I was recently asked to share my testimony.
I have generally avoided sharing my testimony because I’ve never seen it as being that powerful of a story; that moving or really that spectacular.
My heart honestly cringes now as I write this because that is such an ugly lie that many, especially those like me who have been a Christian their entire lives fall victim to, as if the beauty of our stories rest in the age or manner in which we were given the blessing of salvation.
Regardless of the age or circumstance under which Christ was made known to us, it is still the same hand of grace that reached down into our muck and mire to save our lost souls.
And that’s a story worth telling.
So I shared my testimony and came to this realization – perhaps my story hasn’t changed many lives nor will it ever inspire amazing things, but it has changed my life.
As I wrote my story, reminiscing on the good times when I knew God was moving and the horribly dark times when I thought the rain would never end; as I wrote it all out, I was moved.
I had no idea at the time how mightily God was moving in my life; from age five, kneeling at the side of my bed praying ‘that’ prayer, to age 23 learning how to reflect the love of Christ in every aspect of my life.
One component of my testimony that really stood out to me though was how my faith was taking shape about two years ago.
Throughout my college and early professional years, there were several moments where I sought change; perhaps a change that would finally make my life better – better opportunities, better circumstances, or a more satisfying purpose.
My life was defined by change.
I looked forward to the next change in life because that was a way of escaping my present reality; of putting a period at the end of whatever mess I was in and giving me hope for the turning of a new leaf.
I changed schools because that was a way of isolating the anxiety I had experienced to that campus and that campus alone, which I could escape from easily enough.
I changed my major area of study so many times because I wanted to be a certain person. So from trying Chemistry to Health and Wellness to Counseling to Social Work, I never quit looking for that form of identity.
I changed the way I looked because then it was that girl who wasn’t attractive, but maybe now I would be.
I moved back to my hometown for many reasons, but perhaps deep down in hopes of rediscovering the innocent girl that I was growing up here. It’s funny how even just driving by the old house I grew up in takes me back to the days of innocence and purity, allowing me just a moment to dwell in that past reality.
I would try different relationships thinking that one of them would finally make me feel worthy enough, all the while missing the ultimate purpose and grander design for relationships and marriage, which is to reflect and worship the God who is worthy rather than finding self-worth in another person.
I’ve changed jobs in search of satisfaction and purpose because then maybe I would feel like I was doing something worthwhile.
All of this boils down to one thing…
I wanted change that would change me.
I wanted change that would change who I was and how I saw myself, because to be quite honest, there was a lot that I didn’t like about who I was.
There was a lot of pain, rejection, failures, and ignorance that I didn’t want as part of my testimony.
There was a lot of fear, uncertainty, unmet hopes and expectations, unanswered prayers, and out-of-control circumstances that threatened to breach the confines of this tidy little box that I called my faith.
My testimony wasn’t what I wanted it to be and therefore it wasn’t worth telling…not yet anyways.
I wanted change that would change me before sharing my testimony because I think I believed that unless I was who I really wanted to be or who I thought I should be, then what was the point of all those rainy days? What good did they do if they didn’t wash away the muck?
What was the point of that depression? That anxiety? That heartbreak or that failure if it wasn’t all culminating in a nice, clean finished product?
And one thing I knew for sure was that I certainly was not the clean, finished product that I wanted to be, so I kept changing and I kept refraining from telling the story of how I got to where I was because it was still unfinished.
What’s ironic about that is that the harder I tried to change, the more apparent my insufficiencies and shortcomings became, thus creating more areas that I wanted to change. In all of His grace and goodness though, God opened my eyes to the one change that I did need in all of this and that was Him.
I realized that all of those rainy days in my story weren’t rooted in the circumstances and situations that I believed certain changes could erase, but instead they were deeply rooted in my heart.
When I stopped striving in vain to make behavioral or situational modifications to my life, God did a tremendous work in my heart. He took the rainy days and turned them into reflections of His grace.
And it was then that I started to blossom into the purest reflection of Christ that I could be.
When we stop trying to shape and mold our lives, our work, our relationships, even our ministries into what we think they should be or wish they would be and instead ask God to work and move in any way He pleases, our stories suddenly go from frustratingly unfinished to perfectly in process – always growing, always becoming, and always flourishing into a refined reflection of our good and gracious God.