In the take away for Day One of the Bible Study, David Arthur asked us to write our story. Here, then, is my testimony:
Hind sight is 20/20, right? Isn’t that what they say? When I recall my life in the years before I surrendered to Christ I can see that God was with me the whole time.
God was with me. Through all of it.
He was with me through the pot-smoking, the speed-popping, and just half a Quaalude-please-taking.
He was with me when I was so starved for affection and acceptance; I gave my body to any man who showed any interest in me.
He was with me through all the years I spent getting educated and, I thought, sophisticated. When what I really was doing was walking away from Him. Determined to prove I didn’t need Him. That I could do my life better. Cut my own path through the forest, be self-reliant and self-dependent, and that I could make my own religion.
He watched silently as I took a little piece of most every ism and belief and new-age, occult idea that I stumbled across and somehow managed to crumple them all up in a little ball, wave a magic wand, and call the mess: “What I Believe.”
Today, I can only shake my head in sadness. I was so off-track.
Running the other way … the wrong way … and all the time away from God.
I told myself lies to pretend I was doing life right. That I felt good. That I was happy.
I told myself that I’d arrived. You’re making great money. You’ve got a great job. You’re successful. Your parents are proud and your friends are jealous!
Now this is living!
But it wasn’t.
I was dead inside.
There was a deep crevice inside of me. A deep fissure in my soul filled with black goo that sometimes would lay dormant, sloshing around just enough to remind me it was there; but most of the time it would roll and boil and whisper that I still needed more to fill it up. That the crevice might be closed with the wrong people and more possessions and alcohol and cigarettes and food.
I slaved away at work to fill the empty pit inside of me. But I was never full. I never was content.
I was existing … but I wasn’t living.
How do I know that God was with me through it all?
Because when I did drugs and got drunk I didn’t like the way I felt. Something inside said, “Stop it. This isn’t what you need.”
Because when I laid down with which ever male walked into my life, and started to lose myself in fleeting affections, something inside said, “Stop this. You are worth more.”
Because even though I practiced divination with tarot cards, numerology, and astrology and offered praise and worship to the four directions with sage and tobacco; any time I had a big question … a really important question … something inside me said, “Open your Bible.”
Some thing inside … that ‘thing’ would be God’s Holy Spirit.
He was with me.
Waiting my whole life for me to need Him. To be quiet long enough in my own head to hear Him.
And one day I did.
Like a rush of love and frustration and heat and passion and hope and glory, I looked at the shambles of my life and fell to my knees in the middle of my lonely apartment and cried out …
God! I need you!
And as I cried, God loved me.
Then He told me how I didn’t need to cloud my judgment and dull my pain with drugs and alcohol – how I was His precious child and worth more than I was being treated by men who only wanted my body – how I needed to turn to Him for guidance and answers in my life and not tarot and numbers and stars. How I was His beautiful daughter and He loved me.
No, God had never left me.
He had always been with me. Waiting for me.
After I made the choice to follow Jesus, it took a while to kick the dust and dirt and disgrace of the world off me. I lost some friends because I began changing. I no longer wanted to sleep around and drink until I was drunk. I only wanted to learn everything I could about the Messiah. The man who died for me so I wouldn’t have to be a slave to sin and the way the world thinks and operates. And as I learned my heart swelled with love for my Savior.
I discovered that the Bible is filled with so much wisdom and hope and love that you need no other book. I understood that finding a church that teaches biblical truth is vitally important, and that meeting up with other Christ Followers who will help educate and inspire and encourage is the tender and beautiful fellowship my heart ached for.
Once I got my feet planted firmly on the path following Jesus a genuine peace settled in and began to pour into the pit of black goo, covering it … neutralizing it … cleansing it. Once I received my spiritual gifting from the Holy Spirit, I began to use it for the church, both local and universal. Once I started speaking to God, He spoke to me and our relationship flourished. And now there is joy. So. Much. Joy.
He Is Forever with me and I am forever with Him.
If you’re participating in the Bible Study with us, on Friday we’ll discuss “Who is God?” from Day Two. Specifically, God’s attributes that most intrigue us and what verse we’re working on memorizing. See you then!