Roz Blakeney describes how she found her way back to her childhood faith.
One day I took my eyes off Jesus and went down a path which led me away from him, because I wanted to live my life my way and I followed worldly passions and desires. I listened to unbelievers and atheists and was becoming convinced that God didn’t exist. Something inside me wouldn’t let me go that far, but I still continued in sin and, in my own way, resisted God’s voice.
I still went to church on occasions to please Mum and sing in the choir, but I didn’t believe what I was singing; I felt like a fraud, just pretending to be a Christian on Sundays. I lost my integrity, my peace and became stressed, selfish and not a nice person to be around. My faith hung by a thread. I didn’t open my Bible or pray. My marriage was suffering, too. I confided in my mentor, a beautiful Christian woman, and she and my mum prayed for me.
I started to notice that I was actually ‘tuning into’ sermons on the Sundays I was in church, whereas previously I didn’t listen because my heart had hardened. I was challenged and feeling very uncomfortable.
I started to think about the songs we were singing and one Sunday I felt the very real touch of the Holy Spirit on me and I knew something was happening. I still resisted and it took more of these prompts and convictions to finally get me to stop and listen to God again.
I began to enjoy church and could feel my heart opening up to teaching and prayer. I finally came to the point where I realised I just had to ask for forgiveness and turn myself around and start back on the Lord’s path.
I returned to my small group for support and opened my Bible again after about seven years and to my surprise I felt at home and hadn’t forgotten what I had learned previously. A deep inner peace and joy returned and my attitudes changed.
About a year after this, in 2014, I was baptised in the sea. That day was warm and windy and the water was agitating like a washing machine. I felt like God was giving me a good wash and rinse. I felt cleansed and whole, renewed and peaceful. I felt alive again.
The following year I believe the Lord led me to visit The Salvation Army at Ingle Farm, in SA. I instantly liked the worship and the people and after another couple of visits I knew that Ingle Farm was to be my spiritual home and that God would use me in this place as he chooses.
I joined a singing group, because I love to express my faith through music, and in 2015 I attended the soldiership classes and after a few months agreed to becoming a soldier at Ingle Farm Corps. I wanted to belong to The Salvation Army in every way and to wear the uniform.
My faith continues to grow—Jesus is my wonderful Saviour and I am thankful every day that he didn’t let me go, that he pursued me patiently till I was ready to come back to him.
Always know that God loves you, that you are special to him and nothing you do can ever stop him forgiving you if you humbly ask his help and forgiveness. God is amazing and I love him.