Saturday, September 30, 2006

Bloggy Tour Of Testimonies

It's time for Lauren's Bloggy Tour Of Testimonies, so here is my story, as promised. Be sure to visit her here to read everybody else's testimony.

My story begins when I was about 4 years old. I remember going to church with my Mama and my 4 sisters. As I recall one of my favorite hymns at the time was "How Great The Wall"....also known as "How Great Thou Art" to some church goers. We moved out in the country that same year and for reasons the adults didn't share with the 4 year old we quit going to church. I didn't go to church regularly again until I was 9 years old and a caring neighbor couple invited me and my youngest sister Cecil to go to church with them. We got involved with a program for young girls and were pretty regular attendees. I remember decoupaging a picture of Jesus on a wooden plaque in Vacation Bible School that summer, and some kind of contrivance we made out of popsicle sticks. Oh, and there was the Bible we made out of a bar of Ivory soap. Just use your imagination here if you've never attended a Baptist Vacation Bible School, okay?

We went to a neighbor church in the same area for one of the girl's meetings, and I recall that the pastor of the church said he felt led to offer an invitation, although it was not part of the regular program. I didn't even know what "getting saved" was and it never even vaguely crossed my mind before that moment. Of course I'd seen other people go to the altar during invitation, or altar call as some call it, and then after the preacher talked to them and led them to the Lord, we all filed by and shook their hands and welcomed them into the church. For this 9 year old, I was probably thinking more along the lines of, "Wonder what the ladies are serving for snacks today?" But when the pastor started speaking and the pianist began playing "Just As I Am," I didn't just hear it, I "felt" something deep inside. The preacher asked if we had ever accepted Jesus as our savior? If we died in the next few moments, did we know where we would spend eternity? The answer to the first question, for me, was, "NO!," and to the second one, "YES!" I knew where I would go, and right then it was Hell if I didn't get right with God right then. Facing the pulpit, I was sitting on the far left of the church on the second pew from the front, all the way over against the wall. My sister Cecil was sitting right next to me, and I had crawl over her and about 12 other girls to get to the aisle and the preacher. I asked Cecil if she wanted to go with me, but she just looked at me like I'd asked her to walk over hot coals with me and stayed planted right where she was. I don't remember getting to the altar and the preacher, but I do remember him showing me the scriptures in the Bible about how I was born a sinner, and how the wages of sin is death. He told me that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and that Jesus died on the cross for my sins. He asked me if I wanted to ask Jesus to cover my sins with His blood and ask Him to forgive me of my sins and come into my heart and save me. You might wonder what a 9 year old could have done to be so sinful, and honestly I wasn't any worse nor much better than most other girls my age, but I remember when I prayed that prayer I felt a burden lift from me that I didn't even know I was carrying. In that moment, so quickly, I was changed from what I had been, a sinner, into something new: A Sinner Saved By Grace. And that is what I still am today.

Cecil and I were the only ones going to church at the time. Mama had been saved years before, but she had backslidden and Daddy had never been saved. My sisters had gotten out of church years before as they married and left home. A little while after I was saved and baptised, Cecil and I slowly quit going to church, too. It's so hard for an 8 and a 9 year old to be faithful when Mama and Daddy won't go or take you to church. God bless Tom and Faye K. for taking us to church as long as they did. My life might have taken a very different turn if not for those caring Christian neighbors.

Fast forward to November 1980. I was 17 years old and a junior in high school. We moved closer to town and incidentally, closer to a little Baptist church that a school friend attended. I was in choir with Norman and he was the pianist at the church. He had been trying to get me to let him come and get me for church for a while. He wanted me to sing in the choir for a Christmas program they were staging. Our house was less than a mile from the church, but Mama and Daddy and Cecil still showed no signs of wanting to attend services anywhere. I was feeling a conviction to get back in church and I already knew Norman and several other of the youth that attended, so I agreed to let Norman pick me up for church the next Sunday morning. It was like coming home after a long, long time away. Not too long after that, their song director left and they asked me to become their song leader. Me?? They had to be kidding! Right?? No, they WEREN'T kidding! You have to understand that up until that time I was painfully shy, especially before a crowd, or in this case, a congregation. But again, I felt God's calling on me and I agreed to become their song leader. I was their song leader for 10 years, until I moved my membership to my present church in 1990, and I've been songleader there up until last year. Now I'm assistant songleader.

During the time I attended that other little church, I saw Cecil saved and baptised, then my Mama rededicated her life to Christ and was faithful until her death in 2005, and then my Daddy was saved and he was faithful as long as his health allowed him to go to church. Since I moved my membership to my present church, I've seen my sisters, Ducky and Sue, come back to the Lord and they're faithfully serving Him, along with me and Cecil. I've seen my daughter, Jessica saved. I've seen a lot of my family saved, then fall by the wayside. There are several who've never made a profession of faith, but I pray that they'll be saved before it's too late. I pray that those who've been saved but aren't serving God will come back to Him and serve Him faithfully.

That's my testimony. I haven't always been faithful to God, but He's always been faithful to me and received me back whenever I've strayed and come back to Him, asking forgiveness and acceptance back into the fold. It's my desire to always be worthy of Jesus' sacrifice for me. I know I'll fall short, but I also know Jesus will forgive if I only ask and believe.

20 comments:

Rebecca said...

Praise the Lord! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

What a great testimony. I very much enjoyed reading it. I love to see God's hand in each person's life, and no matter where you go God does not let go of you. Praise God!!

Stephanie said...

What a wonderful story of God working not only in your life, but in the lives of the rest of your family. It gives me hope for my family members who aren't saved. Thank you for sharing!

Lauren said...

Diane, how waonderful it is to picture you at such a young age walking that aisle toward your salvation. wonderful testimony and I'm happy for you that so many family members followed.

ampraisingHim said...

Very uplifting, and encouraging...thanks.

Mountain Mama said...

A beautiful story Diane. We are so blessed to have a Loving Lord who is always there for us, even when we stray he keeps his hand on our life, and waits for us to return.
I love the part where you went to the alter call at such a young age. God does not discriminate.

Linda said...

Everyone's story is unique and yet the same. Your story is beautiful. It touches my heart to think of that little girl making her way to the front of the church. It is very evident that you love Him now as you did then. The part of the story that is the same for all of us is that we are sinners saved by grace. To see how God loves each one of us and draws us to Himself in such wonderful ways - those are the stories I love to hear. Thanks Diane.

Erna said...

What a wonderful testimony! Praise God for caring neighbours! How wonderful it is that you've seen many in your family come to know the Lord too. Wodnerful!

Kim said...

Diane, What a precious testimony! How wonderful it must have been to see your whole family dedicate themselves to the Lord! He is so patient with us. Thank you for sharing!

Barbara H. said...

I so enjoyed reading how the Lord brought you and some of your family to Himself. I have many lost loved ones as well and am so burdened to see this happen in their hearts.

Anonymous said...

Amen and amen! God is faithful, even when we aren't.

I've been to many a Baptist VBS. Thank the Lord for banana popsicles, without which we wouldn't have had all those cool crafts. ;-)

chickadee said...

thank you for sharing your testimony. it's familiar to me because i was also saved at a baptist vbs and am a member of a baptist church today. i see many children coming in with neighbors and friends and they are saved and eventually some of their parents come and are saved. it's a wonderful thing.

Kili @ Live Each Moment said...

Thanks for sharing. I have my testimony posted now too. It's similar to yours in the sense that I was 8 when I was saved, and I grew up going to church. Although we were constantly brought to church! :)

Heather Smith said...

Beautiful testimony! I'm so glad that God is faithful even when we aren't!

Jammy said...

What a great testimony! and another reminder to be lights in the world....and love your neighbor. :D

Jenn

Faith said...

Beautiful testimony! Just as I am - it gets me everytime and brings back that moment everytime!!

MegLogan said...

Amen, what a lovely testimony, I pray that my children will come to Christ early on too.
Mrs Meg Logan

Anonymous said...

I'm here via the Bloggy Tour of Testimonies. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful story! How great God is to bring such blessings!

justin said...

Hi Diane,

Thanks for sharing your testimony. I was wondering if you'd like to post it on my new site called ShareMyTestimony.org?

I created the site to let Christians share their testimonies, and read other testimonies to see how God is working in the lives of others.

If you'd like to contact me, you can click on the contact link on my site.

Thanks,
Justin

Donna said...

You gotta LOVE those Baptist Churches. And I do love this testimony. Mind neither started nor ended at a Baptist Church, but it went through a couple of them.