My Personal Testimony

The following is my personal Christian testimony. I have never shared the full details before, though I have been very open about my struggles. This should in no way be assumed to be the normative or average experience of accepting Christ, it is that of a troubled man. It is because of the hope in this darkness I share it. (Note: This was originally shared in the September newsletter of Cross Road Baptist Church). 

I was 19 or 20 years old, living an isolated life with severe social anxiety. I had little contact with anyone, living in one room in my parents’ house. One day I went out to get the mail and found a tract on the ground in front of our mailbox. I brought it into my room and read it, discovering bible verses with how you can be saved. I accepted Christ. God had a unique way to reach me in my lonely life.

I can’t say everything became wonderful. I was spiraling downward with severe emotional and mental issues. It debilitated me for about 15 years, with severe problems affecting me for well over two decades. One of my most painful struggles was Obsessive Compulsive Disorder affecting my faith. Not the quirky kind you hear about, but a twisted level that doctors gave up trying to help (there was little knowledge back then). OCD morphed the faith and hope that was vital to me into mental illness, leading to a kind of nervous breakdown. Many dark years followed, full of depression, OCD, and anxiety.

After a long time, with quite a few darkly painful rock bottoms and events, God began to call me to a healthy view of who He is, drawing me toward Him. It was a long process which began quietly, building over the years. There were sinful choices to come out of, many lies I believed about myself and God, which He began to address.

Beginning six or seven years ago, God brought me to a level of healing of my issues and a repentance which was whole, rather than warped by OCD. He began to change me. It is remarkable as I look back, getting better was foreign to me and probably my family. Again, it was a prolonged process, but there were milestones of wonderful grace that transformed a lifetime of damage. My mental/emotional issues, and pain in my life, had created a view of God in which I believed He loathed me. I violently hated myself as well. That is not something that heals overnight, but He brought it about.

Now, at 54, my testimony is that no matter how broken we are, how many years living in damage may be-even a lifetime–we are not beyond God’s transforming love. Nothing is too complicated or too impossible for Him. Flat out, nothing. He brings grace and beauty from piles of crumbled ashes. The beauty is Himself.

It has been a long road. The dark days are past, mostly. I lived through them and never want to see the depths of them again. Residual struggle remains. Yet, I would never have it any other way than to have Jesus Christ as my Lord, enjoying the most astounding love I have ever known. Freely given, generous love that has captured me, which won’t let go no matter what. Love that changed a sick and sinful man, despite himself. Praise His name forever.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20.

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