If you’re a writer of any sort, you probably know the feeling; you can think of multiple ways to start, but you must choose only one. Well, here I go…
I recently read Jessica’s story. Except, right near the beginning she confessed that it isn’t her story; it’s God’s. I couldn’t agree more. A “testimony” is defined as evidence or proof of something, and in this case that “something” is God’s work. Thus, my testimony begins way back before I can remember and, in fact, before I or the world were around.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
The truth of the above passage struck me afresh last year. I just believe it’s true. God chose me – and everyone else who is in Him – before the creation of the world. For obvious reasons, I wasn’t there to witness this choosing, but His Word testifies to that being where my story began.
Fast forward to when I was born. Given the interactions I’ve had with you dear readers in the comments, I get the feeling that many of you will relate to this. I was born into a Christian home. I was three days old the first time mum and dad took me to church and as I grew older, I had to be disciplined for not behaving during the service. I remember my parents reading the Bible and devotions to us around the table before I could read for myself.
Though I can’t remember everything about the night, I remember praying some variation of the sinner’s prayer, guided by my mom, when I was four or five years old. It was during my bedtime routine after she had read to me a portion of my children’s Bible. She wrote the date in the front of the book, but I don’t have it anymore.
It doesn’t matter that I lost possession of the book. I’m not entirely convinced that that was the moment that I went from death to life and that the Holy Spirit entered my life. I don’t know what moment was the moment. Jessica put it well, and I agree with her: I can’t isolate a moment to call my conversion. Rather, the Lord has graciously worked throughout my life to sanctify me.
I got baptized at seven. It was controversial; some people in my life said I was too young to understand the depth of what I was committing to. They were probably right. But it’s because of the controversy that one thing stood out to me and remains in my memory to this day; I may have been too young to understand, but I desired God.
In my pre-teen and early teen years, I constantly questioned my salvation. I had wavering assurance. I felt like I had to ask the Lord to save me over and over again – you know, just to be sure. I hadn’t yet learned to look back and remember times in the past that I had known God’s love to be true.
I was about fourteen years old when my relationship with God began to flourish and gain traction that has continued to this day. The Lord showed me idols in my life and gave me the grace to cut them out. If I felt there was a minimum amount of time I had to spend with Him, it no longer felt relevant. I was now eagers to spend time with Him. I started prayer-journaling. I had milestone moments with Him that I look back on with fondness, even today.
I’ve lived a very sheltered life. I’ve never experienced anything traumatic; no death or serious illness, no abuse or broken relationships. I’m convinced that as these things arise, the Lord’s grace will be all I need to endure them.
Let me wrap this up with a verse that is close to my heart and very relevant:
Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
those he gathered from the lands,
from east and west, from north and south.