Saturday, August 17, 2013

Celebrating My 1,000th POST!!!!

THIS is my 1,000th blog POST.  I wanted to do something really creative in honor of it, but rather than making it "selfy", I quickly decided to give this "celebration" total GLORY to God, by sharing my testimony with you all!  I was given the opportunity to share my testimony at church, several years ago, but I have NEVER shared it on my blog.  Here is the story of how my life changed from darkness to light and how the grace of God has created a clean heart in me.
"Ever since I can remember, my mother has taught me about the Word of God, made me attend Church on Sundays, as well as attend private schools.  I even recall my mother taking me to a Billy Graham crusade where I “signed a card” and accepted Jesus into my life.  My mother told the world I was a believer and was so proud of me.  I’m sure I thought my job was done.  At age 14, I moved to New York to live with my father.  I attended a Catholic school for one year, but I was never really forced or asked to attend Church, after all, my father didn’t attend either.  At age 15, I moved to Roanoke, VA.  We attended Our Lady of Nazareth for a while, but our family was never consistent about going.  Darren and I started dating when I was 15 ½.  We never really shared our religious thoughts or beliefs, but I knew Darren was the one for me.  Once we entered College, occasionally we would discuss topics such as the Bible, Hell, and Heaven.  Many of Darren’s views made sense to me, and I adopted them as my own, but little did I know they were not scripturally based, they were simply made up.  One of my favorite of Darren’s views was “There is no such thing as Hell.  If God is ALL loving, there cannot be a place that is all evil.”  Over the last ten years or so, my mother would visit and try to breathe the Word of God into our lives.  Darren and I wanted nothing to do with it.  I vividly remember telling my mom, “Please, just stop trying to force this into my life.  When the time is right, I know I will turn my life over to Christ.  I’m just not ready yet.  And every time you try to force me to know more, I just want to rebel and turn as far away from being a Christian as possible.”
In November of 2007, I reached my all time low.  Some of the most significant people in my life (well people who I thought were significant at the time) were dropping out of my life like raindrops.  Other than that, my life should have been fairly “perfect”.  I had a gorgeous home, a brand new car, no debt, a healthy child, and I was married to my high school sweet heart, but I was the most miserable person in the world.  It was then that I realized something BIG was missing in my life.  The only thing I could come up with, the only thing I felt that was lacking in my life was God/Christ.
I had two friends in my life, Jill Higginbotham, being one of them, and Sara Warren, who were avid Church goers and it just seemed as if their lives couldn’t get any better.  They were positive and very upbeat about life in general, but one thing was for sure, you could tell that they loved Christ.  I found myself feeling three emotions when I would leave their presence: conviction, optimism,  and hope.  I wasn’t sure why, but I looked forward to being around them as often as I could. 
The manner in which I came to know Christ happened in a strange way.  What I mean by that is, I did things a little backwards.  One day, while running on the treadmill, side by side, with Jill, she invited me to attend a Monday Women’s Bible Study, so I started with that.  I then stepped out of my shell and attended Wednesday services and finally Sunday services.  Looking back, Jill and I laugh as we reminisce on me saying, “I don’t mind going to bible study or Wednesday night service, but Sunday services is not for me.  Saturday and Sundays are reserved for family time”.  For a year, Tyson and I attended Church and Church functions without the accompaniment of my husband.  As a matter of fact, every Sunday, when I would return home from church service, I would feel convicted, but in a good way, I would feel so refreshed, but as my feet entered my home after the service, Darren would do something or say something that would cause me to lash out in anger.  He would sarcastically say, “Boy, that Church is really doing you a whole lot of good, huh?”  Needless to say, I eventually learned to deal with his comments in a Christ like manner and I turned to my sisters in Christ for prayer and support. 

I decided in June I wanted to be baptized at the River Baptism.  The days leading up to my baptism were bitter-sweet.  I never told Darren that I was getting baptized, so as much as this was such an exciting day for me, I was so crushed that the person I wanted there the most, to cheer me on, was not only NOT present, but was unaware that I was even going to be baptized.  I didn’t tell him because I could just hear him say, “You’re getting baptized in a river.  HA.  What are you in some kind of cult?” 
By the grace of God and through Jill and Sara’s discipleship, I was baptized on July 13th.  From then on, I crave listening to the Word of God and my life just seems so complete now.  I know this is going to sound like a speech that you hear at the grammy’s when one wins an award, but I do want to thank 3 people for my salvation: first and foremost GOD.  I thank God everyday for choosing me and this life I now live. Although I know Jill and Sara wouldn’t want to take credit for my salvation, in a sense they should.  They were the instrument that lead me to Christ.  I thank them for their obedience to the word, their dedication to share it, and their determination to stick with me.  And finally, I am so grateful for each and every one of my family members in Christ!  You all provide me with the love that I lacked from those “significant” people in my life who, for now, I no longer feel equally yoked with."

The above testimony was written 2+ years ago.  As I look back, even just two years ago, I realize even how much more my sanctification in Christ has developed.  I am grateful for the sound doctrine that is preached, faithfully in our church.  I am thankful for the brothers and sisters in Christ that hold me accountable and shower me with love and encouragement.  I praise God that my husband NOW loves the LORD and that our children are being raised in a godly home.  ALL GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST!