{Testimony}

Summer of 1998

The first time I was asked to give my testimony was on a mission trip to Venezuela with my church youth group. It was the summer after my senior year of high school, and I had never been that far away from home.

Everything was different; the people, the language, the food, the weather. The only thing that seemed familiar was the church service. Starting with worship songs, and concluding with the pastor preaching from the Bible, the Spirit was the same.

Who cared that the building didn’t have a roof, or that they met in the covered car park at the pastor’s house? The unifying element was our love for Jesus.

Throughout the trip, each team member took their turn sharing their testimony at the different services we attended. I dreaded my turn, because I felt like I had nothing to share. I was a good-girl. I had attended church my entire life. I followed the rules.

There was no drama. I wasn’t saved from anything. My life wasn’t miraculously changed.

Sensing my concern, one of the leaders of our trip talked with me about what a testimony actually is. I had assumed that it was my conversion experience. Instead, I discovered that our testimony is anything God has done, or is doing, in our life.

The things I was learning on that trip were a testimony of His power, provision and protection (and no, I didn’t intend for that to be alliterated). He had healed me after I lay sick in a hammock for three days. He had provided the funds for me to travel to a foreign country to work alongside the people there. He had protected our team as we traveled by air and land.

There are still times where I feel like I haven’t been saved from much. My life seems pretty dull compared to a lot of other people’s. I’m a SAHM, a Bible college graduate, I live over my church and pretty much only interact with my neighbors and friends. I don’t have any addictions or vices that I’m fighting off or need God to free me from.

When I look at it that way, I feel like I’m doing pretty good on my own.

But then I look at it through God’s eyes.

I was born a sinner. Nothing I can do, on my own, would have changed that. Only through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God’s only Son, am I saved from eternal damnation.

My faith in Jesus paints a giant bullseye on my back for the enemy, Satan. He wants to kill, steal and destroy everything in my life in an attempt to thwart the plans of God. I am in battle, I am under attack, I am weak and defenseless on my own. God is my redeemer, He is my strong tower, He is my refuge.

So even though I don’t have much of a story to tell about my sinful glory days before Christ, I have a much more gruesome story to paint about what my life would have been like without Him.

And that’s a dramatic testimony.

We all have our own story to tell, God is constantly at work in our life.

Today I’m choosing to be thankful that the story that might have been, isn’t.

What part of your story, your journey with God, are you thankful for today?


Advertisements

24 Comments

  1. Kelly Sauer says:

    “My testimony is this: Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” It is enough. It is all we are.

    Thanks for sharing, Melissa.

    1. Melissa says:

      Amen, Kelly! That’s what I had forgotten. My testimony isn’t about the muck Jesus pulls me out of, it’s Him and Him alone. :)

  2. craig says:

    Hey Melissa – look at you – you little high schooler.

    And it is all about Our Lord and what he did. Amen.

    Oh, and I blogged about you today!!!!!

    1. Melissa says:

      Haha! Thanks for the shout out, Craig. :) It really was nothing.

  3. Jason says:

    Believe me, some of us with “powerful” testimonies wish our stories were more like yours. I know it’s the path I’ve walked because of bad choices in life and God’s redeeming it but sometimes I wish I could have been the kid who grew up in church whose worst sin was farting in the pews on Sunday morning.

    1. Melissa says:

      I recognize that now and definitely am grateful for the path I’ve walked. The dark side of it, though, is believing that I’m a better person because I’ve never dealt with that. I went through a time where I thought it was due to myself that my story was tame. I then had to deal with the sins of pride, independence, and self-sufficiency. A weird example was recently presented to me through my trip to the dentist. My whole life I’ve had good teeth. I didn’t have my first cavity until I was 21-years-old. This was not because I was a diligent brusher and flosser. On the contrary, I am really bad at it. Finally, my years of poor dental hygiene caught up with me and I discovered last month that I need a root canal. I’d always been proud of my healthy teeth, and the comments from the hygienist about how pretty they were. It wasn’t because of me that they were that way, and I was actually solely responsible for the decay that had seeped in. I took for granted what God had given me. So, now I’m working harder on keeping my teeth clean, and on being thankful for the story I have. :)

  4. jasonS says:

    I was born again at 6 years old. That’s not a lot of time to get in a ‘bad life.’ The testimonies I have now though as a result of walking with God (still a sinner and nowhere near perfect, mind you) are absolutely incredible. It’s all about following Jesus. Thanks for the great reminder, Melissa.

    1. Melissa says:

      On the contrary, I have a six year old. :) Just kidding.

      And yes, it’s all about following Jesus. I’ve enjoyed reading your testimonies on your blog over the last year or so, Jason. Keep sharing! It’s an encouragement. :)

  5. Glynn says:

    I have a testimony – I can tell you almost the exact minute I was saved and what was going on. But the real testimony is how we live our lives after that. Good post.

    1. Melissa says:

      Amen, Glynn! :) Glad you stopped by.

  6. Tony Alicea says:

    This is perspective is SO needed Melissa. I have so many friends that think they don’t have much of a testimony because they haven’t been addicted to drugs or had an abortion or something crazy that God delivered them from miraculously.

    I think your story is a powerful testimony. A story that when you walk with him from a young age, He can protect you. He will keep you pure, holy and set apart.

    Thanks for sharing this. It was an encouragement.

    1. Melissa says:

      It’s a perspective that took me awhile to appreciate, Tony. But today I’m extremely grateful for the path God’s led me on.

  7. You sort of left me on a cliff hanger there, Melissa! Way to go! :)

    Apostle Paul says that testimonies are written on our hearts. You are in a war and because you’ve always been His, you will always have a testimony to tell. I read it in every faith jam you share … and I am so encouraged every time.

    Thanks again, for another wonderful slant on thankfulness in the jam, delivered in a way that could only be from you.

    1. Melissa says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful words, Bonnie. I always appreciate your encouragement, and look forward to the weekly jam sessions. :)

  8. Keri says:

    Melissa…my story is pretty much the same as yours. Just last night I was sharing with my Mom how blessed my brother and I are to have had them as parents. To have parents that raised me in a Christian home and taught me by word and deed how to live out my faith. There are not many people in this world who don’t have a lot of hurt or woundedness from their families. I am one of the truly blessed people whose parents are still married, whose parents loved me enough to pray over me and live lives of obedience which led to a great spiritual covering in my life and the life of my brother. It is something I don’t take for granted, the older I get, the more I realize how blessed I truly am. God is sooo good. He has given me a position of strength and peace, rather than a position of woundedness. And He calls me to share that with others. To me, that is just as powerful as someone saved from additcion, because it is every bit as much due to the power of His work in my life, the lives of my parents, and my grandparents.

    1. Melissa says:

      Amen! Great thoughts on this, Keri. I have grown more and more to appreciate the blessing that this is, and the fact that it has absolutely nothing to do with me. :)

  9. This right here is an awesome story you told. Awesome God story.

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks, Jeri! :)

  10. Sheryl says:

    I love this definition of a testimony! Thanks for sharing it. I think those of with rather “boring” stories of growing up as God’s children are right in giving thanks for God’s power in keeping us from more exciting stories fraught with pain. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Melissa says:

      I’ve been interested to discover that I’m not alone in this sentiment. I have found others who grew up with a similar story and they also feel this sense of loss, a feeling of lacking in the conversion department. But, God has been showing me more and more how blessed I am and not to take it for granted. :)

  11. kelli says:

    “There are still times where I feel like I haven’t been saved from much.” A sin is a sin. Whether its a really offensive one are just talking badly behind someone’s back…its all the same. What a great experience to get to share your faith with people in another country. You are right too about the bullseye! The enemy is always lurking around on a seek and destroy mission-we wont give him the satisfaction! Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. Melissa says:

      Agreed! It’s when we compare our sins with others that we really have problems. We should always compare ourselves to what God calls us to be, then we’ll have the right perspective. :)

  12. Janelle says:

    Ha! I had almost the same experience, giving a testimony and feeling like I had nothing to testify. The question was, “Why are you a Christian?” and my answer was, “Because that’s all I know.” I can actually pinpoint that as where the trouble started, ending with me being a scared teenager facing motherhood.

    BUT

    Without my Christian upbringing, how would I have known where to turn when my illusion of control was broken? When the sky started to fall, I knew exactly who to run to, and I knew that He would gladly accept me, because I had known all along that He was there waiting for me to turn back.

    So, maybe I have a good “testimony” but I don’t think it is any more valid or important than those of people who were wise enough not to have to learn everything the hard way.

    1. Melissa says:

      Wow! I never thought of it that way. About you knowing where to run. I remember being in a class at Life and they were talking about how people learn. They said some people can be told, “That stove is hot,” and they won’t touch it. Others will hear that same thing and need to touch it once to make sure the person was right. Then there’s a third group who need to touch it repeatedly to make sure that the stove continues to be hot, that the same outcome presents itself each time. I remember hearing that and thinking about you. You were testing what you’d been raised in, seeing if the same outcome would occur each time. Mom was worried about you, she wanted me to talk to you, as if I had some sort of influence over you. Haha! When I prayed about it, God told me that He was still ultimately in control of you. That He was letting you have some room to run, but that at some point you would reach the decision of whether or not you were going to trust Him. You reached that point and you turned to Him.

Comments are closed.