Christ, I could sense His Holy Spirit working in me and changing my heart slowly but surely. My prayers became more sincere and I would lean on God for support and strength.
Going to University was a big change for me and I am so thankful that God led me there. I was very much living a ‘double life’. I was not ashamed to call myself a Christian and I absolutely loved the Christian Union and my new church, but I also loved going out dressed up, dancing and drinking with my new flatmates. I wanted to make the most of the university experience. I was hung up on seeking approval from those around me and had a strong desire to be liked by everyone. I went along with what my flatmates were doing and used the excuse that I was showing them that Christians could be fun too. One night, a flatmate said to me “You’re cool, you’re not like other Christians who try to make other people Christians”. My heart dropped, and it was in that moment I thought – if I truly want to live my whole life for Jesus, and share the good news of Him to others, then something has to shift.
Through God’s grace, He surrounded me with good Christian friends to gently challenge aspects of my lifestyle and to encourage me to find my identity in being God’s child. I developed a love for God’s Word and actually enjoyed studying it in Bible studies. As I deepened my relationship with God, He was revealing more of His goodness and kindness to me. We have a good, good Heavenly Father and I feel humbled that He chooses me to be part of His family. I am still learning what it means to ‘take up the cross daily’ but I trust that God has got me and will hold me through whatever life throws at me. I don’t have to look to others for approval because I know that I am secure in my God’s arms and nothing can take me away from Him. Even death has been defeated! I know God will be with me wherever I go, and I trust Him in His leading. I trust that Jesus lived a perfect life for me, died for my sins, and the punishment and shame that I so deserve, and rose again that I can have hope for the future. Praise God that Jesus came “that they may have life, and have it to the full”. (John 10:10)