15.1.12

the love that conquers: my testimony

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April 25, 19XX marks my birthday. I was born. Squalling baby, chubby toddler, hyper kid, and a geeky girl. I frolicked and flipped (literally, that stopped after I fell head first off my bunk bed) and played and yelled. Christian and I explored everywhere and became burnt brown from the Texan sun (until we turned blue when we moved to Wisconsin). I got older. Flipping wasn't (normally) on my agenda. I would rather create inside than go get ticks in the woods.

Sometime in March (?) 20?? marked the day I got saved (or they day I professed Christ as Lord of my life, though I'm not quite so sure if I meant it that day, truly). Ever since I was born, I grew up in a Christian family. My mother got saved after my oldest brother was born, and my daddy followed later. Christianity was  novel to our family (I suppose) just as it was novel to me. I didn't quite grasp it as a whole, but I knew that Christ had covered it all.

I was a whirl to please Him. I read my bible everyday, said my prayers at night, went to church, without falling asleep, answered all the Sunday School questions and memorized my Awana verses. I had a pretty good start for a kid, but I didn't quite grasp it. I didn't know exactly what I had gotten myself into. Being a Christian was just...being a Christian. It was simple. It was just all right there.

My sister is big into theology. She and my mother would talk, and talk, and talk about theology. I didn't see the point. All those big words which stand for hours of conversation and debate. I envied my sister. She was searching and growing in Christ. She asked questions, debated, freely talked about Him. And me? He was just there. He was (and always had been) a part of my life. I was pretty good to go, He covered my sin, right?

And then I turned thirteen. My sister (although her thirteenth year had been her "worst") assured me, my thirteenth year was going to be the greatest. She threw a huge party for my brother and I, and part of the party was receiving a two inch pile of letters from special friends and family, and thirty minutes of speeches. And my sorta-not-really-"purity" ring, which has nothing about my "pre-marriage". It simply has Galations 2:20, and the words, "Christ lives in me." My mother said that this year was a great year to grow in Christ (she said that every year, I think, but this year I remembered it). And I did. But I had the worst year of my life.

Before I continue, let me get something straight. 1) I don't like talking to people and telling them what's wrong.  2) Just because I had a horrible year doesn't mean I didn't take something home from that dreadful experience. 3) If you happen to be thirteen or someday-turning-thirteen, I'm not trying to discourage you!! 4)  I've just re-read this post, and I don't boast English. Sorry for the million different tenses.

My thirteenth year was when God began to draw me closer. I knew who He was, and what He had done for me, but I didn't quite do anything with it. Just stuck it in my pocket as a memo. I don't doubt I was a Christian, but I was young and naive, and rather stupid when it came to what I was as a Christian.

And I began to question myself, "Why am I here? What am I doing? Is it worth it? Is God there? Am I a Christian!?!?" The lies began to creep in, and I felt helpless and scared. What if God wasn't real? Or what if He was, and I died but wasn't really a Christian? Ah, those nights. How I laugh now at my lack of faith, but it seemed very real and close to the truth then.

I wanted to be closer to God. To understand and love Him like my daddy, mother and older sister. He was so real to them, and they loved and served Him. But to me? Who was He to me? Couldn't I be just as close to Him as they were?

How could I serve Him? Certainly not now, I was too young. And there was no place to serve Him. He was far off, it seemed. And sometimes, I felt like a fool, praying to the air. I cried in my pillow almost every night.

Ridiculous? Pitying? Shocking? I think every person has gone through this. They're purpose and goal in life. Because ultimately, we only have one life, and we want to spend it wisely. I didn't want to face God and tell Him that I stuck Him on the back burner of life. I had this image that He was ready with the rod of discipline at every turn. Ready to leave me when I rejected Him out of fear, misunderstanding, and ignorance.

I made big mistakes when I was thirteen. I didn't read my bible very often. I didn't tell a word about my struggles. And I blamed God. I hadn't learned the art of listening either. I couldn't help it. It was boring. Empty. I couldn't find answers. But I didn't try. I prayed, but not expecting anything. After all, He "cared" (Jesus loves you, sort of thing) but I was obviously doing something wrong, so He couldn't talk to me right now.

((I hope you realize I'm being sarcastic?))

And then I began reading. I determined to find truth. I prayed. I cried. I begged. I yearned and craved love. True love. God's Love.

And He was there. He promised He would not deny us, and that He would not leave us. Through that whole bungle of words up there (if you bothered to read) He was there. I just didn't see Him. People who don't understand call it cruel - but it was His love.He didn't smile at my struggle and my heart break. He hurt me more than I imagined, but not more than I was able. And in the end, He healed me and drew me closer than I had ever been in my life. I didn't see the end, but He did. It was in His word, for crying out loud, if I just would've READ IT. But I saw the now - the here - and I was blinded. I let bitterness and loneliness grab hold of me. Until I surrendered, completely. It hurt to submit, but it was a relief to find peace, a purpose and an overwhelming love.

I have a purpose. I have a life. I was not a mistake worth billions years of mistakes. I was created. For a purpose - for His purpose. But God's love, leaves me in awe and wonder. The love of Christ. It was not "love" as in my mother loves me, but true, complete love. 


God never left me. No, now that I look back, I saw Him at my side. The small (and numerous) things He put in my life to convict me, to encourage me -- which I haven't enough blog post space to put in. It wasn't all trial - He left me manna and gave me the strength to continue - to find His love. The true love of Christ.

7 comments

  1. Your theological big sister went exactly through the same at age sixteen that she has nothing to add -- other than she praises the Lord that you've learned it far earlier than she.

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  2. So many times we feel "God's given up on me". But truth be told, we've really been doing to giving up.

    Some time ago while I was praying, asking God to let me be a light and other things, I opened the Bible and began reading. A verse (or rather a few) caught my eye: "..I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles..." God knows how to answer our prayers. I'm so thankful to Him.

    *hugs*

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  3. Wonderful post, Bethany. We have many similarities. I'm think I need to read a testimony post...

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  4. Ah, Betany, Bethany -- I so identify with you. You seem to mirror my musings and struggles in your personality and posts, and this one is definitely no exception.

    One of my friends said a long time ago that he almost wished he had led an awful, worldly life before becoming a Christian, so that he could really see the difference. I think he echoed the thoughts of all us Christian-raised teenagers.

    Those who were "drunks and stuff" before having radical conversion experiences don't ever wonder. We do. When did it happen, and did it really? How can we know? Can we know at all?

    The funny thing is this: Who cares if you really believed then? You can believe now and stop worrying.

    (Sorry to rant. I love your posts, Bethany.)

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  5. Amen, Allison. I sadly didn't understand that the past didn't matter, but only where I was at the moment...

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  6. Thanks for sharing- I think every person goes through this one time or another. (:

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  7. Wonderful post, Flop. It's just beautiful.
    Love you!
    *hugs*

    M&M

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Maira Gall