Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Testimony

So, i was remembering something today & it was sticking with me & i was having trouble thinking through as a whole, the thought that i was having... so, i phoned my sister... & i thought i'd blog about it...

i remember when i found myself a pregnant, unmarried 19 year old ~ being told by a few people that i had 'ruined my testimony'... i was genuinely repentant & knew i had done wrong, but could picture God, with His blocks scattered *by me* throwing up His hands in despair because i had ruined my 'testimony'...
What is my *testimony* anyway?
i have no doubt that i damaged my reputation ~ & disappointed my parents, & let's call a spade a spade : i sinned.
But today, when i was thinking about testimony, i kept thinking that really; any and all good things that i have done or accomplished ~ are from Him. There is nothing about me that is 'boast-worthy' (gal 6:14). Jesus paid it all. My testimony ~ before my pregnancy, as well as after it, is simply this: Saved by grace.
i think i've often earmarked that era of my life... (will it make you blush if i write that *hour* of my life?) All that happened before it being, to me, tainted by what happened in that hour. All the times i had shared my faith ~ or lived out my faith ~ ruined... unusable for God. The right choices so outweighed by that moment of weakness & my inability to choose 'better'. i remember awhile ago, blogging about that professor who laid down his own life for his students during the Virginia Tech massacre & thinking, 'but i'm not made of that Good stuff... i couldn't make a choice like that on instinct... see? i have my ruined testimony to prove it...'
As i watch my girls grow, i think i'm starting to look back on the girl i was then & i find my remberings *harsh*... i remember all the negatives... i was often late, forgetful, thoughtless... & i think, 'ah, yes, but then, after i got married, *then* God began to do His work in me...' ~ but it's simply untrue. i had committed my life to Him when i was a little child. He was a faithful Father to me through all the years of my childhood... & even through the days & weeks that led up to that earmarked era of my life. He began His work far before i began to see the fruit of His labour... & now that i'm older & i think i'm starting to soften to that little hurting girl that i was... i can see that i had a heart that longed to please Him. i can see that even though i chose badly, & i ruined my reputation... i loved him, i believed in Him & i never lost what is most precious to me: the knowledge that God is Good ~ & that He loves me... very, very much. He wasn't finished yet. My testimony is incomplete ~ not ruined ~ a work in progress... Jesus saves... How can a testimony about *Him* be ruined? All of it~ the story of my life, the good, the bad... all of it can do nothing but tell the truth: There is a God & He is Good.
& then there is the verse, (rom.6:1) "What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? "
Just because God can & does work through & use our failings to bring himself Glory ~ doesn't mean that i have any desire to continue in sin. i want to show Him i love Him by living my life more like Jesus... i want to continue to grow & bear good fruit. i want to be known as a follower of Christ because i show His love...

Jesus loves me, this i know ~
for the bible tells me so ~
little ones to Him belong ~
They are weak... but He is strong.

God, continue to shape me... Make me more like you. Make it my instinct to choose Good. May my testimony bring You Glory.


Shari said...

What a testimony what you just wrote today is!!! Rom. 3:23 For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We have to realize that there isn't one of us that can say we have lived a perfect life. I believe that God stands right beside us when we are sinning and is hurt and disappointed very much, but He is also a God of love and forgiveness and when we are truly repentent, He wipes our slate clean and it's never thought of again.

I know that sometimes I find it far more difficult to forgive myself than God does. I believe that it sounds as though you have come to that point about that earmarked time in your life.


cairo said...

Yea ~ maybe ~
Tho, i knew he forgave me *and* it's not something i continue to beat myself up about... it's just that i think i needed to realize that i don't 'undo' the good that God does. i can't topple his blocks. i think i needed to see & know that He moved in my life all along ~ the Faithful Father. He used me then in my weakness just like He uses me now in my weakness.
i love what you said, Shari about none of us living a perfect life... Otherwise, our testimony would be about "Paige's goodness"... not God's. & that would be a pretty silly untruth of a testimony wouldn't it? hehe...

Jen said...

Love your honesty P. And your testimony.

Luke said...

That was a fantastic post. It put tears in my eyes, and I realize that I have been quietly saying much the same thing to myself, that I have been messing up God's work. It's His work, and I am His workmanship... and He's not done with me yet.

Amen, and amen. You are so right on.


Terry said...

Lovely post, Paige. I think too often the sins that are *visible* get the most attention. Getting pregnant before marriage is an obvious sin, but what a blessing it is, that you carried that baby fullterm instead of the alternative.

I, too, agree with the Lord working on me through the years - the hard things I have went through or done, are just part of the shaping of my life - He can use all those things to bring glory to Him. I've quoted Romans 8:28 quite often this month - And we know all things work together for good for *those who are called by His name*. I thank God daily for HIS Grace in my life and others.

As far as a testimony goes - this is a wonderful one. You have a story of God's grace in your life. As long as we have a contrite heart, He is faithful to forgive us. So, don't let satan bind you with guilt and shame, but thank the Lord that He loves you, is using you AND that child (and your story) to bring glory to Him.

Loved your post. THANKS for sharing and being real.

mamazee said...

hey, this is even more fun than dissecting it on the phone - you are a very coherent writer, and bring clarity and grace to your subject. I totally agree with you, it's all about Him, and not about me at all...

mamalena said...

I'm glad I came across this post so I can put in my oar too. I wish I had kept a written copy of the speech I made at your wedding, because I felt at the time, that I had expressed almost exactly how I felt...haha...hope it is on your video.

You said in this post that you had disappointed your parents, but that's not really true. (although it was a forge time for us as it was for yourself and Neil) I remember being disappointed FOR you...but not IN you. That is, I knew that you have always had "a heart that longed to please Him." That being as it was, I knew that there would be hard trials and harsh judgements ahead...for you... misunderstandings of who you are by others and your own feeling of having let yourself and Father down.

As for myself Paige, as I said at your wedding, You were the kind of Christian high school student, and child growing up, that I only wish I had been. You enaged your world in many positive ways, always with a heart to do good....and you DID HAVE a testimony which I think you neither lost nor ruined but used along with the blood of the Lamb to overcome!

That one mistake certainly does not negate all the wonderful things you are and the joy you've brought to our lives. And really, looking back over that short period, I see a great number of outcomes that make me realize how Father was able to use all those circumstances in such tremendously positive ways that I can't bring myself to even have anything but happy memories and gratitude.

Only Christ, so far, has lived a sinless life. We have all sinned. I thank Father that He allowed this sin of yours to be openly exposed and that your heart has co-operated with His work in you in such a way that your sin and repentance was made to praise Him in even more amazing ways that your perfection was likely to have done.

I love you!!... and am perhaps inordinately proud of you.. (but I repent for that and give God the glory ... seriously...haha)


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Susan said...

Just reading this tonight after coming to your blog to hear about your knee (you poor thing)! I'm bawling after reading your post and then your Mom's response. My my! God is so good, and he never wastes anything. How sad that those people said your testimony was ruined. If I would have heard that I would have told them of the example that you were to me all those years ago. I would have told them about the way that you introduced me to the things of the Spirit, and that your faith and trust in, and passion for Jesus helped me to love him and seek him even more desperately. And that influence doesn't expire because of one sin. It still lives in me and it is being passed on to my girls who will grow up understanding the power and passionate love of their Abba. So, thanks for living unashamedly for Jesus, then and now.


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