I originally came to PLC about 4 years ago in an attempt to get my son connected to something. As it turned out, and what I didn’t realize at the time, I also needed a connection. I started showing up more and more on Sundays. I loved the whole feel of the service – the music, the uninhibited worshiping, the inspiring and educational sermons – and then I started hearing about Alpha. I heard some people speak about it and I kept reading about it in the program. I thought it sounded interesting, but it wasn’t really my thing. I’m not a complete introvert, but I’m just not always comfortable in small group type settings. I’m a teacher, and I can get up and speak in public with no problem, but small groups in a small room? I kept pushing it to the back of my mind, but something (or should I say “Someone”?), kept bringing it right back up to the front.
My days were basically spent going to work and going home. I did spend time with friends and family, but I just felt like I needed something more – another place to go, something to do, someway to get involved. So, after about a year of mulling it over, I finally signed up for Alpha, and I thank God I did.
I grew up in the Lutheran Church. I went to Sunday school and confirmation, and I believed in God. What Alpha did for me was turn that belief in God into an actual relationship with Him. Through the lessons and the small group sessions, I kept getting this confirmation of how much He loved me and everything He had done to show me this, everything He had sacrificed. If someone does all of this for you, why wouldn’t you be in a relationship with Him?! I was hearing stories and learning more about the facts of Jesus’ life than I ever had. Well, maybe I had learned some of them when I was younger, but now it felt like more than just words I heard as a kid. I learned how to think of God as my Father. This was something I had already heard, of course, something I knew, but it was different. I became more aware of how He really feels about me when I learned to think of Him as a parent.
I would do anything in the world for my son, and there is nothing he could do that would make me love him less, nothing I wouldn’t forgive him for. It sounds so simple, but when I really started thinking of my relationship with God in this way, I felt closer to Him. I felt safer. I felt more at peace. I felt like a child does in the arms of a parent. I know that He will always love me, no matter what. And not only does He love me, but He guides me, He protects me, He makes sure that I’m taken care of…everything a good parent does.
Of course, I also met some amazing people at Alpha. We shared stories, we talked about how God works in our lives, we discussed the topics and offered our opinions in a non-judgmental environment…it was so liberating! And it turns out, small groups aren’t all that scary. My faith grew stronger and stronger with each Wednesday night.
I still have so much to learn and so much work to do to live the life God wants me to live, but I am growing every day in my relationship with Him. Alpha gave me the foundation I needed to explore this relationship, to embrace it, and to make it stronger.