‘God doesn’t stop bad things happening, he gives you the strength to keep going when they happen.’
I have not been to a church since I was 6 years old, I do not consider myself a religious person. I wouldn’t go so far to say I am an atheist, but I am definitely not an all-out Christian. The truth is I have honestly never really thought about faith and what relationship that could possibly have in my own life. Until now. Ever since I have accepted that I am struggling with mental health illnesses I have been looking for ways to change up my lifestyle to give myself every opportunity to have a healthier mind. In doing so I began to get curious about the church as some of my friends at university go every week, and the way they talked about the community made me think that that was what I wanted. I wanted to be part of a positive community that would give me something to believe in.
So, with that in mind I found myself in church on Sunday 19th May for the first time in over 13 years, and I can tell you it was the most amazing experience. The first part of the service was all singing worship and the music was so hopeful it moved me to tears. The lyrics just spoke to me as if everyone in the room was telling me that there was hope and there always will be, that I am not alone and that I would be okay. I found myself overcome with emotion, openly crying in a room filled with around 500 people, without caring, which is incredibly unusual for me as I would usually hide my emotions away. It was invigorating to feel like I didn’t care if people saw I was upset, because I wasn’t really, I was crying because the feeling I was experiencing was so strongly of hope and happiness, of a belief that I really would get myself, if not cured of depression, then at least to a place where it couldn’t drag me down anymore.
I realised then, surrounded by all these people that clearly wanted the best for everyone, that would pray for strangers without even fully knowing what was wrong, that even if I was unclear as to what I believed in in terms of God and Jesus, I could have faith in people like these. I could have faith in the message they were giving, I could have faith that the sheer determination these people had in healing you of your struggles would give me the strength I needed to heal myself.
‘God doesn’t stop bad things from happening, he gives you the strength to keep going when they happen.’ I think I must have read this somewhere, but I think for me this is what God and Christianity means. I by no means believe everything Christianity entails, but I do believe that faith gives you something to believe in, and some comfort in the dark times that you will make it to the other side.