The Testimony

Hearing the testimonies of some amazing young people recently made me introspect and consilidate my own story…my reason for praise in midst of darkness.

 

lake_trail_by_alancross

I was raised in a Christian home.  Kinda.  My grandparents were my primary caregivers from age four until nine, and we went to church every Sunday morning.  Yet I longed for my mom and dad who were too busy living their own lives with their other families to care. At least that is how I felt.  And still do.

While doodling on the offering envelope with the smell of oak pews and mold in my essence I caught words in the sermon that yelled the consequences of not knowing Jesus as my personal Savior.  This revelation terrified me as I didn’t have a savior and the thought of flesh-eating fire was a little…well…scary.

So I accepted Jesus into my heart in the depths of the night, in the suburbs of Chicago as a little girl who had wide eyes of fear of a God who could abandon her and send her to hell as fast as the night turned to day.  It seemed real enough given my circumstances thus far in life.

Fast forward ten years where I was given the opportunity to truly experience Jesus through worship.  Music in its truest form has a way of convicting the heaviest of hearts and breaking through the thickest of oppositions.

I was sixteen, passionate, and in love with Jesus, proclaiming His Love and shouting His mercy at every turn.  I wrote an award-winning poem, I sang in worship, played my flute to his honor Him and brought the Word of God whenever I was asked in the form of speaking.

I.  Was. On fire.

Pain and parental abandonment meant nothing in the face of Christ’s unconditional love and that can be the raw beauty of a life story, the light is outweighed by the darkness.  Love gives way to hate and we can be set free…

I met my first husband at Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and we praised our God together.  Our testimony alone was the place we were despite the places we had come from.  And our spirits were full.

Until tragedy struck our young lives and instead of turning toward Him we fled.  Faster than the wind and swifter than a famine.  We abandoned our faith in exchange for anger and resentment of a God who had always given us all we needed.  We left Him and neglected His Grace because we couldn’t see The Testimony in the face of devastation.

We had a child, a  baby boy with black hair and big eyes encompassing possibility that I just couldn’t leave in a mess of complications filled with single parenthood.  So I followed the journey of godlessness, believing every last lie I was fed.  We were a family filled with love and questions of how God could bring tribulation to good people, and how Jesus could leave us unwashed with His grace?

I lived breathed and knew secularism.  It suited me, being a strong independent woman who knew who she was and where she wanted to go…on her own.  My future seemed bright and filled with joy and promise.  As the enemy screams so you succumb to the lies.

Eventually, divorce came and left me ragged, turmoil knocked at my door and Jesus never felt so far away.  I married again, a Canadian with a heart bigger than hearts themselves; just not enough to save me.

Because people never can save us.

We had a baby together in the cold of March and we felt the loveliness that a child comes from.  Yet we didn’t praise our God who gave, we simply just didn’t...

Then a year later we lost a baby in the warmth of spring with the songs of birds and promise.  Jaden Hope went on to the next and I hated God more now than ever.

“See!” I cried.  “You are not my God.”  No God would take the one thing I love the most, my children. 

Yet, eighteen months later I found out my twenty-three-week old baby boy would die too.

My anger peaked, my faith diminished further into a blur of reality and existence, a place where no one knows which is more powerful.

“This is why I don’t believe!”  I bellowed into the night’s sky trying to figure it all out.

Why?  Why just why?

He told me that I was not broken that I was filled.  And I shouted, “leave me alone, I don’t know what you want from me!”

Days later a dear friend from my youth prophesied over me telling me that God had provision over my life that I would find Him again and be even more of a powerful tool than I was in my youth.  My eyes rolled and my heart churned in a cadence of anger.  “You are not using me, God, for you have wrecked me.  You’ve taken from me.  You’ve left me for dead.  I hate you.”

Yet I didn’t hate, or regret, or demolish my God.  I was finding my way back through His grace.

For He had a plan.

Four years later as I gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby girl in the trenches of a cold December Wisconsin afternoon and then I saw His grace come full circle.  The hospital room was filled with people watching the unfolding of God’s promise and Truth as my tears met my husband’s forming a perfect Rainbow, letting us know we will never be stricken by the same tragedy twice and that we had finally met our Grace.

My climb back truly began somewhere in between.  My older sons at that time immersed themselves at Journey Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin after I brought them there instinctively after a major life crisis struck.

The sound of song flowed beautifully throughout my home as my oldest son, the black haired baby who had grown up found a passion for music as I had as a teen so many years ago.  My second son Cameron bled the Word of God and even though I wanted it back only in small pieces God always had a plan.

They begged us to come to church and I fought it until I just couldn’t deny the gift of grace on my life any longer.  The testimony begged to be told, the ending needed to be unveiled.  Because God told me one cold February night at Saturday church as Pastor Jordan sang and the angels watched that it was time to come home.

To fulfill the prophesy allowing my life to be used in a greater manner than it was in my youth.  It was time, and He told that through my suffering He was using me, waiting for me, but mostly, loving me.

And…He really was all along the way.

Luke 15:32… My son,the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.  But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
My life isn’t perfect, I struggle and then I fall.  I get it and then I don’t.  But through my vision of loss and redemption,  I see that my testimony alone is the place I am despite the place I came.  

Please enjoy the song that inspired this blog post…and may its words soak into your heart as you overcome odds and fulfill your destiny…

 

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