My journey to Christianity was an interesting one. I was brought up going to church, although by the time I was eight years old, it was just my older sister and I attending out of a family of six.
Then I attended a church school where during Religious Education lessons, I got to ask questions - the answers to which would help me think critically about religion and be more thoughtful overall. I was coasting along, enjoying church community, lending my reading and musical skills whenever I could, but day-dreaming during services!
My father was prayerful, consistently praying through psalms in the morning and in the evening. In school I found a group of girls (still friends to this day) whose commitment to their faith would inspire and challenge me to deepen my own. During my mid-teens I became concerned about living a meaningless life (a life that was dictated by the standards of the day, but one that did not represent my core). I began paying attention in church services, searching for meaning in the readings and sermons.
I was really eager to be confirmed when the time came and was thoroughly engaged during preparatory classes. I was finally confirmed, but I recall an exhortation from a church member to have a 'believer's baptism'. Thinking on what I'd read in my Bible, I personally felt that it made sense. That was what people seemed to do when they converted to Christianity. And I was struggling a bit after my confirmation ceremony.. Was anything supposed to change? How was I going to share my faith and how would I draw closer to God? Perhaps a new start in a new church?
The following year, I was off to uni in a different city and began the process of finding a new spiritual home.
Christmas came and went. I'd tried three churches and nothing had clicked. I visited the third church that I resolved to settle into despite misgivings. However, that week three different groups of people reached out to me on campus and invited me to the same church! I had planned to check it out on the first invite, but hey ho!
A month later I was baptised. I felt and was re-born.
It was useful for me, someone brought up in a somewhat religious household, to have the choice as to whether I wanted to attend church (I stopped going for a while but missed the community). It was also helpful to have peers who challenged me to go deeper (one classmate unequivocally told me I wasn't a real Christian once when I quibbled about God maybe not existing!). It was good to have had the opportunity to question the meaning of life early on because I felt disillusioned about it all. But ultimately God sought me out, and He set my feet on solid ground (Psalm 40:1-2), giving me peace and a renewed sense of purpose. After twenty years I would say that my decision to follow Jesus has been the best decision I ever made.