2 January 2024

Loved unconditionally

Melanie Barker

A photo of Melanie Barker.

Melanie Barker (Bromley Temple) reveals how God's unconditional love has given her self-worth.

Hi, I'm Melanie! I'm married to Jonathan, we have two boys, Reuben and Samuel, and we attend Bromley Temple. I first became a Christian after attending an Alpha course that two local churches were running jointly in Leeds while I was at university there. I then got invited to a student weekend away that one of them ran after Alpha. 

One evening, we were worshipping and I felt a deep moment with God where I understood the weight of my sin, asked for forgiveness and gave my life back to him. It was very special and intimate.

Jonathan is the son of Salvation Army officers so we'd both attended each other's churches while we were dating; he would attend my Church of England services and I would attend his corps. 

After getting married, we moved to a new area and joined an independent community church but after a few years felt it was time for us to move on. 

After looking for another community-based church we found our local Salvation Army in Bromley was the one God had called us to. It was where we felt we could contribute and grow the most as a family.

My relationship with God has changed over time. In some ways I've swapped the peaks of blind excitement and enthusiasm for a gentler, grounded and steady relationship with God. Today, God provides a very solid anchor for me; he is someone I can base all my decisions on.

I am particularly grateful to God for giving me the strength and self-worth to turn away from some really negative situations in my life. He stuck with me when I didn't seem to have anyone else, and he gave me something better than I could ever imagine going forwards.

Recently I had the opportunity to tell my entire company about Alpha, which was roughly 2,000 people. Out of that, lots of fellow Christians approached me at work and we have now made a faith at work group where we meet to pray, which feels very special. 

I think the constant challenge of belonging and finding my identity has been helped by my faith in God. Ultimately, deep down if we feel we are unconditionally loved and wanted by someone, it can really help with self-worth and self-value.

Having this self-esteem then makes us consider decisions and perspectives in an entirely different way and that thread of faith gets stitched throughout our lives.

Written by

A photo of Melanie Barker.

Melanie Barker

Bromley Temple

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