Okay, my testimony is, well, the best way to describe it is “still in progress”. As cliché as it sounds, I believe that every day is a testament to the fact that God saves, and continues to saves with grace and mercy that are new every morning and yet it was already completed on the cross. It’s nothing short of amazing and yet what’s also is amazing is how often I forget it. I guess that’s where my testimony begins. What I mean to say is, I never really grasped how unconditional His love is and how independent it is of my efforts to gain it. It’s a free gift because “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Growing up in the church, I was always under the impression that I was a pretty good kid, excluding ages 2-7 (I’m told I was rather …rambunctious), and I was a relatively happy and imaginative child who had a lot of friends, loved doing well in school and loved going to church. Anyhow, I always knew that being in church and learning about God and the bible made you different from the rest of the world and as I got older, I was able to see the physical manifestations of those differences. I also thought that being “good” left nothing bad for people to say about you. In fact, you were rewarded: pats on the back, good grades, recognition in Sunday school, and all the free candy from bible quizzes I could eat (I clearly ignored scriptures about gluttony).
Essentially, I liked being liked and I loved being different especially if it was what God wanted me to do. However, I never quite anticipated what would happen if I wasn’t happy, if I wasn’t smart on paper, if my friends weren’t around and I didn’t want to go to church and if being different left me lonely. Would God still love me? Would I go to hell? Fast forward to age 17 where I think I was at my lowest: I’d lost all of my friends to either family moves, church splits, and family conflicts; my grades were slipping and I wanted to take another year of high school but feared backlash; insecurities, and depression, psychotic, and suicidal thoughts set in really quickly and I remember being so angry at God for allowing all of it. Also it really hit how imperfect I was. However, it was during those times where God showed me where my identity truly lay. It wasn’t to be found in what others said or thought of me or the boxes I put myself in. I wasn’t perfection but I wanted to be more than my sin and when I kept looking inside to find out who I was, sin was a lot of what I saw. I couldn’t even find my true identity in my aptitudes. He showed and continues to show me that the human heart is designed to find the utmost joy and satisfaction in who He is and all of God’s fullness in Christ. Mind you, there’s been and still are a lot of speed bumps along the way: Pride, forgiveness, lust, jealousy, lust, anger, lust, impatience, lust (did I mention lu-..uh I think you get it) but He’s faithful to complete the work He started in me.