Thursday, March 13, 2008

Personal Testimony

I stumbled across a site recently that got me to thinking. I don’t believe I’ve ever shared my full testimony with people.

I was baptized when I was about nine. I don’t remember a lot about it except that my older sister, Kathy, pushed me out into the aisle one Sunday morning and said I was old enough to go to the front and get baptized.

I remember the preacher coming and visiting my mom. I remember sitting on the footstool and professing to know what I was doing. I remember wearing a white robe and being dunked.

I don’t remember my life, actions, or thoughts changing so I doubt that I’d been truly saved at that young age.

Fast forward to age 14. I don’t remember a lot about church from baptism to my teenage years. We moved when I was in the third grade and although we lived at our new house when I was baptized, we still attended the old church. We must have lost our ride to the old church since I don’t remember my parents taking us.

I do remember bits and pieces of going to Sunday school at the new church (within walking distance) and I remember some of my teachers with fondness. Mrs. Geraldine Chester was probably my favorite. Think “Aunt Bea” from The Andy Griffith Show and that’s who she reminds me of. Not the actions (because Mrs. Chester never whined) but in looks and dress – and who could forget those shoes! Mrs. Chester played the piano for the church and she could make those keys just sing. She was a wonderful pianist and an amazing woman of faith.

I was one of those kids who needed extra but because of the size of my family I didn’t get noticed too much (except when I was doing something wrong or my father perceived that I was doing something wrong). I didn’t really excel at anything and everything I liked to do, Kathy had already done – and done it better. I stayed out of trouble so I didn’t really get too much negative attention either. I just kind of existed. I was sure that my existence didn’t really matter to anyone so I only did enough to make myself feel good. I had several things happen that weren’t “bad” but from a child’s standpoint, they reinforced my thoughts that I didn’t really matter. I loved to read, so I spent all my free time immersed in books and daydreaming about living a different life where I was important to others. I loved to sing but I’d only sing if I thought people weren’t listening because it had been implied that my singing was not good enough to care about. I got good enough grades to stay out of trouble with my parents but didn’t really go the extra mile to get REALLY good grades because it wouldn’t make any difference in my life anyway. I knew that I’d never be allowed to go away to college so why bother trying to earn scholarships to places I’d never see.

By the time I was 14, I was very involved with our church youth group. We had the older teens, which included Kathy, Ruby Richey, Rhonda Moore, Jimmy Mattingly, the oldest Sanders boy (who had a crush on Kathy), Brenda Moore, and a slew of others. I was part of the younger teen crowd, along with Leida Richey, Ray Brown, Debbie Webb, Herb Mattingly, Robert Sanders, Pauline Sanders, Ray Moore, and several others who weren’t quite as regular in attending. For a small community and small church, we had a large group of teenagers. Some of the names and faces come to my memory in bits and pieces.

Granny Page was Ruby and Leida’s grandma. She was everyone’s adopted grandma. You didn’t address her as “Mrs. Page” as she’d correct you (“Mrs. Page” was her mother-in-law is what she frequently said). I had never met anyone before her or since her who loved as unconditionally as she did.

Granny made me feel special, just for me. I wasn’t someone’s older sister or someone else’s younger sister. I was someone to notice in my own right. She said that I mattered to her and that I mattered to God. She said that Jesus had died for ME and if I’d been the only person on earth who had believed in Him that He still would have done it. I was flabbergasted. I’d never felt that kind of love or understood the enormity of love that strong before.

I remember so clearly the Sunday I went forward at age 14, just as clearly as if it happened yesterday instead of 37 years ago. Granny came and enveloped me in her loving embrace and just hugged and hugged on me. She said that I was indeed a child of God and that He had great plans for me, plans that I couldn’t even begin to imagine. There were no earth-shattering confessions or prophesying over me but plain and simple, straightforward talk from a plain speaking woman of faith.

I can’t say that I never strayed from those words of wisdom and I haven’t always been in God’s will. But, I do know that when I am walking in His steps instead of my own that things are better. I have things in my past that I’m not proud of and things I’ve had to ask members of my family to forgive me for. There are other things best left unsaid and known only to God and me. I still have to ask for God’s forgiveness every day because in my human self I still fail to live a life that is free from sin. But, the main difference between me and someone who is not saved is that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my sins and transgressions are forgiven, as if they never happened. When it comes my time to stand before the Throne on judgment day, I’ll be judged accordingly but those things that have been already forgiven will have been wiped clean and not brought up.

Do you know Jesus as your personal savior? If not, you can become a redeemed child of God by simply asking Jesus into your heart, confessing your sins, and acknowledging that He is the only begotten Son of God. He was sent to the earth to live and die for our sins so that we may have everlasting life. He was buried in a borrowed tomb and rose again on the third day and now sits at the right hand of God.

If you don’t know the Bible or own one, you can go to or and look up passages.

John 3:16-18 says this:
16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

I know I have more to say but this post is already very long. I’ll leave it for now and maybe revisit in a future post.

No comments: