When I am asked to share my testimony, I ask in return, “which part?”
You see, there are multiple facets of my testimony. The first part describes how I was raised in a Christian home. During my childhood years, my mother made sure I was in church for most all the services and that I was active in the church. Through her example I learned the responsibilities of being a church member from an early age and helping around the church.
Then it happened. It was my first year in the teenage class at Vacation Bible School. Our teacher was also one of the youth leaders. She was a wonderful young woman: kind, joyful and she was bursting with the love of Jesus. I wanted what she had. That week under her teaching, testimony, and example, I realized that while I knew who Jesus was, I did not know Jesus yet. And I wanted to know Him like she did. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior that Friday night. I was baptized a few weeks later.
For the next four years, I remained active in church, telling my friends about Jesus, even the ones who didn’t want to hear it. But most of my friends were like me, raised in church. And many were like me, finally realizing there was difference in knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus. One of my childhood friends and I would sit for hours talking about Jesus, God’s Word, the church and singing gospel music. When I think back on it, she and I didn’t realize we were helping each other grow as Christians; we were merely making conversation and having fun.
Part two of my testimony is not so pretty. My young adult years came along with a new adult job, living on my own, and the role of being keeper of myself. In many instances, I took that role too literally. I made some bad choices. And, I didn’t make myself go to church every Sunday which eventually meant I didn’t make myself go at all. I used the excuse I had to work or none of my friends were going anymore. Any excuse I think of not to go. I just wanted to do my own thing. But here’s the thing, I still read my Bible…some. I still prayed…some. I knew God had not left me. But at the same time, I would never admit I was leaving God.
A decade and a half later from those last church days, I found myself going through a painful divorce.
What?! A divorce?!
Yes, a divorce. The big “D” that makes most church folks cringe and very uncomfortable. And believe me, it made my family and me very uncomfortable. But it happened.
There’s another ‘ but’… But, God. God showed up! God showed up in amazing ways! He used other Christians to speak to me and help me sort out and understand that I was not at fault, that I was not abandoning my marriage. He used other people to remind me He was still here. God had never left me; I left God. Through the pain of divorce, I realized how God must feel when we leave Him, except He feels thousands of times worse. I could not have healed from the divorce without knowing Jesus.
During that healing time, part three was unfolding. I realized I had become financially dependent on someone else in a short period of time. I decided to go back to school and pursue a college degree I never thought I needed until now. For the next 5 years, I worked full-time, and pursued my bachelor’s degree. The struggle was real.
The emotional struggle became harder as God called home a handful of special people in my life over the course of those 5 years. It seemed like every which way I turned; I was losing people I loved. But I learned something deeper about God and His plans for our life during each loss.
Around the time my grandmother passed away, I finally felt and understood what it means to rejoice when a saint is called home. Hours before she passed, Grandmother told me she wanted to go, she was ready to see her Jesus. Friends, that’s what it’s all about, being ready to see Jesus. She had a wonderful life on this earth, and she didn’t want to leave us, but she knew Jesus had so much more waiting for her. And He has the same waiting for us. We just need to be ready. So, there was a peace in saying goodbye to her. I knew beyond a shadow of doubt, I was just saying farewell because I am ready when my time comes. Such an indescribable peace!
And it gets better.
While I lost a lot of loved ones in that decade, I gained a lot of new loved ones by the end of that decade. Aside from finishing my degree, I had met a wonderful man, and we married. On our wedding day, I officially became a wife, a bonus mom, and a Nana! You see, God never leaves us empty handed. Since then we’ve been blessed with two more grandchildren. I am a stay at home Nana, a writer for Jesus, and a Bible study leader. I have wonderful godly parents and parent-in-laws, a beautiful church family, and godly girlfriends. I have the people God has chosen and intricately placed in this season of my life. And it is good!
For a long time, I thought our testimonies began at conversion and that mine was not worth telling since I did not have radical change of life when I accepted Christ. But I was wrong. The point of our repentance and conversion IS the most important part of our testimony. Did you know that the very moment you repent and profess Jesus as Lord and Savior, a band of angels rejoice in heaven? (Luke15:7-10) How awesome is that?
But our story does not end there. Our story continues. Our story is the entire evidence of Christ’s work in our life. A believer of Jesus can reflect back on their life and see God’s hand at work.
While I have shared an overview of God’s story in my life, I only scratched the surface. One day I will tell you about how God watched over me during my years of living own my own, keeping me safe. And I will tell you how God healed the pains and embarrassment of being childless. I will tell you how God eases the pain of ‘religious’ people hurting or shunning a divorcee. I will tell you about the instances where my family and I witnessed God’s healing from sickness. I will tell you how God used certain scenarios to get my stubborn self to the doctor to take care of something else that really needed attention. I will tell you how God answers prayers and opens doors of opportunity when you least expect it. I will tell you how God answers the prayers you pray over your children. I will tell you how just speaking the name of Jesus calms an anxious heart or stressful situation. That one name brings hearts to healing, peace and worship. One day I will tell you more of my story.
And every day, I will show you how God is using me to share the gospel through writing, teaching and speaking. I’m glad you are here. I am honored to share this journey with you.
Hang on, God’s not finished yet.