Tuesday, July 5, 2011

If You Don't Have a "Shocking" Testimony

I can't swallow the lump in my throat.

I can't help but emotionally remember that place.

That hell.

She is writing my heart on those pages... part of my story... though so very different in some ways.

And the story isn't beautifully written. But it's raw. It's honest. It's completely ugly and confused and lonely and lost...

... the parts I've read, anyway. I'm about half way done.

And half way is a good point to stop and remember back, while always straining to keep my eyes toward what is ahead. Keeping my eyes to the Light so the darkness doesn't seep in.

Remembering what I was when He rescued me is what is choking up and spilling out.

Knowing the end to my story is what shakes me liquid in the arms of overflowing Grace.

And while I, unlike Kristen, didn't have my legs severed by a train in a failed suicide attempt, there are physical parts of my body that are permanently scarred by the death-choices I've made.

The scars are a kind of proof of the pain, the hell, we all experience apart from God.

And in telling my story, baring some of my body and soul-scars, all the shocking low-lights and glorious highlights, I've had some fellow believers express a kind of sadness that they couldn't share the same way. That because their testimonies were so "subtle", a slow growing into the person Grace called them to be, all their struggles unseen battles that raged in their hearts... their wounds and scars more privately tended by the Great Physician... that somehow they felt they couldn't communicate the baffling power of Grace in a way others would know they truly could understand the more noticeable scars and can testify to the healing strength of the Savior.

Please hear me when I say this: don't envy the death I've known.

Don't bite the lie that you have to sink your teeth into the fruit of evil to fully know and understand and be able to testify to what and Who is good.

It is the choosing good-the choosing God-that teaches us of Him.

Yes, God can and does gloriously work great good out of otherwise impossibly heinous sins... but it is not in the sinning that you come to know the Truth. And you cannot testify about Who you do not know.

So when is it that we know the Truth, and the Truth sets us free?

"To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

So when is it that we truly understand what is right and just and fair, every good path?

"My son, if you accept my words

and store up my commands within you,

turning your ear to wisdom

and applying your heart to understanding,

and if you call out for insight

and cry aloud for understanding,

and if you look for it as for silver

and search for it as for hidden treasure,

then you will understand the fear of the LORD

and find the knowledge of God.

For the LORD gives wisdom,

and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

He holds victory in store for the upright,

he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,

for he guards the course of the just

and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Then you will understand what is right and just

and fair—every good path."

~Proverbs 2:1-9

I made a hideous mess of my life for the majority of my first 20 years. My husband, who came to the Healer around his 28th year, also has a sadly shocking story from who he was, to who he is now. Even before he fully trusted God, and devoted His life to living for Him, it was this verse, spoken by the Spirit through a Bible study group, that pierced him to the heart with that pointed, double-edged sword, leaving all exposed. And this is what he would say to anyone being tempted by the lie that choosing sin could enable you to better testify to the Truth:

"What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!" ~Romans 6:21

The wages of sin is death... but the gift of God is eternal life...

And knowing God is eternal life.

If you make knowing Him more fully everyday your aim, your life will reflect Him, shine Him, glorify Him, testify about Him. The child can do nothing but what he/she sees the Father do... so keep your eyes on the Author and Perfecter of your faith, because every tiny glimpse of Him gives a more accurate perspective of who He is, and who we are. And it is the healthy fear of the LORD that is the very beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One, and the LORD confides in those who fear Him, He makes His covenant known to them.

People will be able to tell if you know Him. They will be attracted to-or repelled by- the Him in you. Then, as He leads, just share what you know of Him.

That is your true testimony. Your declaration of what you've witnessed of Him.

"This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life" ~Duet. 30:19-20

Sharing gifts from the healing Giver today... humbled by a Love that does not let me go...


remembering the beautiful Truth that answers hard questions

the toddler turning oompa loompa orange while happily feeding herself spaghetti

trying to keep up with my five year old in memorizing Colossians

Selah enjoying the Little House on the Prairie series as much as I do

my husband and dad hanging out together father and son, as friends, because of the God-beautiful relationship He orchestrated between them

dad playing "monster" and "tickle spider" with my kids with as much energy and volume as he used to play with me

being in situations where I don't feel I have to say "be quieter" or "be still" to my children

making bread with mom, sharing hearts as friends during the rising and the baking

meeting wonderful neighbors at the neighborhood potluck

my children remembering their manners the entire time

little girl asking to hear stories again from my Jesus Story Box, my getting to share them

teaching a sister how to dialogue with God

being able to walk around on my two healthy and whole legs, being able to care for my basic needs myself

that even animals are designed to need and enjoy play

more organization

beautiful reasons to celebrate

tight neck hugs by chubby toddler arms

hearing "mommy" all day long

that my girls want to share their joys, pains, discoveries, thoughts with me

red, pink and white roses, framed in their high-collar green, full blooming glory

projects everywhere

books that make you think harder, live slower, pray more

the One Who never gives up on me, is always faithful, is always trustworthy, is always the beautiful-same


Melissa said...

Well put! I remember learning the same truth one summer working in N. Ireland. I was giving my testimony in a church locked in the center of the paramilitary wars--most members having been ravaged by drugs and violence for most of their lives! And I felt so inadequate with my saved-at-an-early-age story. And of all the testimonies given, I got the most feedback, and people were so touched to see the power of His grace, that it could be known at such an early age, and that it was even possible to live a holy life, and worthwhile to fight against sin.

Anonymous said...

So beautifully written! Many times at Bible camp the Christian kids are discouraged because they don't have a "testimony." Satan has lied to them that their story isn't beautiful and isn't encouraging because it isn't "exciting." I loved how you poured your heart out about this.

I heard a sister share her testimony once and she was convicted of sin because she stole. a. cookie. That was it. That was the extent of her horrible sin that set her apart from the Lord. At first, I was thinking, "I wish that was all I had done." Then, I recognized the voice of the enemy and I rejoiced that she had been spared a sinful life through the choices her parents had made as believers and the choice she made as a young woman to trust her parents Savior.

What is important, is for us to realize that all sin separates us from a Holy God, even stealing cookies.

We are on our way to Junior High Bible camp where my husband will be preaching and I will be doing crafts. Would love your prayers as we work with kids from lost and saved homes.

Thanks for sharing the truth, sister!

Lindsey Cazac said...

This is simply wonderful Elise. Thank you for sharing. I want to read it over and over again.

Elise said...

You are always a blessing to me, Lindsey! Your words spread Life.

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