Your stories of God’s intervention


I was an atheist and ended up conversing with God

My faith story begins as an angry 20-year-old student (I am now a grandmother!). I was proud to be an atheist. My history with ‘Christians’ had convinced me they were mainly hypocritical, judgemental and weak. That they needed the crutch of religion on which to base their sad and largely unremarkable lives. This began to change when I met one person who blew apart my prejudice. She was fun-loving, gracious, fashionable (who knew that was even possible?), popular, loved to dance and had a love for Jesus that actually impacted how she lived her life! Extraordinary. 

Sharing a living space with her enabled me to see up close what faith meant when it was actually lived out. I mean, it wasn’t for me. But I admired my friend and although her exposition of the gospel (which, as a quick learner, she only tried to convey to me once) largely fell on deaf and disinterested ears, we formed a close and mutually respectful relationship. My time at university was marked by parties, occasional lectures and having fun. I had to admit it was pretty incredible that after nearly being homeless we were provided with a huge house in Exeter owned by a Christian after my friend had prayed specifically about it, though I was at pains to point out to the landlord that I was not a believer myself.

One night after I had shut up the student bar (I was the barmaid), I walked home and decided that the existence or non-existence of God was one of the questions that I needed to resolve. How to resolve it though? As a sociologist I was deeply suspicious of churches, which I regarded as collective gatherings of ‘groupthink’. In my reasoning I was only left with one option. I would ask outright and see what happened. I climbed into bed and said: “God, if you are real, then I need you to show yourself to me.” Simple enough right? I was woefully unprepared for what happened next. My heart started to race unpredictably and my hands felt clammy. I heard the ‘still small voice’ for the first time. To be honest I was so freaked out, I can’t even remember what it said. All I know was that the next morning after my friend had left for her lectures, I pulled open her Bible and began to read the Gospels.  

I walked around for a couple of weeks in a stupor, unwilling to talk to anyone (and thus be unhealthily ‘influenced’) and eventually I decided it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t deny that I now believed, but fundamentally I didn’t feel ‘good enough’ to be able to make an actual commitment. I decided the right thing to do was to tell God my decision. So, I waited until I was alone in the flat, and simply said: “I believe you are there and that what I read in the Bible is true, but I can’t be a Christian because I can’t be that ‘good’.” And that, I thought, was the end of it. But no! Again, my heart started to pound and my palms began to feel sweaty. I felt enveloped in something I can’t describe (and I hadn’t had a drop of alcohol). I heard the ‘still small voice’ again – but this time I remembered what it said: “The issue is not whether you think you can be good enough, but do you love me? Your love is the basis on which you become a Christian.” I was shocked. I didn’t expect God to answer back. 

Did I love God? I walked around for a further two weeks struggling inside, wondering: “Why does all this feel so difficult?” Then one night my friend tentatively suggested she sing a song she had written for me. It was called ‘love song’ and was all about God’s love for me. I was shocked. No one knew of my conversation with the still small voice. No one. How could she write and sing a song that exposed the depths of my heart? I was broken by it, but I couldn’t show it. I mumbled something about it being “quite nice”. After she had gone, something inside me broke, and I simply said: “OK, I’d like the privilege of calling myself a Christian.” And that was it…well almost. Because I then felt prompted to tell everyone else. I was big news for a while at Exeter University. “Have you heard about the barmaid?” people would whisper with incredulity, “You know the one with the pink and purple hair? Well, you won’t believe it. She’s become a Christian!”


Moving out of fear and anxiety into peace and joy 

In December 2023 I felt a challenge from a few people about my stress response to things. I felt God was highlighting this area of my life as something he wanted to work on, specifically in the context of my marriage and the workplace. I felt him challenge me on what I allow to occupy my headspace. Either it is under the enemy’s influence, or it’s a place for God’s truth to be cultivated. I wanted to understand why I was getting so stressed, particularly at the thought of going back to work after maternity leave. I realised I had a visceral reaction at the thought of returning; it was like I was being transported back into the workplace on one my most stressful days (I am a GP). It felt horrible, and I began to wonder whether I had been traumatised in the workplace, and that was why it was so overwhelming. I couldn’t bear the thought of going back, and began to wonder if the job was too much for me and I needed to look for something else. 

In early March 2024 a friend questioned whether it was actually fear pushing me out of my calling. I reflected on Jesus, and the interruptions he experienced all the time, yet I couldn’t imagine him being stressed. I then went to a worship night and, while there, felt God show me I had been a victim in the workplace, and I was not trusting him with my wellbeing. He revealed that the enemy of my soul wanted to take me out of the very place that he had put me, by causing me to doubt myself and forget that Christ is in me. As I had this revelation, all anxiety left me. 

I knew I had been set free from fear and intimidation during that worship night. But then a few weeks later I got an email from my boss. When I read it a sense of fear and anxiety crept over me again. The Holy Spirit showed me it was a familiar spirit, but I didn’t need to come under it. Later that day I went to a Good Friday service, where God revealed Christ the servant to me afresh. This revelation opened my eyes to see that Christ came to die, and model to us what it looks like to live a yielded life. I was challenged that I had made an idol out of my own comfort. I got to kneel at the cross on Good Friday and submit my life afresh to God. My time is not my own, and I am learning the reality of his grace being sufficient. I have now been back at work for two weeks, and I literally feel like a different person – even my colleagues have noticed. Thank you Jesus for setting me free!