Rachel Swan is an active member of our church and volunteer PA to John Naudé, but it is only recently that she committed her life to Christ. Sarah Steel caught up with her and her daughter Charlotte to get their story.
Rachel grew up in a Christian family, but struggled with her faith as a teenager and, after leaving home at 17, stopped attending church altogether. Years later, married with two children, it was clear that God was calling her back to Him. Rachel and her husband had decided to send their children to a Christian school to give them the opportunity to explore Christianity and make up their own minds about their beliefs. From this, Rachel’s daughter, Charlotte, developed a real desire to attend church and learn more about God. Rachel writes:
“Charlotte would ask me at least once a week to take her to Church, which I tried to ignore in the hope that the ‘phase’ would pass – but it didn’t! She then started nagging Richard Kay (one of her teachers) to take her to Church, as she knew that he and his wife Margaret were Christians. One day Margaret approached me saying that they had just started to attend The Point and that Charlotte would love the youth activities there. Charlotte’s campaign went up a notch and her nagging became a daily event, but I was still very reluctant! Margaret and Richard offered to take Charlotte to church the following Sunday and she accepted (without asking me). I felt like I couldn’t let my child go to church with somebody else, so I finally relented and very reluctantly brought Charlotte to The Point. She loved it from the first Sunday and quickly got involved in everything that was on offer. I, however, really struggled – everybody was really friendly, but I felt that I had impostor syndrome! People would ask me my story and I would think ‘what story? I don’t have a story!’ I tried to keep a low profile and not get too involved in the hope that people wouldn’t notice me. But week after week the preaching spoke to me – I used to look around trying to work out why the person speaking was always targeting me. Even though I heard this every week, I still used to put my head down and pretend I wasn’t listening – I didn’t want to listen. I thought that God could only deal with the acceptable parts of our lives.
After many, many weeks of hiding, a question kept popping into my head – ‘Do you want to get well?’ Of course, I definitely wanted to feel better. But, I pondered, is there a difference between feeling better and getting well? Maybe there was. I came to Church first for Charlotte and then to feel better, but I never got well. I came to church for comfort, but I left feeling unchanged or sometimes even worse! I realised that my journey could only begin when my excuses ended. My journey doesn’t need to wait for my situation to change. I’m not blaming anybody, I’m not waiting for anybody. My prayer is ‘God change ME, do work in ME. I’M READY GOD!’”
“I don’t really know what made me so driven to start going to church, I just felt like something was pushing me to go and be part of a church family. I attended a lunchtime Christian group at school and wanted to find out more about God’s word. I also had a teacher who was a Christian and it shone from him – I wanted to find out what he was so passionate about. Since coming to The Point I’ve made loads of friends and it’s really nice to spend time with other young people who understand the struggle of going to school and trying to keep your eyes fixed on God.
I went to Soul Survivor this year and it was amazing to be surrounded by so many young Christians. I really got stuck into worship and lots of people prayed for me. I feel like I got really close to God, experiencing His presence for the first time, and at the end of the week I gave my life to Jesus.”