Well, where do I begin?
I was born and raised in the capital of this fine country, Wellington, New Zealand. For specifics, I was actually born in a pool in the middle of my lounge. Ironically though, I’ve never been able to swim very well.
Then at the age of two my parents split up. I mention this early on for a few reasons. 1. Well, I was two. 2. It was and has been rather impactful and 3. My mum moved just one house over from my dad.
To this day, I reflect on having an awesome childhood. Split parents and multiple families had its challenges, but I know without a doubt that the blessings outweighed them. I’m proud to be able to say that, and more proud to have been able to recognise it along the way.
I had a free imagination growing up, and a free spirit to go with it. Comfortably happy by myself as much as I was being around my friends and meeting new people - each stage of my upbringing provided many fun-filled chapters of my story.
However, none of these chapters were consciously written by God. As far as I was aware, for most of my life, I was the author of my own book. With those around me making up the prologue, foreword, characters and reviews.
Through all the family, my schooling, sporting, friends, flat mates and pretty much any community I found myself part of - God was never consciously there in my mind.
First try of Church
I did try out church for a short while when I was about fifteen years old. My sister, two years older than me, started going to Miramar Salvation Army in Wellington. I gave it a shot and tagged along for the Youth events, but never really church on a Sunday.
In all honesty, I was unable to fathom the concept of God and persistently saw Him simply as one who’d check off my list. I just couldn’t hack it.
(Even though He did, in fact, check off my list. He is a good God isn’t he?)
So then, fast forward through the troublesome, thrill-seeking and slightly mis-guided (potential understatement) teenagehood - my sister’s wedding at the beginning of 2018. Aka, God’s introduction to my story.
When I rocked up for that weekend I was reunited with many of the guys from church that I had hung out those years ago. And it felt really good. I also spent time observing my soon-to-be brother in law who I now recognise was, and very much is, a fine man in Christ. And before the ceremony I found myself huddled in prayer. The whole weekend felt like something bigger was at play. God. It ignited my interest and I wanted to seek further.
First Encounter With God
A week or two later, a friend of mine was giving away two tickets to “Festival One” - a weekend-long festival with good food, good people and good music. I went, and as I was worshipping in the auditorium (wondering if I was weird with my eyes closed), the song “So WIll I” by Hillsong United played.
Some of the lyrics were about the stars and the universe obeying the “God of creation”, which partnered with a sermon about the relationship between the universe and God. In this one moment, something clicked.
I suddenly felt smaller, because my world was opened and I realised there was so much more than just me and this place. To this day, I recall that day as the day I met God. So, I set a goal to go to Church every Sunday for at least one month of the year..
I ended up going almost every Sunday. And 2019. And, now, it’s 2020.
I continue to meet with and learn about God each and every day. It hasn’t been easy, in fact I think it was far easier when I wasn’t a Christian. But everything is far more worth it now that I am.
I’ve struggled to adjust from my previous identity to one which is identified in Christ. I’ve struggled to incorporate Christ into my family and communities I spent most of my life building. And, particularly, I’ve struggled with my mental health - figuring out mine and life’s purpose when I now know a God who calls me to so much more.
But I’ve also grown and been shaped into a good man by God. I’ve completed a University degree with God on my side. I’ve developed rich friendships and relationships with God’s spirit. I am a man who continues to learn and has developed a strong, mentally fit mind that equips me with the ability to tackle the challenges that face me now, and will continue to in the future.
Chapter to chapter, page from page, word after word. Between the easy reads, and not so easy, God wrote my story with me. He was writing before I even picked up the pen, even harder when I would put it down and, boy, am I in for a best-seller ending.
Thank you for reading my story. I thank God for helping me write it.
Harrison is a twenty-one year old student who completed his Bachelor of Communications in 2019 and is now working in marketing. He was raised in a non-Christian family but has been part of the Church since the beginning of 2018. He has a passionate personality which is illustrated in many facets of his life from writing, to sports, food, friends, family and God. Harrison enjoys exploring and grasping different parts of life and discussing them with others. Chat with Harrison further at: email@example.com