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View Full Version : Getting to Know You - Your Testimony


snooch
02-12-2015, 01:28 PM
Do you consider yourself to be a Christian?

I'd love to hear your testimonies :)

I'll share mine in a bit.

Virginia
02-12-2015, 04:54 PM
Yes, I do :)

I grew up in a Christian home, but my beliefs have changed so much over time. That being said, the knowledge that I have about God's existence is unshakable, even if I question the details of Christianity.

snooch
02-12-2015, 04:55 PM
BTW, if anyone would like this moved to The Inside, just say the word. :)

I was raised in a Catholic family. I went to 12 years of Catholic school and was involved in the church until my early 20s. I *think* I believed, but when I got to college a lot of things became very murky and muddy, I questioned everything, I was certainly not living the life of a believer, and I eventually stepped away from all religion or issues of faith. I would probably have classified myself as an agnostic bordering on a non-believer.

I began to come back to the church when I was about to get married. Through a series of events, that did not happen, and I stepped even further away from religion than I had been.

My husband, however, was a Christian. He always believed, but had back-slid a little. After we'd been married a year or two, I could tell that he wanted to get back into a church, but he hesitated because of my non-belief. That made me feel bad; I didn't want to hold him back from his faith just because I didn't have any. I told him to find a church he wanted to go to, and I would go along with him - to support him, and to find out what he believed and why he believed it, really with a mind to just understand him better.

During that time, I started to read the Bible, for the same reasons, to understand what he believed and why. But, if I'm being completely honest, I also wanted to find the inaccuracies in the Bible and point them out. I wanted to find the places where the Bible contradicted itself, or where it was historically inaccurate. I wanted evidence that it was not factual, and that there was no reason to believe in it.

I would come to my husband over and over again with questions and flaws and reasons why something was wrong or contradictory. Without fail, every single time, he had an answer for me. He could point me to another part of the Bible that gave more context for the part I'd challenged, or he would tell me about the original Greek or Hebrew of the word I'd taken issue with and what it really meant, or he'd be able to explain what a passage was talking about contextually so I could see where I had misinterpreted. If he didn't know the answer, he would find it and we would talk about it.

After a year or so of this, I got to the point where I couldn't find things to challenge anymore. I couldn't find reasons not to believe that this stuff was true. All of what I thought were inaccuracies and contradictions turned out not to be the case, and I saw how people who had been there with Jesus, who knew him and were friends and followers of his, all died these horrific deaths that they wouldn't have had to suffer at all if they were exaggerating, or going for a power play, or making things up for their own purposes. It didn't make sense not to believe anymore. So, I believed.

It wasn't a big emotional experience or a huge lightbulb moment or anything like that. I came at it from a very logical, reasoned position. The feelings came after the belief. The belief was just a pretty matter-of-fact thing, as I was thinking about things one afternoon. It was almost like just coming to a realization that I already mostly believed this stuff, and I didn't have a basis for doubt anymore, so I may as well commit to believing it.

The experience reinforced to me how important it is to know scripture, to understand it, and to be able to have an answer to everything that someone might question. If my husband hadn't been able to do that for me, I may have had a very different experience in getting to believing. It's what has motivated me to keep learning and studying and reasoning through what I understand of the scripture.

April will be 11 years :)

Historia
02-12-2015, 05:31 PM
For as far back as I can remember, I went to my family's small Christian and Missionary Alliance church with my grandfather and great-grandmother. It always felt like home, even though I didn't fit in and adults liked me much more than their children did. One day at vacation bible school (which I loved and attended every summer that I could), I said the sinner's prayer with a group of other kids. About a year later, I was baptized. The church was kind of an (imperfect but still) escape for me. I was Mary in the Christmas play and sang in front of the church a few times.

Then the pastor's (wonderful) wife died, he retired and moved away, and the church got a new (and it's current) pastor who I have never been a fan. New pastor made huge changes and at the same time, I was entering teenagehood and dealing with a lot of garbage personally with my family/ home-life, so I stopped going to church. I still had faith. I wasn't great about reading my Bible, but I prayed every day or almost every day. I'd visit churches here and there, but another church never became home.

When I was in my 20s, I was still reading a Bible (not as much as I should have) and praying regularly, but I was also very into astrology, tarot cards, and that sort of thing. And I wasn't even visiting churches anymore.

Then in my mid to late 20s, I felt a strong desire to find a church again. I became a member of an Southern Baptist Convention church. It wasn't the healthiest environment and I stopped going to church. CF became my church for awhile, though it also made me question Christianity more (not because of atheists but because of other Christians). I was in college at the time and took classes on Buddhism and studied Buddhism on my own. I was seriously considering becoming a Buddhist, but the more I studied Buddhism, the more drawn back to God/Christianity I felt.

I've had experiences throughout my life, but most strongly in the last few years (since abandoning Buddhism) that I felt strongly were God speaking to me (not audibly with a deep tone of voice) and I feel that while I do not have all the answers about the Bible, Christianity in general (theology), and my faith, I feel very strongly committed to God.

mum2only1
02-12-2015, 06:11 PM
My testimony: LONG
I grew up in a Christian home. My mom was the spiritual leader of the family, but we never really prayed together except at dinnertime and we never read the Bible. I never saw my parents read the Bible ever! I never saw people coming to church with a Bible in their hands...which was strange to me. If the Bible was so important...how come I didn't have anyone teach me to read it other than my Sunday School teachers. Kids brought their Bibles, but the parents didn't. Sad to say, but I really don't know much about the Bible even today...just bits and pieces...but the bits and pieces are what I hold close to my heart...such as the stories of Moses and Job. My favorites.
I questioned whether God was real as a child and one Sunday morning, I was 8, in the summertime we had relatives staying and we were all getting ready to go to church campmeeting. I was getting ready and sneezed 3 times as I was brushing my hair. My nose started to bleed so I went and laid on my mom's bed with a tissue. I kept feeling hair tickling my face so I kept brushing it away. My mom came out of the bedroom to see my face covered in blood. It wasn't my hair tickling my face, but blood coming out of my nose onto my cheeks. She got several cloths and it was getting worse...the blood was dark and thick and covering the cloths within seconds. It was so bad that she was running out of cloths. They wrapped me in a sheet and were ready to take me to the hospital. By this time the entire family was in my parent's bedroom and they were discussing how to get me out to the car. My aunt suggested that we all say a prayer before going. So a prayer was said. After my mother finished praying she wiped up my face and handed me a new one. Not a drop of blood was on that washcloth. I knew God was real at that very moment. Now when I look back on that day I envision my mother handing me a white washcloth. I envision white and dark red. I asked my mom what color washcloth she gave me and she told me in those days she had olive green, dark brown, and dark blue. She told me that no way in the world would she have white wash cloths and bath towels with three kids. I believe that happened so that I could see God was truely real and now when I think about it I only see white wash cloths covered in dark red blood. It was scary at the time, but so special that God has given this to me.
Church was a huge part of my upbringing. We went to Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night church. I didn't always like it. I felt the kids were mean especially when I got to youth group. The girls were so mean and catty. Also, I felt as if church was a time to dress up in your Sunday best and at times I felt as if it was a time to show off what you wore. I didn't have lots of nice clothing so I felt like an outcast. Over time I hated church. I gave my life to Jesus when I was 12, but hated going, hated being there, hated the other kids so much!!! When I turned 18 I left and never went back. It felt great!!! So maybe I was never truely saved.
Eventually I stopped going and did my own thing. Going out, meeting guys, drinking etc. I didn't want anything to do with church.
10 years later my world was dark, depressing, lonely, and I had thoughts of suicide. I was in a bad relationship, had a horrible job where I was being harassed and I felt like there was no way out. My niece was born with kidney problems and my mother asked me to go to church one morning. We went to the altar to pray and all of a sudden I just started crying...the pastor came and prayed with me.
The next day I received a new job and within a month I broke up with my ex. The best thing I ever could have done.
I started going back to church and joined a life group.
By 1999 I was going to church, but I don't believe I was saved because I was still doing things that were not Godly. I met my husband online and he was not a believer. We started a relationship and within 2 years we were engaged and then married. At this time we were unequally yoked.
I moved to Australia and after a month of being here my dad had a heart attack and over the next 2 months he was critical. Nearly dying 3-4 times. This was the turning point in my life. I had a very sick father, a new husband/marriage, a new country to get used to, and all I had was God at this point.
This was when I gave my life to Christ. I had to learn to lean on him for everything!!!!
When my father died I was very sad because I was so far away and couldn't say goodbye, but the grieving was not as heavy as when I was a non-christian grieving for my grandmother when she died. It was such a deep grief...a deep pain. I didn't have this as a Christian. When my mother passed 4 years later I had a deeper pain, but still not as painful as when my grandmother died. That is the difference when you have Christ to carry some of the burden for you.
I am still on this Journey with Christ. It seems like the longest journey in the entire world, but I always look for God's hand in everything, praying about everything, and try to teach my son the same thing.
Sorry this is so long...:happy:

blythe_ann
02-12-2015, 07:09 PM
Testimonies are a long, wonderful, ever changing thing in my mind. My testimony is continuing as we speak.
But I'll make mine quick so we can read others that are more interesting :).
I grew up in a Christian home and He has always been a fact and friend. Jesus was my "imaginary friend" growing up. I just talked to Him all the time.
And I'm kind of dense and God knows that. So for most of my life, God has been pretty darned obvious with me. Every big decision, I just asked and sooner or later he bopped me on the head with the answer. There were times when there was absolutely no question that God was telling me what to do.

You all know, of course, that last year He wasn't answering me as quickly as is our normal relationship, but now I know exactly why-- He answered with something I wasn't expecting at first, but I'm super excited.

He's always taken care of me and I have no reason to doubt Him.

Jesus-is-the-1
02-12-2015, 07:28 PM
I know this is going to most likely sound crazy...but I really have a love/hate relationship with God. I grew up in a non-Chrsitian home but I didn't attend church for quite a few years with friends. I just went for the socialization. I never had a relationship with God. When I was 21, I was tired of everything in my life and I'd battled depression since I was a very young child...so I packed up and moved on my own from Indiana to Florida. My first real encounter with Jesus was that year. I kept trying to believe and begging for God to just show me He is real..and I kept feeling completely blank. I was in an awesome church with great friends. One night I went up to the alter and I just sat there and told God this was the last time I was going to ask if He was real. I had made up my mind that He most likely didn't exist. At that moment, a light bulb went off in my head and I felt Him saying...Let Go and I'll show you. I sat there for a long time and confessed every sin I could think of and trust me I'd lived a wild life so there was a lot to give up!
I'd love to say that it's been bliss ever since...but I've had many ups and downs and back sliding. However, I believe He's real but I still have so many questions and sometimes it drives me nuts. I still struggle with self-worth and depression issues, but I just keep plugging along and trying to follow Him.

snooch
02-12-2015, 08:37 PM
I'm finding these stories really encouraging. Blythe is right -- the testimony is ongoing for a lifetime -- and seeing where we all are, where we come from, where we are still going, demonstrates to me how real God is. Because even when we're confused, and seeking, and doubting, he's showing himself to us, as much if not more than he does when we're strong in our faith. It's encouraging to me because when I have my many moments of doubt and seeking, I can draw on these stories of how God revealed himself to us, even when we weren't sure he was there. I'm so glad you guys are sharing this stuff. :hug:

Virginia
02-12-2015, 09:22 PM
Blythe, I one time lamented to my dad that I didn't have a "cool" testimony like he did (he was heavily into drugs, grew up in foster care, etc.) because I was a "cradle Christian." He told me, "God's power to keep is just as great as his power to save." That's always stuck with me when I feel like I don't have an interesting testimony or one worth hearing :hug: I think your story is very encouraging! Thank you for sharing.

katzankatz
02-13-2015, 02:29 AM
I basically grew up going to church regularly. We moved to a new town when I was quite young, preschool age, and started going to a new kind of church there, a fundamentalist Baptist church. Though I was little, I can still remember how this impacted my mom and older siblings. It brought some kind of positive change that I really can't pinpoint - probably because I was so young. I just knew that the things I was learning in Sunday school were very important and true. So, it was not difficult for me to accept Christ at a young age. I think I was 6. This happened one evening as my brother and I were discussing heaven and whether I know I would go there some day. I had a lightbulb moment, and it occurred to me that the things I knew about Jesus, about sin, about his death on the cross were meant specifically for me too, not just everyone in general. I wanted to become a Christian that very night. So another sibling, a sister, kind of helped me with a "sinner's prayer".

Life was not easy growing up. There was a lot of junk to deal with in my family, things that can really mess a kid up for life. I learned to look to my church and Christian school for spiritual guidance and how to live a good life, rather than home. Even with my mom's new found faith, there are some wounds that go really deep, we were all human, and I did not have that demonstrated in my own home. The church was also imperfect, filled with fallible human beings, and many, many times I found myself questioning if it was all true. The fact that I'd become a Christian so young raised many doubts. Was that experience real? Was I really on my way to heaven? This is a common problem for people growing up in fundamentalism - Christianity is so rule-based that you begin to worry if you might be forgetting some rules. Maybe you didn't pray the right prayer, maybe you didn't really understand what you were doing being so young and all.

Well, when I moved away from home I started going to church where my sister was going (and where I still go now). This was a good refreshing change for me. No longer was a relationship with God based on rules and worry. It took a while, but I grew out of my doubts and fears. I remember reading a Christian book, I think it was by Chuck Swindoll, where he wrote that everyone's salvation experience is unique to them. God might call one person to himself in a really dramatic way while another person could be called in a still, quiet way. Some ways are quite unconventional - consider the moment of truth for the thief on the cross and the words that he and Jesus exchanged. Not your everyday "sinners prayer" gittin' saved! So I've become grateful for that moment when I was 6 years old, probably not quite sure what I was doing at the time. God knew what he was doing.

I think it's cool that God uses fallible people to draw them to himself, such as the people in that church. It wasn't perfect, but it was all in God's hands despite that. I know he can use me in that way too.

mum2only1
02-13-2015, 04:20 AM
I remember when I was 32 and had just moved here someone in the women's group asked me to share my testimony with the other ladies. I told her I didn't have a testimony..she said,"Of course you do." That made me nervous because if I had a testimony I sure as heck didn't know what it was. lol I passed on doing it. I didn't really understand a testimony at that time.
I could do it now, for sure, but back then I didn't get it.

Kehaar
02-13-2015, 06:24 AM
I'm not sure this is so much of a testimony as me rambling on.

My parents are Christian, or at least were. I know my dad has struggled with what he believes over the last couple of years. The story I've been told is that after I was born their minister was pushy about having me baptised. My mother's belief was that baptism and/or faith is a decision I should make for myself when I was old enough to understand, which didn't go down well. She's told me that they gradually stopped attending after that and I didn't grow up surrounded by a church family.

However, I did have strong Christian influences around me growing up, although from quite different denominations. My grandparents, particularly my maternal grandfather had a strong faith. I also spent a lot of time growing up in Lewis, in the Western Isles, which has strong (and rather strict) Christian communities. My eldest brother became Christian when I was in my teens, becoming part of a Pentecostal church. I would say I was open to exploring faith around this time and did attend various services but never really felt comfortable anywhere. My brother did ask that I go with him to one of his services one day, although when we arrived he told me that he wanted me to go forward to be healed (I had vision problems at that time). In hindsight (pardon the pun) I know he meant well, but at the time I was very upset about it. He hadn't explained to me prior to going that it was a healing service and I felt very hurt that he thought I needed 'fixed'.

I pretty much avoided services after that until around my twenties. I met and dated a Christian man who was supportive, but perhaps a little too keen. I felt pushed and he felt I was stubborn, so that didn't end well! I was attending a church at this time and met some wonderful people there. I was part of prayer groups and study groups and very active. I did come to faith at this time and was baptised (14th November 2004 :D).

I do consider myself Christian, although I'm no longer as active as I used to be and not as involved with a church as I would like. I tend to be pretty quiet in my faith, but then I'm pretty quiet by nature as well.

snooch
02-13-2015, 11:59 AM
I know I said this before, but I'm finding all of these stories so encouraging! No one comes to faith the same way. All of our different upbringings and experiences, God uses all of them to reveal himself to us. We might all be in different stages of seeking, but I think we seek until we find -- and he makes sure we will find him. I love reading this :)

blythe_ann
02-13-2015, 04:05 PM
It was a great thread idea, snooch :) It's nice to hear everyone's stories.

DIANAC
02-16-2015, 09:07 PM
I know I said this before, but I'm finding all of these stories so encouraging! No one comes to faith the same way. All of our different upbringings and experiences, God uses all of them to reveal himself to us. We might all be in different stages of seeking, but I think we seek until we find -- and he makes sure we will find him. I love reading this :)
I love saying that like each sunrise or each snowflake is unique so is each testimony, no two are the same. No mass production. Just carefully crafted by God.

My turn.
I was born in Soviet Union during Stalin's era into an Armenian Orthodox family. We surely believed in God, but did not know Jesus. We did not own a Bible. I haven't even seen one that people can read. However, in Russian Orthodox and Armenian churches there was a very ornate large book placed prominently in the center where the priest/pope was doing his thing. But I had no idea that it can be read. My Mother taught me the Lord's prayer and the bedtime prayer. My Grandmother told me briefly about Jesus who died on the cross. She was crying and saying "why did they kill him?" We did not go to church as there were very few that were functioning. But if we would decide to go to church, my father would have many problems at work. When time came to baptize my baby brother, my parents secretly left the house and secretly baptized him.

Since I was a little girl I remember praying for everything - my school tests, my little problems, everything. That was my grandmother's influence as I followed her example in praying. But we had to be careful not to talk with neighbors about little faith that we had because of the inevitable problems that might happen at my father's office.

My uncle became a seminary student in Armenia. That was one of handful seminaries that the Soviets allowed to function. Eventually my uncle graduated and was ordained as Archbishop. But he never shared the Gospel with us nor gave us our own Bible. Only years later after the collapse of USSR he gave each family member their own Bible.

I was 22 when my Mother died and I started going to different churches. I would walk into an empty church and just sit there. I was searching for something. But I only found emptiness. I was no longer praying as my last prayer for my Mother's healing was not answered.

It was 1972 and we were stuck behind the Iron Curtain. I read in the books that there was a big and beautiful world out there. But it was not for us. In the evenings I was staring at a starry sky from my balcony imagining people living in different countries.

At that time only the Jews managed to escape from the Soviet Union thanks to the International Jewish organizations. Miraculously, we, non-Jews were also able to escape as political refugees. In 1976 we left USSR with our small family, 2 suitcases and 100 rubles ($10) per person. We left no friends behind as everyone considered us traitors and turned against us.
Only now I see God's powerful arm in our exodus.

We landed in United States, NYC, which was our very last choice of places to live. High crime rate and unemployment made it a very undesirable place to call it home. But God's sovereign plans always succeed.
Two days after our arrival once we recovered from a powerful jet lag, we went to church per my grandmother's insistence.

Short time later, in Manhattan on 57 street someone handed me the Gospel of John. I could barely read/speak English. I took the booklet thankfully, and did not know what it was. But God was actively pursuing me.

At the same time I discovered TV preachers. For the first time I heard the Gospel and accepted it. It started making sense for me. I understood the concept of sin, but did not see my personal sin as I always was a "good and obedient" girl.

I met my future husband who was a Christian. We got married 4 months later. On my wedding day per DH's request the pastor who married us gave me my very first Bible. I loved it and carried it with me in my briefcase everyday. But I could not read it, even though that Bible was in Russian. Over the years that Bible became tattered on the outside, but the pages were still stuck together. The Holy Spirit was pulling me and that tension was just awful. Eventually I became so angry at myself for being able to study math, physics, engineering and graduate with gold medal, but not able read this Bible. So, I decided to read it anyway. I was reading it on the subway train, on the bus, on the bus stop waiting for the bus and on my lunch hour. The more I read, the more scales started coming off my eyes and I started understanding the Bible little by little. The Lord led me to good churches that preached the Gospel. He led me to various Bible Studies. Gradually, I started understanding my own personal sin, not SIN as a theoretical concept. I understood that Christ died to save even "good little girls". As Christine, I don't have a dramatic testimony of deliverance from great sin. But that only means that God kept me and my Grandmother's prayers carried me over the years. Even though I don't have a Damascus Road testimony, my life has changed because I remember the emptiness BEFORE Christ and joy AFTER I met him.

Years ago I accepted the Lord with my mind, but now I am accepting Him and loving Him with all my heart and my soul. I pray that my thankfulness and my love for Him increases more and more.

For me to live is Christ (Phil1:21)

snooch
02-16-2015, 10:30 PM
Diana, that was beautiful.

jgonz
02-21-2015, 12:06 PM
I was raised in a (dead) Methodist church. I went because my parents expected us to go. I really only remember one Sunday School teacher, who taught us something about Jesus walking in the cool of the day, in a garden. She sang a song about that, and she smiled and was so happy....

Fast forward to college. I was a mess, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and sleeping around. I was always Looking for something... but I didn't know what it was. I was very unhappy, but people around me would not have known that. I was partying with a group of friends one day, and walked down the hall of that dorm to get a drink of water and go to the restroom. One of the guys that lived down that direction of the hallway was a Christian. He looked me straight in the face that day and said, "I'm praying for you." I joked, "Good, I need it," and laughed and rolled my eyes.

About a month later, I was back home for winter break, and went out to go drinking with some friends. I met this guy... we had mutual friends and had heard each others' names for years, but this was the first time we'd actually met. Turned out, he'd just recently accepted the Lord and was struggling with not going across the street to the bar all the time. His family life was a disaster, and he really needed somewhere to escape to, but he knew this was not the way to do it. Anyway, we talked for hours, and the next Sunday I went to church with him (still hung over from the night before). There was Something about that church... those people... that was Different.

I went with him every time he went to church after that. Within a very short time, I accepted the Lord myself. I saw the Reason for the cross. I knew my sin and shortcomings. I Knew I couldn't handle life myself. I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and a week later was baptized in water. The Lord showed Himself strong in me....

I went back to college a different person. I saw that guy that told me he was going to pray for me, and thanked him. He was stunned. I just smiled. lol The last quarter at that college was very difficult, but I learned a lot.

I transferred to a different college for the next fall quarter, and quickly found many Believers to hang around with. There was a Messianic Jewish on-campus ministry that completely intrigued me. I learned a lot from them, and also found a depth that I'd not encountered before. The music, the dancing, the People... :-)

I should have been content then, but I wasn't. I still backslid every once in awhile and slept around occasionally. As others have said, my testimony continued to evolve...

A bunch of things happened to me (went to Mexico, got raped, lived in El Paso, TX for a couple of months, was angry with God and was backslidden for all that time). Then I got pregnant. I had an encounter with God, and He made it clear that I would not be allowed to sleep around any more, or I would be out. He had given me Several chances and I'd blown them all. This was the last time. I repented, truly, and knew I was forgiven. My parents, on the other hand, didn't forgive me, and pretty much kicked me out of the house. I lived in several places during my pregnancy and after I had my daughter. Life was complicated. God was not.

When my daughter was 10 months old (32 yrs ago) I married her father, a truly Godly born-again man, who loved us despite my leaving (well, ok, running away). He also had a love for Messianic Jewish things, and a few years into our marriage we started keeping the Feasts and celebrating the Sabbath.

About 12 yrs ago, we started keeping Biblically kosher and also following some of the other Instructions from the Torah(Old Testament) that applied to us. These things have fulfilled us in ways that we couldn't have ever thought possible. We're still growing and learning.

Three years ago DH took a DNA test that showed he has Jewish blood in his family line (He's also nearly half Mexican Mayan Indian!) Last year, I took a DNA test and it showed that I, a white girl with Northeastern European/Scandinavian/Scots background, also had Jewish blood in my family line somewhere.

God is amazing... and I'm looking forward to seeing where He takes us next. :)

snooch
02-21-2015, 12:32 PM
I love hearing how God personally interacts with and impacts his children. Thank you for sharing that!

mum2only1
02-21-2015, 05:42 PM
I love the stories so far!!! Keep them coming everyone!!!