As it happens, today is another significant anniversary for me - 10 years ago on this day I became a committed Christian.
I had a Roman Catholic upbringing, so Christianity was not new to me.
As a teenager I had drifted away from the Christian faith. Not completely. I don't think I ever stopped believing in God. I went to church occasionally - either because it was a special festival or because I felt the need.
As I grew older and life threw more and more responsibilities on me, I became aware of searching for something greater than myself out there; something to draw strength and hope and courage from.
I did not really consider the Christian faith, because as far as I was aware I had 'been there' and 'tried that' ...
So I looked into other religions and dabbled a bit here and there.
Then one late evening, after a rotten day and when I felt very critical of myself and very unlovable, I sat at the table in my kitchen and out of the blue felt a voice speak to me. The voice said simply "I love you".
In my state of self-loathing I did not accept that.
Strangely I felt sure to know who the voice belonged to, because I addressed him in my reply: "Don't tell me you love me, Jesus, I don't believe you!"
I have often wondered about my reply.
Of course Jesus had played a part in my Catholic upbringing. I was taught that he was the Son of God who had died on the cross for our sins ... but somehow I did not remember him to have been described to me as the intercessor to call upon in our need (perhaps this is more common in Protestant denominations?).
I feel even now that if this had been my own mind creating somebody to give me comfort and solace, it would have been an angel or a saint, or even my deceased father or grandfather ... but not Jesus.
Back then, it took me a while before I truly believed that God loves me.
But eventually I drew the following conclusions from my experience:
- Jesus is real
- He lives here and now. (Which means he was not just a human being 2000 years ago, but he is divine and eternal)
- God loves me and knows me and is interested in me - so much so that he will meet me in my own kitchen and tell me so
Jesus loves me. And you too!