If you were raised in a youth group like me, you may have experienced what it was like not to have a "cool testimony" - one filled with seasons of severe depression, addiction, or infidelity, prior to the Lord's saving intervention. These were always the students invited to share their testimony in public, and I was oftentimes envious that mine wasn't as dramatic and "worthy" of being recalled in front of people. How wicked my heart was for reacting that way! I was admittedly a self-centered drama princess myself, and therefore often offended if there wasn't something in me that leaders thought was attractive enough to be in the spotlight... Oh, how thankful I am for the gift of time, and Lord leading through refinement and maturity. Only by His grace am I where I am now, because of His work both now and almost 20 years ago when He called me to Himself. Because of that amazing and unmerited grace, we each have a story. The Author saw fit to give us different experiences, different seasons, through which we would come to know and depend on Him. No personal testimony is greater or more poetic than another. The fact that we each have a unique story of how the Lord rescued us speaks overwhelmingly of both His awesome glory and very personal grace! Praise the Lord that He knows each of us in such a way that He set into motion each event along our individual journeys.
When was the last time you wrote out your personal testimony of conversion? I found it to be a rewarding exercise, stopping and reflecting on what all the Lord has done throughout the course of my life. I remembered both people and events He has brought along the way, all for the purpose of drawing me closer to Him, deepening my faith in and love for Him. If you feel compelled to write out your own, I would love to read it! If you write it out on your own blog, please leave a comment to let me know you've done so. I hope we can be encouraged by one another's testimonies of God's amazing grace:
I still struggle to recollect details of my salvation experience, the specific moment of conversion, due to my young age. This moment, though, occurred following a Sunday night at my home church when my family attended a Christian band concert. I was only eight years old at the time, and the most vivid memory from this particular night was the feeling I had as I glanced around at the surrounding audience. I remember this gnawing feeling deep in the pit of my stomach as I was overcome with one thought: something was missing. As I looked around the sanctuary, I was struck with the reality that I did not know God personally, and certainly did not know His Son the Savior. All of the songs I had been singing since the age of two, all of the Bible verses I was trained to memorize, seemed empty as I realized that I did not know the One whom the words were describing. Upon arriving home later that evening, I sat on my bed with my mother and shared my thoughts with her. I vaguely remember her asking me questions for assurance of whether or not I was experiencing true conversion. We closed our conversation with prayer, and she asked me to pray aloud. I remember asking Him to forgive me of all I had done wrong and to cleanse me as my personal Lord and Savior. I was baptized by immersion only a week or two later as an indication of the transforming work Christ had performed in my heart.
Due to my young age at the time, there were years following when I honestly questioned the sincerity of my conversion. I struggled at times with assurance of salvation, particularly in my early teenage years and around the time when my parents divorced. The question always came to mind of how someone can be a true believer and still battle with anger, depression and frustration. As an immature adolescent, I watched in confusion as my older brother, who once professed the same faith, took a nosedive into a life marked by perpetual rebellion.
Only by the grace of God was I surrounded during those formative years with godly leaders and friends, many of whom I remain in close contact with to this day. The Lord opened my eyes to the truth that He held and protected me through my childhood and adolescence, guarding my heart in ways I was oblivious to then. I cannot look back at the years afforded to me and not be overcome by God’s overwhelming sovereignty and grace. Not only did He guard me personally in those early years, but I can see how past experiences led up to where I am now. His Holy Spirit has clearly been shaping me from an early age in such a way that bears witness to the hope found only in Him and in His Word. He has revealed to me through relationships, with both family and friends, that He is the only One who satisfies the weary, wounded soul. I know without a doubt that I am unworthy of the rich gifts the Lord has provided, of the salvation made possible through Jesus Christ, and that He alone has the power to redeem His beloved.