My testimony is not like many testimonies you might have heard. The fact that I was born again is absolutely as phenomenal, amazing, and wonderful as everyone else’s, so I’m definitely not downplaying it. I simply didn’t have one of those obvious life-changing experiences. In fact, I didn’t even know I had been saved until years later.
Rather than starting at the beginning, I have to start at the point I consider to be a real pivotal moment in this Christian life. It happened long after college, after being married, and even after having both of my children. The church we attended had a Maundy Thursday service (the Thursday before Easter), with a very compelling one-man drama about the last supper of Jesus and His disciples in the Upper Room – from the perspective of the proprietor of that room. At the end of the drama, there was a time for people to come to the altar to pray. I went forward and honestly asked the Lord, “I know I’m saved, but when did it happen?”
You see, I had never said “the sinner’s prayer.” I’d never gone forward in a church service to be saved, nor did I have a specific moment when I felt a weight come off, felt cleansed of my sins, or any of the things I’ve heard from others; but, there was no doubt in my heart or mind that I was saved.
The Lord answered my question by reminding me of my own “upper room” experience back in the ‘70’s, in the height of the Jesus movement sweeping the country. Many of my friends were born again during this time. Though I was curious, I did not hear the gospel in such a way that I understood or responded, nor did I have a church-going family background to help in that regard. I got together with several of my born-again friends for dinner one night before we headed our separate ways for college. Afterwards, we attended a home Bible study being held in an upstairs rec room (my upper room). I can’t tell you what they talked about, or what was said just before we began to pray. There was no call to raise hands or come forward, nothing for anyone to indicate interest at all. I do remember simply saying (in my heart) something to the effect of, “God, I want what they are talking about.”
Fast forward to a few weeks later on a very hot and humid Tallahassee daily-afternoon-thunderstorm day in September, in a small room on the top floor of a dorm built in 1916, with no air conditioning. Are you beginning to sweat yet? I was lying on my top bunk of the really tall metal-framed bunk bed. The thunderstorm was directly overhead, with lightning striking frequently, and the window was open so we could continue to breathe. Previously, I would have been frightened by the lightning. On this day, my thought was, “If anything happens to me, I know I’ll be all right.” This was the peace of God already living in me, and the “all right” was that I’d be forever with the Lord in heaven, but I had no idea about all that at the time. I was just peaceful.
The Lord used the first memory to show me my starting point. I now know it was August of 1974, but I still don’t know the day. That really doesn’t matter. What matters is God meeting me right where I was on whatever day it was, and Jesus coming into my life forever. I believe the second memory was as important as the first, as I knelt at the altar that night. The experience of His peace in the midst of a literal storm, contrary to what I had ever known before, was His assurance to me, those many years later, that He had, indeed, come into my heart in the “upper room” of someone’s home in Macon, Georgia. I might have continued to question the validity of my simple prayer, had it not been for remembering His peaceful assurance a few weeks afterwards. Whatever His reason, He knew what I needed.
I will not say the Lord didn’t continue drawing me to follow and seek after Him and His way of life once I prayed that prayer. Because of my relationship with Him now, I’m quite sure He did. It’s just that I didn’t recognize His voice to follow it. Instead, I pursued the worldly college life, occasionally attending church services, not considering that what I sensed there could be mine daily by walking with Jesus. I look back now and see how the Lord just kept loving me and protecting me from myself and others, despite my not acknowledging Him. How thankful I am now! You know, He knew, then, that I would be thankful later.
Many of the testimonies you hear are from people who were alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes, etc., those who hit bottom before having a glorious, dramatic experience as Jesus came into their lives. These are the ones changed so dramatically, and so quickly, as to leave no doubt God had moved in. It wasn’t the same for me. It was a very slow process for me, in the beginning, because I had no idea that I had become a new creature in Christ. I continued to live by the flesh, following what I wanted to do without any thought that God might have something planned for me. I had Jesus Christ as Savior in my life, but I needed Him to be my Lord, as well.
It was only when I was pregnant with my second child, ten years after being born again, that we started attending the church where the “great discovery” was made. Oh, the wonderful mercy and patience of God in those ten years! He never gave up on me, and He put people in my path who prayed for me, I am certain – even as I pray for people who never know, except by His touch as a result. He just continued loving me unconditionally. I still thank Him for His patience with me during all this time, as He created me with a very strong will so I would not back down against spiritual enemies, but stand strong in His strength and authority. The problem is, when you still live so much for the flesh, before your mind is transformed by the Word of God, your strong will is used very selfishly, instead of for God’s purposes. There is a whole lot more of Him showing than there used to be, and a whole lot less of me, for which I give Him all the glory. I haven’t arrived yet, but God hasn’t given up on me, either!
I share my testimony because I know there are so many more believers in Christ out there who might have had an experience of salvation more like mine – that didn’t measure up to the ones I heard. For far too long, I kept the testimony to myself of how Jesus saved me, because it didn’t have the “Wow!” factor. I didn’t think anyone would possibly be drawn to Christ by it, so I didn’t even give them the opportunity. But there are a lot of people who are in the same condition as I was. They’re living for themselves, with that inherited sin nature (see About Salvation), and they need Jesus Christ to come into their hearts and lives. It’s for that simple reason we tell our testimony, to point the way to the Savior – the One Who knows all about us and loves us anyway.
I want to end this in a three-fold way:
- For those of you who already have been born again, I want to encourage you to step out in boldness more often to share your testimony – even if it seems pale in comparison to someone else’s. There is someone ready to hear and respond to Jesus through your testimony.
- Some of you, in reading this, have been reminded of a time in your own life when you reached out to the Lord, and now you realize that you were born again at that moment. I encourage you to pursue the relationship your heavenly Father has for you through Jesus Christ.
- For those of you who have read this and want to respond by receiving Jesus Christ into your life, simply pray from your heart, and He will bring you into the wonderful salvation for which Jesus already paid the price. Obviously, from my own experience, there is no right or wrong prayer. God knows your heart in spite of your words.
If you have responded in any way as a result of this testimony, please include a comment on this page. I want to share your joy as you walk with Christ!