LentRecently, I read that Christians should share their testimonies more intentionally and more frequently.

I must admit that up until the last ten years or so I thought testimonies were only about how you came to know Christ as your savior.  That happened for me when I was five.  I never felt that I had much of a testimony.

Now, I know that our testimony is much more fluid and ever changing.  It’s about our whole lives.  It’s little things and big things.

My faith has been tested on many occasions, but I’d like to take this time to discuss the two times I see as pivotal right now.  When I was sixteen and when I was forty.

By the time I reached the age of sixteen, very little had challenged my Christian walk.  I mistakenly believed that being a Christian was relatively easy.  Then my parents got a divorce.  My whole world flipped. Nothing made sense to me. And while I don’t really think I blamed God, I took my eyes off of Him.  I turned to my own strength and failed to acknowledge that He could make something good out of all the pain I was experiencing.  In the aftermath of the divorce, I made choices that were less than wise, and I did that for almost ten years.

In 2005-2006, I finally forgave myself of the bad choices and started working my way back to what God meant for my life.  I liken it to CS Lewis’s Eustace when he knows that he is not supposed to be a dragon, but Aslan has to rip the skin away to show the new and improved Eustace.

Skip ahead to when I’m forty.  Steven and I lose three grandparents and two babies in the course of a year.  Another life flipping year.

But there was a difference.

I kept my eyes on God.  On the promises of scripture, specifically Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

I don’t think this necessarily made the events any easier to handle.  But it kept me from making subsequent choices that may have compounded the pain and struggle I was experiencing.  Tears were still shed. Anger was still expressed. Confusion was still felt.

But instead of keeping all those feelings to myself, I let God handle them.  He’s better at it.  I followed His lead and nudging. I admitted my own weaknesses and together Steven and I continued to work through our experience. We helped each other let God help us.

I don’t know if any of this makes any kind of sense.  I do know that having faith in God doesn’t eliminate trials. But maybe it redirects our responses to those trials, if we keep our eyes on it. . .which also isn’t all that easy sometimes.

And maybe that is why testimony is so important.  To remind each other that none of us thinks it’s easy.

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