Liberty Church Blackpool
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Liberty Church Blackpool

About Jo

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I had a close relationship with God when I was little and went to church regularly. I felt He listened to me and when things were bad I could talk to Him and He helped me. A lot of bad things happened and when those things happened I used to dream I was in a fire but not burning. When things were really bad an angel came in the fire and wrapped her wings around me making me feel safe. I didn’t really understand the dreams.

When I was 14 I was told to leave church because I was gay. To me the Catholic church represented God so I felt God rejected me. I felt deeply hurt. I blamed God and turned away from Him. I was angry with God for causing all this. I put up barriers against God and other people to try to keep safe. 

Soon after I met a woman who loved me and helped me to accept myself as a lesbian. She didn’t judge me and just loved me as I was. But that came to an end because the hurt and pain in me was raw.  I allowed it to control my life and spoil the relationship.

As the years went by I knew people condemned me for being gay. I was constantly told the life I was living was wrong. I felt unloved by God and not worthy to know Him. I felt I would only be accepted by church/God if I lived a lie and became someone I was not.

Last year a friend wanted to come to Liberty and I came to support her. I was curious about Liberty but I didn’t let on.  The first time I came I was shocked to be welcomed and  I cried for over an hour through the service. It was huge relief at being accepted and somehow all the pent up anger was starting to come out.  

I was still angry with God and I had so many questions. Fear of Him rejecting me again stopped me asking Him. I knew I had to come to church every week. My questions were  endless.

On March 14th Brian preached and it was like Brian spoke directly to me – every word. He was talking about people living in the past. That was me – I was controlled by the past. I’d hurt so many people and thrown away so many positive things in my life because of the past. It was like it was me and Brian in the room and no one else.

And it was scary – I knew now I had to take responsibility for moving forward. I felt I had to start my life all over again – I had to stop living in the past with the hurt and be different and I didn’t know how.

Brian said Jesus tells us worrying robs us of discovering His purpose for us. My worrying had been all about what others thought of me.  I was looking for approval from other people cos I didn’t feel my values, beliefs or opinions mattered to anyone at any time.

I had big barriers in me – against God and against other people cos of things that had happened. That night I felt the barriers were starting to come down. I knew there was a long way to go but now I had hope that one day the barriers would come down.

Soon after I had the dream about the fire that I used to have as a child. Now I understood it. God was wrapping the fire round me, keeping me safe. He knew about the hurt and He was hurting as well.  He said ‘Jo, look into yourself knock down the walls round your heart and let me in’. When I woke up the barriers had lessened again.

I was in the car with Fredd, eating ice creams, and we were listening to a children’s Christian song in the CD player. As I listened to it I had warm sensation all through my body and it seemed some of my questions had been answered. It felt like God had come very close to me.

Straight after came the ‘Custard Cream Song‘ with the chorus of  ‘Because He loves me, And nothing I can ever do or think or say or be, will ever change His love for me’  had a big impact. When the song finished I felt a big weight had gone – something that had blocked my relationship with God had gone. I felt all my questions were answered and there was peace between me and Him – it was the start of my new life with Him. The barriers had gone. 

God hadn’t given up on me. He’d tracked me down even though I’d hidden myself behind my barriers to protect myself. I had cut myself off from God but He hadn’t given up. He’d waited until I was ready to let the barriers down and let His love back in.

I’m now able to have an open and loving relationship with Him. I am more than willing to embrace God’s love for me and the path He has for me in my life. 

A song I heard at Ansdel lBaptist Church ‘You Won’t Relent’ had a powerful effect on me. It summed up for me what God had done in not giving up on me. It’s based on the ‘Song of Songs’ in the Bible.  ‘Song of Songs’ is the story of the passionate love between two lovers. It symbolises the love between Jesus and those who love him.

Reading from the Song of Songs    2.10-2.14 & 7.6-7.7 

‘My lover spoke and said to me, "Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.

Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.

The fig-tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.

Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me."

show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.

It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.

Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.

Nothing, not even all the wealth in the world, could ever buy this love.

 

Liberty Church Blackpool