I felt terribly guilty and anxious, and suddenly found myself unable to cope ... I had to learn to forgive others, and to forgive myself, and I think only by the grace of God was that possible.
Share your story! is the message we keep being told at the moment, all over the Diocese of Bristol.
Well, it could be fun to tell an exciting story about an amazing conversion experience except that I've been a Christian almost all my life, and am very grateful to all the good teaching and encouragement Ive been given.
Or I could tell you about a sudden dramatic change of direction except that God usually has to give me lots and lots of prods before I will slowly change direction by just a small amount.
So instead, Ill tell you a bit about my life and work. For the past 20 years or so I've been working as a doctor, concentrating on healing the sick. And I think I will be continuing to do so. But there are quite a few times when I see people who need something different to what I can offer them as a doctor; they really need to know Jesus, to experience the kind of inner healing that only the Holy Spirit can give them. To receive forgiveness. To be given the grace to forgive those who have inflicted the wounds still causing such pain and distress. I hear so many sad stories, but in today's climate of political correctness, I feel that my hands are tied. I offer things to help patch people up, but not cure deep down.
I know for myself how important these things are, because a few years ago I ended up in a very dark place. A close relative had just died, another was seriously ill, it had been an exhaustingly busy time, and then I discovered that some mistakes had been made at work, with very sad consequences. It wasnt really my fault (or at least, only in part), but I felt terribly guilty and anxious, and suddenly found myself unable to cope. I felt even more guilty about having to take time off work, but eventually, with support from good friends and family, and especially lots of time spent reading, walking and praying, I recovered. I had to learn to forgive others, and to forgive myself, and I think only by the grace of God was that possible.
I do believe in the power of prayer, but I have to be careful what I say at work, because there have been at least two recent cases of health professionals being accused of misconduct because they had offered to pray with or for a patient.
So now I'm training to be a Licensed Lay Minister, in the hope that if I have a different 'hat' to wear, then I can find a way of sharing the good news that in Jesus there is a way to find true healing. Other people might have let us down, but God our Father is someone we can fully trust to love us and care for us, and He is reaching out his arms to welcome back all who have strayed. 'Seek the lost' is the refrain that keeps recurring in my thoughts, although I'm still not quite sure how to put it into action!
About the author
Lisa is a doctor in Swindon, and is training to become a Licensed Lay Minister