My testimony is something I’ve struggled with because it doesn’t have that climactic moment that so many do. Being born and raised in a Christian home, while such an incredible blessing, was also my biggest obstacle to overcome in my walk with the Lord. My journey hasn’t been one of finding God per say, but rather, having the Gospel right in front of me my whole life and deciding what to do with it apart from familial expectations and routine.
Looking back on my life, I don’t remember a time when God wasn’t a part of it. Prayers before bed and every meal, and church on Sundays seemed to really steep me in Christianity. At six years old, I was told that I needed to confess my sins and ask Jesus to forgive me, so I did. And if I’m being honest, I’ve probably repented and called on Jesus to save me about 30 times since then, because that six-year-old moment, though authentic in its child-like faith, never felt monumental enough to me for it to count.
Throughout my elementary school years and into my time at college, I didn’t have a problem telling people that I was a Christian, but the way I tried to keep one hand in my faith and the other in the appeals of the secular world left me exposed as a hypocrite. I’d get burned by my attempts each time, feeling more and more angry that I couldn’t achieve what I wanted in popularity while also trying to follow Christ. I was caught up in a routine-based Christianity that was full of contradictions and my mundane, easy life made me feel comfortable and secure.
A turning point in my faith took place in late 2015. During this time God took enough away from me for me to realize that the control I gripped so tightly and relied on my whole life, was no longer going to be a viable crutch for me. A serious car accident that resulted in a concussion and wrecked car, and the beginning of my grandpa’s cancer journey that would take his life three years later, are glimpses of what this season of life contained. It was also at this time that my awareness of my sin grew exponentially. It’s a though a magnifying glass was placed over every area of my life where I had messed up, chosen poorly, settled for less, and compromised. A cloud of guilt, condemnation, and feeling so unworthy seemed to settle into my heart.
I was brought so low, and it’s not because the circumstances I faced were impossible to get through, it’s because I was forced to rebuild the foundations of my life after being made blatantly aware that I had been building them on sinking sand.
But, God – lavishing undeserved affection and grace on me, began the process of collecting the dust of my life and turning it into something new. The next four years have proven to be this beautiful, difficult, messy, painful, redemptive, imperfect yet utterly wonderful process of becoming. Though stumbling along the way, God graciously gave me the patience to let Him heal me in the myriad of ways I needed to be healed, and He taught me to put aside the desire I lived with my whole life to constantly feel in control, and instead, let myself sink into the unique journey He had me on. Proverbs 16:9 in its simplicity became a life verse for me, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps,” – this I know to be true.
God has used my story to teach me that His love is so much more than I ever thought possible. It’s not merely wild or unpredictable. It’s not only an overwhelming wave that crashes over you or a tender hurricane that uproots you in its might. Throughout my life, yes, I’ve had moments where His love has been eye-opening and heavy upon me in midst of my circumstances. But my testimony, marked by God’s gradual, patient, and steady pursuit of my heart, reveals to me a quietly relentless kind of love.
The hard part of my testimony that I mentioned before stems from this prideful desire of mine to have a more dramatic “come to Jesus” moment than I do. And while I’ve struggled with the fact that I don’t have the memory of my life dramatically changing when I got saved, I have countless memories of events that God has used to change me. So, I may not have a potent moment of transformation, but I have the sweetest taste of a journey marked by it. And I’ve learned that neither is better than the other or more worth being shared. For if God’s our ultimate Lover, then surely, He captivates our hearts and woos us exactly how we need to be to fall completely in love with Him back.
My story, though it once felt boring, I now know is far from it. I can’t necessarily make sense of all the seasons of my life, but I can say that I palpably feel God chiseling away at my heart now more than ever. Sometimes it’s painful, but the outcome, I trust, will be beautiful.
He is the Artist, I am the canvas; He is the potter, and I am the clay.