Photo Credit: Stuart Bury: www.stuartbury.com
Today I am taking part in a blog series hosted by Ally Spotts, called Confessions of a 20-something Christian. I loved reading the various blogs and everyone's confessions today and thought I'd share mine. This is my journey, it's unique to me but perhaps you can relate. Also it's long...sorry.
I remember going to revival meetings and Sunday evening services and sometimes Wednesday evening services. The kind of services where people got healed and saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. Depending on what the cool church kids where into that night I'd either be right up ons all that or sitting in the back laughing over “Angel's prostate fall” in the hymnal. I know, high brow humour.
Anyway, a big part of those services, particularly if there was a guest speaker, was the testimony time. Many times we'd have a guest speaker, some evangelist who had a touring ministry. Typically this evangelist/speaker would give his testimony and then an alter call. It was the testimony that was always so exciting to me as a kid. The evangelist would be some former Hell's Angel, who had killed three people, shot another five, was addicted to crack cocaine, and a boozer, with tattoo's and holes where earring used to be. Then by the glory of God they got turned around and they gave up all that junk and started preaching the word of God. Their stories were so amazing!
I used to think it would be so cool to have a story like that...without having to actually do all that.
When I was in grade ten I was part of a little missionary group. It was about twenty students plus youth leaders who got together to go on a week long trip to the U S of A to do skits and share the gospel at various church youth groups and such. One of our tasks before going was to write out and memorize our testimony and then share it with our home church. I remember being at the front of the church sharing, saying that I thought that I was lucky because I didn't have a “testimony” like we were all used to hearing. I was a good girl, with good grades, who hung out with other good girls and boys. Peer pressure wasn't a problem because all my friends where christians. Sex wasn't a problem because usually you have to be asked out on a date before that happens. Drugs or booze? Shocking! I was perfect, (if you don't count fighting with your sisters...which I didn't.)
Fast-forward 10ish years later...
Remember Blast From The Past? Remember that little malt shop that some lady builds over the family's fallout shelter. As the years pass you see that little malt shop go from cute little perfect place to a hippy bar/diner, to scary biker bar, and finally just an empty building graffitied and rundown.
Well let's just say I had a few phases myself. A unchristian boyfriend in my senior year of high school, a drink here and there first year university, and so on and so on. (I'm not going to go into detail because I've done some things I'm ashamed of. If you ask me I won't lie, but I'm not going to broadcast all my failures because that's not the point.)
I still went to church every Sunday and said all the right things. People still thought I was living a charmed life. I'm sure there were cracks in the mask I was wearing but people are really good at ignoring them when you tell them you're fine and besides, people are really mostly only concerned with themselves. No judgement, that's just humanity.
During that time I bought into all the lies. “It's cool” “Everyone our age does this” “It's normal” “You're fine” At least those are the things I told myself when I went out to party. I wasn't even trying to be rebellious. I had a happy childhood, good parents and I was a likeable kid. Who knows why I got into that kind of lifestyle. Probably mostly the product of the people I hung around with. I was influenced more than I was influencing. Maybe a lack of good friends with good influences that actually related to me and my interests. Likely both in some ways.
Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) says,
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."
Thank God my parents prayed for me and taught me about Jesus. Thank God that even hungover and tired, something inside me pushed me to church every Sunday. Thank God that I moved to Toronto, to PARTAY and came home a woman fiercely devoted to her God.
Dear God, I have a testimony...
I'm happy to report that I haven't killed anyone, or even shot at anyone (paintball not included), I've never been addicted to hard drugs or even 'mild' drugs. Black outs were kept to a minimum and my virginity remains intact. However, I had to become completely empty and hopeless and admittedly more than a little depressed (just like that bar in Blast...) When I got there God was waiting.
It's hard to write about these things...my grandma reads this.
I never really wanted a “testimony” but I've got one.
Thank God for grace.