Mum-of-three Julia Lawton thought her life was over when her husband died suddenly. But she discovered that God had other plans…
As I sat with my head buried in Nigel’s sweatshirt I thought my life was over. I had a phone call from the hospital at 4am to go in and by 8am he had lost his life. Two days earlier the doctors had given him 12-18 months to get a heart transplant.
There was a bottle of sleeping tablets on the fireplace. It would be so easy to swallow them and be with him, away from all the pain I was feeling.
Then I heard a voice (which I now know to be God) say, “What about those three little boys? They have just lost their dad. Are you going to take their mum away from them too?” I couldn’t do it; they needed me now more than ever. About a year earlier I had started going to church, I knew there was a God but I hadn’t realised you could have a personal relationship with him.
As the days passed by I remember asking someone what a Christian was and how did you become one. I had been reading a book called ‘Power For Living’. There was a prayer for salvation in it and every time I read the book I skipped the prayer.
PRAYED OUT LOUD
One night I lay on my bed. I didn’t draw the curtains as I was quite scared living on my own. There was a street light outside and it reflected on the window frame making a cross on my wardrobe. I kept looking at it and realised I couldn’t live my life on my own anymore. I grabbed the book and said the prayer out loud.
The first person I told was the student assistant minister. He was thrilled and told me people had been praying for me. I won’t lie and tell you from that day my life was instantly better, it wasn’t. I was on a journey and I had to grieve, but having Jesus to help me through that process made such a difference.
I went on to marry Simon (the student assistant minister) and have two daughters and we have been on an incredible adventure ever since. We felt called to Elim Bible College (now Regents Theological College) and during that time we planted a church in Crewe. Then after 13 years we felt called to Newcastle upon Tyne and started the Dream Centre. Now after ten years God has called us to Birmingham.
I am so excited about all that God has before us. I thought my life was over and yet it was only just about to begin. Don’t get me wrong, I will never forget Nigel and what we had, but he wouldn’t have wanted me or the boys’ lives to be put on hold when he died.
Recently Simon wrote a book called ‘Imagine’ that is about trusting God. Before it was published he asked me to read it and as I did I was reminded of the journey we have been on. I am so grateful to God for helping me to trust him and for giving me life after death.
Julia Lawton is married to Simon and they lead Elim Church in Selly Oak, Birmingham.