Friday, August 6, 2010

Testimony Part 2: Waters

This is not a chronological testimony. I just think you'd be bored to tears with that. I am just starting to really grasp what a testimony really is; I am just beginning to see how God weaves interactions and experiences together into revelation. He reveals Himself to me. He reveals Himself through me. Anyway, here is part two.

I was probably ten or eleven years old, floating in the surf of the Gulf of Mexico on an inflatable raft. It was just before dusk; the South Padre Island crowd was thinning and I was just enjoying the sounds of the waves as I drifted in the cool salty water. I looked up on the shore and saw my grandparents sitting in their beach chairs. Mumsie was reading while her toes drew arches in the sand. Pops was looking out to sea and spitting sunflower seed shells over his shoulder. Suddenly, I realized that there would come a day when they weren't sitting there; someday, like other grandparents, they would be gone. Tears slipped down my cheeks and joined the salty water that enveloped me. I couldn't stand the thought of it.

Loss has always been my biggest fear.

Mumsie passed away when I was eighteen. Once again sorrow crashed over me in waves that I could hardly stand. I choked on the bitterness of those waters. I had never lost anyone before that. I had never really experienced death. I don't even think I had ever been to a funeral. For several months after she died I walked in rebellion to the Lord. I stayed semi-close to Him and to His people, but I withheld my heart. I went to regular prayer meetings at a friend's house but merely slept in the corner or journaled my struggles while everyone prayed around me. I felt foolish for how hard it was for me to get past this first loss. After all, it is natural for grandparents to die; almost everyone I knew had lost at least one. They weren't behaving the way I was behaving. Finally, in a series of embarrassing encounters, friends helped me snap out of it. I renewed my friendship with Christ and started behaving like a person worthy of His call. He started using me again. But in the depths of my own ocean I still feared loss.

The next big loss was not a person but a ministry. I handled it the best way I knew how to at the time. I was young and completely unprepared for the fallout. I will reserve that story for another testimony installment. For now, I will simply say that I again withheld my heart. The power of loss still held me captive in many ways.

If you've read this blog or known me at all, you know the third loss well. April Baby. It was my greatest fear and it came to pass. I do not need to tell you again how it hurt to lose a life that had been in my own womb. I do not think it bears repeating now because it is not necessary for the testimony. I only bring it up at all because God did amazing things with me through that experience. He showed me that I could survive my greatest fear. He held me fast and showed up for me in ways I couldn't have imagined as I held tightly to Him. That was the difference--I held to Him. Only days before, I had heard a teaching by Beth Moore in which she taught us the prayer for times of trauma: "God, if you do not show up, we will not survive." I prayed it while I was still in the exam room. I prayed it into a pile of tissues that covered both my bed and the floor. I prayed it until my throat was sore and then Jon prayed it. And God showed up. He held me and I clung to Him and though I grieved, I feared loss less at the end of it than I had at the beginning. I cannot read the following without tears of gratitude in my eyes and goosebumps raised on my arm, the verse He gave to me in my greatest loss: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

My testimony stands today. It is true. It is true. The waters were deep but I did not drown. Thank you, Jesus. I praise your Name!


Shanna said...

"I am just beginning to see how God weaves interactions and experiences together into revelation." I love this. Love. It gives voice to what I've also been learning recently. Really, I love this whole post, and how brave you are in your obedience to post your testimony.

Jon said...


Lisa Stevens said...

Just added you to my "favorites" list. :D

Kristi said...

Thanks, Lisa!

Tessa said...

You're wonderful:)