I grew up in the church. Sharing my testimony is difficult for my pride because how God saved me is mundane and somewhat ordinary. In an earthly perspective that is driven to comparison and self-glorification, I do not believe that my story is really that great of a story. When I consider, however, the work God has done in my life—the forgiveness of my sins, the sanctification He works within me—I am compelled to share my story because it glorifies the One I love. The testimony God has given to me is a story of a loving Father and His Son, and that is why I share it here.
So, where shall I begin about the saving work God has wrought in my life?
Because I was born into a Christian family, I would like to begin with my parents. My dad first met Christ as a college student in southern Illinois. My mom sensed immediately that something had changed within her husband, and a short time later, she also confessed her sins and believed Christ. Thus, I was born into a Christian home, the youngest of three girls. My family attended church on Sunday mornings and evenings and Wednesday nights too. We served our church on Saturdays by volunteering on the cleaning team, and so, if you’re tracking with me, we were at church about three days a week. Our exclusive soundtrack included contemporary Christian music for the everyday and Psalty the Singing Songbook for road trips. Each night, we gathered for family devotions before resting our heads on our pillows.
I closed my eyes, folded my hands and accepted Jesus into my heart one Sunday morning during Kid’s Church. And the next Sunday, I prayed too, and again the following Sunday until an older woman shared with me that I did not need to pray for salvation each week—the first time I prayed was enough. Because my early existence was immersed in my family’s involvement in the local church, I heard from an early age about the importance of studying the Bible and praying daily. I am thankful for the knowledge that God stored up inside of me during my childhood by reading His Word and learning what it means to obey God and love others, however my heart did not yet understand the goodness and riches of God’s love.
Within our church, our family was a model family. My dad was elected as an elder, and my pastor often remarked that my parents must bathe us in sugar because we were so sweet and obedient. At home, however, things were difficult. My dad struggled with angry outbursts, the seeping wounds of his own childhood, throughout the majority of my life through high school. As a child, I tried to understand and rationalize his behavior by taking responsibility on myself and attempting to be as good as I possibly could so that he would not be mad. (As a side note, thanks be to God, my dad has actively pursued health in the broken areas of his life, resulting in a transformation of our family.)
This obsession with perfection and achievement continued through high school. I was a straight-A student, drum major of my high school marching band, Bible quiz champion, Student Council Secretary, and a leader within my youth group. I believed that my accomplishments made me good and used them as tools to make others like me and be pleased with me. I viewed my relationship with God in a similar way; my daily time studying the Word was another way to demonstrate my goodness. Surely God’s love was dependent on me—my attendance at church activities, the completion of my daily quiet times, how much I worshipped God at church.
During my senior year of high school, I was in a minor car accident on a snowy and slick Thanksgiving eve. A guy that I was getting to know in my youth group missed a stop sign and crashed into a utility pole. The injuries I sustained were nothing more than whiplash, but I would not understand the real grace and sovereignty of God in this incident for another month. In the aftermath of the car accident, my youth group leaders expressed little concern for my personal wellbeing and more concern about why I was in a car with a guy I hardly knew. I was hurt by their suspicions and withdrew myself from all church activities for about a month’s time. Conveniently, I had begun to work a part-time job on the weekends and found an excuse to not attend church.
As December of 2004 wore on, I felt increasingly lonely and despaired, and on the 30th, I cried out to God in my loneliness and rebellion, and He heard my cry. For the first time in my life, I was acutely aware and in desperate need of Jesus as my Savior.
After graduating from high school, I enrolled at Michigan State University as a pre-medicine student. My first semester at college was difficult. I earned my first "C" in Calculus, struggled with loneliness, and was ready to quit and come home. By His grace, a new friend named Shannon knocked on my door, and I became connected with Cru. In college, God began the slow work of detaching my identity from its faltering dependency on achievement, perfectionism, and control, and cement it to the unmoving, solid foundation that I have in Christ—a work that continues in my heart today.
Eleven years have passed since December 30, 2004, and with each new season that God has stewarded into my life, He has graciously deepened my heart's dependence and trust in Him by freeing me from the ropy entanglements of perfection and control. He is faithful to show me where my heart is yielded to anything but Him, patiently working to cause my heart to trust and hope in Him more. I praise God for His goodness and faithfulness.
At Of Larks, we believe that each of our stories uniquely exhibits God’s glory, goodness and love. We have asked each of our regular writers to share her testimony or a story of how God has worked in her life to acknowledge God’s goodness and faithfulness, give praise and honor to Christ, and introduce ourselves to our readers.