Thank you to Dollfaced writer for tagging me in the monthly tag we create together! She does most of the work though. I just come up with ideas/questions.
Dollface writes: “Hello everyone! I hope you had a fun St. Patrick’s Day and a great month of March! This month we are changing things up a bit (thanks to recommendations from Sister Amy and Brother Stuart), and instead of answering questions we will be opening it up to allow those tagged to share their testimony. This tag is aimed at honoring the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that is celebrated this month on Easter Sunday. (Whether you celebrate the holiday of Easter or not, I think all Christians can agree how important it is to remember the process Christ went through to give us hope and life).”
Go check out her testimony here!
Okay, here we go…
Here are the rules:
- Thank the person who nominated you to participate.
- Link back to the original post.
- Use the original featured image.
- Share your testimony in your own way, this is a tag meant for reflection and sharing the amazing gift God has given us of redemption.
- Nominate one or more people to participate.
- Enjoy the rest of your month! ❤
(I have NEVER shared my testimony with anyone other than my oldest daughter. I haven’t got to it yet on my blog. I’m getting there… slowly. I won’t share the whole story because it would include details about the man I am with right now and I haven’t figured out how or if I should ever share that. I will share most of my testimony though. This is really hard for me, but I’m gonna do it anyways.)
Here is the short and FIRST version of my testimony:
I am a preacher’s daughter, so I grew up going to Church three times a week. I come from a line of preachers. My father is a preacher, my father’s father was a preacher, my father’s brothers were both preachers, my father’s uncle was a preacher and both of my older brothers are preachers. There are even more preachers in my family, but I’ll stop there. Funny thing about some of us PK’s (preacher’s kids), we don’t always know the EXACT moment we first got saved. Yes, it’s true. Shocking isn’t it? It just seems like I was ALWAYS saved. I joke that under my father’s “Hell fire and brimstone” preaching, I got saved three times a week! He scared the Hell out of me on a regular basis.
Growing up, my friends and I liked to “baptize” each other in the little backyard pool. I remember going to the altar I think when I was around 9 years old with a friend of mine. That night seemed different for some reason. Still, I don’t recall exactly what happened. At the same time, I don’t really remember NOT being saved before that. Like I said, it just seems like I was always saved, I had a VERY repentant heart and I took my faith very seriously. I was a total “Jesus Girl”. I LOVED going to Church, listening to my father’s powerful sermons, taking notes, highlighting scriptures in my Bible and I especially loved praise and worship. I sat on the front row as soon as I was old enough to hang with the teens. I was ALL in.
When I was 16 years old, I had to move away from the love of my life. He was and still is the most perfect man I have ever known. Not being able to marry him and spend my life with him crushed me… no, it destroyed me. I was so heartbroken, I basically handed myself over to Satan himself in an attempt to be loved, wanted and protected the way I should have been all of my life. I almost lost my life and I truly felt like my soul along with my body no longer had any value. Thankfully, I was pulled out of that darkness at 18. I turned my life around and I married the amazing man who saved me. My happiness didn’t last too long though. Soon, I found myself unable to forget the past, my mistakes and the horrific abuse I had endured. No amount of love from the man I had married could fix me. I tried to numb the pain of my past. Instead of reaching out to God, I became addicted to things that made me feel better.
When I was 19 years old, my entire world came crashing down. I lost my first baby and that broke me. I didn’t understand, but I tried to deal. So did my husband. Neither one of us did a good job of coping with everything life had thrown at us. I became pregnant too quickly with my second baby, however, that got me to straighten up real fast and get myself together. I wasn’t much fun while I was pregnant and my alcoholic husband left me. I lost almost everything (including my mind), but I had a beautiful healthy baby girl.
At 21 years old, I was a very broken, confused, divorced, single mother who thought that I had ruined my life. The family drama I grew up in, the abusive relationships I had been in, and going through a heart wrenching, unwanted divorce (that I made happen) had left me in a very broken state and I was just a shell of the girl I once was. My Ex-Husband says he never cheated on me. So, I figure I had no Biblical grounds for divorce and I just screwed up royally. I began to believe that because I was divorced, nothing I did mattered anyways. I stopped going to church all together. I dated all kinds of men and I tried to numb my pain in different ways. I tried so hard to numb the pain… ALL of the pain. I doubted God’s love for me and I decided I was never going to be good enough. In my heart though, I never stopped loving my Savior and I never forgot what my father preached.
At work, I was known as the girl who didn’t believe in making love to a man unless I was married to him. As you can imagine, I was bombarded with attention from male co-workers. Yes, people may have thought my boundaries were fun to laugh at, but at the same time they loved getting me to cross all the ones I did. Boy, did I cross them. I felt hopeless and I missed my Ex-Husband. I LOVED that man. Being with other men felt like cheating. I felt like trash around the “Holier than thou, I’ve never sinned in my life” Christians and I felt like a good person around my friends who could sin and not feel bad about it. I felt loved and accepted by the world. I didn’t have to impress them and there was always someone doing something more shocking than I was. I remember being at work one day and a wife of someone who knew my father was like, “You’re _____’s daughter?” I was so embarrassed because here I was behaving not the way I thought a preacher’s daughter should and I did not want anyone to know who I really was. I didn’t want to embarrass my father or make people think that it was okay to be a Christian and act like the world. Still, I knew I wasn’t being a good example for others to follow.
I moved away from my parents and everyone I knew. I started a new life with my daughter. And I continued to try to numb the pain. I couldn’t get rid of the memories from my past. My abusive relationships haunted me and I made some bad decisions. I almost gave up on ever being who I once was. Sometimes, us preacher’s kids can feel like God’s unlimited grace and second chances are for everyone EXCEPT us. We are not allowed to make mistakes, we are supposed to be perfect. And when we do mess up, it will never be forgotten.
I felt so unworthy of God’s love and forgiveness that I had a very hard time listening to constant “Hell fire and brimstone preaching”. I became so overwhelmed that I almost walked away completely from my Pentecostal roots. I was always intrigued by the Catholic church and I was drawn to crucifixes. Even as a little girl and My father had been very upset once when I wanted something with a crucifix on it. I didn’t understand. Now that I was in my 20’s, I was even more intrigued. I had a crucifix hung above my bed and I wondered if I should try to get forgiveness from the priest, should I throw myself on the altar and see if a priest could get God to save me? Being raised Pentecostal, I knew very little about things like this. I was going pretty much on what I had seen in movies. I admired Catholics. They could do something and be forgiven. The way they could recite things over and over. I knew one lady who no matter where she was on vacation/visiting family, she would find a Catholic church and go every week. Most Christians I knew would skip Church and go later. They don’t have the commitment I so admired in my Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ. However, I thought that not even the Catholic church could help me. I was too far gone.
I was desperate for mercy. Thankfully, I didn’t walk away, I always kept Christian television on in my home even when I didn’t think it really mattered anymore. Finally, I found hope listening to teachings that were not harsh. The calm and encouraging approach drew me in. I had never heard acceptance taught in that way. I began to believed I could have the same grace the members’ kids got. I began to believe God loved me, no matter what I did. No one is perfect. No one. I began to have an open mind and I began to see things very clearly. If Peter could deny Jesus 3 times, Thomas could doubt Him, and Judas could betray Him after all they had seen, then how was a girl who had never seen Him, sat beside Him or watch him heal people, supposed to be PERFECT? Why are we expected to have it more together than the disciples? Instead of giving up, I found new strength through God’s unlimited grace and I found my way home. After being away from my parents and the church (my parent’s church) for years, I started going to churches where people had no idea who I was. I could just slip in and be a normal person. I had always wanted to just be a “normal person”. I hated the spotlight. I loved to volunteer and just blend in. I missed my family terribly, but I didn’t miss the church drama, the gossip, and the judgmental Christians.
I finally had a very real “Come to Jesus moment” at 28 years old. I was so tired of addiction and the sin I was constantly playing with. I was DONE. In my living room, I clung to my Bible and I cried out to God. I pleaded with him and I cried. I had tried so many times to give it all up and I failed every single time. This day was different. I gave my life back to Him that day… I fully surrendered. I turned my life around, I stopped doing what I was doing and I changed. I had VERY strong convictions. I became extremely sensitive to sin and I wanted nothing to do with anything that even resembled something that could be misunderstood. I wanted nothing to do with anything that would hurt my Savior. I became overly cautious. I changed the way I behaved, and I was determined to be the best mom I could be for both of my daughters. I bought my daughters the cutest dresses and took them to Church with me. I taught them right from wrong. They are the one thing I did right. ❤
The one addiction I am not able to give up is my Man, no matter what he does. God help me.
I have decided that whether I go to Heaven or not, I’m going to be the best mother, daughter, sister and friend on earth that I can be. I will love God with everything in me. I will never change my mind about what I believe and no matter what, I will never turn away from God… ever.
For this Monthly Tag, I am tagging:
And anyone reading this who would like to share your testimony.
Please do not feel obligated to participate. If you do, I can’t wait to see yours. ❤
Amazed By His Grace,