It’s about time I write down my testimony. To give God the glory. To leave a legacy for children.
As a child, I was not raised with Bible believing parents. I am not sure if my parents even believed in God. But… they were not opposed to my Aunt and Uncle, Irene and Millert and my Aunt, Harriett taking me to church with them. My mother even allowed me to attend the annual Vacation Bible School at the local church and at a farm where we lived. I am forever grateful to my open minded mother.
My Aunt and Uncle, Irene and Millert and also my Aunt Harriett were Christians. They attended church and I was allowed to attend church with them at an early age. I can remember attending the Twining Baptist Church with them and going into the children’s nursery. The most vivid memory I have is of them sharing the Cross and how it bridged the gap between us and God with Christ’s death. I remember Thanking God for a way to be near Him. I owe my early years of Bible teaching to my Aunts and Uncle. Thank you for providing a firm foundation on the Word of God and for taking the time to live a Godly life in front of me. For not wavering as you faced trial and tribulation. For allowing the love of Christ to shine through you to a little girl who had lots of questions.
I also gleaned a lot from Vacation Bible School at the Baptist Church in our town. I loved attending each year for a week. We had Bible learning time, game time. It was such a fun event I looked forward to it all year. I also remember attending Pork Chop Hill which was a local pig farm in our town where they held Vacation Bible School. When I was a teenager I returned each summer from Florida to teach a class. What an awesome responsibility to give back to the Lord what He shared with me as a child. I still remember the songs they taught us. I have shared some of these with my little girls. “I have the joy, joy down in my heart” “Jesus Loves Me” etc.
My sister, Cathy at the insistence of my mother, took me to purchase my first Bible. We had a little Christian bookstore in our town. I remember that Bible like it was yesterday. It was white and zipped up. My sister in her fancy handwriting wrote “To Melissa, from Dad”. I don’t think my dad ever realized he purchased the Words of Life for me. Unfortunately, I don’t have that Bible, it must have gotten lost in the move from Michigan to Florida.
When we moved to Florida I didn’t have much of a Christian influence in my life. I walked away from everything I had been taught while I was young and chose the way of the world. I was born a sinner and I returned to the life of sin that was most pleasing to me. I know we are all sinners, but I am like Paul and say I was a chief sinner. I lived my life from the time I was 15 yrs. old until I was 30 years old deep in sin. I did things I am so ashamed of. I gratified my flesh and not my spirit; I lived for self and not for God.
Then, one day God sent me a child, Savannah. I was 30 years old, chief sinner. When I brought that little colicky baby home, I needed someone to help me. Oh sure, I had my mom, my husband and family members but the kind of help I needed did not come in the humanly form. I need divine intervention. As I slipped into a terrible depression due to all the raging hormones, I realized that I needed God and Him alone. We were given an invitation to a local revival by a friend of ours to a church my husband attended while he was a boy and young man. We went… That was the beginning of my journey with the Lord again. I still remember the Pastor that was preaching the revival. I still remember walking to that altar and asking God to please help me. To pull me out of this pit of despair. To scrap me off the bottom of the barrel of sin and restore me to what He wanted me to be. Guess what? He did it. He took me back. He wrapped His loving arms around me at that altar and welcomed me back into His family. He washed me of all those years of sin. He cleansed me of all those evil desires and mind thoughts. He took the depression that had gripped my life so deep that I didn’t want to live anymore and crushed it. He gave me joy for my sorrow. He gave me strength for my weakness. He gave me the Bible again where ever word leapt of the page and spoke straight to my heart. He gave me a reason to live. (Actually more than one). He gave me life, liberty!
I can remember coming home from that service being totally exhausted. I had a little one not two months old who had colic and would not sleep more than 15 minutes at a time and cried constantly. I can remember longing for a nap, rest, peaceful rest that was not tormented by dreams and death. We went home and ate lunch and laid Savannah down and laid down ourselves to take a nap before the next church service later than night. I will never forget, Savannah slept for two hours straight, no crying, fussing just sleep. I was able to get sleep that I had forgotten all about. I rested so peacefully. When I awoke, I knew it had to be God. I made a vow that I would serve Him until the day I died.
So here we are 9 years later, I am still blessed to be holding on to my Lord and Savior. It has not been an easy walk, there have been many things I have faced, my family has faced. But, God has always been right there by my side holding my hand. He has never left me, not even in those dark moments when I could not see the light. I have had two more children, and with each one the post partum depression was worse and so was the colic. The Lord brought me through with His church and those who have the love of Jesus in their heart. I have to confess there have been times when I turned my back on God during these 9 long years, I allowed the raising of my children, the caring of my ill mother, life in general to crowd Him out. I allowed depression to take up the space reserved for Him. I’ve allowed anxiety to reign over faith, trust and hope. I am not perfect, but God is not finished with me yet. My life saying is “I am the clay and the Lord is the clay”.
I just want to share a little bit of what happened in those 9 years, so you get the whole picture. So God can minister to you through my words. I don’t want you walking away saying, “Yeah, but you didn’t have to face this, my life is different.” As I’ve mentioned above I had three children each by c-section. Each precious gift from God suffered from severe colic. For at least five years I faced life with sleep deprivation, crying, irritable children that did nothing to deserve the colic. It was not their fault. My nerves were ragged and I held on to that scarlet thread some days barely. Each step I took was by the grace of a loving God. He loved me and my children enough to bring us through this trial. We came out stronger, closer and it worked together for our good. I was able to stay home with my three girls until they started Kindergarten. This was such a blessing to draw near to these three precious little ones to give them the firm foundation they need in life. To share with them the love of God for five whole years, 365 days, 52 weeks before they had to face this sinful world.
I lost my mother during this time. My mother did not die of natural causes and we will leave it at that. Due to her wishes. I struggled deeply during this time with guilt, personal guilty, family guilt and I lost six months of my life. I don’t remember what happened from October, 2006 until March 2007. I know each day I got out of bed by the grace of God and His strength. I know I cared for my family providing the things they needed, food, clothing, shelter, love, etc. But if you asked me what we bought them for Christmas that year I don’t remember. If you asked me what I did during this darkness, I don’t remember. I was so deep in grief that I couldn’t see the light. I was lost in despair. I kept crying out “Why Lord, Why?” I wanted answers and I wanted them now. But, I wasn’t ready to hear the answers that were there because I was so consumed by grief and depression. The Lord never left my side, I know that. He kept bring me back to that moment of truth. He sent me ladies Bible Study that forever changed my life. They showed me the love of Christ and how to get back to that moment of truth. They represented the hand of God in my life at a time I so desperately needed it. Thank you LWC Bible Study.
I’ve shared two incidents in my life so you could see that even though I accepted Christ as my personal Lord and Savior, my life hasn’t all been a bed of roses. This is one of the biggest misconceptions about becoming a Christian. That the moment you get saved your life will be easier a bed of roses. You won’t have to face any more trials, tribulation or trouble. Don’t buy into this. We still live in a sinful world and sin has consequences. We will face trials, tribulation and trouble, but when you accept Christ you don’t have to do it alone. He will be right there with you. Leading, guiding and showing you the way out. And you’ll be a better person for it. You’ll be tried by fire and come out pure as gold.
Until next time,