Thursday, 16 June 2011

My part of the story

(A friend and co-blogger wrote that we shouldn't try to see God in our stories, but see ourselves in God's story (she took it from Eugene Peterson, so shouldn't get all the credit). I love this concept, that we are part of something bigger and greater than ourselves. So, this is a story where God is the main character, but I have just a bit part. It reads a bit like a children's story, which wasn't my original intention but I quite liked it. I also refer to myself as in the third person, in order to emphasise that this is not just my story, but my small part in a much more crucial narrative-not because I'm crazy.)

In the beginning was God, and since then he has done a lot of miraculous things. First, he created the universe, which is no mean feat. He then sent his Son to reconcile the universe to him. It was not an easy reconciliation, it was painful and hard; the universe got the better deal. God has always been faithful, back when he made the universe and back when he was doing the reconciling. He remained faithful to two of his people, M and B. B, at this time, was pregnant with twins. God gave this couple a message, through a well-respected elder at their church. The message was simple, it was "Everything is going to be fine."

Later that evening, B began to bleed quite heavily. Although scared that they could be losing their babies, M and B remembered the message that God had given them. And, again, God was faithful. The twins survived.

On the 6th February, B went into labour. The first twin was born and they named him Stephen, for Stephen was the name of his grandfather and was also someone in the Bible. Stephen was not a healthy baby. He had a Tracheoesophageal fistula. This is where the food pipe goes into the wind pipe. If something wasn't done about it Stephen would have died. Six minutes after Stephen was born, the second child came. They called him Thomas, for Thomas means twin. He was not a healthy baby either. He had too little blood (for Stephen had it all) and the doctors thought he may have meningitis. But, again, God was faithful. The twins survived.

Stephen and Thomas grew up, and M and B loved them very much. Because of this they also knew that they were loved by God. When they were eight, M was telling Thomas and Stephen how he came to know about God (who created the universe and reconciled the universe to him through his Son). Although Thomas was young, he decided that he wanted to know God too. Whilst sitting in the back of the car, Thomas decided that he would live his life getting to know about this God.

Thomas lived his life, learning more about God and his son Jesus. However, it was not always easy. Sometimes Thomas felt as if God was not there with him. Sometimes he would tell God that he didn't feel like following him any more. But when this happened, Thomas always knew that it didn't matter what you felt like. God was still God, and it was no point trying to hide from it.

Whilst at secondary school Thomas ran his CU. It didn't go too well, but he did learn a lot from the experience. Thomas stayed at his school's sixth-form, which was a mistake. He was very unhappy there. So unhappy that he began to hurt himself on purpose. It was only in small ways, but it still wasn't wise. Thomas thought that somehow he could control the way he felt if he hurt himself, and he would then feel better for it. It was silly because it actually made him feel worse. Thomas wasn't doing very well at sixth-form and his marks weren't that good. He was meant to be going to university but he didn't know where he wanted to go or what he wanted to do. So he decided to apply to go to Swansea, even though he don't really want to go there.

Thomas wondered where God was in this situation. God wasn't helping with the pain he was feeling, nor was he making his university choices any clearer. Thomas felt that God had left him on his own and this made him feel hopeless. But God was faithful at the beginning, and God was faithful at Thomas' birth, so God was faithful even through this time.

When it came to finding out his A Level results, Thomas found out he did not have the grades needed to get into the Swansea University. This meant he had to look for places in other universities to see if they will let him in. He phoned many different universities who did not want to let him in. He then phoned the university in Aberystwyth, and they said they would love to have him and invited him to an open day. So Thomas took the train, on his own, all the way to Aberystwyth. When he arrived the sun was shining, everyone seemed welcoming and Thomas was glad to be there (there were also a lot of Jewish people there, which Thomas thought was strange, but this isn't important to the story). Thomas decided that Aberystwyth was the place for him.

Thomas did end up going to Aberystwyth University. He made lots of friends, he found a church where he felt like a member of the family and really enjoyed his course. He no longer felt he need to hurt himself anymore, and he was happy. It was God's plan, all a long, that Thomas would go to Aberystwyth. Even when Thomas was sad and unsure and without hope, God was still faithful.

It took him a while to realise this. At a CU weekend away Thomas was asked to share his testimony. He was telling this story (with some extra bits, or others missing) to a group of students when he realised how God had been so faithful to him, even when he couldn't see it at the time. Thomas had to try very hard not to cry.

Soon, university was coming to an end. Thomas, like at sixth-form, didn't really know what he wanted to do afterwards. This time, however, rather than feeling hopeless he decided to rely on God. A friend suggested to him that he applied for a job in a church. So he did. He applied for a job in Oxford, but he didn't get it. Though Thomas knew it was a part of God's plan, he was still getting slightly worried, because he did not want to move back home to Southampton. He thought that he had left his parents' house for good. God, however, had other plans (which are always better than our own).

God provided Thomas a job at a church in Southampton. It was called Waterfront Church then, but now it's called Exilio. It was only part-time and he needed another job. Thomas applied for a job at Totton College. Unfortunately, because one of the references didn't come through he didn't get the job he had applied for. Thomas was a bit sad, but thought that God knew what he was doing. A few days later he gets another call from Totton College. The references had come through and they had made a new job post just for him. God had provided Thomas with the other job he needed.

Thomas loves the church he is at. He loves the people he has met and the teenagers that he works with. Thomas knows because of everything that has happened that God has an exciting plan for him. But most of all Thomas will always remember that God was faithful back when he was making the universe, he has been ever since and he will continue to be faithful forever and ever.


Quick Questions
  1. Any questions?
  2. What's your story?


  1. Robert Chamberlain16 June 2011 at 09:30

    Very moving, great to hear. I guess I was at the CU meeting where you gave your testimony!

  2. Aber Girl you once knew24 June 2011 at 21:14

    I would like to know how God helped Thomas stop hurting himself and made him such a chirpy joyful chap?


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