Hello! I am so excited to finally share my personal testimony of what the LORD has done and is doing in my journey with Him! May it be a blessing to any who read it❤️
I had grown up knowing who Jesus was and was taught the Bible ever since I can remember. I didn’t really know anything else but Christianity. I noticed one of the things that was different between me and my church was that many of them participated in communion, and my parents wouldn’t let me participate in it. So I finally decided to make a decision. (Key note, I made a DECISION—no where in that phrase refers to God or what He did for me.) I made a profession of faith as a young girl at about age 6. Of course, my parents have always wanted to make sure that each individual child really has a hunger for God and wants to experience the relationship with a loving God who sent His Son to die on the cross in the place of our own required death, was buried for three days and three nights, defeated death and rose again. I knew what Jesus did in my head. And even though my parents tried to be careful when leading us young ones to the LORD, somehow I managed to put up the good front and get by, even through the conversations my dad and I would have and the questions about the Gospel he would ask me. However, I had not embraced it and received Him into my heart. There was no bridge to the heart from the head then. Time went on, and finally I had heard a preacher by the name of Kenny Baldwin preach quite the messages at a youth conference, and it impacted my life! At first I thought, “Because I am being really convicted and drawn into the sermons immensely… I must be saved.” That began a journey that opened my eyes to the fact that I really was indeed in need of a Savior and Redeemer. After multiple conversations with my dad, he finally related one’s salvation to being lost out at sea. He went into an allegory similar to this one:
“I was alone and drowning in the middle of the vast and tumultuous ocean. There were no lifeboats or ships around. The shark of sin and death closed in closer and closer to where I was. I was without hope and about to take my final breath…
With me being nearly unconscious, The Savior Diver set aside Himself, His life, and rescues me. He brings me into the warmth and light in the Boat and heals my broken soul. I ask, “Why did you have the love to save me?” He replies, “I long for you to be my child. I delight in making you whole and giving you life.”
When I had heard that allegory, my 9 year old heart was broken knowing I was that lost and dying person in sin and without hope. I humbly received Him into my life then. I already knew what the true Gospel message was, yet this little picture helped me to understand how desperate I really was for redemption of sin and ultimate death without a Savior. I had known the Gospel story, but now I was experiencing the Gospel message.
I didn’t kneel down immediately right there and “pray the prayer” out loud. But in my heart, I was overwhelmed with what Jesus had done and wanted to do for me, and my young heart began overflowing with joy and thankfulness.
My life as a nine year old, however, didn’t change much. There were still some specific things I wanted to hold on to in the flesh. Gradually I was being convicted of continuing in these things and while on my bed one night, the LORD really convicted me of what I was still participating in. I couldn’t sleep. I got off my bed and knocked on my parents door. They let me in and that was the first out of many times I would be completely open with sins I had been doing and apologizing. I began to seek to make things right with multiple people who I felt I needed to apologize to.
That being said, many, many times throughout this new journey, I repeated “the prayer” just to make sure I said the right thing in the right way. I wanted to be certain that I was on the right track…the perfect track. Hence, that lead me into a “overly righteous” season that seeped into an intense physical season for me. My fear was doing something wrong from the time I turned to the LORD. From being so caught up in, “Did I say the right words”, it quickly got to where I could hardly function without being paranoid of whether I was doing the right and perfect thing. Soon, I was so caught up in that mentality and I began to live as if there were no absolutes. My mind would think things like, “What if I actually didn’t do such-and-such… maybe most of what I am doing is imagination.” And perhaps, if I sinned or failed in an area, I would apologize over and over again, “just in case the previous apology was my imagination as well.” I got to the point that I could hardly function right in the daily duties of life such as in school. One example of this was when my instructions in school told me to underline the correct word for the problem on the school page. I underlined the word AND the comma beside it, and that sent me over the top afterwards. I had outright disobeyed the instructions (so I thought), because I had underlined more then what I was told to underline! I HAD to do things perfectly!! And when I didn’t…I couldn’t get out of the trap it brought me into. There were multiple things that mounted with this mental ailment within, and I didn’t know how to get out of it as it spiraled into more and more confusion and mental outbreak. My family tried doing what they knew to do. But this was inside my heart, and nothing was helping hardly at all. Finally, one evening, I began slightly shaking and twitching uncontrollably and it seems I couldn’t even speak normal. After some hot tea and a blanket were brought to me, I settled down. My heart relaxed and I began feeling God’s comfort within. It was around this time and on in sporadic times that I would have little flare ups. On one specific night, I finally cried out to God as a young girl asking for His healing. I don’t want to sound superficial or way off the deep end in charisma; but immediately, I heard His voice in my heart saying He had healed me and that I was to rest in His freedom He bestowed. I even felt it physically.
One may wonder if I really was a child of God through that season of intensity. And my answer would be, “Yes indeed.” But my problem was that, even though I was a child of God, upon embracing His finished work on the cross for my DELIVERANCE FROM sin; I was not living IN the finished work of HIS righteousness being imparted upon me as a new child of God. I was not living and abiding IN the righteousness of the God Who had cleansed and covered me when I had placed my trust in Him. Yes, I gladly rejoiced in what He did that allowed Him to say, “It. Is. Finished.” (John 19:30); however, I was not abiding and living in His finished work of righteousness. I was holding onto His saving righteousness, but was still trying to hold onto my own righteousness to KEEP me righteous. Even Paul addressed some who were believers, yet still had to be encouraged to live in the freedom that had already been given them. (Ephesians 4:17-24) Paul even addressed those who were indeed children of the light, yet needed to be encouraged to WALK (live) as children of the light. “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now light in the Lord: walk as children of light:” Ephesians 5:8. I was a child of the One Who IS Light, however, I was not walking As a child of the light. I was attempting to hold onto my righteousness to KEEP ME righteous in this new journey I was in.
Praise the LORD for His love and faithfulness in teaching me and kindly molding me, even to this day, to walk (abide, live in, rest) in the light of Who He is! I finally let go of my own attempts to be perfect for Him, and this freed me to rest in His perfection and goodness in what HE Had done and Who He was. When I understood this, my eyes were freed to look into His. And as I grow in love and admiration for Him, it only stirs me to WANT to walk and live in His righteousness and light because of Who He is, not for what I have done or can do. When I read the declaration of “It IS finished” in John 19:30, I am reminded of not only His finished Sacrifice of Love for me, but His becoming of my sin, so that I may abide and rest in His unending and all sustaining righteousness.
My heart’s desire is that, even though I still fail and sin, I will get back up by God’s grace and strength, to continue to walk and abide IN the Light that He has given me. It is so beautiful to release controls and let His perfect righteousness spring forth in me!