Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My Testimony

Hello all! I have decided to post my testimony on my brand new blog to give you all a little background information on my life. Today is my 2 years of being in the Lord. It's my pleasure to share with you the amazing transformation that took place 2 years ago. And it will be my pleasure to share with you in the days to come the great work He continues to do. I hope this written testimony will give glory to my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ!

I was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church in 1984 in Ohio. Throughout my early years in a Catholic grade school I was taught to believe that salvation was not sufficient through Jesus Christ only, but came through the church, its traditions, and my own efforts to do good works. I occasionally attended mass on Sundays with my family, but weekly my school held mass during school hours which we had to attend. I thought I knew God and I thought my religion was right because it made me strive to be a better person. With those thoughts I chose to attend an all-girl Catholic high school. Throughout high school as a whole student body we were required to attend our mass every week. My religion classes taught me that the Bible consisted of made up stories to teach us life lessons and an overall feel-good teaching that “everything happens for a reason.” This was the extent of my faith. During these years I found myself getting wrapped in more and more sin, and I clearly knew that what I was doing was bad. I tried avoiding sin by becoming involved with retreats and youth groups. I was trying to make up for all of my past sins and replace them with good deeds. After high school I went off to college, where I left behind church and my faith in God.

I moved out to Los Angeles in July of 2004, and for the next two years I allowed my mind, body and heart to be consumed with sin and fascinated with worldly views. I could see my life going downhill; however I didn’t try to fix it. I kept digging myself into a hole, and it kept getting deeper and deeper.

Last year I found myself in the darkest state I had ever been. I knew that I had to change the way I was living or I would literally die. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own, and all the people I surrounded myself with were living the same lifestyle, I knew they couldn’t help. Then this is when I accepted that this was who I was, and there’s nothing I could do about it. As a result, I continued on with what I thought was “living life to the fullest” by indulging in drugs and alcohol. During this time however I was being encouraged to come to Grace Community Church by a few fellow co-workers. I scoffed at the first request of this. But, week after week they asked, and week after week I was more interested in going. But in the mist of the sinful lifestyle I was living, I was a bit intimidated.

In mid June of 2006 I attended Crossroads; this was my first time coming to a Christian church. During worship everyone was singing and I could hear the passion in their voices as they sang to praise God. I was surrounded by peers, hundreds of people my age coming together for God, not because they had to either, but because they loved the Lord! I was amazed. After hearing the Word of God spoken and taught in depth by Rick Holland, I realized that I really didn't know Jesus. I never heard these words before. I have never really even utilized a Bible before, I never understood it. I had heard a few Old Testament stories and I knew the Stations of the Cross from the Catholic Church, but other than that, this was all new to me. I didn't know that the Lord is "the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Him,” as proclaimed in John 14:6. It wouldn't take long though for me to understand this on a new level. The next few weeks I had the urge to read more from the Bible, to understand and get to know who God is. I attended big church the following weeks along with Crossroads and even attended Hillside bible study.

Sunday August 6th came around and I attended big church in the morning. This is when I hear the Sermon, “Drop Everything and Follow Him!” taught by Steven Lawson. We took a look at Mark 1:16-20. I took notes, “He chooses the common, looks past the mighty, to call on me”, and The Lord was calling to me to follow Him. I wrote on, “God Himself chooses us. It’s a direct invitation to join Him, a command.” “Follow Christ – Love, serve, and obey Him. Have faith to follow Him with complete surrender. His agenda is my agenda.” This was a lot for me to grasp, to leave everything behind, the thought made my anxious. But I understood that this was the only way and that this is what the Lord wanted, and I was to be obedient. So during closing prayer, I accepted that direct invitation from God, asked for God’s forgiveness from all the sin I had committed, and placed my pride, past and all of my possessions before the Lord. And I gave my life to the Lord and asked that He guide me for His own glorification.

The next few weeks were beyond what I had expected. My whole life was flipped upside down, a dying to my old being and a rejuvenation of a clean and new being.

I thank the Lord daily for my salvation and all the knowledge He has given me. I take on no credit for anything good, for it is all through the power of the Holy Spirit. He has giving me the strength to trust in Him and cut all ties from my past life. I feel free and blessed and find joy living my life to glorify God.

So, this was God's plan of salvation. This is the salvation that comes by grace through faith. It could not come from any plan that I had. His grace is a gift and it was given to me so that He would be glorified, so that I could stand here today to respond in obedience to the call and demands of Jesus Christ my Savior.

I was baptized on April 29th, 2007 at Grace Community Church by Bruce Blakely.

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