The other day in church, someone asked the challenging question, "When is the last time you shared your testimony?"
I kind of chuckled to myself and thought, "Each and every day."
That is true in a way. As a mom, I feel like my mission field is at home. I have four people in this house listening to me, so I share my faith daily (I hope).
But if I am pressed, I know that I am probably not as "out there" with my faith as I could be.
I always feel like I am walking a thin line. I don't ever want to push people away by being in their face about God. Yet, I never want to deny him or seem ashamed. I am not. I always hope that my faith comes through even when I don't broadcast it.
So I was thinking about all of this throughout church and thought, "I could just share my testimony through a blog post."
The thing is, I don't have the most exciting testimony. I wasn't a drug addict who suddenly found God. I wasn't on the brink of death when I realized something was missing in my heart.
I don't even remember the exact moment I "prayed the prayer".
I do remember my baptism though.
I grew up in a Christian household. I remember going to church as a youngster. When I was about six, we moved to NWARkansas, and I attended a small church here. I still smile when I pass it.
It was around that time I really started learning about God. I don't remember the exact day. My mom says she remembers it. I do know that I believed in Him. I trusted Him. And I wanted Him in my heart.
So I asked Him.
I was baptized shortly afterward. I do want to say I don't believe in any way the baptism saved me. It was just my way of showing the world, or at least the people in my church, that I believed.
As I grew, I was fairly faithful in attending church and usually was involved in church activities. I also sought God in my own life, through prayer and through Bible Study. I sometimes find journal entries from my much younger years...I really do believe I had a relationship with God even as a kid. Sometimes I even think it was more mature then than it is now.
It wasn't until I was in college (and after) that I began to understand the meaning of grace. Before then, I still think I was relying on my good works to get me to heaven. Or at least to gain His acceptance. But as I grew and made mistakes...even as a believer...I realized how very much of a gift grace is. (Grace: Getting something we don't deserve, such as eternal life)
I have had periods of walking right next to God and others where I walked my own way (then usually found myself lost and calling out, "God, where are you?" Sometimes in my life, I am deep in the word and in prayer, others I am just going through the motions of life. I will say that I feel like I have learned more about Him, especially as my Father, through having children.
I have also struggled at times in my life about my salvation. What if I didn't pray the right prayer? Say the right words? Think the right thing?
I don't always get the answers.
I do know that I love my God.
He is a loving God. A perfect God. A just God. He is the way (the ONLY way), the truth, the life. And He loves me for who I am in spite of who I am. He forgives me for the many times a day I fail and sees me as His child. He is building a place for me in heaven, a place I long to be some days when the pains and trials of life feel too strong, too heavy, on my soul.
I can do NOTHING to earn His love. All I have to do is accept it. Nothing more, nothing less.
Because I love Him, I want to please Him. That is where the good works come in. I don't do them to earn my spot in heaven. I do those things (though not nearly enough) to glorify Him. So maybe others will look at me and see Him through me.
I know that God is bigger than me. He sees things (like the future) I don't see. It is easy to want to rush to Him in times of despair and call out, "Why, God, why?" But I can't always know. I am human and only see with human eyes. Sometimes it is just the way it is. I have to trust that He has a plan.
Going along with that, I have to let God be who He is. He is the creator. The author of life. The judge.
It is not my place to judge. That is for God and God alone.
It is my place to love others, to share Him with them, to pray for others.
One of the things I appreciate about our pastor is that he does not place emphasis on one prayer. He actually focuses more on the relationship. It is easy to utter those words in a prayer. But it is actually the fruit in our life that will reveal whether we truly have that relationship with Him.
I still have a long way to go, thirty plus years later. I am not who I want to be and not who Jesus commands me to be. I am a work in progress.
Thankfully, He seems to still love me.
Even now, in the ebbs and flow of our relationship, I cannot imagine my life without Him.
He guides my decisions. He is the one I lean on when I feel weak (seems to happen a lot more now that I am a parent). He is my Counselor. He is my Father (even though He gave me a wonderful human father here on earth).
And now my hope and prayer is that my children will see this in my life, and in the life of their daddy, and that they will desire the same thing. That is our prayer. Every day.
Like I said, not the most exciting testimony. But it is my story. And hopefully it will be until my last breath.
I don't write like this on here often, and won't much unless I feel led to, but I just wanted to share a little bit about what I believe. (Leaves you feeling very vulnerable :)