Ruth Robinson has been a member of Oak Tree since 1999 and tells of how her life was turned around when her flatmate asked her to church one day. Having been brought up as a Roman Catholic, she found things at Oak Tree a little different.
‘In 1999, I was living with my boyfriend and some other flatmates. He was everything I had ever wanted and although I would have denied it at the time, my life pretty much revolved around him, increasingly so as my family started to have problems. I felt like I had finally arrived in the world. One week in June 1999, he went on holiday and my flatmate invited me to church. I was what they call a lapsed Catholic – I had gone to church as a child and didn’t hate it, but really saw no relevance to my life.
I went along and was blown away by the informality of the service and the band. At the end, I found myself following my flatmate to the area where they were offering prayer. I burst into tears as I told the people offering to pray for me about the family breaking up and as they prayed I felt a peace and warmth go through me, like someone was giving me this amazing hug. I was amazed that God could be tangibly present.
After that I began to come back to Oak Tree every week. My boyfriend came back from holiday and instantly there was a change in our relationship. He began not to come home some nights and be all tired and moody when we were together and I got very insecure as all my worst fears about losing him began to come true. I began an Alpha course that September and half way through I discovered he was having an affair with a girl he had met on holiday – my life as I had known it collapsed.
I realised I had nothing and felt worthless and yet I was learning all about this God who loved me and knew me, who would never leave or let me down and had sent his son to die for me. I was, and still am, overwhelmed when I think of what he went through to bring me into a relationship with him.
One night, at home in my room, I was worrying about what it would mean to give my life to Jesus. I had enjoyed being in a relationship and being able to join in with the world’s expectations. I guess I saw my identity in being a bit of a sex kitten. I didn’t want to be a nun!! But I knew I wanted Jesus so I prayed this kind of ‘I give you my life but please either keep me away from guys who’ll pressure or ridicule me or let me find a nice Christian guy quickly’ commitment prayer.
Here we are now some years on. I thought I had my life sorted before, but I realise now that inside I was broken. Jesus has taken me on this amazing journey of healing and realigned my priorities. I now know he has a plan and purpose for my life to make a difference to the broken world we live in. He has taught me about the joys of living in a loving community and building others up. I have a hope and a future that isn’t about living up to the world’s expectations and I feel free. ‘
Oh and I finally found my Christian guy too….it took me 7 years but we met in God’s perfect timing.