Testimony

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word testimony means, among other things, “a firsthand authentication of a fact; an outward sign…”  

What I am sharing here today is my firsthand experience of forgiveness and the redeeming and transforming power of the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. My changed life is a fact that cannot be denied, so I am, myself, an outward sign—the Lord’s own testimony of His mercy and grace bestowed on the most unlikely of people. It is because of who I once was that I firmly believe there is no one outside His power to save.

The Past

To keep this to a readable length and because this is a public forum, I will skip many of the morbid details of my pre-Christ life and focus instead on how He drew me out of them.

Perhaps, someday, over a cup of hot tea or coffee, I will tell you more if you are interested, though it doesn’t really matter. That person is dead and gone and I do not like to look back on her much. Instead of a lengthy discussion, I’ve included a bullet-point list to give you a general idea. Feel free to skip over it.

Facts About the Old Me

  • Grew up in a broken home
  • Crippling emotional imbecility that belied a supposed high IQ
  • Made numerous poor choices as a young adult including premarital relationships (one with a much older man)
  • Consumed to much alcohol and occasionally drugs
  • Always looking for someone to love me but rejecting anyone I found attractive
  • Driven by a sense of obligation to move to another city to help a guy with cancer and his mother.

Rock Bottom

By the age of twenty-six, I was emotionally and physically exhausted, wretched beyond belief, and beginning to weigh either suicide or life as a transient as possible options (both of which were more honestly a desire to flee the mess I’d made of my life). This is when I met the man who would become my husband.

To kick things off, I slammed a door in his face. But he was persistent. He offered a night’s sleep on his couch and I, worn out beyond belief, eventually gave in. We were, neither of us, chaste individuals and I failed to sleep on the couch.

We began to “hang out,” as the vernacular of the time put it. I had known him for about a month when I discovered that I was pregnant. We barely knew each other. I was mortified and gave more serious consideration to suicide. I never could work up the nerve.

Turning Tides

My man knew what to do, however. He moved me (by himself) into his apartment.

Together, we decided I would stay home with the baby when he arrived. Until then, I worked to pay off debt. It was then, with this new life growing inside me, that I began to understand that love was not something one seeks and pursues. Love is something one gives.

I was crushed by the many missed opportunities to show love to my two sisters, one of which is 13 years my junior and the other who had her own babies when she was hardly more than a babe herself. I didn’t know it yet, but this was my first real revelation from God preparing me to understand Himself.

Flashback

Incidentally back in my drinking days, a bar buddy once asked me a funny question: “What do you think God is like?”

I responded with some mumbo-jumbo about love and acceptance and other characteristics that didn’t challenge my lifestyle, to which he replied, “But isn’t that just a little too convenient?”

The question haunted me for years.

Challenging the Almighty

During pregnancy, I began to really wonder about God. Many details are fuzzed by time and fatigue, yet I began to respond to an inner prompting I couldn’t understand. I decided to read the Bible, praying my first real prayer, though I meant it as a challenge: “I’m going to read this book (the Bible), but I don’t believe a word of it. God, if You’re real, You’re going to have to prove it!”

As I read, a time came when I was no longer demanding He reveal Himself but rather questioning His motives: “Why would you do this, God? Why would you treat these people so, these nations You destroyed?”

Challenge Accepted

I had crossed  the line from unbelief to belief.

Not long after, I found myself speeding through the minor prophets (of course, I didn’t know the term at the time) because I simply could not wait to read about the Messiah I’d seen hints of sprinkled all over the the pages Old Testament.

By the time I reached the story of the demon-possessed boy in Mark 9, I’d shed countless tears, learned the answer to many of my “whys,” and begun to feel a genuine love and longing for this mighty God who would send His own firstborn Son to die in my place

Me, who had lived such an utterly disgraceful life!

When I read Mark 9:24, “I do believe! Help my unbelief!” I recognized my own cry. I also wanted to believe, but at first I couldn’t.

And He had answered. He had helped my unbelief.

Just the Beginning

That was the beginning of my walk with God.

I still had a lot of growing to do, a lot of refining to endure, and no small amount of dying to myself to allow. Years passed from the first moments of budding belief until I grasped that Christ’s death paid for even my heinous sins, too.

At first, I thought my unworthiness too great. Eventually I learned – through a series of Scriptures, sermons, and whispers from the Spirit – to believe myself the singular human beyond God’s reach was absurdly arrogant. Finally, I was able to repent of my twisted pride and accept His gift.

Today

I am still walking with God and still learning. My former lifestyle disgusts me because it dishonored my Maker.

I love my husband and would rather find death parting us than divorce. I not only enjoy my children but homeschooled them until high school. They are in college now, and I take delight in their company and watching them become who God created them to be.

I love my God and His Word fiercely. I cherish the time I spend reading my Bible, love to pray, and absolutely relish time out in His creation, especially when I can talk with Him.

I have come a long way down the narrow path, but I suspect there are more crushing and sifting times ahead before I’m ready for Eternity. God alone knows how long it will take, but He is infinitely trustworthy to get the job done.  After all, He saved me right out of the very depths and muck of sin.

He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.

1 Thessalonians 5:24

The Future

There is so much more. Perhaps in eternity, without the weight of the sin curse always dragging on our bodies and minds, we can remember in vivid detail every event that displayed God’s glory in our lives and we can marvel at His grace and beauty together.

For now, know that He is truly good and worthy of every sacrifice. The joy of knowing Him surpasses the fleeting pleasure of anything this old ball of rock has to offer.

If you already know Him, I would love to hear how He first called you, so comment below!

30 thoughts on “Testimony

  1. Heather you wrote, ” I was able to repent of my twisted pride and accept His gift.” Ah! the salvation experience. The spiritual birthday of a born again believer. Mine was on January 9th 2005, and it was instantaneous. Though I struggle, I know I am blood bought with a price. I witness to strangers by the grace of God, and serve as the doors open. The biggest obstacle is my family, I have a hard time relating to them when it comes to the things of God. Nevertheless, I pray for them and leave it in God’s hand. I would be grateful if you would pray for the salvation of two my daughters and my 4 grandchildren.
    I in Him and Him in me, Steve
    1 Jn. 5:13- These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I will absolutely pray for your girls and their families to come to saving faith in our Lord. May His word speed ahead and be honored (2 Thess. 3:1). I have been praying intensely for revival and I would love to see many of our unsaved family and friends coming to that Godly sorrow which brings repentance and leads to salvation without regret, and I pray that their names will be included in this great awakening.

      Stand fast in the Lord, brother! Even when we feel alone in our families or circumstances, we are never truly alone! I will be praying for you all…

      Like

  2. I was led to your blog from reading you and Joel talk about homeschooling on one of his posts. Thank you for sharing how Christ became resurrected in you; I too have walked a similar wretched path (no path, really) and wrote of my definitive life-altering day on my blog, titled ‘A Conversion’, but as you say, renewal and sanctification is a process, a live force! Very recently God has been leading me and my husband to start to pray about homeschooling, a quite shocking turn but that is what I love about being a vessel for the Holy Spirit, nothing is ever predictable. I wonder about your siblings. Since loving Christ, how has your relationship with them changed? God bless you, Sister!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So true — Nothing with Him is predictable! If it were, we could follow a formula or a path instead of the Good Shepherd. If He does lead you to homeschool, feel free to ask me anything. I did it from my son’s kindergarten year all the way through 9th grade. This year (10th grade) he is attending a private school along with our middle one. The youngest is still being homeschooled. But of course, God will lead you through it if He leads you to it.

      As for my relationship with my sisters, since loving Christ I have more compassion for them than I did. I was a pretty self-centered young person, and I regret many wasted years where I could have poured into my 13 years younger baby sister. However, the sister who is only 2 years younger found Christ before I did. Now my youngest sister is in Him, too, and in many ways our relationships have been even better since. It was my parents with whom I had the more shaky relationship, but God has literally transformed my thinking about them so many years ago that I no longer can even call up the anger I once felt towards them. I have forgiveness and compassion where I once had bitterness and anger. There are still conflicts from time to time, of course, but just having a heavenly Father to talk to (and who disciplines me when it is my attitude out of line!) has changed my extended family dynamic in wonderful ways.
      God bless you, too! I look forward to reading your redemption story. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. He can do so many things with anyone who has been on a ‘wretched path’! The brokenness within us is, more often than not, a gift through which we hear His voice louder and clearer than we would have otherwise. You have a powerful testimony!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So, so true! I have even been able to be genuinely thankful to Him for some of the pain in my life, whether physical or emotional, just because it always drives me closer to Him. He is so, so amazing!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a wonderful story of how God pursues us even when we don’t know he is! His love is unfathomable – blows me away every time I hear stories of hope, healing and redemption! (I’ve experienced those too and suppose that is why I write about them.) I’m so glad you spotted my comment on Jonathan Camac’s blog and liked it so I could find yours. It was great to read your story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad I spotted them, too! Looking forward to reading some of your stories. 🙂 I will say it’s good for me to remember how unlikely my own redemption was, because it helps me remember that no one is out of the reach of our great God!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Heather, thanks for sharing your story. I love to read about what God can do in the life of someone who has no doubt what they have been saved from…. themselves! The sooner we get beyond thinking that we have something to offer God out from ourselves, the better. God always uses crises in our lives to get us beyond what is holding us back from completely pursuing the fullness of Christ for it is “in Him we live and move and have our being.”
    Bless you as you reach out in Him and His light to your family.
    Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Heather,

    Thank you for sharing your testimony. It has truly blessed my heart today.

    I too, came from a rather dysfunctional family background, but was truly saved, born-again, and given a new heart and morals in my early twenties. I have been following the Lord Jesus Christ and reading His Word for over 30 years now and am still so very grateful that God had mercy and love towards me. He is a wonderful Saviour, strong and mighty to deliver us from sin, confusion and evil. Praise His name.

    God bless,
    Helen

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Our lives are so similar. I am a recovered alcoholic and drug addict and my life during those days was filled with immorality, bitterness, slander, deceit… Everything in Romans 1:24-32. My life was filled with shame and self-hatred. I walked in complete darkness. In 1989 someone introduced me to Jesus, and we studied the Scriptures and I became a Disciple of Christ. In 2013 I fainted in my kitchen and woke up paralyzed from the shoulders down. I am truly grateful for this wheelchair and my quadriplegia. I believe God is saving my soul. Since this happened, I’ve had to dig my heels in to understand what the Bible says about suffering and perseverance. It’s been a struggle but I believe my life circumstances are making me more holy. God is refining me and giving me pure joy.

    Thank you for your blog and your humility and wisdom. I look forward to reading more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. I remember reading your blog about how you became a quadriplegic, but I don’t recall the rest. It’s amazing to me that when I was in the misery of those days, somehow I told myself I was having fun. Even though I cried often and hated myself, I kept myself in that deceit for years. It took God to break through.

      I am with you – my chronic migraine has brought me closer to God and more joy than I’ve ever known. One of those amazing paradoxes of loving and serving the Almighty God! Thanks tons for stopping by!

      Like

  8. It is an interesting journey indeed Heather. To touch that inner light that we had blocked forever opens a whole new world.
    If you wish to read my journey, my About page gives a quick run down and my blog is all what spirit has shown me over the last 15 years ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow Heather! I enjoyed reading some of your redemption story and getting to you know more. You have been in my thoughts for a few days so my curiosity drove me to find out more about you and I am glad I was not disappointed 🙂
    “I strongly suspect that I have much more crushing and sifting times ahead of me before I am ready for Eternity.” Girl – this line that you have shared here is so rich, so potent, so filled with umph! May we endure the times of crushing and sifting so that we are able to hear “well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of My rest.”

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply to Laura Bennet Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.