Recently I was asked to share a testimony at our women’s retreat. I wrote two and ended up changing the second one at the last minute. I thought I would post both testimonies. This is very transparent.. I thought of so many things God has brought me through and I couldn’t list them all. Here’s a start….
First of all, I want to tell you all I have a 6 year old and an almost 2 year old and this took me 7 “time outs” and lots of tears to write. I wasn’t the one crying although I felt like it.
As I look around today I see so many beautiful faces. We are nicely dressed, have our make up on and we have a smile on our faces. This is how we present ourselves to the world. We put our best self out there. Kind of like social media…we only post the best pictures. I have a policy to immediately untag myself in any unflattering photo. In fact, if I happen to take an unflattering photo, I delete it immediately, no need to have all that floating around. If you come to my home in the middle of the week, unannounced, you may see a different me. I may be wearing stretchy pants…I’d call them yoga pants but I do not do a lot of yoga, my hair may or may not be brushed and I probably will not have makeup on unless I’m going somewhere that day. We present our best selves. It is easy to hide behind our best selves and never “get real” with who we are and where we are.
You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is,of the heart. II Corinthians 3:2-3
In this scripture, Paul (the writer) is basically saying, “You are books that are still being written, by God for all to read.”
That’s what each of our lives are, we are books and we are still being written. So if you aren’t where you want to be or where you hope to be…God is still writing. Allow Him work in you.
Let me tell you part of my story….
I grew up in church, in a religious “turn or burn” environment. That is not a good environment for cultivating relationship. Fear is not a part of Jesus’ character. The Bible says, “the love of Christ draws us.” I loved Jesus. I can remember from the age of 5 years old, loving to sing and having a deep love for Jesus. As a teen, I found myself in a church with many young people who said they were Christians but they didn’t live a Christian lifestyle. I found myself focusing on the behaviors of others rather than on the love of Jesus. I stopped going to church for a few years. By this time, I was in my early 20s. During that time, I never denied that Jesus was real…I just wasn’t living for Him. Keep in mind, my family….still very committed to Jesus, determined that I was going to hell if I didn’t change my ways. They had an “intervention” in which they actually said to me, “if you do not change your lifestyle, we fear you will go to hell. And you should be afraid too.” I have two sisters. My sister, Jenny was sitting in the corner of the room away from the circle the rest of my family had formed and she said, “I’m not a part of this and I told them it wasn’t a good idea.” (I’m not making fun of my family but I do see the humor in all of this). My sisters both knew that I knew where the bodies were buried… I knew all their secrets. The “intervention” failed because I was rebellious and determined that as an adult they weren’t going to tell me what to do. Even though the “intervention” was a fail, my family did continue to pray for me. They would also come home on Sundays and “discuss” the message so I didn’t miss out. Jenny mentioned to me a guy, Charlie that I grew up with. The last I had heard, he went into the Marine corp. She said he was back and “on fire for the Lord”. For all of you who didn’t grow up in Christian circles…he’s very passionate for the Lord. In hind sight, I’m not sure why she told me this. I was attending and working at ACC at the time. One day, my plan was to get there around 10 a.m and hit the library to study. Everything happened that morning. I was so behind my schedule. I didn’t make it to library until almost 1 p.m. I had been there a few minutes when someone tapped me on my shoulder. It was that guy, Charlie. The only thing that ran through my mind was, “on fire for the Lord” and I was pretty sure I didn’t want talk to him or anyone else who was “on fire for the Lord”. He said, “Can I talk to you outside?” I left all my belongings at the desk I was working at and followed him outside…because it wasn’t going to take long. He said to me, “God sent me here today to tell you, ‘It’s time to come home’.” Those words may have been simple but they hit me like a ton of bricks. I started crying. Not ugly crying but tearing up. Even though that Word hit me, it still took 4 to 6 months for my life to turn around. Every time I would see Charlie, if he hadn’t seen me, I would turn and go the other way. He would invite me to sit with him. He didn’t bring up church or even God. He just hung out with me. I still wasn’t comfortable. He told me his side of that day later on. He said, God told him “Go to the library, I’m going to send someone.” He waited at the library until after noon. He left. He had things to do. The parking situation at that ACC was terrible. If you got a spot, you didn’t leave and come back. Charlie said, he got in his truck and drove out of his spot and the heard the Lord say, “She’s there.” He found another spot…another miracle and headed back up to the 10th floor. He said he knew the minute he saw me that I was the person he was sent to talk to. Every time he would see me, God would say, “Go talk to her.” He would tell God, “She hates me.” But he talked to me anyway. We later became very good friend. At the time that this happened, I had been dating someone who said he was a Christian but he wasn’t a Christ follower…we had dated over a year and a half and had talked about marriage. My plan was to make all my “wrong” behaviors “right” so I could have what I wanted and follow Jesus. If I just got married then it was okay for me to be with this guy. Of course all my partying was going to have to stop. To me, it was all about what I was going to have to give up. My life did change; everything changed…for the better. That wasn’t the end of my story. I have served the Lord for many years now and I’ve had my ups and downs. Things happened in my life that if it were not for Jesus, I would have crumpled up and died. I have failed God miserably. I was date raped. I had a miscarriage. My husband and I attended two very damaged churches (this played out in the pastors being spiritually abusive), I’ve been diagnosed with HPV. We had a miscarriage, I’ve been cursed. I’ve wanted to die. We were told we didn’t qualify to purchase a house. Now let me tell you how God turned all those things around. God has restored me. I’ve been healed…mentally, spiritually and physically. That’s right, my current doctor ran every test she could and said I do not have HPV (even though three doctors before her said I did). God has given me a great husband. Even though, I had a miscarriage at 13 weeks, 7 months later, I had a baby…a family gave us a toddler…do the math, God had prepared my heart to be a mom even though my body didn’t deliver that baby. We have adopted. God has placed us in a healthy church with healthy pastors. Every curse spoken over us has been cancelled. Only 6 months after being told we didn’t qualify to purchase a house, we closed on our house. Every one of these things are a part of my story. There are even more that I haven’t mentioned here.
Each situation represents a testimony that I could share with you about what God has done in my life. There were times during those situations that I asked God, “Why is this happening?” These things happen to bring glory to God and as a testimony to you that if He did it for me, He will do it for you. God doesn’t love me more than anyone else. He loves you so much and if He delivered me, He will deliver you. If He healed me, He will heal you. He has blessed me, He will bless you.
Even if I didn’t mention your struggle, there is a lady in this room who has been where you are. You are not alone. God loves you and wants you healed, delivered and whole. He wants your book to read that you lived an abundant life.
You are not alone in your struggle unless you choose to be.