TESTIMONY OF HIS_LITTLE_LAMB
As of February 14, 2011
This is my testimony of how the Lord Jesus Christ loved me, had mercy on me and saved me by His grace. It’s not pretty, but it’s just about every relevant thing that has to do with my salvation. I was born and raised in the Roman Catholic Church, through 8th grade grammar school. Even though we had to attend Catholic Church every day, I got nothing out of the rituals and what seemed like just nothingness as far as God.
During my teenage years I was a typical teenager going to school, working, shopping, parties, dating, and such. Shortly after graduation from high school, I had some kind of religious experience, but I do not believe it was anything other than just a religious emotional experience – even though it felt like it was real. But I had no fruit (change of life) to show for it. I was not a member of a real church, but only going to “revivals” in the Pentecostal church. When I attended some Pentecostal churches, it seemed like emotions were encouraged – I didn’t realize that believing in the Scriptures was that important, (now I know better). They did stress a form of holiness which meant obeying the Lord with a bunch of rules and regulations. Back then, holiness meant “no pants, no makeup, no jewelry, no movies, no TV watching, no worldliness. Nevertheless it stuck in my memory as something important. (Maybe I needed to have some rules in my life, and I found a sense of comfort and structure there in those rules).
While Pentecostal revivals felt cathartic, it was not steering me in the right direction – I needed Scripture – to read and study the Word of God – the Bible. So even though I was pretty religious and felt like I was a Christian – even passing out Bible tracts on the street corner – I felt like I was saved – I even prayed the “sinner’s prayer”. I didn’t have any close Christian sisters nor was really studying the Bible and so I was pretty lame spiritually. I may have even not been truly converted, but only had a religious experience, but who knows what God was doing to lead me to Him one day. I think looking back at that time, maybe God was calling me and I got mixed up with emotionalism even though I felt like I was saved. That is why it is very important not to go on feelings, but to go on Scripture as truth – and that lesson was taught to me in my various journeys in various churches as I visited them. Things can seem so right, but yet be disastrous. The Scriptures are really our protection against crazy stuff going around, i.e. the “prosperity preachers”.
After about 7 years, I was bored with religion (remember now, there is a difference between getting religion and getting saved! I started dating a man that I met at my high school reunion. Soon, we decided to get married. This boyfriend was becoming a reality in my life and was giving me a hard time about my time working with the church as secretary, and he was complaining because I was not giving him enough time to hang out with him (I should have listened to that red flag of him telling me what to do). So I made a decision that I could not do both – religion and a boyfriend – and I wanted to lay aside the religion and see where this relationship would go. Big mistake!!
(Notice that I say “religion” which is different than a real relationship with the Savior.)
So I got married, had 2 children, and unfortunately got divorced about 7 years later (everything in my life seems to go for 7 years for some reason.) While married, I was a dedicated happy wife, never cheated, going out of my way to make him happy, etc., except that we were fighting and arguing over stupid things and we both felt we were not being treated fairly. We both wanted what we wanted, not what the other wanted. And I was not emotionally mature to know about the compromises of marriage, and all the things I should have know, and for sure we didn’t serve God, so you know that won’t be a blessed marriage when we don’t honor God and seek His direction. We didn’t respect God and didn’t ask for His direction, so no wonder we were fighting. If God does not build a house, they labor in vain that build it. I just didn’t think about church or God or anything Christian. So you see how God was not honored there and consequently, the marriage failed. And I saw what happens when I decided to (and I’m very sorry to say this) lay aside serving God to serve a husband. I guess you do what you do with the knowledge that you have, as best you can, when you don’t rely on God’s direction.
One day, I strongly felt that my husband had cheated on me and lied about it, and so that was the day that my goodwill toward him broke. I asked him to leave and we got a divorce. He first denied any wrong doing, but later confessed to me he had cheated on me before we got divorced. So now he is remarried, and I believe God has given me grace to be single, as Apostle Paul had, when Paul said that he was content to be in the state God had him in (single). At first it was going to be lonely without someone the rest of my life, but I felt that I was to take up my cross and bear it, for the honor of obeying God. I do not believe that in God’s eye, according to the Scriptures, that I should remarry. There are disagreements about divorce and remarriage even among Christians, and I am sure that I must remain single. And I am content doing so.
Right about the time I was divorced, I was so hateful toward my ex-husband that I just went crazy doing whatever I wanted, including any sin that I wanted, just wanting to escape from everything responsible, and perhaps to vent out my anger for my ex-husband by committing all sins that I wanted. I had so much fun going out dancing and some drinking and escaping. It was as if I was released from the marriage and had many sinful desires and got into all kinds of crazy sinful places, “to make up for lost time being a good wife” and was getting into so much sinful bondage, I could have been killed or harmed. I put myself into much danger which, ironically, was fun.
During that time, I got close to the gay community and even moved to the gay neighborhood in my city. I loved to go out dancing at the nightclubs and got to be friends with some gay people, who were nice to me, and actually treated me better than my husband did while married. I was highly protective of them, and I still care for their souls, as I want everyone to know Jesus and to leave their sinful life – whatever those sins may be. Though our sins may be scarlet, they will be white as snow, when Jesus forgives them all.
I was involved in sin with both gay and straight people and finally feeling used, and that was not fun anymore. I have seen the most degrading sin and things that can happen to someone and much of the time I watched as it happened to others in these private fantasy clubs. I even wanted to become a stripper. It was that bad. Fortunately, the Lord kept me from so much more harm that could have happened and yet, it was bad enough.
Shortly after, I went to a 12 step program for a food addiction, and in that program, they tell you that you need a higher power. Well that could only logically be God! I asked one lady if God would love me even though I was not worth much – and she said yes. And then, it was like a light bulb went on in my mind. I believe God was speaking to my heart and telling me that He cared for me and eventually to repent. I didn’t feel like God cared for me, previously, and I didn’t want to “use” God just to get out of trouble, nor be half-hearted about it and just give up when something else came along, and so then I soon afterward starting watching spiritual programs on TV – good preachers.
It was actually during the alter call with Rev. Billy Graham crusade on TV, in my very living room – that I was watching and it touched me so much, God was then calling me to Him, I then repented and gave my life to the Lord. I confessed all my sins to Him and He forgave me, as I surely did not have any good works to justify myself. God saved me by His grace, thru faith in Jesus Christ – a gift from God which I did not earn nor deserve.
Then, I started visiting churches because I felt that I needed to go to one, and so I came across many kinds of churches as I visited them to see if it were a good one. I am very independent and I didn’t quite look for church membership, but at least I had the desire to go to church and I visited some that I thought would be good. For the most part, it was enjoyable and at least I was in church for like 2 months in a row, which was good – I was enjoying non-sinful things as the Lord was beginning to work on me doing the right thing, following Christ as God would desire me as far as I knew.
I can only say it was a kind of education because some of the churches were bad, some were decent, and actually taught me things about other Christians, how they lived, what they believed, etc. Now, even though I prayed and tried to seek the Lord’s will as I visited, a kind of go and see type of learning what is right, one church seemed like a voodoo church. I was sitting there in the pew, and this one woman in front of me, she stood there and her head was tilted upward, and her mouth was not moving, and in a position of exhaling thru her lips. And, it was like my eyes were opened and I could see something like a spirit blow out of her mouth. I also saw what looked like blood or red paint over in the front of the church, and they were drumming and what sounded like chanting in another language, and all I could think of was “voodoo” and I all of a sudden had the need to run out of there as fast as I could. And I did! (In all my time visiting churches, I never felt such fear clutch at my insides as when I was in this “church”).
Another church that I think was a pagan church, had some weird spirituality which seemed like they were superstitious. The church looked like it was decorated like Mardi Gras, with mirrors and silver and red décor and they kept slapping each other’s back with a handkerchief (which someone told me this could mean that they were swatting demons off each other – whether that is true or not, I’m not sure, but it was very strange). I never went back there! I guess I found out these things by going to a church service and observing. But something inside me told me when something was not right or was right in all my church visiting.
Finally, I went to the Jesus Only church – a “Oneness Pentecostal” and even though they seemed very fervent in their worship and service to God, because they do not preach correct doctrine, I could not continue to go there. The preacher seemed to preach most of the Word of God, except their interpretation of God was not doctrinally sound, i.e. they believe Jesus is the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and you must be water baptized as part of salvation. Water baptism does not save you, it is an outward sign that you identify with Jesus, but they go farther than that with water baptism. It sure looked like it was a really good church and I thought I could go in spite of bad doctrine, but soon I was convinced I should not be there because of doctrinal error.
So, I had to leave for conscience sake and look for another church with correct doctrine as being more important than cathartic emotionalism, even though we were praising the Lord which felt good. Again, there goes the “feeling good thing” that masked as spirituality but it can really trip you up. I guess each year I learned more and more what was truly important in my walk with the Lord.
Now, it was during this time at the Oneness Pentecostal church I asked my friend (we used to go out dancing and partying before I got saved). I think then he was feeling inspired to go to church, and he went with me to the Oneness Pentecostal church that I was attending at that time. My friend feels he is a spiritual person, and he got water baptized there and feels he got saved. So now he considers himself a true Christian, however, unfortunately, he maybe prayed a prayer and got enough religion to fool him into thinking he is saved, but there is not really much change of his life and he still is into sin, and justifies himself. I pray for him and try to be a light and show him Jesus in hopes that the Holy Spirit will call him and correct whatever is not right in his life, so that he will be truly saved.
Anyway, I then prayed and asked the Lord to find me a good church, and I found one in a close by suburb. I was also water baptized there. It seemed nice at first; they were teaching the Word of God, except that I ended up after a year leaving there because of legalism and other issues. Jesus said we must worship Him in spirit and in truth, and some churches have the Spirit but no truth, and others have the truth and no Spirit! The pastor let me go to hear Brother Paul Washer when he came to town and I was so glad to go! When I came back to my current church, something was missing and things had been building up that were bothering me but I tried to go along with the program and pray about it. (I found out that another dear brother felt the same things as I and was trying to be a light there too). I didn’t feel the same, after coming back from that Bible conference with Paul Washer. I tried to be obedient ‘to those that have the rulership over us, out of respect, I really tried to go along and be obedient. But, alas, it was like my wings were clipped.
I then talked to that pastor about visiting some churches for ideas to improve our church, and he gave me a hard time about it and made me feel guilty that I had to be there at his church, and would not let me go even though I had good intentions to help them. So these numerous issues which seemed like they were not being resolved, I then decided to leave and go to Chicago to find another church. My heart and spirit was just broken and I was sensing myself being drawn away from that place. I will say that I got hurt spiritually and physically. On one hand, perhaps I needed to learn patience, or something, and perhaps I could have stayed longer until these things could be resolved, but I chose to leave and find another church.
I took a break from church and all things Christian to recover from that last experience, because it was weighing heavily on me. I didn’t want to just join another church and make the same mistakes and since I knew that I always dive into something full speed ahead, I would be quite vulnerable and I felt that it was best to take my time and not rush into another bad mistake. Also, once you get burned you learn not to put your hand in the fire, so that’s pretty much my thinking. I’m not telling anyone that they should follow my footsteps, but I’m saying this to tell you what happened with me.
Because of my experience there, soon bitterness and apathy crept in and I just didn’t feel motivated to go find another church or serve God or anything. At first I thought I needed a break and would find a church one day. I didn’t hate God, but I didn’t like Christians in general nor want to be around any of them. Some other Christians said things that were unloving and that just made me mad, and I can’t explain it other than to honestly say a lot of bitterness crept in and I was just angry. I was seeing a lot of bad attitudes in the Christians in my life and at work – and this just turned me off and I didn’t care anymore. I pretty much just stayed by myself, doing crafts for fun and some other things that were at least not sinful, but I was just coasting along in life without serving the Lord as my priority.
The scary part was – during last year, one time I was thinking and realizing that I didn’t know if I was saved, whether going to heaven or hell and if I died right now (eternal security doctrine aside), not sure where I’d go. I was cold and not caring toward the things of the Lord. I thought maybe the Holy Spirit had not been dealing with me – convicting me, but it didn’t worry me when once I was on fire for the Lord and those things DID concern me. It was strange to look at myself and see how I could not feel anything toward God. How could I feel just non-caring and apathetic? Thinking I might be on my way to hell didn’t even concern me. Now the fact that I was so apathetic actually concerned me, the fact that I wasn’t concerned!
So, this January, 2011, I was in my living room, ( again my living room is where the Lord seems to meet me!). Even though I don’t necessarily go by “experience” or “feelings” to authorize a person being right with the Lord, I do feel that one can feel cold-hearted versus fervent and on fire, to the things of God. We are told to examine ourselves to see if we be in the Lord. One thing happened to me – all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit convicted me and this thought flashed in my mind – the reality of going to hell. I then got scared that I was away from the Lord, and then that was the first time in 2 years that I was aware that I needed Jesus. I needed to come back to him. So that means the Lord was softening my heart, right then, in that instant, like a light bulb (again) turned on. Apathy was GONE!
I was bored with everything on TV, and just in general, so I went to my old favorite Christian website to visit old friends. I told some of my old friends in there that I felt like I needed to repent and come back to the Lord from being wayward, backsliding, loss of fellowship with the Lord, and how over the past 2 years I didn’t feel the Holy Spirit on me, and someone said that I had hardened my heart and I was not listening to the Holy Spirit all that time. So then I repented, and turned back to the Lord, and I knew that I was a child of God, a sheep that was lost but the Lord being the Good Shepherd left the other flock to find me. God brought me back again. A few said they were praying for me and was feeling very sorrowful that I had turned away from serving the Lord. (Last year I had visited them and told them about what happened and how I turned away from serving the Lord – this is while I was feeling much bitterness and hate and was telling them how it affected me – it caused them to pray for me). Their prayers were finally answered!
Now, if you have been reading up to this point, you may guess that my life with the Lord had its ups and downs. Fortunately, it must be true that the Lord promises never to lose any that God the Father has called and given to Jesus to save. So even though I may have fallen down, either thru my own weaknesses, or whatever, Jesus picked me up and found me. And each time, I realized how much deeper and closer I must be to Him.
It was then in January, 2011 that God used guilt – conviction – to make me realize what a sinner I was for leaving God behind because of some people who I allowed to hurt me. I never hated God, I just hated what those people did to me, and God healed the bitterness I had carried all this time. It took me about a week to overcome the guilt I then felt about my life to that point, and I believe perhaps the Holy Spirit used guilt to convict me and bring me back, but then I had to make sure the devil did not come and continually throw guilt in my face because all of my sins are now legally covered under the blood of Jesus never to be remembered before. (now there is no guilt but only a strong desire to be transformed more and more into what He wishes for me).
When I was going thru all this, a very kind brother in the Lord was trying to get me to see if I was just talking and not being real. And he encouraged me with the story of Lot fleeing the city that was going to be destroyed. He encouraged me “Don’t look back – but flee!” And that rang so true – that’s what I needed to do. Flee my sins! Flee to the Savior! Don’t dawdle, but flee right now – as perilous to be without Christ as Lot was living in Sodom – the city that God was going to destroy soon. And not to worry about all those people in the past – or even my past – but to look forward and serve God from henceforth.
So now, I am serving the Lord by the grace of God. All my sins are washed away. I cannot say in all my years since I was very young at what time I was saved or when I was just having a religious experience. But slowly, God took me from ignorance to now finally serving the Lord, to God be the glory.
I know looking back, my life was very crazy as I am sometimes very impulsive. Some of my experiences I cannot explain except that the devil roams around like a roaring lion seeking who he may devour and he sure tried to devour me. Often times I was led into horrible sins, and yet, I think God could use that for His glory in order to help those in such bondage to those sins. Not that God wanted me to sin, but look at what He saved me from. And now, if I see someone in those same circumstances, they can feel that I’ve been thru that, and got out by the grace of God, and that they can be saved too.
When I think about how scarlet red my sins were, and how the Lord has saved me from all those, and wiped my slate clean, now never to remember it again, it made me cry about how forgiving God was to me. It seems like I had so many ups and downs, and my personality has much passion – when I get involved in something, I never want to do it wishy-washy.
You know the parable of the sower. Seeds were sown in me, in my life, and some fell on rocky ground and since there was no good ground to thrive in, it withered or got caught up in the cares of this world, and then one day finally the sower sowed seed in good ground and that is what is happening now.
Because now I go to a real doctrinally sound church, with such caring and loving Christians, that it healed all the bitterness and now I see some real genuine and loving and caring and for real Christians. I really hate the sin that God saved me from and I feel embarrassed and sad that my life experienced such things, and mostly that I wasted SO MUCH of my life until now. So even though much of life was wasted, yet, there can be something God can do with my sorry life for His Glory. The lady who poured that sweet ointment on Jesus’ feet and was so sorry for her sins, I know how she feels. I was such a lost lamb most of my life!!! But Jesus picked me up and kept me and loved me still. He never gave up on me, sorry as my life was.
I know there is such a thing as God calling us and we respond to that call because many times, there was such hate in my heart and God took that away. He changed my attitudes and desires, and the thing that I once loved – I now HATE (sin). And now for God’s glory, I pray that the Lord make use of my life, not because I should, or it’s a job I have to do, but because I love the Lord Jesus Christ. And that could not have happened if he had not shown mercy and kindness to me.
The moral of the story even – even if your life is a mess and you have a personality that gets you into trouble, you too can be clean and fresh by salvation in Christ Jesus. So many people just cannot grasp God, like atheists, they just don’t get it. However, when God reaches down to touch our hearts, when you respond to that call, your life won’t be the same. Jesus picked 12 disciples and they were not perfect, maybe it’s good because that gives me hope. Jesus used them with all their personalities, and so there is hope even for those of us who have aspects about us, that God can use for his glory.
Sincerely, in Christ,,