Footprints In The Sand
I was about fourteen years old when my mother bought a plaque for the wall which has always been in my thoughts. I have had bad times in my life which have made me feel alone and I have turned away from God.
Over the years, I have tried going back to church a number of times. The times I started praying, it felt good. But then, when I became ill, I turned away again. I have managed to start coping quite well with the pain now.
I remembered that the plaque my mother bought was ‘footprints in the sand’ and it hit me that God has been there all the time during my bad times as well as the good.
I had an uplifting experience – an epiphany that is hard to explain but which has changed my life. It was something I felt during a trip out with St John’s church. It felt so good. I could not stop smiling for two weeks afterwards. I had a weight lifted from me and, from that day, I was born again.
The Journey of Life
I was born in Clayton on 8th October 1950, the second daughter of Mr & Mrs Joseph Bussingham. We lived in a cottage on Green End: mum, dad, sister Jean, brother Harry and myself.
My dad was a long distance lorry driver so my mum looked after us. We all had fun in those days. Later on, my mum had my younger brother Ian so we moved from Green End to a larger house up the Avenue. Next to this house was an open field with a stream and field where we often played. Three bungalows stand there now. At night, the church bells would keep us awake but then we got used to them.
Growing up in Clayton is fun because it is a place where everyone knows everyone else. When I was growing up, we didn’t have much to do either but we went cycling, played on our own or went into the church Sunday schools, guides and youth clubs. We never felt like vandalising our village.
My dad worked nights so we only saw him at weekends and holidays. I miss my dad as he was only 48 when he died, a good man who worked hard and loved his family. I was just 17 when he came home from work, was taken ill and later died in hospital. It didn’t look like my dad when I saw him for the last time. For me, my whole world had fallen apart. I felt a big hole in my heart.
A friend of mine, Penny Hudson, invited me to her house to a meeting her parents held each week. They were born again Christians and gave me a warm welcome. To me they had something I wanted, so I kept going along and I also went with Penny to a book shop / café in Lidget Green called Logos, which is no longer there. It was upstairs in the café that, at the age of 18, I gave my life to our Lord. I was baptised in water and looked forward to each meeting we had in the café and went to lots of different people’s houses and also Elim Pentecostal Church. A couple form this church lived on Sandringham Road.
It was at Elim Pentecostal where I met Philip, my first fiancée. After two or three years we fell out. I just lost all interest and started going out with my friends, drinking, night-clubbing etc. Then I met my husband, Martin, who I have been married to for over 30 years. We have a son, Martin (who is now a dad himself to daughter Maddison) and a daughter, Emma. They have filled my life with happiness, joy and love.
In 2005, I went on a ladies’ weekend retreat with Emma, who has given her life to the Lord and been baptised at Clayton Gospel Hall. Up until then I didn’t realise what I was missing and what I was doing with my life. Yes, all that you have to do for pleasure in your life may seem to bring happiness but it is not the same as what God can do. Once you give your life over to Him and let Jesus into your heart your life will be turned around.
I know that my Lord is still changing me along my journey of life because He has blessed me with the ability to write poetry and this short story. I feel a sense of peace, joy, love and I want to be able to share what I have in Christ with others. Who else would lay down their life for you? No-one is perfect, we have all sinned in our lives, but we can and are forgiven by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ - shed on the cross at Calvary. Nothing compares to the love of Jesus and the promise of eternal life.
I sometimes ask myself “Why did I ever stray from His loving arms and the peace of knowing our Lord and Saviour?” As a church we are a family of God, brothers and sisters without walls. When I came back, in 2005, it was because of two people:- my daughter Emma asked me to go on the ladies’ retreat with her and Audrey Graham, my former infant school teacher, who welcomed me into the church family. Audrey was like a mum to me and has been a big influence in my life.
My life is complete with God. I have days when I feel low and doubt but I know that He is with me and some day soon I will see Him face to face. We help each other and are there for each other as a church family. My life is full of happiness, love and compassion and I know that all my prayers are answered.
Thank you Lord Jesus, my saviour and God, for all You have done and are still doing in my life.