January 22, 2014
I grew up in a Christian home
I used to cringe at that statement.
Even now as I’m writing this, I’m contemplating reaching for my thesaurus to come up with some descriptive words to make that opening line sound a little more captivating.
But it’s the truth and it’s God’s story and it’s where I’ll begin.
So, I grew up in a Christian home. I have two amazing parents who are still married and have taught me more about Christ and His love than they probably know.
I spent the days of my childhood immersed in church activities, going to Bible camp, and memorizing verses (eager to earn another glue-gunned rhinestone on my pin).
I used to think this introduction to my testimony was so completely dull. And you know what? It probably is. My testimony isn’t a story that’s spectacular or fantastic – though at times I’d wished it were.
I’ve always known Jesus. I accepted Him into my heart at the age of 5 on my neighbor’s front porch during a children’s bible study one summer. I knew all the right ways to act and all the right things to say and knew every action to every worship song (I can still do Lord I Lift Your Name On High in my sleep, thank you very much). I knew a lot in my head. But I didn’t really know anything in my heart. I don’t think I remember ever having any kind of prayer life as an adolescent. Aside from desperate, white-knuckled prayers before final tests or when my car’s gas light came on, I never really talked much to God. I think in my heart I had convinced myself I didn’t need to work at my relationship with Him. Being a Christian was a part of me but it wasn’t all of me.
A few weeks ago, my pastor said something during his message that stuck with me. While sharing a bit of his journey to Christ, he said, “God, in his kindness, allowed the realities of my life to crush me”. As he repeated the phrase a second time, slowly emphasizing each word, my mind began to drift to a few years back when I first began college. Through several tough situations and circumstances, I began to feel overwhelmed with life. The burdens of constant changes and new stresses and not so great choices began to be too much and I went through a period where I struggled with depression.
In the midst of all the darkness I never – and this is the part that really makes me cringe – ran to Christ. The Almighty God who carries our burdens, who is eternally strong and steadfast was right in front of me, yet I chose to ignore Him. Instead, I chose to try to elbow my way out of His hands of protection while convincing myself I didn’t need His grace. I could fix how I was feeling on my own. Of course, in all my humanness, I was completely wrong. The deeper I sank, the tighter I hung on to my pride and my independence.
God has this funny little way of letting us know who is really in control. He sometimes takes us on these seemingly dangerous “adventures” where everything feels like it’s being stripped away from us. But only then, while we are on our knees in an empty dorm room, crying out that we can’t do it on our own anymore, God shows us just how amazing and beautiful a story He is writing. A story that is far more amazing and beautiful than we could have ever imagined. It’s awesome to know that even in our deepest, darkest places God is still there waiting for us and is ready to draw us back into His hands of protection. I can’t do it on my own. I never could. But God can. He is right by my side every step of the way, carrying my burden and pouring out His grace.
My testimony may not be a Hollywood-written, edge-of-your-seat story that so many love to hear.
No, my story is about a luke-warm, bench side Jesus admirer, a prideful daughter who almost wasted her inheritance, and a Christian only by name. But even more than that, it’s a story about Christ’s protection and provision. It’s about His steady, patient presence in my life and His gentle, constant work in my heart. And that, my friends, is the greatest kind of testimony.
*all photo’s were taken by brittanyJuvePhotography