I was raised a Catholic in a Roman Catholic family. I always believed in God but not in Jesus or the bible; I just thought it was a story about a nice bloke.
When I was 8 I decided I didn't want to go to church anymore and I refused to go every Sunday. As far as I was concerned, church was a venue for weddings and funerals, nothing else.
I didn't give my faith any more thought until I was in my 30s.
To my horror, my wife had started going to church and had decided to become a Christian. I refused to talk to her about church or her faith because I thought she had been taken in by the "cult" and did my best to talk her out of it.
I thought we had been happy together, both believing in God, but not Jesus. Now she was even happier, talking about her faith in Christ, going to church and reading the bible through choice.
I felt angry, hurt and disappointed that she would make this decision without me.
After a few weeks I realised how cruel I was being and how lonely I was making my wife feel. I decided to go to church with her just to keep her company.
A pastor at a friend's church invited us on an Easter story walk and I begrudgingly went, but by the end he said something to me that I couldn't ignore. He said, "Just open your heart and let Him in".
I met the priest at our local church and that was when it all changed for me.I realised that she was nothing like the stuffy authority figures I remembered from my childhood.
She was warm, vibrant and welcoming and within minutes I was completely at ease in her company. I started going to church regularly and rereading the bible.
I read a leaflet called "Why Jesus?" and sat there dismissing the things it said. Over a few weeks I kept going back to the leaflet and each time a bit more made sense to me, until one day I found myself looking for reasons not to believe it, and trying to convince myself that it wasn't real. That was the day I decided to become a Christian.
I've done a lot of things I'm not proud of in my life, but it took me until that moment to believe that through Jesus Christ I could be forgiven.
We travelled to the church where we attended the storywalk, and I prayed with Pastor Dave, as that was where I first considered becoming a Christian. Then I rang my vicar at gone 10pm and asked if I could come and speak to her. I went to the vicarage and asked her to say the prayer with me again.
From that moment as I was praying, giving my life to Christ, I felt a weight lift from my shoulders, and the hairs stood up all over my body, which I believe was the Holy Spirit coming into my life.
As well as our Lord Jesus Christ, my wife, my vicar Tanya and her husband Glenn are the biggest influences in my faith. I have to give them praise and thanks every day for opening my eyes to God's love and forgiveness.
My life is better in so many ways.
I'm learning never to say never to God.
From saying I would never set foot in a church again, to never getting baptised; now we're always at church as a family, and I'm next on the list to be baptised! I'm attending Alpha and walking alongside people coming to faith.
I thought I was happy before but now the veil is gone and my eyes are open. Through Jesus and with his help every day I try to be a better person, and without a doubt I am happier than I've ever been.
I didn't realise what I was missing until I found it.
Thank you Lord for showing me the way - whom the son sets free is free indeed.
About the author
David attends St Stephens church in Southmead, Bristol.
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