Testimony of a Church Kid
What sort of testimony can a gal who grew up as a church kid have? Especially when that gal was a minister’s kid! I mean, basically she must have been born believing in Jesus and knowing him personally. (Hopefully by now you are catching my sarcasm!)
I’ve learned that my testimony isn’t so much about how I came to believe in God but how I’ve learned to embrace God’s presence in my life, and give my life to Him in return.
The summer before 6th grade I decided that I was ready to step out in my faith. I believed that Jesus was really God’s son. I knew that I had sinned and that God offered forgiveness and the promise of eternal life through Jesus. So one hot night in July, wearing my Old Navy overalls, I was baptized in the camp swimming pool. I wish I could tell you that in that moment everything changed, that something magical happened, and suddenly I was a completely obedient and dedicated Christian. That simply wasn’t how it went though. It was the start of a new chapter in my life though- a new turn in my faith journey.
Growing My Own Faith
I grew up attending the same church my entire life. My dad became the youth minister when I was five years old, and is still the youth minister twenty-three years later. My mom has served as a children’s minister since I was in 6th grade, and still does to this day. Let me tell you, I was involved. Ministry was family work, be it getting the attendance clip boards passed out before church, folding the children’s bulletin, cleaning out the church van, or volunteering with events–helping out was my contribution, not only to the church but to my family. I say this not to brag, especially since there was often some grumbling involved, but just to give you a glimpse into my life.
My adolescent years brought a wide range of ups and downs, as it does for most of us. I struggled with being one way at school and one way at church. My insecurities got the best of me and I made poor choices now and then. I was often rude to my parents and got into trouble. In my heart, though, I loved Jesus. I found myself seeking reconciliation with him over and over. While my human nature was often failing me I longed to serve Jesus. So I served at church both out of obligation to my family and out of a heart for serving the church. Church work was the basis of my faith at that time in my life.
Eventually the time came for me to choose a college, and while I tossed around the idea of pursuing music education at a public university, the Lord led me to a Christian university, where I eventually decided to study ministry. Being at a small Christian university was a very cool experience–a lot like youth group camp. I started to notice that my life was becoming more blended. I wasn’t struggling with acting one way at school and a different way at church because I was in the same environment all the time.
Faith Shapes Us from the Inside Out
As a result, I started examining myself more closely–the words I said, the music I listened to, how I treated those who were different from me—it all slowly changed over time. I wanted my whole life centered around Jesus, not just a part of it. I began to do more in-depth bible studies and instead of keeping a regular diary I started prayer journaling. It was a process of realizing what it means to give my life to God. It was during this time that I really began to form a relationship with God. My faith was lived out in more than just church work. My faith in Christ began to shape my life from the inside out.
This spring will mark six years since my husband and I graduated college and seven years since our wedding day. Over the years I’ve continued to grow in new ways and love God even more. A true blessing was when my husband and I began to help each other on our spiritual paths. I can not tell you the impact that has made in my relationship with God. There are seasons where I fall back, but I keep moving forward. That is what my testimony is all about: moving forward. Falling more in love with Christ as the years go on. I don’t claim perfection or to have it all together, but I’m on a path toward growth.
A Faith Journey is Lifelong
It is easy to look at those who appear to be spiritual champions and think that’s just the way they are, and that we are just the way we are. That is a lie. They are not just that way. They have become that way–and they are still becoming. You are still becoming.
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Our testimony is in our journey, sweet friends, a journey that takes a lifetime to complete. So if you are not where you want to be, take heart. Your journey is not over yet. Keep pressing on, seeking him more, embracing his presence, studying, serving, and loving. In the words of (most likely) Paul, “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, press on toward the goal…” One day we will be where we want to be–with God in the flesh, for ever and ever.