'I thought I'd get her baptised and never return to church again'

Lisa’s story | God brings fruit from flying!

“I was raised in typical Aussie Catholic fashion. I got to the age of 16, and was given a choice to keep going to church or to sleep in on a Sunday. It was a no-brainer for me. I slept in…for about a decade!

When I was 22, my mum died. She was only 40. Whatever relationship I had with God before that was absolutely severed. The thought of a God who would take my mother away was outrageous to me. I became very hard-hearted towards God, very angry. I wasn’t in a good place mentally. For about five years, I drank too much alcohol as a coping mechanism.

At the same time my career was really taking off. I was involved in the travel industry, quite successfully – travelling the world, wanting for nothing. It was a hedonistic and self-obsessed lifestyle!

Then I had my daughter, Ruby, at age 31. She was an unexpected joy! Parenting literally swept me off my feet. I was besotted with her. It was also a wake-up call. I wanted to do a good job, as Ruby’s mum. But what values would we live by? How would we raise this child?

Weirdly, I also had an overwhelming desire to have Ruby baptised. It was a strange thought. But I knew there was a little Anglican church around the corner, so I went and spoke with the minister. In my mind, I thought I would go in, get Ruby baptised, and then go home again and never return to church again. That was my intention.

But the minister said they were running the Alpha (evangelistic) course. He suggested that I come. I didn’t know what it was, but I felt morally obliged. If they were going to baptise Ruby, then I should do the course, whatever it was. I didn’t know it was a 10-week commitment!

It was unbelievable the way God worked in me.

But I went to the course, and it was really good. The people were very friendly. Everyone was so warm and kind.

One of the ladies offered to babysit Ruby so I could come. And I found the course content very compelling. Every week, I’d go along and have all my questions answered! On the final week of the course, we went away for the weekend, and we learnt about the Holy Spirit. I didn’t know anything about the Holy Spirit.

It was amazing. It was unbelievable the way God worked in me that weekend to reveal himself to me. I experienced all the emotions. I understood that God was real! He had come to make himself known. The significance of Jesus’ death and forgiveness of sins came later. That weekend, it was all about an encounter with God. It was highly personal, and it changed everything for me. I turned into a complete Jesus freak!

I started going to church and Bible study all the time. I was hungry to know more of God and Jesus. I’ve been like that ever since! Twenty-three years later, I’m still involved in Alpha!

Now everything is different.

Back then, my initial question was about my job. I was still working in a very self-obsessed industry. I said to God, ‘What am I going to do? Do I have to change my vocation?’ But God spoke to me very clearly. He said, ‘No, I want you to use your travel skills for the Kingdom of God.’

In 2006, I started a new business called Mission Travel. We specialised in sending people all over the world, with their Christian mission agencies, organising their flights and visas and documents. It was great! Along the way, I also started doing Holy Land Tours… and that’s mostly what I’m doing now, under the name of Selah. I think it’s a wonderful form of Christian discipleship, transforming the way people read the Bible. It’s fabulous!

Looking back, I realise that God took me – a high-flying, ratbag party girl – and turned me into a disciple of Jesus. He’s even brought fruit from my life! I especially love the verse in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

For 30 years, without God, I could do nothing at all, but now everything is different. If I remain in God, he will produce much fruit. That’s amazing!”

Lisa’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.

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