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     Well, I have been sitting here reading my online friends testimonies (brother and sister's in Christ) and thinking that I should write a testimony myself. I thought of the many ways I might try and put Christ's love for me into words and I find that the words are just not good enough. I know that my will grow, because God is still revealing things in my life that I have not surrendered to him. What I can share with you, now, is where I have been and how I got to this place. I was born in a home where I wasn't wanted. My parents were still married but they lived in different states. When my father came home for "visits", it usually only meant fighting and hiding. When he was gone my mother spent most her time hating him and blaming us. I was moved around a lot. And, learned that most people were no different than my parents. I had 2 kidney surgeries, I was abused, molested, and raped by the time I was 14. Which was the time I met, moved away with, and would later marry the man I was married to for 16 years. Total amount 18 years spent together....

     I had given up on ever knowing what love was/is. As a little girl I often imagined God with a huge pencil and eraser... writing my name down, and then a few minutes later erasing it. It's amazing when you learn (no when you feel!!) of God's grace.

     As an adult I lost a 7 year old boy that we were adopting to a gun shot at point blank range, while in the care of the babysitters, 3 days before Easter. My home burned down, and my husband and I separated and got back together more times than I can count. Mostly for his drunkenness, drugs, and cheating. Of course there was our fights.

     This is where my testimony really begins. Where I first knew that I needed Jesus. And, that he was alive and well and drawing me to him. Up until this time I never wanted to hear anything about God. I had intended on taking my heaviest of burdens with me to my grave. I didn't believe in heaven or in hell or in compassion, or love. I was hard hearted! And, had a chip on my shoulder.

     Separated from my husband for nearly 2 years and living alone in my apartment with my 6 year old son, and my 3 year old daughter, who had never even heard anything about God. We were just making it.. completely alone. I saw a car pull into our drive way and 3 doors open up. I didn't recognize the car and it didn't take me long to know they were church people. At first I thought about jumping and running back in my apartment, and, then I recognized the one who had been my science teacher in school, the one that loved God and wasn't afraid of saying so to his students. I intended to be sarcastic and mean with him if he walked up to where I was sitting. Sure enough they were coming my way but not to my door. So I asked if his name was such and such. He said yes. And we talked a few minutes and I then said *sarcastically* " I heard your a preeachhherr now" he said he was and asked if I wanted to go to church, (almost in the same breath) I said oh I doubt it but the kids might. They had never been.

     After they left I had found that I had agreed to go the following Sunday. But, that Wednesday he and his wife came back to my door. And, I told them I just wasn't so sure if we wanted to go. ( I didn't let them in the apartment!) I ended up going the week after with my kids. I knew the minute I walked in the building there was something different about the people who were sitting inside. I felt the Holy Spirit! And, I denied it to myself. I remember there was a big wooden cross with a purple sash draped around it. I found myself wanting so badly to go up and just touch it. But, figured the people might think I was completely crazy. And, I couldn't understand why I even wanted too. So, I sat and stared at it most of the service.

     I would go a few Sundays and stay home a few Sundays. Different people would come to my apartment and testify to me. They really seemed to care and I couldn't understand why. It wasn't until the Sunday I went and got there late. I truly believe this whole Sunday was orchestrated by our Heavenly Father. I had gotten there late and had decided not to stay. When a lady came to me and said "we have all been late, come on and go with me" . Then I went up to check on my children after Sunday school class and another lady gave me a book to read. Which made me late to the worship service. They had ran out of worship guides, so I had no idea what the Sunday service was going to be about. But, if I had known .. I would of left. I'm SO glad that I didn't!!

     That was a special Sunday. The church had a woman and her husband come in and talk about her story of abortion and how it affected her life, and how God forgives us. I had had an abortion when my husband and I first got married. Long story short.. he didn't want the baby. And, we had some very bad spiritual guidance. But, I lived with that crime on my heart and had never told anyone. I started crying as I sat and listened to her story. Then she passed around a little doll that was supposed to resemble her baby. I passed on touching the doll but I couldn't keep the tears back. And, I couldn't get up and walk out. A lady sat down beside me and asked if I could relate to her story. I said "no". She preceded to tell me about a friend of hers in college that had an abortion. But, I shut her out after that. After I got home I couldn't hold it in any longer and made an appointment to speak with my pastor. I just knew when I told him about what had happened he would show me the door, but, he didn't. He explained to me about God's "AGAPE" love, and how God forgave people who had murdered in the bible. And, that I no longer needed to carry that burden by myself. That is God's AGAPE love.

     I had listened to everything my Pastor had said and I knew that the conviction for my sins was heavy. I knew I needed forgiveness and that I needed the love that only God can give. I got in touch with my Pastor the next morning and asked him if he.. or someone ....anyone.. could come to my apartment and talk with me. I had questions but most of all I wanted to pray to our Father for the first time and accept Jesus into my heart and our lives. By that afternoon one of the ladies who had been to my apartment arrived and she came in and answered questions, and then she asked me if I wanted to pray and ask Jesus into my heart. And I said that I did. And right there at my kitchen table she prayed with me. I was so overjoyed that I couldn't wait to tell my friends, my family, and my pastor. The next Sunday I stood before the congregation and shared with them how Jesus came into my kitchen and into my heart. I was baptized June 27th 2004. As a outward sign that I was ready to put away the old self and put on the new. I have had several problems since then. And even strayed far enough away that I wasn't sure if I could go back. But, I know that God has plans for my life and that I am forever changed! My biggest desire is to serve him, learn about him, and share his love.

     My church sent me to a retreat for women who have had an abortion and it was there that I spent the most time with our saviour. When I wasn't in group, I was in my room, on my knees talking to God. In one of our meetings they had us to sit around in a circle and the man sat behind us. One by one he called out our names and said.. come out! Just as Jesus had done with Lazarus. We went before the throne to pray and low and behold there was a wooden cross, draped with a purple sash. I finally got to touch the hem of Jesus garment. (I even wrapped it around me!) And, as hard as it is to understand I truly felt like I was touching his garment. I named my children. And we had a "life ceremony" for them. I am grateful!

     My husband and I are finally divorced. I have two children that I love with all my heart. My oldest a boy is getting ready to turn 9. And my little girl will be 6. My son has many health problems and I know that in an instant life can change. That is why I have written this down for you to read. Life is precious. And life is short. But, listen ... God loves you! He wants to write your name down in the book of LIFE.. eternal life. You see after all I have seen in my life and all that I have lost, given away, stolen, and survived from... I know that God can change me and he is equipping me with the knowledge of how to greet every day as a gift that he has given us.

     That teacher I mentioned earlier .. the one that eventually became my pastor. You see God planted him in my life, when everything was so wrong, because he knew he would use him to bring me to the family of God. The Sunday school teacher who became my dear friend, God planted there. God planted online friends who helped me through some very tough struggles... God has placed many people in my life that both listens, guides, and shares their knowledge, and prays for me. I'm thankful for each of them! I now have a whole church family that loves my children, loves me, and loves God! And is helping me to heal the wounds. I don't know how much time I have left on this earth to enjoy the beauty that is all around us. But, I do know, if I trust Jesus with all my heart, when I leave this earth for the last time, I will see all my children, that are there waiting for me. And my children who are still here, will be loved and cared for.

     Perhaps, my testimony is just for here, just for now. Just for you, who are reading it.... If you will let it touch your heart and let Jesus come in, .. he can show you the great mercies he has shown me.

     John 3:16 : For God so loved the world (YOU), he gave his only begotten son, so whosoever (YOU) believes, ... will have eternal life.

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