Alpha, God & Me…The story so far!

Meet Tracey....

Contemplation, reflection and perfect peace...

Olly asked me to do a little testimony on the Alpha course and let you know what I am getting out of it. I said, “Of course. I would be happy to.” But that is not the message that had come through when I started planning what I would say.

I want to tell you all a little about my journey to this point so far.

I am brand new to Christianity and I have zero knowledge about God or Jesus or any of the stuff church people do. I don’t even know how to pray! I have gotten into a rhythm now where I have a chat with my father. I don’t know if I am doing it right, but whenever I pray, I am getting answers. Not in a flashing neon sign that says here it is, here is the answer. But more in a message here and a message there that links to this one that ties into that one. I am getting to the bigger picture but in a way that makes sense and is logical.

Before I was even contemplating there being a God so about a year ago…I had witnessed Simon and his faith working and seeing amazing things happening.
I got a job where one of my team used to be a pastor and would make his faith known…a lot. When we started coming to church, I wanted to learn as much as possible, so, as I was advised, I started reading the bible…from the beginning.
Oly started us off with Nehemiah, and at the same time, we had Dr Betty King speaking about healing, we heard Lell give her testimony, we had an Alpha course starting up, and I had my own studies going on.
 I had seen a testimony on YouTube where a former Muslim man found Christ. He spoke about how he had read the Gospel and that it had spoken to him. He spoke about when he went to church to find out how this book had been written for him personally and then discovered that everyone had the same book but found something different within it.
I realised, after reflection, that God was speaking to me and answering my prayers. I think this means that I am doing it right. What I was finding were messages and coincidences that were all adding to one overall message. That message was forgiveness. That message was peace.
What I found is a logical method of working, one that makes sense to me. And one that I believe will make me whole.
God is showing me where things from my past have left a chip in my spirit. Not only is He showing me the chip, He is showing me how and why that chip got there. He is cleaning out the crack to ensure there is nothing rotten left in there and then is filling it and smoothing it with His love.
He took me to the beginning as I went to the beginning in the bible, and I developed my relationship with God the Father.
Peace has been a question in my mind for a while now, and those of you who are in the Alpha course will have heard this already, but you can listen again.
When Franny sends out the Word to the WhatsApp group, she ends each post with the sign-off Shalom Shalom. I had noticed this but not been bothered by it until one day when I wondered, what does Shalom mean? Bear in mind I am brand new to all this religious/churchy stuff.
I googled, “What does Shalom mean?” Google came back, it means peace. Then I googled, “What does Shalom Shalom mean?”, and Google came back with perfect peace.
It told me that in Hebrew, when a word is repeated, it emphasises and elevates the word’s meaning. All interesting things to know because I haven’t made that link that I am being spoken to…this was just my random curiosity.
But then, later that night I was reading in the bath, as you do. I was reading a book called “The Bible, A Story that Makes Sense of Life.” by Andrew Ollerton (if anyone would like to know).
It spoke about peace, not just peace, but perfect peace. He described perfect peace as being peace without wrongness and rightness. That perfect peace is without any chaos and with righteousness. And that really struck a chord with me. It felt like I had received a message and wrote it in the Alpha WhatsApp group. Then Paul got rather excited, as Paul does, and asked me to speak about it in Alpha. Which I did. Then Oly got excited and now I’m talking to you all here today.
Now, I am not a teacher. I do not know enough to be able to teach. But, I do feel as though I am being spoken through.
I have had little messages that have all led up to the big overall picture. I mentioned Oly speaking about Nehemiah. This story spoke to me because what Nehemiah was saying in chapter 3 when he tasked each family to clean the rubble at their own front door, is that before you can sleep peacefully, you need to make sure the rubble is cleared and the wall is strong right in front of you. Put your own house in order before you can help others.
Dr Betty King came and spoke of healing, that the wounds of our past will stop us from getting close to God and the upcoming fight will need us strong. This again links back to Nehemiah, building the walls that strengthen our faith. God is cleaning and filling the wounds of my past to enable me to move forward with my knowledge of him. I want to build the foundations strong, so my faith is 100% unbreakable when the challenges start to come.
Lell gave her testimony which linked all the messages and little threads I had been getting.
I don’t know if I am the only one that does this, but if I have a difficult conversation that I need to have, I practise it in my head…sometimes out loud…but I practice. I was there thinking of Lell’s testimony and how I might be able to speak to my mum about her immorality, and I am having this back and forth in my head, and I came up with this to tell her, “Your relationship with your mum caused trauma. You are looking to replace the relationship that you wish you had with your mum…You wish that your relationship with your mum was different…just like I do.
And let me tell you, when that hit, it was like the floodgates opened, and I cried, I mean proper ugly crying…and I broke down for a good hour.
I’m not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me I’m telling you this so you can see, the same way I did that I have been getting this thread of a message, get your house in order, then this thread, healing, then this bit, perfect peace, then Lell spoke and all those bits fell into place and made sense.
At this point, I am noticing stuff as it comes in, and I am able to see, right, that bit relates to that, and this means that, and I see God speaking to me through all these little actions and messages.
Now, bear in mind that this timeline is all intermingled as Alpha started after Lell’s testimony. And it has genuinely been Alpha that has brought together a lot of my thoughts.
I came to church, not yet believing but with an open heart. I have found God the Father, and He has shown me that I am a product of my past, He has shown me my wounds, He has healed the wounds of my childhood. He has shown me why he forgives me; I know I am forgiven.
I have not yet forgiven myself and so I have not yet found perfect peace. I know though that is work that God has laid down the foundations for me to work through.
As I came to the end of the Old Testament in my own readings, God brought me to peace with my childhood that I wasn’t even aware was still hurting me.
I believe that now I am moving on to the New Testament and learning about Jesus. I will also move on with my healing and my forgiveness. I know that this next bit will be the hardest for me to deal with but I know that my foundation is firm. I have my husband, I have you all and I have God on my side.
And I do genuinely feel the love from all of you. So, thank you.