I've spent a good chunk of this morning writing a brief summary of my Christian testimony for the application I'm filling out for next year's Spanish teacher position at my kids' school, Cor Deo Christian Academy.
The reason that it's taking me so long to write this brief summary is that I just keep having to pause and 'cry it out' for a while. I am completely overwhelmed by God's love, goodness, compassion, grace towards me, underserving that I was..underserving that I am.
I want to post it here for His glory and His alone.
Personal Christian Testimony
I was about 8 years old when I first responded to an altar call to pray the sinner’s prayer. The preacher, who had started the church my parents attended, had made me aware of my guilt and my desperate need for Christ. I knew I was a liar and a cheat who had the outward look of a saint, but whose insides were rotting with sin. I wanted to start all over, confess it all, and start fresh… so I went forward.
The problem is, I never really grasped the fullness of God’s grace until much later. I continued to live in guilt as I tried to follow God in my own strength. In a way, I was becoming a Pharisee, because for all appearances, I was a model student of God’s word and a good Christian. Only I knew I wasn’t holy and worried I really wasn’t saved. How could a child of God be so inclined to lie to make herself look better to others? How could I claim to be spiritual when I had such awful thoughts sometimes? Deep down, it was troubling that I couldn’t measure up to God’s standards, however hard I tried. Although it’s disheartening to look back and know that I hadn’t really been taught the full Gospel, I do see God’s hand on my life even at that young age. He clearly had given me a desire to serve and please Him, which kept me out of so much trouble. For this grace, I am so ever thankful.
My love for the Lord waned in my mid-teens when things at church started to spiral out of control. It seemed to me that my parents and the church leadership were being too easily swept away by waves of spiritual movements, often focusing on things that really had nothing to do with the Christian walk. Instead of fixing my eyes on Christ, the perfector of my faith (Hebrews 12:2), I looked to my leaders, saw the distractions and the hypocrisy, and became disillusioned. It all felt so out of control and yet, I was supposed to honor them? It was a dark time for me in my walk.
Although it wasn’t a conscious decision, I did start letting myself slip. I first turned to food for comfort, but quickly rejected that, did a 180 degrees so that by the time I went to a Christian college at almost 17, I was anorexic. I got a lot more attention from boys, yet I wasn’t really happy. Deep down I knew I wasn’t pleasing the Lord with this obsession with food and weight loss…so it was hard to spend time in God’s word or to pray. Eventually, with the help of a Christian counselor at Trinity Western University where I studied, I did turn back to Him...but now there was a mar on my record and there was no more pretending. I was sick and sinful, and everyone knew. Although I didn’t like it at the time, God used it for good to teach me that it is “‘by grace that we have been saved, through faith; that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8. I had always known deep down that I couldn’t measure up…but at least I could pretend. Now I couldn’t. It was God’s grace that pulled me out of the mire and it was His grace that had let others see me in the mire. Now He could finally start conforming me to the image of His son because the image I had projected all these years was broken.
Over the next several years, through the study of His Word, solid teaching and life experiences that brought me to my knees, God slowly nudged me deeper into the beauty of the Gospel so that today I can say assuredly that I’m no longer the Pharisee that I once was, but the sinner beating my breast. I know I’m forgiven not based on my works. I know I don’t deserve His grace, but He freely gives it because He loves me. I shudder when I think of where I could be if He had left me to my own demise! He rescued me from so much. How can my response be other than wholehearted gratitude and obedience?
The thing is, I know I will continue to fail Him this side of heaven, but He will never fail me nor forsake me. I want so desperately to honor Him with my life and to bring Him glory, but it’s utterly impossible without His help. That’s why I am so grateful for the Holy Spirit at work in me and for a Savior whose mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness!!