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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Shaky Walk With God: My Testimony


“They overcame him by the blood
of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”

-Revelation 12:11

                As Christians, we need to realize how powerful our testimony can be in planting seeds and leading others to the salvation they can have in Christ. Those not yet rescued want to know that someone can relate to what they’re going through in their life. They need to know that they aren't being judged and feel welcomed to have a relationship. Many people don’t realize that many Christians went through a lot before they received Christ as their savior. Lately many people have been telling me about the anointing I have on my life and that they love the passion for the Lord that I have. But I wasn’t always like this. I wasn’t always outgoing and cheerful. I’m not a perfect person and I made my mistakes. I wasn’t always on the right path. So, I thought I’d share my testimony.

                I was raised in a Christian house. My parents were saved several years before I was born so naturally I went to church starting from a very young age. I always knew who God was and I believed that he existed. But I spent little time praying or studying the scripture and there were certain life events that led me astray. My walk with God was always on and off. I only went to him when I felt like it but yet he still kept waiting for me with open arms, waiting for me to come back. I always had a passion to serve Christ but I didn’t let it show because I was nervous. I kept forgetting that God would never leave me nor forsake me. No man could hurt me. It’s like that old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.”


                I was always enrolled in a public school. Public school is hard for a child to experience, especially as a follower of Christ. There are so many other kids who don’t know who Christ is so the enemy uses them to attack the born again. Starting in the first grade I can remember always being teased and made fun of-either being called a Jesus freak or ugly and sometimes I was made fun of just for other kids to get a laugh and to try to gain more friends. I went through this until I graduated the twelfth grade. I always thought that I was useless but I realize that now I can use this as a powerful testimony for those teens and young adults facing the same issues I went through.


                Because of this torment, I always felt like I wanted to fit in and wanted the other kids to like me. I wasn’t thinking about how Jesus suffered and I wasn’t thinking about the gifts I would receive once this life was over and I was in Heaven. I was too blind to see that I'm beautiful just the way God made me. I was young and was focused on other things. All I knew was that I wanted the teasing to end. In the 8th grade, I got sucked into MySpace, which was not a good place. I had pictures of myself posted and even had hundreds of people who I didn’t even personally know as friends. I wasn’t thinking about the dangers, I just knew I was getting attention and people were telling me I was pretty. People always seem nicer on the Internet. My dad found out about it when I was in the 10th grade and quickly brought it to an end. I thank God that I actually grew up with a father who cared and always looked out for my best interest. He always helped me get back up when I was falling. 


                I went to the youth group at my church starting in the 7th grade but it was just like public schools. Girls wearing revealing clothes and faces caked with make-up and hair dyed; boys being complete goof balls; and no one paying attention to the message. We were all still lost although we always referred to ourselves as Christian. But, it states in numerous places in the New Testament that the youth will be rebellious during the end times. It also states that we can’t just profess our faith in Jesus, we need to carry ourselves like Him and do His will. I was the girl who sat in the back and didn’t talk to anyone because of fear of rejection that I received in high school. It stayed with me in other aspects of my life. At the age of 14 I was water baptized. I felt like a completely different person and could feel the Holy Spirit in me. But that didn’t last long. As a young female, Satan really wanted me, something that wasn’t his for the taking. I was up until 2 and 3 o’clock in the morning texting boys.  I eventually stopped going to the youth group at the end of the tenth grade. Because I was still being made fun of, I was still looking for ways to fit in.  I started wearing make-up and changed the way I dressed. I wasn’t unique anymore; I looked just like everyone else. This still didn’t work. I had people telling me every day that I was ugly and needed to kill myself so everyone else could be happy. I eventually pushed God to the side and never mentioned him. I rarely thought about him. I was on the road to destruction. I was crying almost every day because of the kids teasing me. I shouldn’t have been crying; I should have been rejoicing! Now that I’m older, I realize this.


              My senior year of high school I always said that the kids weren’t affecting me anymore. But deep down they were. I wasn't fully committed to Christ so I was traumatized. I started to sneak different shoes and clothes to school so I could try to fit in with all of the other girls. My mom and I didn’t have the best of relationships and it came to a point where I wasn’t doing anything with her.  I felt like I wasn’t useful to God and I felt that He wasn’t working in me. 


                A few months towards the end of the twelfth grade I went back to youth group at a different church. This church was different. I felt welcome. The kids seemed more respectful. But then I moved to Delaware. I started college at an all-girls art school in Philadelphia. There is rarely ever any mention of God there. It was only me and a few other girls who openly voiced that we were God fearing and we had received new life through Christ But I was still led into temptation. At my place of work, I was interacting with the wrong guys and it led me into trouble. I ran away from home for a day and through this, it led me back to Christ. I broke down and recommitted myself to Christ. I demanded that Satan leave my life. My family and I were on and off with church because we were trying to find the right church for us.. I would bring my bible to school and read it every morning. Girls would say, “Why are you reading that,” or “Why would you believe in God?” I ignored it and continued to do this. But once again, I was attacked by the enemy. I opened a Facebook account and was dragged down, threatening to commit suicide. This just caused a big mess. My college made me go to a psychiatrist so I could get analyzed so that they could know if I was a threat to myself or not. Once again, I was drawn back to Christ. 


                This didn’t last long though once again. However, although I was not focused on my own walk with Christ, I was still concerned with others’. I helped lead my boyfriend at the time to saying a prayer of salvation and  coming to Christ. There would sometimes be homeless people in front of my college looking to get free food from the vendor that sits outside. I would buy them meals with the little money that I had, just so I could witness to them about Christ and show his mercy, love and grace. I would say, “Jesus loves you,” or “God bless you.” One woman, once I said this gave me a big hug and it always touched my heart that I could plant a seed of Jesus in these people. Some of these people might have never received the compassion I was giving them and it was all for Christ. I was still creating Christian items for my online store through the gift that God gave me and wearing my Christian shirts.  I would still talk about God and give tracts to people. I've sponsored a young girl in the Philippines for the past 2 years and I always send a tract and Gospel of John in the packages I send to my customers.  But doing these good deeds alone wasn't enough to ensure my place in Heaven. I needed to put my trust back in God and help build my relationship with him. I needed to surrender everything for him to do His will.


                My boyfriend and I eventually broke up. I was crushed by losing someone I had fallen in love with. I put my all into everything I did for him. I always lifted him up. He even had an engagement ring picked out for me. But eventually, he started to ignore my calls and texts and he allowed another female friend to call me ugly and threaten to beat me up and call me a pest. Turns out that while him and I were in a relationship he really loved this other girl. He ignored me for a week straight and allowed his dad to tell me that we couldn't see each other anymore. I ended things with him and he didn't even fight for me. 2 weeks later I was talking to another guy. I knew my dad wouldn’t approve of him but I continued to do so just because of the temptation and to know that someone was interested in me. But my dad eventually found out once again and this led me to cutting him off.


                I became disrespectful to my dad and then I realized, “I want a stronger, more real relationship with God.” Not because of pleasing my dad but because of pleasing my Father in heaven. This drew me back to Christ 2 months ago. I started going back to my current church and I’m stronger than ever. I’m a happier person and my relationship with my parents is healing. I’ve realized that I’m beautiful just the way I am and if anyone says otherwise, I don’t listen to them. I can finally look in the mirror and feel beautiful without the make-up. I'm becoming actively involved with my church and getting involved with the different groups and ministries. God is using me for His works. My mom and I get along so much better now. I have better social skills and God is looking out for me; because of giving my time and labor to God, God rewards me not only with a place in Heaven but sales at my store are increasing. I’m able to surround myself with other people who believe in the same God as me and who serve him. I have people encouraging me instead of bringing me down. Not only am I a blessing to them but they are a blessing to me. I’m learning what it’s like to have people besides my family who care about me and who I can talk to and be myself around. I feel instantly comfortable and don't feel like I'm being judged and I don't have that fear of being an outcast. God has helped me completely remove those thoughts from my mind. I don’t focus on the loss of my boyfriend. Sure, it still hurts every now and then but God always puts peace in my heart. Now that I’m more mature I realize that I don’t need to please anyone on earth or seek out a boyfriend; God will place him in my life at his own time if it is his will. I'm not focused on a boyfriend; God makes everything beautiful in its own time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). I look at the loss of my boyfriend as a blessing because now I have more time for serving the Lord. He was just holding me back. I'm not going to church just to make friends. It's amazing what God can do! I've cut out all the negative people from my life so I can take some time to mature in the Spirit and grow in my relationship with Christ. What help is it helping others if I do not yet have a firm relationship with the Lord?


                 Some people ask me where I want to be in 5 years or 10 years. But this is my answer: I don't know; I can't make that call. God will reveal it to me when the time is right. I plan on living according to His will and I won't let anything get in the way. He'll direct me to where I need to be and if it's His will opportunities will arise for me or certain circumstances will arise that will cause me not to get what I want. This is because God needs me to be a certain place at a certain time so that I can reach out to people and bring them to Jesus. My life is in His hands and I am unafraid of what He has planned. I leave it all up to him, having faith in everything he does. 


                I know that my struggle may not be as great as someone else’s. Some have dealt with alcohol or gambling. Others have dealt with crimes that have put them in prison. But my journey and my struggle was still an emotional one. I was still a sinner, as we all are. And Jesus was my solution; God gave him to the world so that we may be saved. Society, without me realizing it, traumatized me and the only healer that could save me was Christ. Most people say that with what I went through for 12 years in school could only be healed by a psychiatrist. But that's not true. God was there and he's helped me now that I came back to him. My back is no longer turned away from him and I want to bring glory and honor to his name alone. I'm working as a servant for the Lord, as we are ordained to do.   I didn't know what my spiritual gifts were either and the power Christ could have through me. I took the test and had several gifts that topped the list with the same amount of points. These gifts were hospitality, giving, pastoring, teaching, evangelism, knowledge, wisdom, faith, encouragement, exhortation, missionary, healing, intercession, mercy, leadership, apostleship, writing, and craftsmanship (some say craftsmanship and writing are talents, not gifts). At first, I thought that it was absurd that I could possess all of these gifts. However, in these  last 2 months, after I 100% committed my life to God, I have notice all of these gifts showing through me all for the glory of God. At first, it started out with just one or two of the gifts showing but as I started to devote more time to God, more gifts started to shine. I am now laying hands on people and praying for them, seeing the healing power of Christ and the peace He can lay on people with broken hearts. He’s speaking through me so that I can share my knowledge of His word with others and teach them. I’m seeing the smiles I bring to people’s faces because of the light that shines in me. Don't let opportunities pass you by; experience what God has planned for you!

                With this testimony, I hope to reach people dealing with addictions and the teens and young adults who are dealing with peer pressure, depression, and the loss of loved ones. I want to help teach and guide teens in the way of the Lord. I want to share my testimony at churches to reach those who are secretly feel lonely, useless, and depressed so that they know they can open up to me and I can help then find the Christ that loves them; they can know I love them too. I want to draw people to Christ and let them know that there are people of God who have struggled with the same issues as any other person and there is an end to it once you come to God. 

               So, if you haven’t committed your life to God yet, just remember that I and many others understand what you are dealing with. God is calling out to you. There's a reason why you're reading this right now. God wants you to go to him and he wants to use you for his works. You're his child, and he wants you back home. None of us are perfect and most of us have stood where you are. Our lives were on the wrong track instead of the one that leads to Heaven. No person needs God more than another. We all need him the same; we’ve all just been put in different situations so that we may realize this. God has an abundant amount of faith to pour upon each and every person on this planet. We just need to accept him.     
“But small is the gate and narrow the
road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
-Matthew 7:14     
 
                To know God is not a religion, it’s a relationship. If you want to be forgiven by God and come into a relationship with him, you can do so right now by asking him to forgive you and come into your life. Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door [of your heart] and knock. He who hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him [or her].” If you want to do this, but aren't sure how to put it into words, this may help:   
   
Father God in Heaven,
I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to you that I am
a sinner and I’m sorry for the life I’ve lived; I need your forgiveness.
I believe that your only Son Jesus Christ shed his precious blood on
the cross and died for my sins so I may have everlasting life in your
kingdom. Right now I confess Jesus as my Lord and savior. I believe
with my heart that you raised Jesus from the dead. From this moment
on I live for you. I want to know you in a real way. Transform me
Use me as you see fit. Thank you for your unlimited grace that saved
me from my sins. Amen.  

 

20 comments:

  1. Hi Rebecca, I love your honesty. You remind me a lot of myself at your age (I'm about 20 years ahead of you). Similar upbringing, similar struggles, similar calling to follow Jesus forever. Keep these posts going, Jesus loves you equally at your highs and lows.

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    1. Amen to that! And it's amazing how people can have so much in common that they never knew!

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  2. Rebecca, what an awesome post. We are all works in progress. Fortunately we believe in a merciful God. Keep your eyes on the prize!

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    1. Definitely! Nothing is worth me losing eternal life in heaven! God bless!

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  3. You are so faithful with your writing. Don't get discouraged. Through it all He was there with you waiting for you to turn back to Him each time.

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  4. Wow, you have been through the fire but have come out on the other side victorious! Only through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior! God bless you and keep writing and serving!

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  5. Blessings, Rebecca. God has prepared and will continue to prepare you for the plans He has made for you. I can't help but think you will be much more compassionate in your dealings with others with the weaknesses you looked to God to help you overcome. Keeping our focus on God is the main challenge.

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    1. Yes, I do find that I am so compassionate towards other and not harsh with my words. God bless you Luella!

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  6. What a powerful testimony Rebecca! If it makes you feel any better I STILL have no idea what my future holds and I'm a lot older then you . . .lol I have learned that you have to take life one day at a time and trust that God has an amazing journey ahead of you!! I don't regret anything I look at all my job layoffs, broken hearts, and wrong decisions as part of my testimony. Each one has made me stronger and made me rely on God all the more. Continue to trust him in ALL aspects of your life. God has something wonderful out there for you!

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    1. Amen! It tells us in the bible that trials and tribulation help build perseverance and faith and helps us have a stronger testimony to draw people to Christ. God bless you!

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  7. I can personally identify with a lot of what you went through. I seem to make the same mistakes over and over again too. It always baffles me when I make the connection about how far I've back-slidden that I continue to do it and usually in the same manner as last time. I guess the Devil knows his tricks well.

    Good job posting some tough to talk about stuff. It was a great post!
    Noelle

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    1. What's is great is that through God's grace we are able to notice when we back-slide and through grace that God welcomes us back.

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  8. An amazing story. Always remember, God loves you no matter what.

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    1. Thank you. God loves you always too :)

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  9. Great post! God is soooo Faithful!

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