Glen Brackenbury

Glen recently completed the Life Shapes Course at The Point alongside 16 other amazing people. Some of what he shared with us during the course was so exciting that we wanted to let you all know. Sarah Steel caught up with him to get his story.

Glen, can you tell us a bit about how you came to know Jesus?

Becoming a Christian is the easy part, maintaining faith is far more challenging!

My journey began through my wife, Julia, who went to church regularly. She took our daughter Pollyanna with her and became a real servant for God. When Pollyanna was young I always tried to read to her at bedtime and Julia would give me faith-based stories for her to hear. Eventually I attended some services at the Baptist church in Burgess Hill and, on occasions, I would chat with the Pastor. One evening we met up for a pint and it was there, in the pub car park, that I decided to become a Christian. Soon after I was baptised.

I worked in sales and, because of this, I had loads of self-confidence and belief, leading me to become prideful, egotistical and selfish. I was always seeking reward from everything and this attitude spilled into my family and personal life. To fulfil my Christian faith, these areas had to be dismantled because these characteristics were not the true me and I was hiding behind them. My Christian walk has taught me that being loud and forceful made me weak, but true strength is found in humility and it is only there where my true heart, the one of serving, could flourish.

Recently you have suffered with a serious knee injury – how has this affected your relationship with God?

My knee injury has lasted four years so far. Six operations and over eighteen months off work with very limited movement and a loss of independence has had its challenges. I had to learn to depend on others to care and look after me. There were weeks when I could do nothing but sit in the house, mostly alone. Even making a cup of tea or heating soup was a challenge. Sometimes I felt frustrated, while at others I felt like I was no use to anybody; always remaining positive was difficult. I leaned on God and during this time I learnt much about patience and endurance and how to keep my eyes firmly fixed on Him; none of these lessons came easily or without a fight! Yet they taught me how my day cannot begin without a time of spiritual preparation; prayer, worship and reflection are key to the Christian walk.

You’ve got some great stories of living out your faith at work – can you give us an example?

As a taxi driver, I obviously have encounters providing interesting opportunities to discuss faith. I try to make the journeys for customers as interesting as possible, through discussion using faith based principles; sometimes they work creating good interaction, sometimes they don’t! Through God I try to allow my serving heart at the forefront of everything I do; at times when a pensioner gives me a 20 pence tip for carrying shopping bags to her front door my eyes fill with tears.

One Sunday evening I picked up a guy from a local pub to take him to Kent; he was at least 6’4” and huge! Fred (not his real name) had clearly been drinking something stronger than lemonade in the pub! As usual I prayed for guidance and protection. After exchanging the usual taxi pleasantries, I noticed Fred was very upset and agitated, so I asked what was wrong.

On Friday, he’d found his girlfriend in bed with his best friend. His anger led him on a drinking spree. He said she was the love of his life but now he is very angry with both of them and wants to really hurt them for hurting him!

I stayed quiet and started to really pray as he vented his frustrations. Fred noticed and asked if he was boring me? I told the truth and said that I had been praying. He responded, ‘so you’re religious then?’. ‘No’, I replied ‘I have a personal relationship with God’. He went quiet before asking what my God had said. I took a deep breath, ‘well the love of your life has made it clear that you’re not the love of her life’. The response, or should I say rant, lasted a while. Then things went uncomfortably quiet before he said, ‘you’re right but I’m so mad with both of them. I will think about what you’ve said’. As the journey progressed we talked about many things, including how I became a ‘religious guy’ – what an opportunity! I recounted my faith journey including how God had helped me overcome many personal struggles. He asked lots of questions about my faith and I quoted some scriptures which centre on wisdom through humility. As we were getting closer to the destination, I sensed an increase in his stress levels and started praying again. God told me to tell Fred that he must forgive both his ex-girlfriend and his best friend! I thought ‘this is going to go down like a lead balloon!’ but I knew I could not disobey God.

So I told him that I had prayed for him and God had told me to tell him that he had to forgive both his girlfriend and his best friend. The response was not particularly positive but God had prepared me for this answer. I explained, rather bravely, that without forgiveness he will always have that anger and resentment and will never be able to move on. He went deadly quiet and I thought ‘that’s it, I’m not only going to provoke a reaction, but there goes my fare!’ As we pulled up outside the pub he worked at he said I was right, he had never thought of it like that. He thanked me saying he would try to forgive. With that we went into the pub where he announced very loudly that I was a really great guy. After one very big and painful bear hug he thanked me. 
I even got paid!