Marlene – Real or counterfeit?

‘When I was seventeen years-old, we were evicted from our home in Clydach. Thankfully Mrs Phillips, a kind friend of my mother, took us in. Her son was a Christian who was training to be a pastor. He encouraged me to attend Trinity Church and it was there I realised that I needed saving by God. I began to trust in Jesus Christ as my Saviour.

‘After we were relocated to Hebron Road in Clydach, I started to see David who was in the Navy. David wasn’t a Christian but we were married when I was nineteen. I wasn’t really reading my Bible or going to church for the years that followed and I slowly drifted away from God.

‘Many years and three children later, I was a most miserable woman. I didn’t know where I was. I felt that I didn’t belong in the world. I started to attend Bethel church and really felt that God was drawing me back to himself. I started to feel happy again. But because of David’s work we had to move to Scunthorpe. I found no suitable church there and I started to drift away from God again.

‘Three and a half years later we moved back to Llansamlet and I started attending Peniel Green Church. I remember these wonderful words in a hymn, “O love that will not let me go”. It was amazing to see that even though I was struggling to follow God, he was still patient and committed to me.

‘On another occasion we were in Cardiff visiting Heath Church. The preacher’s message shook me! I remember the verse he was speaking on: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” I was terrified and great doubts came into my head. I wasn’t committed to God. I asked myself whether I really was a Christian. I knew I wasn’t right with God. I had no assurance. Was I a Christian or a counterfeit?

“I felt a great weight lift… I knew that no matter how bad I’d been God would forgive me and not cast me away.”

‘I knew that Jesus died to save sinners, but there was no peace in my heart that he had forgiven all of my sins. I told all this to a friend and she said, “Are you calling God a liar?” I was really upset and felt even worse as there was no way I could call God a liar.

‘I remember opening the Bible and reading John 6:37, “all that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” I felt a great weight lift off my shoulders. I knew that no matter how bad I’d been God would forgive me and not cast me away. It wasn’t about my feelings but about God’s promise to forgive those who turn to him and trust in Jesus. I remember being so glad and joyful as I read the Bible and its promise of forgiveness.

‘Today, I’m still happily married to David – he’s a Christian now too, and we are just so thankful to God that he sent Jesus to die to save us.’