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Warcry: No half measures

Tracey Marks tells her story to WarcryTracy Marks says she’s excited about the future and what lies ahead.

I grew up in a loving family that attended the Preston Salvation Army every Sunday and went to different activities during the week, from singing in the children’s choir to playing the timbrel (tambourine), but for a long time I was just going through the motions.

I went to church because that was what my family did. Little did they know that on Friday nights I was getting drunk and partying the night away, because on Sunday I was that good little Christian girl everyone knew me as.

It came to a head in 2007 when I said to my Mum, ‘I don’t want to go to church because I have to’. So, for the next five months I didn’t go to church and just kept partying.

Early in 2008 a friend of mine from Macleod Salvos was worried about not having enough people to drive the youth group around so I said I’d help, as long as I didn’t have to go to church. But God had other plans; I ended up going.

The Macleod Salvation Army was a small church, but it felt like a big family to me. They welcomed me, accepted me, and showed me love when I needed it the most. They taught me things about God that I never knew before and for the first time my faith became my own. Now I was going to church because I wanted to, not because I had to.

For me it was a slow journey that took a number of years and many promptings from God to change my behaviour. At the start of 2009 I knew enough was enough—I knew I had to stop living the way I was. It was all or nothing, no half-way option. In March 2009 I gave my life to God and became a soldier (member of the Salvation Army).

This was a big thing because a few years earlier I’d said that I would never do this and now I was not only becoming a soldier, but giving God my whole life.

Around the same time God spoke to me and said, ‘officership’(ordained minister), nothing else just that one word.

This scared me to my core as I had never had God speak to me in this way before and I couldn’t imagine leaving my family to travel to wherever The Salvation Army might need me.

I said to God, ‘How can I leave my family, they need me, they depend on me?’ But God continued to remind me of the song, ‘I’m in his (God’s) hands’, and that my family are also. Over time I came to accept my call from God and had it confirmed through reading the Bible and a number of different officers, who had also heard God’s audible voice calling them.

I’m now in my last year at Salvation Army officer training college in Melbourne and I know that I am where God wants me to be. It has been an amazing journey filled with many exciting, fun and challenging times, and I would go through them all again because each of these experiences have helped shape me into who I am today.

I know that I am where I am today because of what God has done in my life. I look forward to serving God all the days of my life and helping others to realise that the same grace that God has showed me is open to them, too.

Other stories from Warcry

To read other stories from past issues of WarCry, click here.