"At sixteen I made the decision to leave"
Joanne was recently baptised at Grace Church Wakefield. Someone is baptised when they personally trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for their forgiveness.
Here Joanne tells her own story.
I was brought up from birth as a Jehovah’s Witness.
It was very hard living up to their high standards. So at sixteen I made the decision to leave.
As I got older I always knew in the back of my mind that there was ‘something else out there’, I just didn’t know how to find it!
I joined in with Grace Church Wakefield’s Sunday morning services just after lockdown started, following along on Zoom, and I started to read the Bible myself. I learnt so much!
When I finally attended a Grace Church service after lockdown I can honestly say it was like coming home. Everyone has always been so friendly and kind to me.
I realise that my biggest problem is that I am a sinner and there is a day of judgement.
I realise that my biggest problem is that I am a sinner and there is a day of judgement. The good news is that Jesus' sacrifice for me isn't what I thought. I now know that Jesus was abandoned by his Father for me. And because he has risen from the grave I know that I will be resurrected one day as well.
Because of my JW upbringing, I used to think heaven was a place called 'paradise' where there would be a wood cabin, with a tiger in the garden and that I could cuddle ferocious animals. All we had to do was 'be good' to get there.
Now I know that I will actually get to go to the real heaven that the Bible speaks about. And the best thing about it is that I will get to meet Jesus there.
I have realised there are always things I am going to get wrong. But now I know that when I get it wrong I know I can go to God and say I am sorry and he forgives me. I now realise that with God I can try again and again.
I now know that Jesus was abandoned by his Father for me
My life has started to change. I look forward to coming to church on a Sunday. My appetite for knowledge has grown so much. I now have my own small library of Christian books! I know God's plan is to make me like him. I am not perfect but I will always keep trying with the help of the Lord, Grace Church and my family.
I came across this passage in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you declares the lord plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
I cannot wait to see what the Lord has planned for me, my family and my Grace Church family.