I can tell you honestly, my life was a mess until the day I met Jesus Christ. I was aware in my lost life that God was there, present, and always watching.
I felt His angels literally snatch me from disaster and death many times, escorting me to the day of my salvation. I had no problem believing in God, as I felt His presence in many situations in my life. I even talked to Him and asked questions.
I also felt the presence of another being, the one I would identify as Satan or the Devil. I felt the breath of his evil as well, encouraging and fueling my lostness. My life bore the effects of his ability to kill, steal and destroy.
In view of all that, I can understand lostness; I am from the land of the lost. The truth is: we all are.
I know what it is like to be hungry, poor, desperate and lonely—not being able to see my way ahead. I know what it is like to suffer for my sins and the sins and bad choices of others.
I was born to a wealthy family on my father’s side. I remember as a little girl counting eight cars in our front driveway. I ate gourmet food and had nice clothes. I had Barbie and Ken.
But, my father’s descent into alcoholism changed our family life, and every aspect of it, for a very long time. In the years that followed, my mother was always on the run with four kids in tow, trying to survive.
I call those years—the lean years. We were all horribly thin because we were not eating well. My mom did her best working on a daily survival plan; and that’s exactly what it was – survival 101.
We lived paycheck to paycheck. My two older brothers quit high school to work and help our mother. Our budget went towards food and rent; any extras that were needed were not even discussed at the dinner table. My mom apologized to me many times as my rich-child wardrobe was wearing out.
Back in the late 50’s and early 60’s, divorced parents were not the norm, not at all. I wished all the time that my life would improve. That wish, that longing—turned into a prayer, and eventually, a new life.
Fast forward to mid-September, 1971. I am in my junior year in high school in the beautiful state of Florida. I am living with my mother, my stepfather (she remarried in 1967), a stepbrother and my younger sister, Suzanne.
My Father is still battling alcoholism and lives in my native Georgia. He is very ill and has been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. I am the only person in the family that maintains contact with him.
The living conditions have improved for my mom, sister and me, but our spiritual condition is lostness.
For me, that changes today.
It is the second week of school. I am in homeroom with people who alphabetically have a last name similar to mine. Daily, we have roll call and wait for the bell to ring for first period. We are allowed to study or talk softly; some even catch a few zzz’s.
There is exactly one empty desk available—right next to mine.
A new girl is assigned to our homeroom today. She is a late arrival to our huge high school. She is a Christian; and she takes a seat, the only seat not occupied in the room.
I like her right away. She is very friendly and talkative. She dumps out her purse on the desktop, looking for a tube of mascara for some eyelash touch-up. Stuff goes flying everywhere. She has barely taken a breath, peppering me with questions. Man …she has a lot in that purse!
My eyes caught sight of a small booklet and a very small, white Bible. She sees me focus on them, and she leans closer to me and lowers her voice. “Are you a Christian?” she asked. She looks me squarely in the eyes, quiet now and awaiting my answer.
I tell her I think I am – but that I am not really sure. I look away. She hands me the small booklet, or a gospel tract by another name, and invites me to an off-campus meeting where Christians at our school meet once a week.
The bell rings, and I am on my way to first period. With tract in hand, I detour to a concrete bench outside in the shade. I have to stop and look at this tract. I am compelled to do so. I realize I will be tardy for first period, but I continue on.
I am sitting on the shaded bench for at least a half hour. I remember everything that happened in that moment, because it changed my life forever.
I read about God’s love for me—me personally. I read about how my sins have separated me from God and how God sent Jesus, His only begotten Son, to suffer and die on the cross for my sins, rising from the dead so I could have a new life and eternal life in Him. I read in the tract a quote from the book of John, the offer of abundant life.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 NKJV).
This is the most incredible thing I have ever read or heard! I am crying so hard now that the front of my dress is soaked. My mascara is long gone.
At the end of the tract, a response is encouraged and a prayer is offered if the person would like to become a Christian.
I pray that prayer, earnestly, with all that I am.
Some Christians have expressed to me that they didn’t feel anything the day they were saved. I sure did. It felt like a boulder of sin was lifted off of me, and the love of God flooded my heart! I felt it all over again a few days later being water baptized.
This is one of the most powerful things I possess—it is my testimony. You have one too, if you are a born-again Christian.
A Christian testimony is unique and one of a kind. Only I can tell the story of my life and my encounter with the person of Jesus Christ. Not only is it a story of individual transformation, but it has the power to offer that same transformation to others. It is divinely powerful! It is the power of God through Christ that brings salvation.
About six months after I was saved, a young man in my neighborhood, who took me home in his green Mustang on rainy days, called and asked me out on a date.
I said yes after giving him a hard time at first. I had casually known him since I was in eighth grade. We had been dating for about two months when I realized I was falling in love with him. I knew he was not a Christian and prayed for an opportunity to share the gospel. I also knew this might be a deal breaker in our relationship; but I was hopeful, as he seemed to admire the fact that I was a Christian.
Well, the day of opportunity finally came. We regularly went to the beach on Thursdays during the summer. I had my Bible and tracts packed and ready to go in my beach bag.
Almost as soon as we arrived, to my pleasant surprise, he pulls out a tract. He said a new guy at work kept giving tracts to him and asking if he was a Christian. Sound familiar? He asked if I could explain this tract to him, aware that I was a Christian and may be able to give some insight. I tried to remain calm. Talk about a giant setup! This was so great!
We went through the tract together. He seemed to really understand it, as the Holy Spirit was obviously present here with us. But he wanted to hear what Jesus had done for me personally. I shared my testimony. He also wanted to hear stories of others Jesus had saved at our high school. We talked for hours. Before we leave to return home, we pray together; he prays out loud and asks Jesus to forgive his sins and come and reside in his heart. It was so precious and real—just like mine was.
We had a long courtship and engagement. God has blessed us, and we have been happily married in Christ for forty-two years!
This was something I always longed for my whole life – a happy, loving home. God has added to our lives three sons, one daughter-in-law, and five grandchildren. My happiest times are to be together with my husband, every day, and to see our kids as much as life will permit.
I have shared my testimony with many in my life.
Some listened and responded to Christ and some did not, or have not yet as of this writing. I am prayerful and hopeful that they will.
My encouragement to you, dear reader, is to get that testimony out and polish it up, use it, revive it in your heart and life. It is a powerful weapon in the hand of God. He will use it to foil the plan of the enemy, which is to kill, steal and destroy.
Jesus will use your testimony to offer life to those who need it. He continues to use mine.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:11).
“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:11-13).
May you know and sense the power that is in your testimony, the power of one thing.