I was baptized today. I wanted to post my testimony to the five, or two, or however many people who will read this post. I don’t really know how many real people read these blog posts, especially when I’ve gone months between them. But, to whomever’s reading, I’d like to share my testimony here as I shared it today. It’s abridged, so if you’d like to know more, please ask.
Before I was a Christian, I was an enemy of God.
I grew up always going to church, and I assumed that I was a Christian. But I didn’t know and understand the Gospel. It was explicitly taught in my church, but also because I didn’t understand and accept my sin for what it was. I loved legalism. I held others to high standards and looked down on them when they fell short. I was a slave to pride and self-righteousness, and I couldn’t see my own sinful heart. I couldn’t admit how much I broke God’s law, how much idolatry was in my heart, how I was dead in my sin.
I have a good mind and have always enjoyed learning. I definitely began to take pride in and find my identity in my intelligence during my teenage years. The human heart is made to worship, and I believe that I made intellect my little-g ‘god.’ The legalism I clung to intermingled with this idol, so that any classmates who didn’t try, who accepted ignorance instead of making an effort to learn were morally inferior in my eyes. In the midst of all of this, I was also incredibly insecure. As high school dragged on, I became depressed and lonely and bitter and angry. I didn’t know why, but I knew it didn’t feel right. I asked friends to save me, but they couldn’t. At the end of my senior year, my parents decided to divorce. My mom left that summer; my friends were absent, preparing to go off to college. I had never felt so alone. I was sad and angry at everything, but still I clung to my self-righteousness, even though it gave me no peace.
At the end of the summer, God changed something. He changed everything. He used my feelings of depression and isolation to highlight and underline and shout out to me my need for him. For all I knew about God from church, I realized that I didn’t feel his presence in my life. I didn’t have a relationship with Christ; I was still separate from God. On a day in August six years ago, at the top of a playground, I cried to God, pleading with him to change that, whatever it took. Six months before that, I had written that I felt as if I were drowning and needed rescuing. God was calling me to die to myself, to my legalism and self-righteousness and strength of mind. God gave me grace and mercy and full access to himself through Christ. He replaced my life with Life in Jesus and gave me the gift of his Spirit. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Looking back, I see God’s hand clearly between that day and this.He led me to a group of friends that year, one of whom introduced me to DBC. He led me to join a small group, to move in with like-minded sisters in Christ, to serve with Student Ministries. I was drawn into community with others who love Jesus and into ministry to serve Jesus, that I might live for his glory. God has taught me faithfulness (still is). And he has adopted me into his Kingdom and made me an heir with Christ. Life is sweet and pleasing and free, not because it is easy (it’s not), but because I can rest on the promise of God, which is a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-6