"…and the word of our testimony."
I am fasting and praying and preparing for my baptism tomorrow in Lake Michigan. I have a bazillion emotions and thoughts scrolling through my heart at this very second, but one of them seems to be the most prominent. I feel compelled to share this ounce of wonder with you.
As you hopefully know, I have been a Follower for about five years now, and if you can believe it, I’ve been a part of ministry for at least seven. Through high school I was actively involved as a student leader for youth group and became a small group leader for middle school girls. I began a ministry in April of 2012 called Mai to help women overcome sexual violence. Since then, I’ve partnered with a few women from Michigan and we’ve become a part of each other’s journeys.
By the time I was three, I had already been deserted by my mother. I moved in with a loving grandmother and a kooky Papa. I began a double-life that year, being a doting granddaughter and a victim behind the scenes. I spent years pretending to be happy around family, without a single soul knowing I had hidden in closets and been deprived of food. I became an actress and even believed myself from time to time.
You see what I’m doing here? I’m sharing my story with you. Because the more I tell it, the free-er I become. Because the more you hear it, the more you will understand Christ’s lordship in my life. All too often people begin ministry with the wrong impression of who Jesus is, why we serve Him, and how we are to serve Him. I want to share not only my story, but Christ’s story. Here’s a bit of Scripture that has helped shape much of my ministry mind-set:
"They triumphed over 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." Revelation 12:11
Christ has already sacrificed Himself on your behalf. Nothing we can ever do will ever reverse that. He is yours. You are His.
Does it say anything in there about overcoming Satan by following laws or doctrines? No. Does it say anything about doing good deeds to defend ourselves from evil? No.
Read it again.
My heart’s cry is that you would understand that sharing your testimony is your biggest weapon against Satan besides the power and Blood of Christ. Satan will do everything in his power to ensure you a life of disaster. But we both know he cannot win. My ministry is a cultivation of God-given love, compassion, and hope. I can no longer think of my childhood as “my” story but as Christ’s testimony of redemption.
For about nine years I was abused by my grandfather. I gave up my childhood, I gave up my development, I gave up my trust. I tried to find fulfillment in relationships, achievements, and sometimes even alcohol. But nothing gave me the satisfaction and wholeness I desired. Until Christ picked me up and cradled me in His arms.
I’m not saying it was an instant fix, but that the battle is far from over for me. I am blessed and thankful for how “normal” I am after having gone through the things I have. But there are still wounds and triggers that reside in me.
I know I can only rely on Him to remove the shrapnel from my soul, but there are many others who don’t know that. Satan is going to attempt to overpower them and wreck their lives, if he hasn’t already done so. How can I sit here and withhold the peace and compassion of a Father by not sharing my testimony?
I met with many men at a rehab center in Moncton, NB while at school in Canada. Most of them began their addictions because of wreckage in their lives. They were abused and mistreated. They were perpetrators and cheaters. They were humans. I shared my testimony with all of them the very day I stepped foot in that facility. And you know what? I met men who had done the same things to their families as my mother and my grandfather had done to me. It was difficult for me NOT to forgive them and offer Christ’s limitless love. I may have gone there to disciple them and encourage their dependency upon Jesus rather than substances, but in time I was growing and trusting more in my Savior. All because we spent time together in the Word and shared our lives with each other.
Most people won’t know hope until you SPEAK it. Until you LIVE it. I am asking you to keep me accountable. If I am ever acting or speaking in a way which is unedifying, please (lovingly) reprimand me. I am human and I run on emotions just like the rest of them, but I find my strength in Christ. And I wanna portray that always.
This baptism marks the transformation of a young lady into a godly woman. Here is a prayer for you. Please remember to lift others and myself up to our Maker. Be blessed!!
Lord, let every molecule of my being be used for your glory. Let every word I say advance Your Kingdom and herd your sheep. Let every action I take convey my utter devotion to You. I pray over your hurting babies right now, Christ. The ones who know You but are still healing. The ones who don’t know you, and are tumbling around in the sea. Please have mercy on us, oh, God of love. Have mercy on our aching human hearts. Pour your love and redemption in us and through us. Empower your ambassadors, those who are willing to fight for You. Give them the Spirit. And do not let the evil one overcome. We share your story today, Lord. And we rejoice in it forever. We love you because you first loved us. Amen.
Tomorrow, on the day that I publically profess my faith and surrender to Christ, I will post a snapshot of what I experienced in my abuse. It will serve as a reminder of where I have come from, and where I am going. I certainly appreciate you being a part of this adventure with me. <3