I resigned from my job which was making me thoroughly unhappy. I had nothing lined up but I knew I had to take a leap of faith. People thought I was reckless, but when I answered with my leap of faith explanation I knew in my heart it was the right decision.
Until recently I was an agnostic with a phobia of churches, with very little knowledge or background in anything Christian apart from Christmas and Easter. Today, after what I now realise to be a series of gentle nudges and larger pushes from God, Im proud to say that Im a Christian.
I know that my journey began as a result of a comment to me from a work colleague. She was a strong Christian who always spoke of her faith with great honesty and conviction, was always patient and kind, and always gave willingly to help others.
At a time when I was struggling with some personal and work issues, she listened; never judged but gave me strength and guidance. She said to me that one day I would make a good Christian. I laughed, said that it sounded really good in theory, but there was a problem in the fact that I disliked church buildings - they always made me feel uncomfortable and unworthy.
Those words sparked something inside of me, a nagging curiosity and a feeling that there was a reason she was such a good person. I did nothing with the spark; just let myself think about things.
If I needed a big sign from God then He gave it to me in the summer of 2013.
I was having a bad day emotionally. I was driving so I pulled over to compose myself, and just broke down. As I sat in the car, a priest in a dog-collar walked towards me. I let him pass but then knew immediately I needed to speak to him so called out, probably making no sense whatsoever through my tears. He asked what was wrong; he listened, he prayed for me and explained that God is about love and forgiveness.
After that day I knew that I needed to do something but again didnt take any action, just kept thinking. My next big step came in February 2014: I resigned from my job which was making me thoroughly unhappy. I had nothing lined up but I knew I had to take a leap of faith. People thought I was reckless, but when I answered with my leap of faith explanation I knew in my heart it was the right decision. I soon got a job, and realised then God was looking after me.
Last summer I finally made it through the doors of a church. Id walked through the grounds so many times, but what made me want to go was seeing the vicar, looking normal with his dog and guitar, sat enjoying afternoon tea at a church event. From that first service, I knew I had found what Id been searching for; God, his unconditional love and forgiveness, and a sense of belonging and peace.
Im a regular now. Im growing in my faith, finding strength in prayer, learning every day through Alpha, house group and my Christian friends. Im striving to live as God wants me to, learn more about Jesus and his amazing sacrifice.
I cant explain the hows and whys of believing in Jesus and God. I just know that by following my heart as I have done over the last three years it has led me to where I am now. God holds my heart, so now I follow him.
I also understand my friend who lit the spark with this verse: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Nicola is a member of St Pauls Church in Bedminster, Bristol
How much a part of your faith is trust?
How much do you let God lead you from your comfort zone?
How do you make time for God to give you comfort?
The spark of God's love, living in each one, is for sharing.