Overcoming the doubts

Dorothy Cook currently worships at the Manor churches. She is a long standing member of the Board of Faith and Justice and a member of the Mental Health working group.  Here she tells her faith story:

"When I was a teenager, I was full of doubts about God and resented being taken to church each Sunday with my parents.  On the one hand, they were proud of my achievements, but somehow, I was not quite good enough. We never talked about feelings or shared hugs and kisses, they were reserved for babies.

In spite of all this, I can remember being alone in church one day, [a long time ago, before churches needed to be locked] when suddenly I felt someone put an arm around my shoulders and knew it was God, telling me He was there for me and I could believe in him. It was a very powerful feeling and I can recall promising myself that I would always remember it. The experience did not stop me from having further periods of doubt, but I have been able with guidance been able to overcome them. I still do not feel able readily to talk about this, yet I have listened when others felt able to share their experiences about being in despair, and their prayers too were answered. So I know it is not uncommon really.

I was musing on this as I travelled to church last Sunday and then the Gospel reading was from Luke chapter 11 including verses 9-13 [where Jesus promises our prayers will be answered]. We also sang that hymn, based on Psalm 34, which opens with ‘Through all the changing scenes of life’.  All these things emphasised what I experienced about sixty five years ago. Of course I now realise how lucky I was to have such a secure upbringing, full of unspoken love and that many are much less fortunate.

I have often thought, what message would I have received if my childhood experiences had been full of constant criticism and lacking in morality?"

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