What's YOUR Testimony?????

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

#2 Pray that our past be used by God...

What a hard topic, hu? Our past. Something so many want to sweep under the rug and never talk about. But have you allowed God the opportunity to use your past?

I just met a friend who has had a real tough life. A divorce, a diagnosis of an incurable condition, questions from family about her unwavering believe in God- yet she is allowing God to use her past. She told me that she really feels that God has a 'motivational speaker' ministry upon her life. WOW! How many of us would openly share all we've been through~ our faults as well as the faults against~ to the world?

Not many would step up to the challenge, but lets thing about it!

Saul (Paul, before he was Paul he was Saul- did I lose ya?) Anyway- before he was a sold out believe and messenger of Jesus Christ, he was a persecutor of the church. He openly persecuted Christ's followers. In Act 9:1 it says he breathed out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. Act 8:1 says that Saul gave approval to Stephen's stoning.

Now on his way to prosecute more of Christ's followers (Acts 9:1-18) Jesus appeared to Saul, blinded him and then told him to go into the city and he would be told what to do. Jesus sent Ananias to pray for Saul. The 'scales' were lifted from his eyes and he was baptized and become a follower. He spend several days with Ananias and many began to talk, asking 'Isn't that Saul, the one who persecuted the followers of Christ?' The wanted to kill him, but he stood firm to show Christ is Lord.

Yet- though Saul had a horrible past, one that we might feel didn't deserve a second chance, went on to be a great follower of Christ, helping plant many churches and being lead my God's Holy Spirit to write books in the Bible.

Well- we like Saul can make our mark in this world. Maybe God won't inspire you to write a book, or to plan a church, but God has planted you right where you are and wants to use your past to change the future.

I didn't grow up in church. I didn't start attending until I was 11 years old. (Went occasionally with Grandma as a young child, but nothing serious came of it at that point- I was not a 'believer'.) Even after becoming a Christian at age 11, I still never fully followed the way God wanted me to. I felt ok going to church on Sunday, participating in Youth Group activities and was ok, I was just 'getting by'. But I had many down falls. I became suicidal at age 13, I felt worthless being teased at school I had problems with the local gangs because I didn't ant to 'join' them and I had only a small circle of friends who talked bad about me behind my back (we were in middle school- what can you expect!) but I felt all alone. In high school I became what is know as a 'cutter.' I would cut and burn myself when things got hard.

To understand some of why we have to go back to when I was little.... I was sexually abused as a little girl, by someone very close to our immediate family and who we trusted very much. This went on for about 3 years before I got up enough nerve, at age 12 to tell my parents it was happening. It caused great pain to my immediate family and well as our extended family, as this person was very close to all of us and we felt he need to share and protect the others. It was about this point in life I felt horrible and didn't want to live any longer.

So, as I grew up with this baggage- feeling dirty, worthless, useless, and like I chad nobody I could trust, I began to get in trouble. I fought in school. I skipped class. I got bad grades. I got involved in relationships that were bad for me. I became addicting to needing 'someone' by my side so I felt worth something.

It never worked. I always felt lonely, until I finally gave it all up to God!

I stand here today- free! Free from guilt (though the abuse wasn't my fault, I always felt it was), free from sin (and my list was pretty long), and free from chains of my past! God has allowed me countess times to share my story with girls and women who have been through things just like me. Abuse, neglect, suicidal thoughts, relationship after relationship looking for someone to 'love' her. And God has allowed me to know that my past has been thrown into the sea never to be thrown in my face by Him. And I can know that though I was a sinner then, I am forgiven now!

So what's your story?
Allow God to use it.
God uses our past to change the future!

Think if Paul would have been ashamed of where he had come from. Afraid of what others would think? Imagine if he would have stayed quiet. What would have happened to the church?

Who have you denied freedom from by holding back your testimony?

Maybe your testimony is that you were born and raised in the church, shelter by God from harm, drugs, sex... maybe you have served God all your life... PRAISE GOD! What a testimony! That too can touch peoples hearts and change lives.

Though I got involved in many things I can stand a say that God did keep me! I never did get involved in drugs or alcohol or gave into the temptation of premartial sex or the gangs that threatened me if I would not. God allowed me to save myself and be pure for my wedding night though I had countless relationships. Though my friends did drug and drank and it was all available to me, God protected me from those addictions and experiments. PRAISE GOD!

Those are awesome things I am able to share with others.

Why not pray and ask God to show you who needs to hear your testimony? Who can be set free by hearing how you came to know Christ and what he saved you out of?

Lord, I thank you first of all that you have taken my past sin and thrown into the deepest sea never to remember again. Lord, remind me that there are things in my past that you can use to minister, touch and heal others with. You can use my past to set others free and I ask that you show me how I can use my testimony to help others. I have a story Lord, and it may not be the prettiest or the most fun to share, but I know that you want to use me to bring others to the saving knowledge of your grace and I say YES! Yes, Lord, use me! Use my past. I surrender to You. Be my Savior and my shelter and allow my life to be pleasing to You! I love you Lord and desire to be a vessel you can use. Use me!
In Jesus name, Amen

Be encouraged!
Praying Mom

P.S- Thanks "Friend", you know who are, for the encouragement. That is why we were able to chat the other night and you know- though I went to bed a 3:30 AM- I woke up refreshed and energized this morning and have had a great day with God! THANKS AGAIN! Keep on keeping on and keep sharing your testimony! -Your praying friend


Janell said...

great site...love the background music. Nice to see a christian site on the internet.