Ever gone to a Bible study or youth group meeting or any kind of small group event at a church and been asked to share your testimony? I have neither been asked nor have I volunteered my particular testimony because, until now, I had no idea what to say. For those of you who don't know, a Christian Testimony is the who, what, why, where, when, and how you came to know Christ. And until now I thought I never had one.
Because my father was our church choir director and my mother was the accompanist, I was practically born in the church sanctuary. My parents' boss-- the minister-- baptized me shortly after I entered this world and I went to church every Sunday after that. Except in the summers when the choir took a three month hiatus and my dad would stay home with us. When I reached the age of 5 my mom forced me into the children's choir (which she happened to direct-- coincidence? I think not) until I reached 8th grade and graduated from it. Of course I also did Sunday school, VBS, Confirmation, events etc. When I reached high school and discovered I liked to sing, I joined the adult choir and bell choir then started directing 3rd thru 6th graders in the chime choir-- my first job. I joined the Diaconate Committee and Music Committee, the Associate Minister Search Committee, and even sang solos and in small ensembles as our church's weekly Special Music. Suffice to say I was active in the church.
But this is not my testimony.
Although I went to church every Sunday, I had no walk with God. I heard and read the Word, sang the beautiful music, prayed many prayers yet never felt anything other than the proper amount of sacredness and respect for being in church. However, I've always believed and talked with God, even as a child. Of course my parents thought I was talking to myself at night-- yes I speak out loud to God in a conversational way-- but I assure you my 6 year old self knew exactly who she was talking to.
So there was no question of faith, no question of worship, but there was no intimacy. You see, walking with God means having a personal relationship with Him as a Father, Mother, Brother, Lover, Friend... God is EVERYTHING we will ever need and unlike the people who fill those relationship roles in our life, God will never let us down or stop loving us. His forgiveness and love are unconditional. Yet I was going thru the motions and continued to feel emptiness. This is my testimony:
Freshman year of college I lived with three other unique ladies. Unfortunately, my anti-social nervousness turned me into a loner: walking around the city alone and going home every other weekend. There were also differences between the roommates that led to confrontations (which I disliked as I was non-confrontational at that time) and overall a less than stellar living experience, though I am grateful for the friend I got out of it. Silver lining, people! Anyway, my mom recommended The Mitford Series to me-- a 9 book series about a 60 something Episcopalian preacher and his community in the mountain town of Mitford. Father Tim was so human for a preacher, faulted and yet always going to God for answers and support. Sometimes he would ignore God, other times he was angry with Him, and eventually he would ask forgiveness of his weaknesses, all while tending to his flock and bringing non-believers to Christ. Besides being a well-written series with numerous characters far beyond the simple descriptions of "good" and "bad," these popular books were author Jan Karon's way of witnessing to the world.
As a result, I wanted to dive deeper into the Bible, to not only read the words, but understand and FEEL them. This led me to Campus Crusade which is where I met my husband, a man who has humbled and reeducated me on what it means to be close to God. Since then I've gone thru some rough patches in my life and have shamefully let anger consume me for the last few years. Yet God has remained, calling me out of my depressive hole, loving me unconditionally and having the patience to endure my constant sin. Now I've found a wonderful church full of the Holy Spirit with a minister whose sermons are not only interesting but also make sense and have an uncanny application to my life. It's only been 3 weeks yet God has moved at lightning speed. We're becoming better people, realizing our shortcomings and changing not because we want God to love us (He already does) or forgive us (He already does that too) or get into Heaven, but because we want to BE WITH GOD. God is constantly loving and moving with us and if you're a non-believer, He's constantly trying to get your attention because He wants to be with you, to help you, to guide you because He knows what we need.
Anyway, that's my testimony. Thanks for making it to the end of such a personal story-- it means a lot to me. God bless.