Journey Into Faith
Written by
Carley Reid
Story by
Carley Reid
Performed by
Carley Reid

Journey Into Faith

Carley has found her place in the world, even if it is a world falling apart. JOURNEY INTO FAITH gives us the space to look to a brighter future, and is a celebration of all there is to be grateful for.

Story
Audio description – performed by Kayla Meikle

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Story transcript

I’ve been in a darker place – started drinking too much, of not wanting to be here anymore and it’s funny as people have turned to drink in this lockdown and I haven’t drunk a bit.

I was thrown a lifeline in the form of a little red card with a white question mark on it. The tagline “is there more to life than this?” really caught my attention; I mean that’s what I’ve been saying for the last few years.

So this card was given to me by a man who I presumed just worked with the youth in the area but no, he was the new vicar. I live opposite the church and I’m always nosing out my window, so I saw all sorts of different things going on and when they were doing something for Pancake Day of course the kids dragged me over.

So that’s it – I started Alpha. It was a series of 10-15 weeks, you know, where we could come together in small groups, eat, watch videos. Bear Grylls features in one too and we talk about the topic that week like who is Jesus?, and how can we have faith? They describe it as an opportunity to explore the meaning of life. I didn’t have a job and I wasn’t doing anything in my life, so what was there to lose by meeting up once a week? Oh and we were supplied with endless tea and bacon sarnies. I kept quiet at first and I didn’t have a clue what they were on about I mean; Jesus, church, faith meant nothing to me back then. Slowly things started making sense and the more time I spent with these people the more I felt that there was something there.

We’ve got some really great friends out of it. We’ve had a bit of negativity in our lives and these people are just so genuine and you get positive feelings from being with them.

They invited us to a weekend away called Focus. It’s in the New Forest, camping. We had BBQs, silent disco, a massive worship tent too. Now when I say worship I mean it was like a festival jumping around singing at the top of our voice. It was a right great time. And who would have thought I’d be drinking a cider with a vicar in the sunny countryside. But that weekend is what sealed the deal for me. I knew this is the path I wanted to follow. I’m so gutted that we missed it last year. Possibly this year too.

So I knocked on the door and he let me in. WOW when I felt God’s presence for the first time a strange warm sensation came over me and I cried – oh did I sob. Why? I dunno but I was a mess.

This virus isn’t all bad you know. It has brought people closer I think and helped them communicate more, especially me. I even got a job now. They wanted a cleaner at the church and asked me. They asked me to help with the food bank too, see they run a food bank out of the church, they gave out about 30 parcels but due to this awful time the number went up to about 150 – that’s a lot of food.

Luckily we were able to use the building next door. Phee! More space and more cleaning of course. It is hard work but so rewarding. It’s such a nice feeling giving and helping and when you get messages of appreciation it makes it seem all worthwhile.

It definitely has made me appreciate life more. You know with my new found faith and friends, they’re like family and they’re a big part in my life. I do genuinely think that if I went into this pandemic without faith and these amazing friends, then I dunno where I’d be.

So Alpha led to me to go to church every Sunday. What a change! Instead of a hangover I am worshiping and praying!

We’re still able to go, socially distanced of course. It’s a mad house at home with my four boys, so it’s so nice to get over there for an hour and just relax.

Don’t get me wrong I still have my ups and downs, but God is with me every step which is a comfort I never thought I’d have.