At 15 and a half I was a teenage rebel. Truanting from school, causing havoc in school when I deigned to attend, a liar a cheat and a petty thief, and a strident atheist. Looking back now as an adult and as a parent I am convinced that had I not found Christ (or He me), then I would have followed a very downward path. But it was at this point that my misbehaviour in school meant that I was denied the privilege of fourth year students of having any Free Study periods on my timetable and was forced to study RE as a CSE much against my will.
Through My RE teacher, whose life I made hell for half a term by the way, I came to read a book, which among other things claimed quite simply that Jesus loved me personally, and individually. Without any pressure from human agency I experienced the sudden realisation that something essential was missing, that there was a God; that he was holy and I was not, nor could I be; that I deserved anything this holy God chose to throw at me. Amazingly what he chose to throw at me was forgiveness and a way to enter in to a relationship with him. The greatest surprise was the immediate change in my character. Being the rebel I was, I made no resolutions to change in any way.
halfway through the morning I had neither had a cigarette nor sworn at anyone
However the morning after I responded to God, I got up to go to my Saturday job without thinking to find halfway through the morning that I had neither had a cigarette nor sworn at anyone! My work-mates spotted the change before I did and teased me. I don't think I realised then that there was a connection. But the same thing happened the next day with my best friend and she too insisted that I had changed and persisted in working out why. We went over all that had happened and made the connection. Then, two weeks later, Sue too met Christ. This experience has stood the test of time, as over the years I have seen God change lives, witnessed and been a recipient of his incomparable love, unfailing faithfulness, and great blessing. I have experienced God's presence in times of adversity and have found, and continue to find, the God Jesus described as my Father and your Father.