Jodi’s story | They pointed me to Jesus
“When I was 11, our mother died. It was sudden and unexpected. I’m the eldest of four, with a significantly disabled younger sister and two younger brothers.
Afterwards, I carried a lot of hurt. As a people-pleaser, I wanted to fix things for our family in any way I could. Dad was raising us on his own, but I wanted to make things better for everyone. I wanted to fill the gap.
Back then, we used to go to Catholic church on Sundays, as long as there was nothing more important on… like pony club, or horses to ride, or hockey, or soccer. I remember feeling a real arrogance about being Catholic. There was a sense that we had it right and everyone else had it wrong. The priest was between us and God and he told us how to relate to God. We listened to him on Sundays, but it didn’t matter what we did the rest of the week.
After school, I went to university in Albury and I had to find my own accommodation. I stumbled across a Presbyterian church who rented out their manse to students. It was directly across from the uni bar, so I applied. In the application you had to say you were a Christian and I lied. I didn’t think there were any real Christians anymore!
This is not the Jesus I knew!
But when I got there, it took me about three weeks to realise that three of the students were actually Christians. It knocked me over. There was one girl who was kind and friendly. Our rooms were next door to each other and I liked her! She would pray to God and read her Bible. She spoke about God as if he was someone she knew quite well, and someone who was a significant part of her life. I was really intrigued by that.
She was also relentless. Not in a pushy way, but she kept inviting me to campus Bible study. Eventually I went with her. They were a lovely, welcoming group of people. They were reading the Gospel of John together and they were up to chapter 3. I listened to it and I thought, ‘Wow, this is not the Jesus I knew!’
I can be a support to people, but I can’t put them back together.
It turned out that God sent Jesus to die for us, to make us right with him, not the other way around. I’d spent my life trying to do the right things, fixing things for people. But it was God who went to great lengths to make me right with him. That’s the God who loves me! It was a slow process. But by the end of the year, I decided I wanted to know God like they did. I wanted a relationship with him like they had. I had been arrogant in my thinking. I’d been carrying hurt and trying to fix everything myself.
I remember the first time I read Romans 8:1. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” It really resonated with me. We stand before God, holy and pure and blameless, because of what Jesus has done for us. There is nothing his death cannot cover! We can’t fix it ourselves, but he can.
Twenty years later, my people-pleasing, fixing-things traits are still there. But God keeps tapping me on the shoulder, gently and regularly, reminding me that he’s the one who fixes things. I need to rely on him. It’s true that I can be a support to people, but I can’t put them back together. God is the one who does that… And I can continue to support and listen and pray.”
Jodi’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.