A little bit about me
My name is Kim Ingalls. I am happily married for almost 12 years. My husband and I have 2 beautiful daughters, Sara and Emily. I am a Medical Laboratory Technologist at the QEII, specializing in Peripheral Blood and Bone Marrow morphology.
I grew up Catholic. Our family went to church regularly. As I got older and left home, I drifted away from the church. I became a holiday church goer (Christmas and Easter). When I got engaged, like many couples, we went to church more often. Once married we again drifted away. Then we had children and we knew we wanted them to have something to believe in, so we started making church more of a priority.
Last December Father asked me if I would go to Alpha and take my friend (Sonia). I said sure on the spot for both of us. Not that I really wanted to go, but I didn’t know what else to say. I didn’t even know what Alpha was. What I did know was that I was busy. My husband and I work full time and the girls dance almost every day of the week. Friday was our only free evening. When was Alpha going to fit in? I secretly hoped that Father would forget he asked me.
Fast forward a month, no one forgot. I was going to Alpha. There was no way out. I couldn’t believe that it was on Friday evening.
My Faith before Alpha
I believed I had great faith before Alpha. Our family went to church as often as possible. My girls sing in the choir. I teach religion. I was certain that my faith was in check.
That first night we walked into Alpha I had no idea what I was getting myself into, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be there. I was happy to have Sonia and Christina by my side. We were assigned to a table and the host who greeted us with a big hug. I sat there analyzing the room. Honestly, I thought the whole thing was a bit strange and I was not committed to the process. I was not sure why I was there. A few weeks passed and I continued to wonder why. I was preparing my break up line for Father – it’s not Alpha, it’s me.
The thing is, I was not committed to the process, but I was committed to my friends. I was growing to love my table. We were all different and had very different stories, but the bonds that were forming in our small group talks meant the world to me.
The Weekend Away
In Alpha, they talk about surrendering yourself to the process. I was guarded and not prepared to let that guard down. The weekend away was fast approaching and my apprehension was growing, and I asked myself over and over again – Why me? What have I gotten myself into? I talked myself into thinking that it was a girl’s weekend and to just go and see what happens.
During the weekend away there is a prayer and worship time. I was terrified, but for some reason at that moment I choose to let my guard down. There was a man leading us in prayer, music playing softly in the background, and I started to cry. Standing there in a room with so many others, crying. It was not a pretty cry and I had no control over these tears. I was a mess.
At this point, we had the opportunity to have a pair of people pray over you. I sat there crying, analyzing the room. I knew ahead of time that this was going to happen, so I had a list of things to pray for. Next I chose a pair of people to pray with me, and one of my amazing table friends came with me. I walked up to these two women and my list no longer made sense. What I needed at that moment was them to pray for me and they knew that. They felt my guard and they prayed that I would let it go. I cried a lot, they spoke a lot, but I have no idea what they said. I only knew how I felt. My tears were gone and I had this overwhelming sense of peace; a peace that was felt not only by me, but also by these 2 women. At this moment I knew I had surrendered and I was about to start a much unexpected journey.
I never expected that I would leave the weekend with a new found faith. Knowing that Alpha is not about religion. It is about a relationship. A relationship with God and knowing that God loves you and that God loves me. It didn’t matter that I did not know the bible, it only mattered that I knew God.
I began to open up more and more about my Alpha experience with my friends and co-workers. The conversations were always interesting. There was a point where my co-workers would wait for me on Monday to see what happened at Alpha on Friday. The more we talked about my experience, the more I realized that everyone wanted something to believe in. I only hope that they find the same faith I have encountered.
This journey is pretty new for me. I am sure the road will be filled with twists and turns, but I am happy to see where it will take me.
The world can be difficult and sometimes harsh. Alpha has taught me to see things differently. To take time for myself, to love, to look for good and kindness even when it seems impossible to find.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story.