Saturday, August 30, 2008

My Testimony...

I have been blessed all my life.

Both of my parents, both sets of grandparents, and numerous aunts and uncles were all Christians that lived their lives so that you KNEW they were a child of God without them ever having to say a word about it...but talk about it they did...

So why would someone who was raised in a seemingly “perfect” spiritual background ever even think about not following the Lord? I still ask myself that question sometimes...

We always went to church. My earliest memories include:
church pews,
folding chairs at camp meetings,
and prayers offered at bedtime, mealtime, and anytime.

Later memories were:
SS classes,
church services,
homecomings,
revivals,
and frequently hearing,
“If the Lord’s willing,” and “the Lord bless you.”

As I grew a little older, and took these things for granted, it was hard for me to understand people who did not believe the way I did. I thought everyone believed in God, prayed, and went to church, and those who did not, weren’t as "good" as I was.

When I grew to an age of accountability, and the Lord started dealing with my heart, I would tell myself,

Granddaddy is a preacher”,

Grandmother reads her Bible and prays all the time”,

and so I am good to go...

No one could have holier genes than me...

I remember one night during a revival at my Poppie and Monie’s church...Bro. Chamblee was preaching and I felt like he could see straight through me. The Spirit of the Lord was so real in that service and everyone was busy praising God and shouting and having a good old time in the Lord.

While the singing and praising were going on, the preacher came down from the pulpit and started walking down the aisles of the church. We were not allowed to leave the sanctuary during service for anything but an emergency, so I grabbed my little sister by the hand and said, “Let’s go to the bathroom.”

We went out the back of the sanctuary and STAYED there, listening and watching from behind the double doors. Imagine my horror when the preacher started walking towards the back where we were “hiding.”

There were several older people back there standing around and the preacher walked through the double doors. He shook everybody’s hands and asked how we were doing.

Now you have got to understand...this man was a BIG man and the anointing was on him so strongly that you could FEEL the power of the Lord as he walked by, so when he shook my hand, I blurted out, “My Granddaddy is Rev. John D Carter.” He just looked at me and smiled and then went back into the sanctuary.

Yes, I thought “salvation by association” worked the same as “guilt by association.”

The Lord finally got through to me that it didn’t work that way. So in 1973...June 3rd to be exact, as a young teenager, I finally found out what everyone had been so thrilled about during my childhood.

God was REAL
Jesus died for ME
My sins were forgiven
I was going to heaven

I wish I could say everything was fine and dandy after that...just me and the Lord...and I never looked back.

Unfortunately, after I married and started raising a family, I put my relationship with the Lord in a box. I placed that box way up high on a shelf and only took it down when I needed something.

How I hurt Him, so many times...

When my boys were young, we got involved with a great church and soon grew to love and cherish the family of God that worshipped there. (I have just recently connected with some of these precious people via Facebook and it is so thrilling to read what has been going on in their lives).

God blessed us greatly during this time and I was able to become a SAHM by babysitting my young nephews. I helped tend the SS nursery class, taught a middle school FTH class, and wrote, directed and performed in several drama productions. I sincerely loved the Lord and serving in the church, but things were still not quite right.

Pride slowly came into the picture and glory that should have gone only to the Lord, was being tucked away, piece by piece in the back of my head. By the time I left, my head was so big a 10 gallon hat would not have even fit.

I thought because
I looked holy,
talked holy,
and acted holy,
that I was better than those who didn’t fit my picture
of what a “Christian” should be like.

I stopped listening to the Lord and started listening to people. My faith was replaced with works, I eventually stopped going to church, and just walked away from everything I knew was right. That joy and peace that had been filled to overflowing was now dried up and practically nonexistent.

I didn’t turn to a life of crime or anything like that, but what I DIDN’T do made the road home become a long and winding path. I turned my back on the One that had given His life for me, and basically said, “I can make it on my own.”

Obviously I couldn’t make it on my own, and like the prodigal son, I came back down that long road home, where my Father ran to meet me with open arms. As I cried and begged for forgiveness and my body trembled in shame, He reminded me that I would always be His child. He led me to His table and fed my soul till it was overflowing again.

Now every day is made up of fresh new moments of experiencing the love of God and learning to LISTEN and OBEY. Miraculous things have happened and I am excitedly anticipating things to come.

My greatest desire is to grow closer to the Lord, learn from His word, and shine His light to those I meet. So...

I believe I'll testify,
God's been good to me.
Through every test and trial,
I've got the victory.

The enemy has tried his best
To make me turn around and bring me down.
But my God's never failed me yet so
I'm gonna stand my ground.

No matter what comes my way,
I'll lift my voice and say
'HALLELUJAH ANYHOW'...



10 thoughts:

Debbie said...

I was brought up in the church too and even gave my life to Christ when I was 9; but, I too, tried to do things my way and under my own power! Thanks for sharing your story - I felt like I was right there in your "hiding" place as Bro. Chamblere (sp) came and shook your hand :-)

Hugs,
Debbie

karen said...

I was not one of the fortunate ones, to have been raised in church, or allowed anything to do with Jesus or Christianity. But because of the Grace, and Mercy of the Lord Jesus, He found me wandering life completely lost, and literally living in the darkness of the Evil one... Long story of how I was raised, but the thing that matters the most, is that I am ALIVE today, because of the Blood shed on the Cross, for me. Jesus found me, lost and broken, and wounded - and redeemed me, loved me and now has taken the ashes of my life, and there are many, and made me into a Beautiful and exquisite part of His Family.. That to me is worth all the physical abuse, shaming and sin acts done against me growing up! I continually Praise God for all that He is!! Thanks so much for sharing your testimony!!

Karen said...

I enjoyed your testimony and getting to know a little more about you. God is so good that he hems us into a place where we realize we Can Not live life in our own strength! I think I am realizing that truth more each day! God bless you, and keep on blogging! You are a blessing.

Winging It said...

I so appreciated this testimony and was nodding my head right along. I believe we can all relate to various many parts of your story! I wrote about the Prodigal Son back in November I believe,and I so very much rejoice with you that you are Home with The One Who Reigns, once again!

God bless!
Maria

Debbie said...

Karen, thank you for sharing your testimony. I became a Christian at the age of seven. My grandparent's pastor's wife took me for a drive to talk to me about Jesus. I was about to go through open heart surgery and this was 1960 when the techniques were not what they are today. So, they thought I might die. I understood what she was saying about Jesus and prayed to receive His free gift of salvation.

I came through the surgery and I'm healthy now. PTL!

But I too was a prodigal. For years, I prayed when I needed something or was scared. I married and divorced and got married again. My hubby and I have been married for 25 years now. But I wasn't going to church and growing. It wasn't until my grandmother's funeral that the Holy Spirit got a hold of me and I knew I needed to grow in my faith.

I started going to church but my hubby didn't join me. I continue to go alone and this is 15 years later. But I still have such a hunger and desire for a closer walk with the Lord. I'm thankful that the closer my walk with the Lord, the more my husband notices the fruit of the Spirit in me. I always give God the glory. I keep praying though and won't give up. One day I know my hubby will come with me on Sunday.

I loved learning more about you!

Sending you a blog hug,
Debbie

Triumphant Victorious Reminders Copyright © 2009 said...

O how I love this testimony! Rich wealth and legacy of the King in your physical families 'lineage'...Thank you for sharing the beauty of God's restoring power and your story of His Redemption over your life.
Love in Christ..Teresa

Joan said...

I was also raised in church - parents, grandparents,and most of my aunts and uncles were Christians. I became a Christian at the age of ten during a revival. However, I went through my prodigal years and eventually stopped going to church. But God wouldn't let go of me and know I'm passionate about telling others about Him. My heart is to reach out to women, espcially those who have travelled a path like you and me.

Blessings to you, sister!

THE OLD GEEZER said...

Karen,

Thank you for sharing your testimony.
Praise be to God that He used that "scary" preacher to open your heart and make you realize that salvation is personal. It's always between the lost sinner and God only. No one will enter Heaven on the coattails of another.

God Bless You

Ron

Sandra said...

Incredible testimony and heritage. God's blessings on you, yours and the work of your hands and heart.

From the Desk of Sister Alissa Lynne said...

I loved your testimony....Jesus is good and so thankful for it. God bless!!

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