This past weekend, our family was blessed with a visit from dear friends who live in New Mexico. While they were here, we got to hear the testimony of one of their daughters. I was so blessed by it that I asked her if I could share it, and she agreed. To God be the glory!
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
If someone had told me a few weeks ago that I would have a testimony to share, I would not have believed them. I wasn’t planning to get born again any time in the near future, and had no desire to. But God had different plans, and I’m so thankful that He did.
I was very blessed to be born into a Christian home, and from a young age I knew that someday I wanted to be a Christian. But I was terrified to go to my parents and confess my sins, and as the years passed, my heart grew harder and harder.
At a young age, through a series of events I had a serious miscommunication with my parents that hurt me deeply. Instead of talking it through with them, I chose to become bitter and angry. And my anger and bitterness quickly turned into rebellion. I didn’t fully understand the situation, but I was hurting so badly that I refused to talk about it to anyone. And that was one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made. My lack of clear communication destroyed my relationship with my parents. Neither of us understood the other, and things were going downhill fast.
When my sister Abigail got born again, I was twelve years old. It was an exciting time for all of us, but it was also very hard for me. I saw her joy, and I wanted it for myself. I remember laying in bed one night, and my sisters were rejoicing over Abigail’s new life. I pretended to be asleep, but I was really wide awake, carefully listening to each word and longing for their joy and happiness to be my own. I wasn’t ready to surrender yet, and the years continued to slip by.
When I turned seventeen, I was honestly startled that I was so old, and still had not given my life to Christ. But then another thought struck me. It was only one year until I would be eighteen. And I thought that once I was eighteen, I could live however I wanted, and nobody could stop me. I dreamed of the worldly lifestyle and longed for it until my heart hurt, and I was sure that was what I wanted to do with my life. I told myself that if I could just hold on for one more year then I would be free.
It was a rough year, for all of us. I knew that my family was praying for me, and that made me so mad. I wished that they would just leave me alone, and let me live my life however I wanted to. Sometimes one of my sisters would talk to me, begging me to repent and I would wonder if I should just give in. But then I would think, I can’t get born again! That would spoil all my plans! I wanted to have a little fun in life, and then after that I thought I might consider getting born again.
As time passed, and my birthday got closer, my plans for the future began to take shape. I was planning to go live with my brother Daniel after I turned eighteen. I was sure that there I would find the happiness and freedom I longed for. I kept my plans a secret from my family, because I knew that I would face a lot of resistance from them if they found out. And deep down in my heart, I was also afraid that if I told them too much in advance, they would pray so hard for me that I would get born again before I had a chance to do anything.
Going to church was one of the biggest dreads of my life. I sat through many powerfully convicting messages, but each time I hardened my heart. I just wasn’t ready to give in yet. After church, I was always terrified that someone would ask me a question like, “What stood out to you in the message today?” or “What has God been teaching you this week?” Trying to protect myself from awkward situations, I would usually disappear right after lunch and spend all afternoon with the children, who never asked questions like that.
Several weeks ago, the Lord laid it on my sisters’ hearts to pray that I would get born again before my eighteenth birthday. I found out that they were praying that, and out of pure stubbornness, I determined that I would NOT get born again before my birthday.
One Sunday night, I was about to go to bed. I went into our bedroom, and the CD player was playing It Is Well With My Soul. I sat down and gazed out at the dark sky. An occasional flash of lightning lit up the sky, an it was just a beautiful night. But my heart was hurting. As I was looking at the sky, I wondered, what would it be like if I could truly say, it is well with my soul? Or better yet, how it says it in Spanish, Estoy Bien Con Mi Dios, I am well with my God. The Lord was working on my heart but I still wasn’t ready to surrender.
Last Sunday we came to church and I saw Michael for the first time since he got born again. The change in him was so amazing, so real, and all of a sudden I realized that I wanted what he had, with all of my heart. As I sat through church, I determined that I would go to my parents that night and tell them that I was ready. But by the time church was over, I had totally changed my mind and once again hardened my heart.
On Thursday, I was having a rough day. I was feeling extremely rebellious and had once again determined that I was going to leave home as soon as possible, no matter what. Dad and Mom had been talking to me and our conversation had not gone wall at all. Dad had asked me if I would please forgive them for the pain this misunderstanding had caused me, and I had refused. The pain in my heart was still so real, and I didn’t think I would ever be able to forgive.
Dad and Mom left, and several minutes later, Anna came into the room and found me pouting on the bed. She had been looking for me, and I could just tell that I wasn’t going to like whatever she was about to say. I trued to pretend to be interested in the book that I had been looking at, even though I had lost interest in it. My actions clearly stated that she was not welcome, but she just started talking to me, not at all discouraged by my short, half-hearted answers. She quoted verses of scripture, and songs. At first I was very annoyed but then slowly, the Lord began to change my heart and I suddenly realized that I didn’t want Satan to be victorious that night. After an intense struggle, I was finally ready to surrender. I started praying, pouring out my heart to the Lord, and asking Him to wash my sins away through the blood of Jesus Christ.
It wasn’t exactly like I expected. I thought that it would be like a light switch turning on, and I would suddenly feel an amazing difference. But I didn’t, and that made me wonder if it hadn’t really happened. Yet I had called upon the name of the Lord, and he was faithful to His promise. As the evening progressed, the Lord clearly confirmed that I was truly born again. We stayed up till 1 am talking and praising the Lord for the miracle He had performed. I am now a child of the King!
The Lord’s timing in it all is just so amazing. I was planning to leave home when I turned eighteen, and I got born again four days before my birthday! The Lord gave me a new heart, an I no longer even desire the things of the world. I realize now that the things I longed for and thought would bring happiness and freedom would have brought me nothing but pain and bondage. And the new life I have just found in Christ is the only thing that brings true happiness and freedom.
I asked the Lord to help me forgive my parents, and He answered that prayer in a way I never imagined possible! Not only have I completely forgiven them, but the Lord has also taken all the pain away from my heart. The intense pain I had dealt with every day for the last eight years is completely gone! No one but God could have done such a miracle! I am so thankful for His patience and kindness to me, and by God’s grace I will serve Him as long as he lends me breath. It is such an amazing thing to truly be able to say, it is well with my soul! Estoy bien con mi Dios.