I know my very first post explained a little of this, but I came across this note that I wrote November 11, 2011 tucked way deep into the side pocket of my bible protector. I questioned whether or not I should share it with you all because I’ve basically already explained that I didn’t really come to know and love Jesus Christ until the age of 33. But after discovering and reading over this note titled, “My Testimony”, there is so much I did not share with you! You see, this blog, the “lemons and honey” of my life “the bad that led to the good”, my story, it’s the story I hesitate more often than not to share with you. However, I want to be able to share my story to the fullest, all the good, bad and the ugly, in hopes that it may help others to see that with God all things are possible! To see that He wants to give us hope and a future! His word says, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.~ Jeremiah 29:11 If Christ has done great things for you, you have the privilege of sharing that good news with others. His word also says, “‘Return home and tell how much God has done for you.’ So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him” (Luke 8:39). I pray often about this blog, and I pray that God will use me through this blog to speak to others through my own story. I pray that I don’t seek glory from having a blog or writing things that get attention, but that God will always get 100% of the glory! I ask that you please pray these things also, and that you would pray for me, for boldness and courage, to continue to blog in order to glorify God and never myself!
My Testimony! (The Note I wrote on 11/11/2011)
I didn’t grow up going to church consistently. When ever someone asked what religion I was, I wasn’t really even sure. I’d remembered going to Baptist churches mostly but also had gone to Methodist, and didn’t really go enough to even know the difference, so I’d just say Baptist or Methodist. My mom always talked about God, how He wanted us to do right and not wrong, how we should be going to church, etc. At the age of nine I, along with my sister, and some cousins was dropped off at a local VBS where all the kids were told at the end of the week, “Okay who ever believes this (a little card they had read about salvation), come in this room, and whoever doesn’t want to can stay in here.” Well hello! What would you have done at the age of 9? I really did believe them. Why would they lie to me, and every single kid that day also said they believed! I mean we are in a church where everyone is good people right and I didn’t see any harm in believing them even thought I didn’t really understand. Anyway, I went on to be baptized, because that’s just what happens after you get “saved”. I can’t really remember the next time I went to church, but I’m thinking maybe Junior High. My dad worked construction, and we moved like a gazillion times a year! But when I was in the 7th grade, about 13, we finally stayed put, and I went every now and then to church, because my parents dropped us off, or because it was something cool to do with the rest of my friends. Then when I was in the 9th grade, I went on some kind of church event, can’t really remember what exactly it was, but to me, it was a vacation with friends. And I remember vividly, one of the first things they asked us to do was to write down our testimony. I was completely frozen, asking everyone what they were writing, hoping it would help me come up with something or try to remember something that maybe I’d forgotten. I never wrote down a single word! I remember feeling so lost, but more so, unlike everyone else. I still did not realize exactly what I was lost from or what point I was missing. That assignment was soon over and we had fun! I didn’t write anything by the way. By 10th grade, I found a new, more “exciting” group of friends (so I thought), and begin partying, drinking, having sex like everyone else that I hung around. The only guilt I ever really felt was from hiding it from my mom or lying to her about where I was going. I don’t recall ever feeling like I had disappointed GOD, for doing these things, but I loved my mom and would never want to hurt her! Needless to say she eventually found out, and was hurt, but by this time I didn’t care at all, even telling her that I hated her, even though I knew she had done nothing but loved me and wanted what was best for me. I eventually made amends with my mom and asked for her forgiveness, but that never stopped me from living the life I was living. I had started dating a 21-year-old at the age of 16. I was still going to do “fun” things with my church friends every now and then, friends I had come to realize were a lot like me. We, all of us girls, went on a “True Love Waits” retreat (really just for the Florida vacation), and I called my “21-year-old” boyfriend during that week and informed him that I wasn’t having sex with him anymore, because you weren’t supposed to unless you were married. He said “okay”, never really believing me obviously. I quit my birth control while I was on the retreat, hoping this would make it easier to stick with what I thought I was committed to. I think just for the challenge, to be able to say I could do this! Needless to say, a week after I got back, he begged, I gave in, and I was pregnant at the age of 17. I remember being given the option of abortion, only to come to the conclusion “I cannot kill my baby, nor do I want to!” I never even considered what God would have wanted. I went on to marry him, because I was put under a lot of pressure that it was “the right thing to do”. I knew I didn’t love him, and cried for about two weeks straight leading up to the wedding date. I remember vividly telling my sister who was begging me not to do it, “It’s okay, I can always divorce him later.” That was the only thing that gave me peace. Five months pregnant with my second child, I did get a divorce, even staying back and forth with him for the next 3 years, miserable. I started praying, “Dear God, please let me be in love with this person for the sake of my children.” Then I realized and thought about all the wrong that had already been done, I mean we were already divorced, and that’s when I finally found the courage to leave for good. I went on to living the single life, partying, drinking, having sex, not being the mom that I knew I wanted to be, and finally met Justin, who is my husband now and my soul mate. He seemed too good to be true, so loving, caring and wonderful with my girls, but God was never even discussed! We were too busy living the high life, partying, drinking and falling in love, and we were good people with good hearts. We even went to church a couple of times and I’m not sure how that even happened. But I always knew I wanted my children raised in church because that would make them “good people” and hopefully make them want to make good choices. Then after 33 years of age, 5 kids later, still married to the love of my life (by the grace of GOD), I woke up and realized what I had been missing in my life, GOD! I WANTED that thing that I always thought seemed so boring, un-cool, full of hypocrites, the “true Christian life”. My husband finally got a job that allowed us to be able to go to church every Sunday and we couldn’t get enough! I joined a women’s bible study, BSF, and after going consistently, found myself begging for more, craving to know more about GOD! Now I actually understood how to pray and WHO I was praying to. I was putting 100% of my faith in HIM that HE would answer my prayers! I prayed for Him to please let me understand what I am hearing, and for Him to please give me the desire to want to live this life. I prayed for Him to please take away these sinful worldly desires that I had come to enjoy. He answered! My eyes were opened, and I finally started to realize what I had been missing out on all those years, and what I had so selfishly kept from my children and my husband! I even realized that oh my goodness, this is what my husband wanted a few years ago, and I’ve swayed him from it, because I was not ready for that “boring lifestyle”. I started living like GOD wanted me to live, even telling others about HIM. The desires to drink, get drunk and party were disappearing. The foul language was slowly disappearing from my mouth. I want to pray all the time. I wanted my husband and my children to want the same thing. Eventually my children were even looking forward to church and Sunday school! I felt so good, I convinced myself that I must have been saved that time when I was 9, because I feel great and life is going great, and God is doing wonderful things in my life! I’m even telling others about GOD, bringing them closer to HIM. Surely I’ve got to be a Christian myself! Until November 13, 2011 while sitting in my couples connection group, Don Bush (one of the leaders and a wonderful mentor) wrote down an outline to telling your testimony! It was like I was right back there, in that big building with all my friends at the age of 13/14, when I could not think of a single thing to tell or write! It was like a slap in the face. I knew I hadn’t truly committed my life to God, repenting of all my sins. I had just kind of swept them under the rug and started fresh. I wanted to run out right that second, walk down the aisle (which is what we did in our church), and have someone listen to me and help walk me through what I knew I had to do and had been wanting to do for several months now! It was at that moment I truly realized what it took and meant to be saved by GOD’s grace and my faith in HIM alone, and realized that I was far from being saved that day at VBS when I was 9 years old, but that I had been ready for HIM for the last several months and I was ready to take that final step in asking HIM into my life and meaning it with every bit of my heart. I was ready to repent of every single sin I could think of! I was ready to stop questioning whether or not I was saved already, whether or not it was real when I was 9 years old. My life hasn’t been the same! I have a whole new outlook on life. I see things in a different light. I try to pray without ceasing, thanking God daily! So here I am today, without a doubt that I am a Christian, and I know that I am saved by GOD’s grace, and my faith in HIM alone.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
This is my testimony!
That day, there was this little app type thing called “Your God’s Daily Message” that I had put on my computer (its was kind of like words of encouragement), and this is what it read:
“Today, God’s message to you is that this day is unique. There will never be another like it. No matter what happens today, it’s up to you to make the most of it.” WOW!!! God never ceases to amaze me!
I would like to add to this in regards to the above note: I want to talk about the “honey” that came from some of these trials I like to call “lemons”. There is so much good that came out of what seemed like one of the toughest times of my life! I’m so thankful every single day that God chose to give me my oldest two daughters, who I would’ve never had if I wouldn’t have taken those particular roads. I learned so many life lessons that I can use to teach and guide my own children. I also believe that getting pregnant gave me no choice but to settle down, and stop drinking during a time when I was very naive and such a follower. Also, the pure realization that God can redeem and rescue anyone, forgives us for everything we confess and never stops loving us! God is always in control, He has a plan, and His plan is perfect! Some times it’s hard to see the good in the midst of the trials, but when you do see the good and realize that God was and is always in control, that He had and has a plan, and what He brought you through….you start tasting the honey! I’ve since realized this was only the beginning of my testimony!
I finally had the boldness and courage to be baptized March 2, 2014!
Here’s an example of a prayer of salvation for any of you who may need it. There is no certain way to pray this as long as you believe this in your heart! Just talk to God!
“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
His word says, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” ~Acts 2:38