My [Overly-Lengthy] Testimony

From a young age, I attended a small Baptist church near my home. I went to church every Sunday and Wednesday night. My family, which consisted of my mom, dad and older brother, were actively involved there.

The first time I sang in church, I was about 11 years old. I sang “Only Child,” a song from the “Shelter from the Storm” album, which was best known for a song called, “Dr. Mr. Jesus.” I always had a love for singing and worship was my favorite way to praise God.

I had a very innocent, child-like understanding of who God was and what he meant to me. He created me. He died for my sins. He loved me and forgave me when I sinned. I believed in Him.

Growing up, I always considered myself a Christian. But I did not always considered myself a good Christian. Sometimes, I wasn’t even a mediocre Christian. But I believed in God.

As I became a young adult, I questioned things. Life got tough, and I didn’t understand how a loving God could allow “bad” things to happen. In a sense, I took a break from God. I always felt Him there, but the child-like faith I once had was replaced with a worldly confusion about what it all meant to me.

In high school, I was involved with Young Life, a student ministry program. It was often a highlight for me. There was no denying that I loved worship. But when I left that environment, I quickly grew cold to the Lord.

In college, I took a New Testament course. I studied books that weren’t included in the New or Old Testament. I heard just about every argument there was against God. Some of them made me think, but none of them ever had me convinced. I always found an explanation. I still believed in God.

The hardest part for me was sharing my blind faith with those who didn’t believe.

In the past couple of years, I’ve grown more confident in my faith and returned to church, this time, as a mom and a wife. As much as I want my children to have minds of their own, I want them to know God like I did as a child – innocently, freely, honestly. As they age, I want them to determine what that relationship means to them.

As an adult, I’d seen many of my friends get baptized. Sometimes, I wanted to go with them, but I always held back.

Back when I was 11, my youth pastor’s wife was re-baptized. I remember asking her why she got baptized twice. She responded: “I was so young when I first got baptized. I didn’t really understand the commitment I was making. So I want God to know, that now, I am truly committed.”

That always stuck with me. So at 31 years of age, my husband and I were baptized together. It was perfect. I’m so glad I waited, and that I took my commitment to God as seriously as I did.

About two years ago, we found Water Edge Church. It’s not your conventional church. There is no steeple. There is a live band and bright lights. They share funny videos. They really engage their visitors and encourage people from all walks of life to attend. They don’t point fingers. They simply bring people closer to the Lord.

I’ve dealt with judgment from other Christians who think of my church as a “show.” But it’s where I’ve felt most comfortable. I love being in a place that acknowledges people as “faulty.” Because that is exactly what mankind is [to put it nicely].

Until my health took a turn for the worse, I volunteered with the 1st graders through their student program. I loved it. They reminded me of what it was like to have young, blind faith … a faith they embraced without any hesitation.

Certainly, they will grow up and ask questions. And they should.

I asked the questions that I needed answered, and I investigated nature with an open mind and heart. It led me to know that there is a God, a one true God. Even when I didn’t actively pursue God, I still knew that nature was the greater than me. Within nature lie countless mysteries, which I could not intellectually fathom.

"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse." -- Rom. 1:20

I realized that, sometimes, man simply disregards what the Word of God says. If I didn’t believe in God, I would have to believe that the Word of God is not what it claims to be. If I were to live for myself, and make myself the authority – I would claim to be God. And that, I cannot do.

The world we live in cries out for an explanation. I do not believe that the world that exists was engineered by a natural being. Even non-believers, like Julian Huxley, have calculated the odds of a pure chance of life evolving are to 1,000 to the millionth power. That is a 1 followed by 3 million zeros.

God’s fingerprints are all around us. For me, it’s undeniable.

“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. " -- Heb.11:3

On a purely spiritual level, I also know that God exists.

When I was 21, with my oldest son in my womb, I faced the first of many tough decisions regarding health. When I prayed about it, a warm breeze fell over me, from top to bottom. With it, I felt instant love and comfort. I knew that it came from God. I felt it just as I feel the keys I am typing on right now.

Though that was one moment which truly stood out -- there have been many others. And if you knew every sinking detail of my life, from conception to now, you’d know that I am nothing less than a miracle … a gift from God.

I am not here by accident.

None of us are.

The funny thing is, my beliefs now are not a far cry from the child-like beliefs I once had.

God patiently waited for me to return. And finally, I did.

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