Susan's Testimony

We all have our testimony to tell and this is a little on mine.

I was christened like my two brothers before me at St Andrew’s Church, Slaidburn. This is where my parents had been married on 15th May 1965, before moving back to Barnoldswick to set up home together as the housing was cheaper than Clitheroe. My parents had tried for my brothers to attend the local Anglican Church of Holy Trinity, but there was nothing suitable at the time. So just down the street there was the Gospel Mission Hall off Hollins Road, so they were sent there to the Sunday School each week. When I was born, the Gospel Mission had contact with my parents and so they would visit the new parents and bring a cake round and talk. I was entered onto the Cradle Roll and my parents received a baby’s guide which sends Congratulations Mother and Father on the birth of your baby and shows monthly milestones and lots of interesting bits. In the booklet there is a certificate enrolling me on the 23rd June, 1970, a few months after I was born.

When old enough, I was transferred to the Nursery Department of the Sunday School in the afternoon and then progressed to bigger Sunday School. When I was 7 years old, I joined the Brownies at Holy Trinity and progressed onto Guides. In my later years at Sunday School, I went on camps and as I was recently reminded, I gave my life to the Lord there, though I do not know the date or time. What matters was that I has asked Jesus to come into my life and forgive the wrongful things I had done, and become Lord of my life. I was confirmed at Holy Trinity 8th April 1984 like my brothers before me.

In my teenage years I was taught by Pastor Robert Pickles to grasp hold of one of the promises of God and claim them. I chose Deuteronomy 31 v 6 “I will never leave or forsake you”. This has helped me so much on my Christian journey as I grasp hold of it time and time again.

When I left school, I went into the catering industry on a YTS scheme and did day release to college and achieved my 706/1 & 706/2, which some thought I may not pass, due to missing 3 months of college. I had suffered a car accident in which I badly lacerated my left knee and took well over 4 months to finally heal. During my time in catering, I attended church when I could, be it mid-week meeting, Morning Prayer or a Sunday service.  What was very helpful was being invited by a Christian family for a holiday and to be built up in my faith

After over 20 years in the industry, an incident at work resulted in my being off sick with depression; at my lowest I was even suicidal. I ended going up to Scotland and handing in my notice at work. I stayed in a Christian home and volunteered working with the two churches in the parish all the while getting back on track.

The promise of God I clung to over so many years was “I will never leave or forsake you”. It reminds  me so much that no matter what I was going through, I could shout, question, cry, walk and talk, but He was with me and brought me up from the pit of despair. So I find it so hard to put into the right words and to explain something so personal at times that He is my best friend, my confidant, my strong tower; He is my strength. Some people thought I was never going to make it, but my God is faithful and keeps His promise and keeps me moving forward.

I came back in December 2008 and applied for many jobs. I was finally accepted as a General Assistant in June 2009 and am still there 10 years later and enjoying the vast array of cheeses of offer and gaining knowledge on the way. I heard Barry Woodward (who wrote Once an Addict) talk on Scars, Marks and Tattoos. We all have our own journeys in life, about which he said scars are evidence of your survival, marks make you unique, tattoos cause you to stand out from the crowd. I have both mental and physical scars and marks from life. It has not always been easy, but I have learned to keep going through the difficulties while getting stronger and even maybe helping others on the way.

Joel 2 v25-27 “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and my people shall never be put to shame. Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel; I am the LORD your God and there is no other, my people shall never be put to shame.”

Since 17th May 2015, I have been attending Salem Congregational Chapel, Martin Top. On 3rd July 2016, I became a member and accepted the right hand of fellowship, serving where I am able. For the chapel’s 200th Anniversary service, a banner was put together over several months. Because of great teamwork by the ‘Banner Group (now the Craft Group), it states: 1 Samuel 7 v 12 “Thus far the Lord has helped us”: Thus far, he has helped me on my journey.

As I write this, I have just entered my 50th year with amazing friends in Portugal and at the chapel and am overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness and generosity; this is a birthday I will remember for sure. Thank you. How much more must I thank the Lord for all He has done in my life? What is ahead I do not know, but I am trusting in ‘the Lord that does’.  I am so thankful He sends others to come alongside us on our journey, some for a short time, others longer, which has had a influence in my life over the years.

Proverbs 3 v 5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Where are you on your journey? Have you trusted Jesus as Lord and Saviour of your life?

Miss Susan Bradshaw