I’m sure if you’ve read any of this blog, you would know that Matt and I are Jesus followers or as Tobi Mac sings it, “Jesus Freaks.” Recently we realized we needed to be “table setters” at our church instead of just warming a seat on Sundays. In doing so, we were asked to write down our testimony, in other words, why did we begin following Christ in the first place. The Lord moves in so many ways to bring us to Him and he certainly did so in our lives and continues to do so daily. After reading each other’s writings, we decided to post here also to show the amazing work He has done in our lives. Hopefully by sharing His work in our lives, we can bring someone else closer to Him. So without further ado, here goes.
I believe my testimony initially begins when I was a child. I was raised in church and because my dad was a choir director, we were whatever denomination his current job was. I found myself accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior, but in more of a passive way instead of an active choice. There were many times as a child that I would feel God knocking, but I generally used Him as a bandage for any problem I encountered instead of a Guide to follow in every aspect of my life. When college rolled around, I did not go easy on the sinning, and retrospectively am disgusted at the majority of my behavior. I did very well academically and felt if I kept that part of my life under control I could pretty much do whatever I wanted in the other parts of my life. What I did not know was that God had chosen a man for me that would be the love of my life as well as the key role in my salvation. It was love at first sight and after living a truly secular life for 6 years, we found we were expecting the most welcome gift from God, our son Ryan. Although we were leading a life contrary to God's perfect plan, He was continually there, protecting us, loving us and guiding us. I knew I could not bring a child into this world and not be united in marriage, plus, I finally got what I had dreamed of forever...a husband and family. In our first years of marriage and blessing of another little boy, Andrew, we struggled. At the time, I did not even realize we were struggling. I knew we were strained for time and money, but I felt that God would always protect what was good and holy - marriage. Funny though, I continued to live as though God was a bandage and only brought out when needed. We went to parties, talked like sailors, and raised our children blindly. Yet, still, I rested in the comfort of a marriage I thought was protected. It was a covenant with God, right? Little did I know that that covenant would mean more to me and my soul than a desire of my flesh, but that God would use this union to break me and remake me! Through the years of ignoring our actions and ignoring the sanctity of our marriage, our hearts were forever changed when we were faced with two options, continue with the sin we were living in and watch our marriage crumble, or surrender every part of our being to God and be changed forever. I have never felt so broken and alone, unveiling that God could and would chose anything necessary to highlight our sinful existence. In effect uncovering our absolute need for Jesus Christ, our Savior's Blood to wash away the most menial to our most atrocious sins. WE CHOSE JESUS! We chose his never-ending forgiveness. We even chose his discipline, for our God is just, and the sin of our entire lives had to be exposed and washed by His Blood. Remembering that time in 2008, I recall being hurt but not scared, naked but clothed in His love. God revealed his pure love both through His Son Jesus Christ and the new Love I was receiving from my husband. We were born again through Jesus Christ and I had great peace, living in obedience through his Word. Satan had left the building and we were healing. Wounds that could not be healed by mere works of the flesh were miraculously healed. Although the scars remain visible, they serve as a reminder that we truly had to die to ourselves and be born in the Spirit and everyday requires a complete surrender to our Creator. We are not perfect, we are not holy, and without Jesus Christ we are two lost people joined together by law, but with Jesus Christ we are one made perfect by the sacrifice of His Life. A holy union, a gift so amazing, but pales in comparison as our marriage to our Deliverer. I often see the struggle others endure in their relationships and lives and if relying on my own emotions feel a sense of survivor’s guilt. What did we do? Why did God choose our marriage to save? Why were we given this amazing gift? Then I realize that we all have that chance, we have the free will to choose His Way in any challenge. We all were created to be born in the Spirit and God chose this route with us so that we may be an outward expression of His miracles and what could happen if we chose HIM!
My testimony is quite lengthy which I will not get into all of the details here. However, the Lord found me back in 2008 and opened my eyes to see that I was a sinner who was sinning against God and in desperate need of a Savior. My idea of having my identity stem from being a good person left me empty, broken, and living a life without Jesus. Additionally, my own selfish lifestyle nearly led to a broken marriage and Satan claiming another victory of the destruction of another marriage. However, God had a very different plan for our family and He pulled me out of a life of destruction and led me on the path which leads to Him. After revealing Himself to me, I came to realize that my sin was much deeper because I was sinning against God. He allowed me to see how broken I really was and that my way of doing things was not working. He showed me that I was worse than I thought but that I was loved more than I ever thought I could be. Jesus didn’t just take our punishment on His body for some of the sins we commit, but ALL of our sins and He didn’t die just for some, but for EVERYONE so that we all could be set free from living a life separated from God. It was with His blood that our sins are forgiven and paid for. He died for us, was buried and rose from the dead. This was enough for me to want to give my life to him because He gave it all for me. By calling on Him I was able to see that there is power in the name of Jesus. The book of Acts tells us that “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we are saved.” (Acts 4:12) It was through Godly repentance and surrender that changed my life. One of my favorite Bible passages is from Ezekiel 37 which tells about God breathing life into the dry bones so that they will come to life and know that He is the Lord. This is exactly what I was, just a good person disguising the dry bones beneath but now it is the Lord who has given me the breath of life again so I will stand and I praise Him all of my life. After being baptized in 2009 and being born again, I now have a new love in my life and new joy that fills my heart and my house. One of my favorite songs says that Jesus could love me more in a moment, than others could in a lifetime. Jesus really did create in me a new heart and a new spirit and I now rely on Him more than anything. Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world, he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12) He not only saved me, but He rescued my family. Now we are privileged to no longer be slaves to sin and orphans in this world but we can be called sons and daughters of God. By reading the Bible each day, I ask God to grant me the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding that He wants me to have and to know what to do with what I read and hear and how to apply that to my life. My wife and I both understand our need for absolute surrender to Jesus in our lives and the lives of our children and now our life is lived in order to please God and let our life be one that others see God shining through us in everything that we do. Now that God has opened our eyes, we can now see and understand the need in this world for others to know Him and we want those around us to experience the same joy and peace that He has given us. We know that no matter what trials we are going through in life, one thing remains constant, and that is His love. The Bible tells us in the book of Job that even though Job had lost everything in his life, he remained faithful through it all and as a result, “the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.” (Job 42:12). I can look back on my life and see that through my mistakes, I could have lost everything that was important to me, however, because of His great love, I now have new life and I have been blessed more in my latter days than in my beginning. He is using everything in our lives for our benefit and He works it all out for our good. It is no longer us who are directing our steps but it is Him who is directing our steps. The Holy Spirit is showing us what a relationship with Christ is all about. By having this relationship with Christ, He tells me who He is….the Bread of Life, Light of the World, the True Vine, the Good Shepherd, the First and the Last, the Rock of Salvation, giver of Eternal Life, Forgiver of sins, the Greatest Name, the Righteous Branch, Redeemer, Calmer of the Storms in our lives, the Alpha and Omega, our Mighty God, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Door by which we may come in, the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Hope of the world, and my Savior. See, I did nothing on my own to earn salvation. I didn’t find a way……HE FOUND A WAY…….HE IS THE WAY, He broke the chains, and He found me.
We surrender our entire life and family to He who saved us! Our hearts, minds, children, and decisions including family size! Each blessing we receive, challenging or not, is welcomed with open hearts and open arms!