As Christians, we all have testimonies. While some of us may feel that our testimonies aren’t all that exciting, each one is, nonetheless, a miracle that results in eternal life. It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23). My testimony falls somewhere in the middle of boring and exciting. It is not all-inclusive, but it highlights the events that led me to Jesus.
I was not raised in a Christian home. The only time I recall being in church when I was a child was for weddings. The only time I ever heard about Jesus was when I went to Vacation Bible school when I was about eight or nine years old. I don’t remember many details, but what I do remember is my mom buying my sister and me a Bible that had pictures in it and I would sit for hours and look through it. I also remember my mom replacing the old, shabby shades in our rooms with blinds and I used the shades to write things on that I knew about the Bible. I remember writing the names of the four gospels on one of the shades. I guess God was putting a hunger for Him in my soul even back then when I had no idea who he really was.
My dad was mentally abusive to me and my sister and brother and he became physically abusive to my mom, so when I was eleven years old my mom divorced him. We would see my dad on weekends for awhile, but I never had a close relationship with him and when I was old enough to make my own decision, I stopped visiting him. I have not seen or heard from him now for probably well over fifteen years. There is much more to this story, but the details aren’t all that important right now.
When I was about fourteen years old, I started dabbling with my best friend’s parents’ ouija board. I remember being somewhat afraid of it, but curious at the same time. At about this same time, weird things apparently started happening in my best friend’s house. One night, her mom had an experience where she claims that she was physically possessed by something, unable to move or speak. All she was able to do was to call out to God in her mind. When she did, she was released. This led her to an Assembly of God church where she was saved, and after awhile I started attending church with them on Sunday mornings and the youth group on Wednesday nights. By this time I was more interested in boys than in Jesus, but in spite of that, God got through and I was born again and baptized. The youth pastor had a way of making it interesting and I became very close to him and his young family. I would babysit for him and his wife and he became like the father my dad never was in some ways. I attended that church until I had a falling out with my best friend (over a boy, of course) and then began my backsliding years. Once I got to high school I was more interested in boys and having fun with my friends than I was about having a relationship with Jesus. He was always on my mind, but I managed to push Him to the back and do what I wanted to do. Looking back, I was like the seed that fell on rocky soil in Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seeds. I sprouted up quickly, but my roots did not have enough fertile soil to grow down into.
I was fairly insecure and felt like I needed a boyfriend to make me feel wanted and loved. I almost always had a boyfriend and if I didn’t, I was looking for one. After graduation, my core group of friends scattered and I was left alone and very lonely. The only person left besides me was the cousin of a high school friend. He was a nice guy, but not boyfriend material in my mind. Despite this fact, our relationship became physical and I became pregnant. I had always–ever since I was four years old and not even aware of where babies came from–wanted a baby. Shortly after I turned twenty years old my son, Matthew, was born. He was the light of my life and I thought he would fill the emptiness. He did for awhile, but them the loneliness returned. By this time, I had a sneaking suspicion that no one except God could fill that hole in my heart. So one night while I was at work I pulled out a phone book and thumbed through to my youth pastor’s name and found him listed. The next day I called the number and talked to his wife, and she invited me to the church they had started. I eagerly accepted and the following Sunday I was there. This is where I met my future sister-in-law. I was immediately drawn to her for some reason. I met Dan a few months later on a hay rack ride that my church had. If there is such a thing as love at first sight, I fell in it, but my SIL quickly deterred me because Dan was not a Christian; in fact, quite the contrary. He was pursuing his master’s degree in biology and public administration and had a particular interest in evolution. Bummer!
I continued to attend this church for several months but I quickly grew discontented because I was, of course, hoping to find a nice Christian guy who wanted to be a father to my son and this was a small church. Satan convinced me that I did not fit in and so I began attending their larger sister church. Pastor Art’s wife called me and told me I belonged in their fold, so I went back. This was right after Christmas. I found out that while I was gone that Dan had come to church hoping to see me. No wonder Satan tried to chase me out of there!
I still remember the day I saw him again for the first time. I was in the nursery (that was the only time I could bring Matt to church because he refused to stay in the nursery with anyone except me) and since I wasn’t going to be in the service I had not paid particular attention to the way I looked. After the service was over I said a quick hello and goodbye and then I hit the door running! As soon as I got home, though, I ran to my bedroom, got down on my knees, and asked God if I could have Dan for my husband. I had never prayed anything like that in my life! So the next Sunday I spent extra time fixing myself up. When I got to church Dan wasn’t there! I found out later that he had been running late and when he got there he decided to turn around and go back home. I was, understandably, very disappointed and I thought that was God’s answer to my prayer, so I tried to shove him out of my mind the whole next week. It was during this time that I decided I needed to think about my future and decided to go back to college. I spent that week going to visit colleges ( I decided I wanted to be a nurse) and I enrolled in a class at the community college.
The following Sunday, much to my surprise, Dan pulled up at the same time I arrived and he walked into the church with me! I began excitedly telling him how I was going back to school and we sat together during the service. Afterward I did something completely out of character–I asked him for his phone number and suggested that maybe we could go out sometime! He invited me out on the spot. We went to lunch at Village Inn. I told him I had to go pick up Matthew since my grandma had been watching him while I was at church and so I met him and my future SIL and her family there. Matt was normally the best behaved kid in any restaurant, but for some reason, that day he decided to be a monster! To say I was embarrassed would be a gross understatement! I was mortified! I remember telling Matthew on the way to the car that he had just blown whatever chance he had of having a daddy. Like a typical two year old, he didn’t seem too concerned.
Imagine my surprise when Tuesday evening the phone rang and it was Dan! And he was calling to ask me out for Thursday night. OMGOSH! I was sooo excited! He even told me I could bring Matthew with us, to which I promptly said “no!” I asked my mom to babysit because I was going out with Dan and she was like, “Who?”. I told her about him and she then told me that he had called Monday night but I had gone upstairs to bed already and she forgot to give me the message.
Long story short (or shorter, anyway), our first date was February 1st, 1990, we got officially engaged on April 1st of the same year, and we were married on September 15th, 1990.
I fully expected to live a fairytale life with my Prince Charming, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that wasn’t going to happen. Even though I had been back in church and truly wanted to grow in my faith, Dan was not committed to Jesus. He had an amazing salvation experience in about 2003 or 2004, but before that, we only attended church sporadically. It wasn’t until 2001 that I finally found a church I loved, and Dan came along because it was the thing to do. Over the years, Dan’s faith has waned, I had bad experiences with Christians in my church, and I walked away from my relationship with God for several years. This led to bad choices (again), but God is so faithful and forgiving that He was waiting for me with open arms when I finally came back to my senses in July 2013 and said ‘yes’ to Him again. I am now back in church, involved in bible study, and reading my bible every day. I am also working on cultivating my prayer life, which has always been a weak spot in my spiritual life.
Obviously, a testimony is never complete until one takes her final breath, but thus far, my life has not been boring, and I only hope that in the end, God will tell me that He is pleased with me.