Today Jon and Myself were baptized in front of my entire church and felt amazing glory to God. My Pastors and everyone around me were so amazing and loving to me. I feel so grateful for what I have, and I praise God every time I can look in the mirror and smile at myself. I am so thankful for what God has given me, and that I have a husband who's faith in the Lord is just as strong. At the beginning of service I also gave a testimony about my walk with God. I'd like to share that with you today. Please feel free to add any of your own testimonies, or even your own feelings about God.
Good morning. When I was asked to give this testimony I was vey excited to have the opportunity to share with all of you my journey this year. I felt so blessed to know so many of you were cheering me on and watching me grow in my walk with God.
A year ago I started a journey that still continues today. I began the journey originally to become healthy and more active, but found that not only did I have a journey ahead of me for my physical health, but for my spiritual health. I was in a bad place, and there I was accepting that God was in my life and blessed me with Julia, but I couldn’t get past all the struggles that were in front of me. The struggles of new mom-hood, the finical burden that was ahead of us, and the physical loss of my own identity seemed far greater then that of any blessing I had in front of me.
I had made a choice that I was no longer going to be stagnating in life and that meant in my Christian life too. Overnight God revealed my path to me and took me out of my suffering. I no longer felt fear, anxiety, or the overwhelming post-partum depression I had been suffering from for over a year. I can still remember the morning I woke up and felt the change in myself, and knew that God had touched me once again with his Grace and would redeem me with his outreached arm. Just as I knew he always promised for me. I began to truly see that when I accepted Jesus into my life I was saved and that meant He would stay with me through my life, through my struggles, and that He will not cast me out.
My walk with God began 3 weeks before my daughter Julia was born (almost 3 years ago) when I cried out to Him for help, and he blessed me through the struggles of a premature daughter who would come home healthy and become the joy of our lives. I stumbled the first year in a half of my walk, not entirely sure of where to go or what to do. Jon and I attended church every week dutifully, always praising God for his blessings upon us, but I still feeling lost and unsure of my steps. This has been my only church in my life and the only time I have accepted Christ into my life. I never saw myself as a bad person, but always felt out of place, until I came here. So, this past February I started Financial Peace with my husband Jon. This would be the first in a big step of knowing God’s will for me. Knowing that taking care of our family and our finance would always be a part of my life and knowing that there is a right way and a wrong way gave me insight into the Word of God. I began to develop bonds with other members of our church, and understand that they had similar struggles as I did; that I was not alone and that I belonged. I became more open to the Word in allowing it to spread over me and into my life.
Part of my growth this year has also come straight from the pulpit, from all three Pastors and the Elders who teach to us every week. I’ve learned that to receive great joy, comes great cost (taught during a sermon given from Pastor Frank). He spoke about falling short of God’s grace and mourning for ours and other’s sins and short comings. I heard this message in regards of my own life. I had been falling short of living up to God’s grace, and I realized that part of my journey is making more of an effort to live up to those standards. I’ve learned from teachings by Pastor Ron that Jesus as our savior teaches us that temptation can be avoided, and though he did not teach of my own temptations I knew that when I sit in this church the teachings are leading me on my walk the way God intended it to. I’ve learned so much from the teachings from Pastor Val on forgiveness, allowing myself to be aware that I’ve made mistakes and so have others and moving past those mistakes allows me to grow in myself.
In the spring I took the Women’s Growth Group, and was immediately aware that this was a great step for me. I grew to know the women in the group well and allowed their maturity in the Word spread over me and teach me. Again I found myself seeing my path clearly, and knowing I was building myself up spiritually. I began to develop a true understanding that my path was not only to be a strong Christian, but to develop that bond in my family and my friends around me. It was important to help those I cared about stay on their own paths and remember how much God loves them and will always bless them and be with them. This past Fall Jon and I took the parenting Class offered in the growth groups and taught by Pastor Val and Terry Fischer. At this time we met with Pastor Val, asked many questions, and really made the effort to take charge of our own growth and also our daughter’s. The class, Sunday school, and all of those around us have helped to really show us that we are on the right path, that I am on my path finally and walking with God.
As my growth with the Lord became stronger so did my will to be healthier and happier. I began to loss weight and feel great about myself again. I smiled again, and found joy in the littlest things in life. I was actively participating in my life again, and not allowing doubts and what-ifs to over take me. My family and friends were all seeing the changes in me, not only my physical changes, but the faith I gave to God in knowing that when struggles overtook our lives I still had faith that we would be blessed in the end. Many of my prayers were being answered for this I know. They weren’t prayers for money, power, or anything grand. I prayed for strength to finish the day, patients with my daughter, for insight on how to be a better wife, mother, daughter, and friend. And each time I prayed and called out I always felt a blessing come my way – like completing a 5k on the treadmill, always being able to make the budget stretch just right each month, and having the Lord bring so many Godly people into my life who are Christ-centered and pray for us and help us to maintain our priorities.
I still struggle with life and don’t always do things the right way, but God always puts me back on my path and reminds me to keep my focus on Him. I’m reminded on a regular basis that my way is not the way my path is headed, and that God’s ways and values are not the same as those of the world around me. I have to continually fight the urge to side step the hard choices, the hard work I have ahead, and remember that relaying on God and the Godly people around me will renew my resilience each day.