Saturday, October 07, 2006

My Testimony

I have tossed around the idea of sharing the whole story of my testimony for a bit. As most of my family and friends read my blog, doing so in a respectful way has detoured me. Yet I think with a little help from the Spirit it can be done.
I grew up being the youngest of four. So while I always had people around, I usually felt lonely. There were no kids my age in my neighborhood. My closest friend was 5 years younger than me. So I often played alone. When I was in third grade my mom was electrecuted with more bolts of electricity than a lightning bolt. She was clinically dead for several minutes. By the grace of God, she lived. Up until this point my family attended church pretty regularly. I went to Sunday school. I knew "Jesus loves me." Then the accident happened. My mom was in and out of the hospital. My dad was left, caring for his wife and 4 kids ranging in age from 8 to 15. When our family needed them the most, the church was not there. I think there was misunderstandings with my moms near death experience. None the less, we left the church.
My parents are incredible people. They always taught us to "think things through" and "to use common sense." My mom stayed home with us in the early years. She poured into us, in ways I will forever be grateful. We did some great things, hiked, camped, ate meals together. When I started school, mom began working. They made it work. After the accident, she had many health issues. I worried a lot about her. Was my mom going to live? Was she going to see me graduate? Grow up? My dad is the smartest person I know! He amazes me and I have always looked up to him.
As the years went by I watched my older siblings go through their own sort of rebellion. I wanted to be the good girl. I wanted to make my parents proud. I know my parents are proud of each of us. Yet we caused many a gray hairs.
In middle school, I remember wanting to be cool. So I skipped school and bought a pack of cigerattes. My parents found out and confronted it. So glad they did. Since I wanted to please them, I never did that again.
Also in middle school, my parents bought a motor cycle. It was a great time for them to be together and so many week nights and most weekends they were out riding. One of my siblings was less than kind, so I felt abandoned during this time in my life. Enter guys. Looking for attention. I was mean then too. I remember hitting guys saying "If I am man enough to hit you I am man enough to get hit back." What a mentality.
In high school I had a thing for older guys. So my freshman year, I dated a senior. My sophmore year I dated a senior. Nothing good was in these relationships. No boundries. Much regret. While I was dating the guy in 10th grade; he was accompliss to murder. Yes you read that right even if I spelled it wrong. It was a hard reality. I was left looking at my life; where am I at? What am I doing? Is this what I want with my life? I ended the relationship.
Around that time God was calling me back to the church. Everytime I drove past my childhood church I felt pulled there. Finally one Sunday I convinced my best friend to come with me, afterall I did not want to go alone. My mom dropped us off and picked us up at the end. I will never forget, it was palm sunday, and we got in the van and asked my mom what in the world these green leafy things were about? I had NO CLUE. I began attending regularly. I joined the choir. I participated with the youth group. I didn't know it then, but people were praying for me. Seeds were being planted.
In relationships I decided not to date. Instead, I played how far is too far with "friends". That was Junior year.
My senior year, I decided to hang out with some friends. As the night progressed everyone left but me. When the guy I was with started having sex with me, I told him no. But when he didn't listen, I resolved myself to it and let it go on. Three weeks later, I found out I was pregnant. 17 and pregnant. I told my youth leaders. I told my parents. I told the guy and my closest friends. Yet I felt scared and alone. My dad stopped talking to me. He didn't know what to say, so he said nothing at all. Others had plenty to say. What will you do with your life? How will you raise a baby? You must put that baby up for adoption! Abort! Woah...wait I could never do that. I knew personally the effects of adoption. I would not end a life. I didn't know how I would do it...I just would. Even marry the father if necessary. Morning sickness came. Not just "morning" sickness. morning, afternoon, evening, dry heaves. SICK!!! It took every bit of my strength and even more of my resolve. I ended up going through with an abortion. I was in a pit. A pit of dispair.
People don't really understand what a post abortive woman goes through. There is guilt, self condemnation, accusations and cruel words of others. I was labeled murderer (which in truth I was.) And stalked by a man. Terrible, terrible. There is something about being in the pit, there is nowhere to go but up. I continued going to church. Slowly things begin to peice together. In January of my Senior year I went on a retreat. It was an unforgetable experience. It was the first time I consciencely was around a sold out christian. The speaker for the weekend had such a presence of the Spirit, he spent time in prayer and read the Word. He was fellowshipping with God and everything about him screamed it. It gave me a hunger. I wanted to know God like that. On that weekend I took my first steps in becoming a Christ follower. I clearly remember the song "I Believe in Jesus." "I believe in Jesus, I believe he is the Son of God, I believe He died and rose again, I believe He paid for us all, And I believe that He's here now, standing in our midst, With the power to heal and the grace to forgive." It became my anthem. I knew that I was a sinner in need of a saver, so I began to believe. Shortly after accepting Christ I went on a 3 day weekend retreat that changed my life. On day one of that weekend I found myself in a sanctuary listening to a young woman share her story as a prodigal. I knew this was me. I had taken my life and scaunddered it.... and I longed for things to be made right. The good news is that my God is a loving father and he rejoiced in my homecoming. That night I had an oppurtunity to take all my sin, my hangups and hurts and nail them, physically nail them to the cross. We were given a piece of paper and a pencil. As I began to write I thought my list would never end. I took that sheet of paper, I folded it. Took a hammer in my hand and nailed those sins into the cross. In doing so, I nailed every written code against me every condemning word. And I was free. Free from guilt and shame. Free from my past. Forgiven. There was still much to be healed but I was on the right path and with THE one who could heal me. I was a new creation. Wow!
Shortly after this I became one of the original 12 in a ministry here called Visions, a Christian nite club. It was discipleship 101. I learned how to trust, pray, love and minister; God was using me, yes me, to accomplish good for His kingdom. Such an amazing time in my life.
I have been blessed beyond measure in these past 11 years. I have grown, matured, healed. At 20 I married my best friend, a Godly man, that I met at Visions. God has always provided. When we were seven months pregnant with our first, we were both unexpected unemployed. Never did we go without. God even payed for the birth of our son, $1500 paid in full out of obedience to Christ. The day my son was born I became a stay at home mom. Blessed I tell ya. When we were pregnant with what would be our second, I experienced some spotting. I was camping two hours away from home so the midwife recommend I get it checked out. Thinking it was nothing I went alone to the hospital. I remember being in the ultrasound room, marveling at life. This tiny form on the screen. The technician was experiencing some difficulty so he called in the doctor. Then the words fell. "I am sorry but there is no heartbeat." The tears fell too. I was taken back to my room and given a phone to call friends and family. My husband was two hours away back home. My friends were at the campground with my little one. I was alone yet at the same time I was not alone at all. God was with me. I felt his presence surround me. I felt him hold me. And I remember him asking "Can you praise me in your pain?" So with tears streaming down my cheeks. I sang out loud "Praise God from Whom all blessings flow, praise him above all creatures here below, praise him above the heavenly host, praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen" I was discharged from the hospital and went back to the campground. My husband had just arrived. Let's just say he didn't exactly do the speed limit to get up there. He arrived none too soon. As we hugged my water broke and the miscarriage began. It was evident I needed to be back in the hospital, so we went. I was immediately given a room. I remember asking the doctor if I was at risk of hemmoraging and he said. "Honey, you are hemmoraging!" Through the course of 6 paps in one day, they got the baby out without surgery. While I was sad over our loss, I was ever thankful for my son and the blessing we had in him!
5 months later, we were pregnant again. This time, blessed with our little girl. Spunky and fun she is. I can not imagine life without her.
God has been so good to me. He has changed me from the inside out. I am not the same person I was 11 years ago. I am ever in love with my Lord! Praise be to Him for he is good, his love endures forever!!!
That is my journey, that is my story! Read more testimonies over at Laurens, Bloggy Tour of testimonies.

P.S My mom is still very much alive and well. She saw me get married and have my babies! I am ever thankful for the part both of my parents have played in my life. I love you both.


Diane@Diane's Place said...

S, God has brought you a long way in your lifetime. What's important is that you found Jesus and what you've done with your life in the last 11 years since then. We all have baggage from before we were saved, and sometimes after we were saved.

Thank you for being so open with your story. You blessed my heart, my friend. God Bless You, S.

Wendy said...

Sarah, I am crying. I'm sure it was hard to think about all of that again, but I am so glad you shared it. I think it is important to share because it is the story of how you got to the point of realizing your need for Christ.

I praise God for you and how He has worked in your life.

Christine said...

I have never read a story that has touched me more. From being lonely to never being alone, even in the midst of miscarriage, is such a far way to come. But God can do anything!

I assume your spiritual retreat was Chrysalis, am I correct? I was a part of a church a few years back that hosted those teen weekends and I know how meaningful they are. I was part of a Walk to Emmaus weekend, the adult equivalent. It was the time I let go of all the bitterness toward my father's family. Truly a freeing moment in my life.

I wish I knew you in person and could give you a great big hug for sharing your story!

God bless you.

BlondeBrony said...

Very nicely written testimony. You certainly touched me.

Thank you for leaving a comment on my 100th post.

Kellie said...

You are so special. I cried when you sang Priase GOD. You were in a place that others would have called your jail and you praised HIM. Your chains fell away and the barred doors fell open for you just like for Paul and Silus.

Tracy said...

I really only knew the young Sarah, the Attwood Sarah & then the Visions Sarah. All of the things that you have been through in between, all the pain & loss & hurt have made you into a beautiufl woman that God loves, fills, and uses to bless others. I'm blessed to know you. Have a great time in Cleveland! :)

Brigitte said...

Oh what a wonderful thing to experience Gods healing love and forgiveness. Bless you for your faith and for your growth. Thank you for sharing.

God bless!!