Archive for August 31st, 2009

My Testimony-part 3

**In the interest of full disclosure, I did get “saved” at Falls Creek Church camp when I was a teenager.  I was baptized when I got home from camp, and went to church for a little while.  I read my bible.  But I never really understood that I could have a personal relationship with Jesus.    Without that part of it, it was just rules…the benefits of a personal relationship include intimacy, peace, support, comfort, fellowship.  It was right in front of me, but I didn’t understand that.**

Surrender…defined by Miriam-Webster as: to give (oneself) up into the power of another, especially as a prisoner.  It never felt so good.  Surrendering to God’s power.  Realizing that I couldn’t and wasn’t designed to do life on my own, was the most liberating moment of my life.

It amazes me how much my testimony intertwines with Psalm 116.  It could just be my prayer to God.  I could have written it.  I love the Lord because He heard my cry. Because he turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live.  The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. That night in my car, that’s how I felt.  Overcome, anguished.  I cried out to no one in particular, but God was there–watching, listening, full of mercy and love and forgiveness.  The Lord is gracious and righteous and full of compassion.  The Lord protects the simple hearted. When I was in great need, he saved me.

I love Him and surrender to Him simply because He saved me and because I remember what it felt like to need a savior.

Now, I don’t want to over simplify things.  I did not go home from church that day with all my problems solved.  The debt was still there, I still didn’t want to tell my husband anything.  Let’s just say I had a LOT to process.  and I had a lot more light to do it with.

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My Testimony–part 2

Where was I?  Oh, yeah, crying. not running.

So, the night of crying–and thoughts of running– was a Tuesday night.  Two days later, on a Thursday afternoon, I mentioned in passing to a neighborhood friend that finances were strained and it was causing worry and pain.   Unbeknownst to me, she and her husband had been “church shopping” the last few weeks and had visited a church in the area that was NOT for them–(the music was too loud!), BUT the pastor was doing a series on money and finances…and I might be interested.

Never in my wildest imaginations, did I see God fixing my money or marriage problems.   It just never, ever occurred to me.  But for reasons I could NOT explain, I knew for sure I’d be there that weekend.   I look back and still wonder how/why I thought that was a good idea.   Nevertheless, I was determined to go.  I called my sister, who had been to this church a couple of times before, and told her what I was doing.  She said she’d meet me there.  I’m sure she was excited, because she already knew the God I was getting ready to meet.

I was nervous for the next 2 days.  I did not tell my husband what I had planned to do.  I was angry at him, a little embarrassed about going, and really didn’t know how to explain it, so I kept quiet.  I really don’t even remember what happened that Sunday morning before I left–he probably does…he remembers everything.

Sunday morning finally came and I got out my best dress and pantyhose–because that’s what you wear to church, right?  I got there a little early and had to wait by the door for my sister.  The lobby was crowded and I was OBVIOUSLY over dressed.  Someone asked me if I was a “greeter”.  Huh?  “NO, I’m just waiting for someone.”  “Is this your first time here?”  “uh, DUH!”    Everyone was nice. I was nervous.

My sister, who also remembers EVERYTHING, could probably tell you what happened next.  My next memory is sitting in a chair, towards the back of the auditorium, listening intently to every word the pastor said.  He was engaging, funny, very easy to understand.  He was talking about debt snowballs and how the borrower is slave to the lender…all stuff I recognize now as Dave Ramsey material.  I was comfortable, it was common sense… and then, BAM, he hit me right between the eyes with the truth of the gospel, and what it could do for me.  I cried again.  This time with the brokenness that comes right before healing.  A result of surrender.  Relief washed over me like a flood as I slowly released my soul to God.

And yes, I do have a flair for the dramatic.  But it’s true.  All true.  More to come…

My Testimony–part 1

I’m approaching my 10 year “anniversary” of when I allowed Jesus to come into my life and make me new.  I want to tell my story.  I know I’ve shared bits and pieces, but I need to lay it all out.  It was October ’99.

I’ll begin in September 1999.  Kevin and I had just “celebrated” our 10 year anniversary.  We had 2 young kids, 5 and 2,  and a mountain of debt.    If you’ve ever been deep in debt, you know the weight and stress that carries.  Add to it much fighting (kids and adults) and a distant marriage relationship, and you have hopelessness, emptiness, pain, sadness…

I remember driving to a MOPS meeting at a church (Mothers Of Pre Schoolers).  I was on the arts and crafts committee, I think, and was involved in planning and organizing the monthly events.  Ironically, this is a religious group where prayer and God were central parts, and I was NOT a Christian–I’m not sure if I really believed God was even real.  I just wanted a chance to be w/ grown ups since I was a stay-at-home mom at the time.   I didn’t care about all that God stuff.

ANYWAY, I was driving alone to a planning meeting on a Tuesday night and crying about my life troubles.  It was dark outside, so I sat in the car outside the church where we were meeting, trying to pull myself together before I went inside.  (I needed to put on my happy face before I went in…don’t we all do that?)  But, I was miserable.  I remember thinking that I could just drive…and keep driving, and not go back home.  I would miss my kids, sure, but they’d be fine–and better off.  I couldn’t bring myself to end my life, but I certainly thought about running away and never coming back.  I was scared, alone, angry…

The rest of that night was a blur…I DID go home, though.  Back to the grind.  No answers, no solutions.  No hope.

To be continued…