Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Word of Testimony

Okay, I have been feeling like I should share my testimony on this blog. I don't know why or for whom. Maybe just for my own benefit. I do know that there is one who is accusing the faithful of God day and night, trying every trick he can to wear us out and that we are told in Revelation 12:11 "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." And if the word of my testimony will hurl that accuser down, who am I to shrink from speaking it? So, in it's rawest form, here it goes.

I always thought my testimony was boring. I grew up in a city that routinely makes the top three list of churches per capita, a place where it was not only cool to be a Christian, but uncool not to be. I went to a mid-sized Baptist church every Sunday and every Wednesday from birth, Vacation Bible School every summer, and GAs (Girls in Action--to train girls in missions). I know you're already bored and I haven't even told you that I accepted the Lord at the age of nine at VBS and was baptized at the age of 13, about the same time my family started attending a larger baptist church and I got involved in the youth group. I wore a "promise ring," which is a silver James Avery ring with a cross cutout worn on the wedding finger as a reminder to save yourself for marriage. I went to "See You At The Pole" and decided it wasn't enough to pray once a year at school. I got a group of friends together and we prayed every day in a chemistry teacher's classroom before school. In high school I attended a weekly college/high school worship service/teaching called Grace Bible Study on Thursday nights. It was easy to be a good girl. It was easy to do the right thing. Today I am grateful for this boring growing up.

Last night, after writing the above and saving it as a draft, I just couldn't stop feeling that this is not the testimony I am meant to share. It is true, it is the traditional way to start one, and it is boring. But it is not what sends the enemy packing. As I was falling asleep, I felt like God brought to my mind the image of our family's Christmas stockings. (Bear with me.) Our stockings are my favorite part of the Christmas decorations at my parents' home. They are all lovingly hand-crocheted in various reds, greens and whites. My great-grandmother crocheted the first several and my mom took over additional family members' stockings over the years. On Christmas morning, they are to be found bulging with gifts--a wonderful mixture of the sweet but useless, treasured heirlooms passed down, things that someone found "just for so-and-so," and the very practical. If you were to open my stocking, for example, on Christmas morning you would probably find lots of candy, a few pens and sticky-note pads, a book or two from my Amazon wishlist, something that used to belong to my grandmother that my mom or Aunt Connie is now handing down to me, good-smelling hand lotions, chapstick, razors and toothpaste, a scratch-off lottery ticket, and a pocketknife or small kitchen utensil. Obviously, all of this does not fit into the stocking neatly. The stockings are all bulging with little treats, sitting atop stacks of bigger treats, leaned against chairs or couches or the fireplace.

Like I said, I could not get the image of our Christmas stocking out of my mind last night. I believe that God means it for a picture of the things my family gave me. For the most part, it's been good stuff. I was handed down a Christian heritage and many wonderful traits from the godly family members that came before me. People who had/have hearts for worship and prayer and teaching and service. Some of these things have been gifted to me like priceless heirlooms lovingly wrapped and opened with tears of gratitude. Some things my family has given me have been as useful as razors and kitchen utensils and pocket knives--qualities and words of advice that have made life easier when I've remembered to use them. Other things had the potential, like pens and sticky notes and cash, to be used for either good or not-so-good ends. I could choose what I did with these gifts, making them a blessing or a curse by my own decisions. And others have been temptations, like so many Hershey Kisses, that I've had to walk away from with will power and resolve lest I become rotten-toothed and fattened by indulging in the sins of my forebears.

Isn't this true of everyone? We all receive both good and bad gifts from our families. I'm so thankful that mine was more good than bad. But the bad does have to be done away with in its time, and unfortunately, in a sea of so much good it can hide longer than it ought to. As I share my testimony in these posts, you'll see how I have had to deal with the fears and worries, the gluttony and the control, the gossip and the judgement that have been given (so unknowingly) to me by the family members who came before me. And I hope you'll see how "worth it" I am beginning to feel that it is to not pass these down to Benjamin. I want his testimony to be so much more boring than mine.

1 comment:

Olivia said...

There is nothing more refreshing than sincerity in our thoughts, faith, and hope. I too believe we have the power to use our story to show people we are human, faulty, and frail, yet powerful, hopeful, and beloved. Keep sharing, it will make a difference.