Aren’t testimonies incredible? I love that everyone has a different one, designed to glorify and bring others to Him. Some are full of heart-wrenching details and others are simpler, less dazzling versions…but they all speak to a different kind of person. Currently, I am reading a book that challenges you to live out your testimony–and, it dawned on me that I have never written mine out from beginning to end. So, here we go:
I was raised by an immigrant father and an American mother. My dad came to the U.S. 40 years ago with nothing in his pockets, worked his way through school, gained US Citizenship, and built a successful company. Even though we looked “different” than everyone else, I am so thankful for the instant perspective that comes from this kind of background. I have been teased, looked down upon, and even was refused service at a gas station for the name on my credit card, and I am better because of it. As thankful as I am for the integrity and hard-working nature of my parents, religion or spirituality was never a priority in my home–So, I graduated high school, went to college, found a great job, got married, survived some less than stellar choices during all of this time, and had a baby before this conversation ever happened:
“So, we should go visit some churches.”–my husband (10 years ago, while we were watching Bravo TV)
I mean, should we? Honestly, I had a bad taste in my mouth about churches–we live in Texas where megachurches land on every major intersection…And, I had a huge chip on my shoulder, because the same people who went to those mega churches were the same people who hated me because I wasn’t like them or because my family tree looked different than theirs.
Why did I agree to go–this is such a good question. My heart was hard, but a tiny little voice knew the aching desires of my heart. That only God could fill in the holes–and there were so many holes to fill. I am so glad Rob asked that question, and that I agreed to go…
…and, so we did.
Oh my goodness. Listen, there are some wonderful, beautiful churches in our area. I know this, because we visited almost all of them. They all were lovely, but what the preachers said sounded something like this: CJOSJDOSDFJERJ CEORJC EOJ…etc, SDJDFSDLFJSLD, etc. Back then, I was secretly vindicated as we checked churches off our list–see, I was right about churches! Now, I know that those preachers were probably saying some great things that didn’t move me because the timing/situation wasn’t perfectly aligned with God’s plan for our family. Also, I think this was the first time that God showed me His great sense of humor.
And so it turns out, because our God is so funny, we ended up at our last choice…a big Baptist church that I swore on my favorite Coach purse that I would never step foot in…But we did, and they were in the middle of a sermon series on forgiveness….and, I cried…the entire service…and maybe I cried during the next 3 weeks services as well…also, I am sure that Rob was starting to question if I would ever stop the floodgates, but–the Holy spirit broke down walls, my friends, that were cemented deep into my soul. I cried over the fact that my mistakes and brokenness were forgiven and all the hurt finally began to heal. So in March 2004, I became a “believer” and knew that Jesus Christ died on a cross for my sins, so that I might have a relationship with his Father and eternal life. I followed in believer’s baptism shortly after (not one of my finer moments–I hate being the center of attention!), and we plugged into our church’s small groups.
So what? Since then, our life hasn’t been perfect…we struggled with infertility for 4 years, people who were close to us hurt us, our marriage was tested, and there were times when money was tight. If we had been left to our own devices, we would have crashed and burned long ago. Instead, we have leaned heavily on Him during the bumps and valleys…sometimes for just a season and sometimes for years at a time…and, He has always, faithfully, shown us His way– a way which is almost always 100 times better than I could have imagined myself. And, for that I am so incredibly grateful. Our children are little beacons of light, and I know that the best thing we ever did for them or our family was taking the steps to raise them to know God’s word, to trust Him, and to find a church home for our family. I plan on spending the rest of my time on this Earth pointing to Him and saying “God did this with our family. Every good thing I have is because of Him, and he covers me in His grace even when I don’t deserve it.” Thank you, Jesus!
If you ever have any questions or want to learn more, please feel free to email me! I don’t have all of the answers, but I am happy to assist you in any way I can, just listen, or point you in the direction of someone who might be able to help. 😉