It is the most dreaded part of college. The first day of a new semester. You walk into the room, pick your unassigned assigned seat for the class, and sit awkwardly staring at your phone hoping someone will text you. Then, the professor walks in, introduces themselves and then says, “Let’s go around the room and say who we are and something about ourselves,” or at least something to that extent. It is then when you go, “Who am I? How do I explain where I am from? Do I even do anything interesting with my life?” I hate the first day of a new semester.
In this post I have decided to answer the “ice breaker” question for myself. I want you to know where I come from and why I think the way I do. The “Christianese” word for it is testimony. You can call it my story.
I am from small town Indiana. There are smaller towns but I think mine is pretty small. I grew up in great home! I have excellent parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and so on. I was literally placed in a perfect home. My parents kept my brother and I in church and we were “raised in the ways of the Lord.” When I was in kindergarten my mom became very involved with an after school ministry called Good News Club. It is essentially vacation Bible school after school. It was that first year of starting the ministry in the school I went to that I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and to be Lord of my life (I probably didn’t say it like that when I prayed but you get the point). Two years later I was baptized in my small country church.
I don’t remember the exact time that this happened but not long after my mom became involved with the ministry she decided to go full-time. This meant that she would not be working in the corporate world anymore and that she would be a full time missionary. I was young so I really don’t remember my feelings about it- I just told you all that to say, “My mom is a full time missionary.”
Through the ministry that my mom is involved in I was able to be a “Summer Missionary” for about six years. I loved it! This is where I found my calling. It wasn’t to be a missionary in the sense that we think of it but it was to be an occupational therapist. I have this “thing” where when I see a child with special needs I just want to be with them. I want to talk to them and I want to help them learn. Through some research, I discovered that occupational therapy would be a great profession for me.
When I was in seventh grade my mom decided I should be homeschooled. This part of my story doesn’t last long because that only lasted for a year. Homeschooled life was not for me. The next year I started attending the Christian school that I would graduate from.
The first year at the school was pretty great. I loved the people and I loved the school. The next year wouldn’t be as great. There were some things that happened that made me feel like I wasn’t important and that made me feel like I had no purpose. One of my friends left the school in a dramatic fashion and for the rest of that year I felt so alone. I hated school. I cried almost every night. I dreaded going to school and looked forward to the moment I would get to come home. The story is a lot of downs and not a lot of ups but I found myself being a great third wheel in people’s friend groups.
I remember one day talking to my principal about how I was feeling and I told her I just didn’t feel like I had a purpose anymore and she told me that my purpose was to glorify God and to win the souls of others. It took me a long time to grasp that. Half way in to my sophomore year I finally did.
You’ll remember in a previous post where I talked about sophomore year being the year that I started to discover God for myself. I had lived off my parent’s faith for my entire life, never seeing what God had in store for just me. Finally, what pulled me out of this rut that I was stuck in was the book of Job. I was intrigued by the fact that even though Job had everything taken from him, he continued to praise God. I remember thinking, “If Job can praise God through losing everything, I can praise God in my rut too.”
Now, I bring you to junior year of high school. This is the year I got my driver’s license. I was a little late but that’s okay. I had been attending the same church my entire life and while there was some youth there it wasn’t what I was wanting. We didn’t have any kind of youth group and I was going to the adult Sunday School classes. I loved that church and I still do. Let me be very clear: I still love that church. Every time I walk in there I feel a sense of “home.” I love the people there. But I felt like it was time to move on. There was a church in the area that one of my friends went to and I had been going to their youth group on Sunday nights. I began to attend that church regularly as soon as I got my license and I soon joined the church. This is the church I still attend today.
At this church I met people my age who had a passion to serve God and were “on fire.” The youth pastor was incredible. The pastor was incredible. Every sermon challenged me. I was worshipping God with my whole heart. This was the place that I needed to be. I began to get involved at the church with the nursery and the children’s church.
I am not the same person I was when I was a sophomore in high school and I pray that God will constantly be molding me and shaping me as I continue in life. I hope that four years from now I will be writing and saying that I am not the same person I was in my freshman year of college.
Sometimes when you hear people tell their testimony you will only hear the first part that I shared with you; their “salvation story.” But to me, a testimony is so much more than that. It is how God is constantly molding you and shaping you to live life according to His purpose for you.
What’s your testimony? Never thought about it? I challenge you to think about what it is and write it down. Then, share it with a friend. There’s something powerful about sharing your testimony. God uses them in a powerful way. Let God use yours!
Proclaim His praises!