Share Your Story – Testimony Page
A couple weeks back we put out a call for people to share their testimonies about how Jesus has changed their lives. I offered to put testimonies on the website, and will be updating this page as testimonies come in, or I find them on Facebook.
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”
Truly, I am a sheep. And if anyone has tendencies toward senselessness, it’s me. But I’ve got my Shepherd. He’s right here. He blocks the snake hidden in the crevasse of the rock I’m happily snoozing against. He holds back the wolves lurking in the forest I’ve wandered into. I can trust Him to be with me in storms, disease, wars, anything, anytime, anywhere. He’s got me. It’s what He does.
“He lets me rest in green meadows. He leads be beside quiet waters. He renews my strength. He guides me in paths of righteousness, bringing honor to His name.”
He blesses me. Every day He shows His hand, and the more I open my eyes to see His work, the more aware I am of His infinite love for me. It’s easy, these days, to lose sight of the glorious signs of spring around us, but they are everywhere. How wonderful-Spring, for such a time as this. Everywhere, signs of new growth, new life, hope for beauty to come in the midst of dead, soggy leaves and muck that should probably have been cleared out last Fall.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
I fight fear and worry every day, as a rule, anyway. And these current days have brought so many additional layers of terror that I can’t begin to count the possible repercussions. But my gentle Shepherd is also a Warrior King. His staff is a deadly weapon and He will fight for me. He has told me that I can trust Him fully and completely, and His gift to me is His peace, if I just hold my hand out to receive it.
“You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
His Kingdom is coming. I see God’s people all around, standing firm in all this. His Hand is everywhere, and He is at work in the midst of this chaos to bring forth beauty and joy. And in the middle of this darkness and grief, I can run to Him, mess that I am. I get to approach the throne. This terrifying throne described in Revelation with flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and burning torches of fire. I get to run right up to it, climb onto His lap, and curl up in a ball. He wraps His arms around me and comforts me. His arms that once stretched out on the cross on which He died for me. I wonder if the scars can still be seen on His hands? I’m thinking He still bears them. They are there for me.
I was sitting on my grandpa’s lap when I heard it….”you will not be my special girl anymore”.
My little heart heard “you are not loveable anymore”
What followed was years of trying to prove myself.
And years of feeling like a failure.
Here we are in the middle of a pandemic and I am showered daily with tangible evidences of Christ’s love and care. It comes through a myriad of ways…family, friends, my church family.
For me ?
For me ?
And Jesus hung on a cross for me ? For all of my sins and all the hurts I caused people..
He shows me His amazing grace and love daily….I am showered…and safe within His care.
Mary Kay’s Testimony
I don’t have much to say but since I devoted my life to Christ I’ve been much better at doing my devotions and praying more frequently. God has really helped me to do my devotions every night with Ruby. For the last few months we have been reading “Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing” every night. Whenever I have felt scared or worried The Lord has led me to pray. LIke, for example, I woke up in the middle of the night and I just said “Jesus please help me” or “Jesus please cleanse my thoughts.” These are some ways I’ve grown with Jesus. I still really need prayer and help from the Lord.
My life has changed dramatically in the last 3 years. I had never had any serious health issues until then, and then suddenly I was totally dependent on others to do even the most basic activities of life. While in the hospital and occasionally afterwards, I would encounter periods of deep sadness which I couldn’t explain, because I have been blessed beyond measure throughout my life. Since then, I have been at times totally frustrated with our medical system, as doctors continue to disagree how to treat my rare diseases, and far too many medical providers appear to be in the business primarily for the almighty dollar. And now, the coronavirus COVID-19 is having a major impact on everyone as we suddenly realize that we are no longer in control. Even more troubling is that it is apparent that the most advanced nation in the world is powerless to control the disease within a timeframe that is more concerned about money and power than saving peoples lives.
Despite all of these issues, I have experienced great joy in how God is at work in my life. I have received uncountable blessings from so many people throughout this ordeal – my wife, our children and grandchildren, the people at Fourth Reformed Church, the people at our former church in Battle Creek, and the Christian community within our mobile home park in Florida. And, when I was struggling to find out how I can fit into God’s purposes, while studying the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives with a group of men at church, the Holy Spirit led me to write both my physical journey and my spiritual journey throughout this struggle. Since then, He has opened the door to share that story with others. Now that we are in a “lockdown” mode and can’t have one-on-one time with others, I can still share that story over the internet.
Good things can come out of a tragedy like COVID-19, because it forces all of us to evaluate what is really important in life. Each and every member of our extended family becomes more important to us, and hopefully each and every one of us will choose to live a life totally in tune with God’s purposes for our lives. The Bible gives us great guidelines to live by, and perhaps right now one of the best of these is to follow the teachings found in both the Old and New Testatments – to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.
Pastor Eric encouraged us to share our testimonies this year for Easter. As a writer, I got really excited about this and was looking forward to putting fingers to keys and typing out how #JesusChangedMyLife and sharing it with everyone. But here I am, on the in between of Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and I’m not done yet. Should I write about how He has danced with me in times of unrestrained joy? Should I tell you all the ways He has carried me and held me when my heart is breaking with the sorrow of living and dying? Or should I just be honest? Should I just admit that I don’t know how He has “changed my life,” because my testimony isn’t one of radical transformation or miraculous healing from illness or addiction or grasping me by the hand to pull me from the rock bottom of my sin? And still, somehow, all those things are true. He has danced with me. He has carried me. He has held me. He has transformed me. He has healed me. He has rescued me from my sin.
I was born into a Christian family. My dad wasn’t a pastor when I was born—he was in the US Navy, and not as a chaplain—but some of my earliest memories are of him studying Greek and Latin and theology and commuting long miles from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids for seminary. Because of his job in the church we moved to Vancouver Island, BC; Clear Lake (Bemis), South Dakota; and both Grand Rapids and Muskegon, Michigan. Because of his job, I was a Calvinette (the early GEMS program), attended youth group and Christian school, and made Profession of Faith before I was a teenager. Because of his job, I saw the faith of people around me—those with health and those without, those with steady income and those without, those lost in addiction and those fighting their way out, those with the steady and dependent faith of generational farmers and those with the tenuous faith of new believers. And because of the faith my parents were born into and the faith they shared with each other and with me, God was the most constant piece of my life. Wherever we moved. Wherever I went to school. Wherever I needed to make new friends. God was there. My first plane ride was to Kalamazoo from California so I could be baptized as an infant, and the summer I was six I was rebaptized by my sister and the garden hose and spray bottles because she convinced me I would lose my baptism and go to hell if I got wet without saying the magic baptism words. I also got resaved at every Bible School we went to that summer, because I felt bad for the ladies who ran the club when no one responded to their message of salvation. And I wanted to be sure. When I lost my library card, I prayed. When I couldn’t sleep for fear my nightmares of fire would become reality, I prayed. When I went to buy my school supplies the day before I started 7th grade in a new town and a Christian school for the first time, my daddy and DeGarmo & Key reminded me to ask if God is for me who could be against me. When I graduated high school and went to a secular university, God came with me. He gave me Christian roommates. He plugged me into a Christian Fellowship Group that connected me to friends I still have today, even though I worried it was a cult. He gave me two churches I loved there. I even met Beau at a prayer meeting for my Christian Fellowship Group—before our week of evangelism and revival on campus. And then, when we moved to Grand Rapids, a good church was the first thing we wanted to find.
Here’s the thing. My testimony isn’t exciting. It isn’t dramatic. It doesn’t generally make people cry or shout. I don’t know when the angels in heaven rejoiced at my salvation, because it was just there before I was even aware of it. And it’s been there every day since. Oh, I’ve had hard times. My heart has broken. I have sat on God’s lap and pounded my fists into His chest, and I have been too angry, too hurt to even look toward Him. God saved my marriage. God protected me from the stupid choices I made as I was growing up. God continues to make my parenting possible. I’ve wondered where God was and why He wasn’t talking to me, why He felt distant from me, and why He won’t make things better. I’ve wrestled with this faith. I’ve rejected parts of it that belonged to someone else, and I have settled into building a faith that is mine. And the one thing I have always known is a God who dances and carries and holds and transforms and heals and rescues. I can point to something every single day that reminds me.
I’m reading a book a friend recommended, and it has a great line at the end (because I read that first—don’t judge me). Shusaku Endo’s book Silence is about martyrs in Japan in the 1600s. My high school class about martyrs was hard for me. I always figured I would bail on God the second things got difficult or if something more exciting came along. Now that I’ve spent parts of four decades in this faith, though, it has gone from being my parents’ faith and has become mine. It has gone from being something I feared I would walk away from, something I was always worried I would cash in for a cult or whatever looked appealing and comfortable. It has become the one thing I cannot be separated from. I don’t know how Jesus changed my life except that because of Him I have hope. Because of Him I have a life to live. Jesus rescued me, and He set me free, and He sets me free. Daily.
I’m not done with Silence yet. I don’t know exactly how we get to this point, but I know these words ring out in my life: “…Our Lord was not silent. Even if he had been silent, my life until this day would have spoken of him.” My God dances. My God weeps. My God rejoices over me with singing. And even if He feels distant, even when He feels distant and silent…my life speaks of Him.
He is risen. When I was young I didn’t like going to church because I had to wear a suit. I still dont like to wear them. When I was in the 5th grad I went to a bible camp and gave my life to Jesus. When I got home I didn’t know where to go or how to continue on my journey, because my family had left the church by then. I didn’t find God again till I was 16, through various relationships. When I joined the church I was married and we had our first child. Throughout our 33yr of marriage we went though a lot of trials. As I look back on my life though the good and the rough times I can see that God was alway there. He filled my life with lessons and joy today is Easter and He is risen. May His glory shine on you.
For Easter this year, in lieu of the fact that we cannot meet and we’ve ALL had too much time to contemplate our life and what it means, our pastor has asked us to give our testimony. The world needs hope, he said. And boy don’t I know it, cause I need hope too…
Like many I grew up in the church. Small town girl. Loving but broken family. I was very sure I loved Jesus and Jesus loved me. But I wasn’t sure HE knew ME til the night I will never forget.
My baby sister had a seizure. idk how my dad heard her cause I was sitting right next to him, but that night left us all flailing. Seeing her pale and unresponsive, taken away by ambulance with our parents. The 4 of us were left wailing and weeping in one bed, seeking the comfort of each other, crying out to God to spare her, to forgive us, making wild promises as children and sometimes grownups do when they are terrified by life…
I imagine there are many out there who are doing so right this minute. 🙁
I weep with them too…but I take heart in the knowledge that Jesus knows me, and I know HE knows YOU too.
There’s a story most have heard, that Jesus tells about himself, the Good Shepherd who leaves the 99 in safety to search for the one who’s lost. I can tell you from experience,
sometimes I’m the 99, and sometimes I’m the one. Because He is Good. Because He is Love.
God hasn’t answered all my prayers through the years. I’m still waiting on some. And some have been just plain no. But He has been With me through it all. He is Hope. And that’s the one thing we ALL need, esp in these crazy times. Though we let busy lives and circumstances damp down our heart’s cry, I’m sure you’ve been lost too…
If you need to know He knows you? Pray. He will show up. He is God after all and you can see for yourself He is GOOD.
If you need more support or want me to pray for you let me know, cause that I can do. May The LORD bless you all with the knowledge of Himself this Easter, like never before… AMEN
He is risen.
When I think about this reality, it makes me realize that my whole life has been anchored in the hope that this gives. Through the dark times, through the absolute joys and through the mundane, the reminder that Jesus is risen is a stabilizing force in my life. Always.
I grew up in a Christian home, participated in church and knew at some level that all of this was real. I rebelled a bit and had my fair share of stupid mistakes, but the anchor kept pulling me back. And it still does.
When Tim died…when I lost my vision…when I spent days in hospitals in agony and waiting, I had the presence of this living friend with me.
When I went to the front of the church to be married and went to Ethiopia to meet our daughter, the anchor reminded me of what joy was really like.
When I sit at my computer and play my video games and listen to my music and podcasts, the presence of the living Word whispers, convicting, challenging and comforting and teaching.
I can’t imagine living life without the central reality of Jesus’ resurrection. I cannot imagine facing death, loss and pain without the hope the resurrection gives. I cannot imagine facing the joys in my life without knowing that it only lasts in eternity. I cannot live my daily life without knowing that Jesus is constantly, slowly and faithfully making me the one who I will be. And it can only happen because of this day.
He is risen!
Where would I be without Jesus? Certainly I have lived a very ordinary American life in many ways. It’s not like I was a drug-dealing, gang-banging, puppy-killing criminal before I became a Christ-follower. But he still saved me—saved me from living an all too ordinary and common life on my own. Because regular life, it’s hard enough, isn’t it? Nothing has befallen me that isn’t common to the human experience, but that means plenty of heartbreak, loss, anxiety, disappointment, sickness, and death. Yet here is what I have found to be true:
“He is with us on our journeys. He is there when we are home. He sits with us at our table. He knows about funerals and weddings and commencements and hospitals and jails and unemployment and labor and laughter and rest and tears. He knows because He is with us—He comes to us again and again—until we can say, “It’s You! It’s You!” (Bob Benson)
I’m so thankful Jesus has come to me again and again and helped me recognize Him even in the dimmest light. I’m so thankful he is El Roi, the God Who Sees Me; and Emmanuel, God With Us; and Jesus the Christ, Resurrected King!
He is Risen in me—He is Risen indeed!