A Small Piece Of My Personal Testimony.Yesterday, I received an unexpected message here on EP from someone who had seen some of my previous stories in this group and wanted to express their appreciation for the things that I'd written. Afterward, they shared their personal testimony with of how they came to know the Lord Jesus through Salvation. After reading it, I was so touched and inspired by the incredible grace, love and restoration that Jesus has brought to both of our lives.. and when they asked me to share my own conversion story, I began to write what at first, I was happy was in "private".. But after having finished it, I have decided that there are no parts of my testimony that I should ever be ashamed of.
What Jesus has done in my life has been nothing short of miraculous. "Hide it under a bushel?" No! :) So I have chosen to share it here, openly, with all who are interested in reading it. It isn't a life story.. but it is the gist of what has brought me to the place and person I am today, and the reason why I live every single day of my life with gratitude for my salvation and for my Savior. Christianity is not about perfect people -- it is about a broken, flawed, and lost humanity that Jesus loved enough to give His life for. I am but one of those people..
"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,a to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." - Isaiah 61:1-3
My Personal Testimony:
I was born into a Christian home. My father was a pastor and I was fortunate to know about the Lord practically from the moment of birth. I was consecrated to the Lord as a baby and accepted Him as my personal Lord and Savior at the age of 5. I still remember how overwhelmed I felt to know that He loved me. I tangibly felt His presence, even at such a young age. My mom had helped me to pray the prayer of salvation and afterward, I crawled into my dad's lap to tell him the good news and we cried and prayed together that night. To this day, it was one of my best childhood memories.
Later on though, and to put it bluntly, I went prodigal. I internalized my unhappiness and it built up inside of me over time and resulted in an explosion of rebellion. I had been cheated on by my husband, lost a child, gone through a divorce, and I think I just decided that since I'd been a "good girl" all my life, I deserved better than what had happened to me. Being a "good person" hadn't worked to bring me the "happiness" I thought I was entitled to, so I was ready to just live life my own way, doing whatever made me happy, no matter who didn't like it and in spite of my Christian beliefs.
However, after a few years of that, I found myself at my lowest point and in a drug induced fog one morning, God reached out to me. I had a "vision" of His love for me. I saw myself standing in a dirty prison cell, covered in dust and mud, scrawny and miserable. And then I heard the Lord say to me, "Why have you let yourself become this way? Don't you realize you are royalty? Don't you see that you are my child.. the daughter of a King?" I broke at that moment. The prison doors flung open and for the first time in years, I felt free, loved and alive. And the even greater irony of the words the God spoke to my heart in the wee hours of that morning, is that my name actually does mean "Crowned One" or "Daughter of the King".
From that very day, I stopped my constant drinking and occasional drug use. I had thankfully never been addicted.. it was purely recreational for me, but I lost all interest in any of it at that point because I had made a strong connection that had instantly healed the void I'd been trying to fill with chemicals and alcohol. I had finally seen myself the way that my Father saw me. For about 3 years, I had avoided anything that reminded me of God, Church or Christians. Not because I was angry at Him or at them, but because I was ashamed of my own lifestyle. However, that night, God showed me His heart. I realized that He wasn't angry at me or quick to "judge" me at all for straying. Instead, He was heartbroken about it. He just.. missed me.
I'm in tears just remembering it.. but someone was open with me about their own conversion experience so I wanted to share mine openly as well. The failures of Christians, ourselves and others can have an impact on us and on the world around us. Everywhere we look, there will be a reason to doubt God or question His followers or His existence.. but not even that can prevent us from experiencing the unconditional love of Jesus Christ.
As Christians, we know the meaning of grace because we have fallen and were saved. Yet no matter how long we are believers, we may fall again. We almost certainly will. So take it from someone who knows it from first hand experience. Even when you run away from Jesus, He doesn't ever turn His back on you. Even if you hate Him, His heart aches whenever your heart aches. Even when you reject Him, His arms will always be open in your direction.. and even though others may do it time and time again, He will never kick you when you fall down. In fact, if you let Him, He will be the Hand that lifts you up again and turns the ashes of your pain into a beautiful testimony.
As I look back at my past, I thank God everyday for this simple fact: There really are no throw away people.. and Jesus really does love you -- just as you are.
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8