What does that mean, testimony? Where do I start? Essentially it’s my life story as a testimony to God’s grace, salvation, and deliverance.
I don’t have a dramatic story. I wasn’t abandoned. I wasn’t a rebellious teenager. I wasn’t addicted to drugs. I wasn’t an alcoholic. I wasn’t an unwed teen mom. I didn’t experience the trauma of losing a parent at a young age. I wasn’t abused. I didn’t have a near-death experience or survive a debilitating accident.
I was what you might call your all-American girl. I grew up in a loving home. My family life may have been a bit untraditional at first, but overall I had a wonderful childhood, a peaceful home life, and I’m thankful to have cherished, happy memories.
After thinking about how blessed I’ve been, I wondered if I even had a testimony. After all, I hadn’t been through a 180-degree transformation in my life. I just didn’t have that kind of story. So how did I even have a testimony at all?
Then one day my sister mentioned to me how we’ve been through some tragic times, and I stopped and thought about that for a bit. When I step back and look at my life objectively? Yeah. I’ve been through some stuff. It may be less than some people and more than others.
And that’s the beauty of the grace of God. Everyone’s story is different. But when you allow your story to glorify the Lord, that’s when it becomes a testimony.
I want to share this story with you real quick, about how my life was changed so completely by meeting Jesus, and how—because of that—I know for certain who I am, I know the meaning of life, and I know without a doubt where I’ll go when I leave this world.
I came to know Jesus at a fairly young age, about 11 or 12. So my life before knowing Him was only as a child. Even so, before Jesus, I was a very selfish person. I only cared about what I wanted and didn’t truly care about others. And I could be very disrespectful.
I couldn’t have described this at the time, but looking back I can identify my feeling as a sense of hopelessness. Now don’t get me wrong. I had a great childhood and was very blessed to grow up with the family I did. But I also had a sense of feeling empty, like nothing in life truly satisfied me, even at that young age, and I had no real joy.
One day in Sunday School, we filled out some kind of survey card, and at the bottom there was a box to check that was labeled “Christian.” I didn’t know what that was, but I was scared to ask, so I looked at another girl’s card, and she had checked the box, so I checked it too. I had no idea what it meant, but I didn’t want to feel left out or like I had done something wrong.
Some time after that, I was sitting in my room at home—I think it was after coming home from church one Sunday—and I had this overwhelming feeling that I needed to act. I was afraid that when I died I would go to hell. In fact I knew I would go to hell, and I needed help, I needed Jesus.
I cried for my mom with such urgency, and she came running, thinking it was an emergency. And truly that it was. That’s the biggest emergency any of us can and will ever face, choosing Jesus and His gift of life eternal, or rejecting Him and choosing hell.
I’m so happy to say that I chose Jesus. And you can too. The Bible says that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, because He loves us. (See Romans 5:8.) So my mom led me to the Lord Jesus right there. I confessed that I was a sinner, and I accepted Jesus as my Savior.
Since knowing Jesus, my life is full of hope, assurance, and a peace in knowing I’m forgiven for my sins once and for all. Jesus has delivered me from the pit of hell, and He has broken—and continues to break—the chains of many struggles in this life.
Without Him, I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be here today. I’m a grateful person now that I have Jesus in my life. He’s created in me a tender heart towards people, allowing me to truly care about them instead of only caring about myself, and that’s only possible because He’s changed me.
So what chains have been broken, and how has God delivered me through the storms of this life? What is my testimony, my personal story?
Well, I’ve been through a little bit of depression, severe social anxiety, an eating disorder, tons of self-doubt, practically zero confidence, and very little self-worth. Mix in a ton of insecurity and, not too long ago, that was pretty much me in a nutshell. And that was after I accepted Jesus as my Savior. (Shock! Scandal!)
Yeah, well. See the thing is that Jesus didn’t promise that we would have lives free from trouble. He promised that He would be with us through those things. But the little kicker there is that… we have to actually put our trust in Him. Yikes.
Okay, I don’t know about you, but that is a hard one for me. I want to be in control and know what to expect and what’s going on. But that’s just not how the Lord does it. And you know what I’ve learned? I don’t have to understand it. It’s not for me to understand it all right now in this earthly life. It’s for me to trust Him and submit to the truth of His ways being higher than mine.
And thankfully, by beginning to understand the grace of God, I’ve grown closer in my walk with the Lord and have realized that my worth is found in Jesus and what He did for me at the cross and empty tomb.
So aside from emotional issues, let’s just do a quick rundown of some of the big stuff I’ve been through.
I was born to a biological father who beat my mom and threatened to kill her. And her family. And me.
Because of that horrendous experience, I grew up with a ton of trust issues and a physical fear of people. Which I’m still working on.
And I had some financial fears ingrained during my younger years that are still being uprooted to this day. And it is a-mazing how far I’ve come. Find out here how my money mindset did a complete 180 from what I learned throughout my early life.
I’ve also experienced the tragedy of seeing loved ones suffer, and of losing some of the people who were most precious to me. One of those was my sweet and ornery grandma who had a severe, almost completely debilitating stroke. She lingered for 10 years. And my beloved grandpa—my first father-figure and someone I was extremely close to—died from cancer.
I’ve had some health issues that have disrupted day-to-day living at times in my life. Endometriosis is a huge one. I also battled an eating disorder over the course of several years.
And my very best friend in the whole world—the best mother I could ever imagine or ask for—died from cancer 5 years ago. Leaving me with what felt like only half a heart.
I’ve dealt with job loss, family issues… I could go on. And I know you could too, my sweet friend.
But there is more my story! (And there can be more to yours!)
I got a dad, a real one! I fought anorexia and—by the grace of God—won. I picked up the shredded pieces of my heart and carried on with life after the loss of several loved ones, especially my best friend/mama.
I’ve been through things, friend. Maybe you’ve experienced some of these heartbreaks yourself, or maybe different varieties of the same sort of sorrow. But my reason for sharing about these struggles is not to depress you, oh no! It’s just that I have to share a bit about how dark things were so that you’ll see the utter brilliance of the light that’s come shining through! It is possible to come out on the other side.
Check out the posts below to find out more about my happy endings, my not-so-happy endings, and how I’ve managed to accept both of them with peace in my soul.
- Why My Biological Father’s Rejection Didn’t Faze Me
- What I Learned from My Battered Mother
- Uprooting Financial Fears for a Healthy Money Mindset
- How I Beat Anorexia (series)
- Learning to Embrace Grace
- When Family Ties Snap
- Trusting God when You Lose Your Job
- Mending Fences with Your Mother-in-law
- How I Lost My Mom but Not My Joy (series)
- How I Quit My Job when I Couldn’t Afford To
And friend, if you’ve never had anyone share with you the straight truth about who Jesus is and how you can know Him personally, or the no-holds-barred truth about what exactly happens after you die, this is for you.
Or if you’ve already accepted Jesus as your Lord but you feel like you don’t have a testimony of your own… I got you, friend. Discover your testimony today (coming soon!).