Everyone has a story. Some are pretty average and some are captivating and extraordinary. Mine falls into the “pretty average” category. But, even in my simple little life, extraordinary faith, hope, and love have made me who I am today. My name is Wendy, and this is my testimony.
My story begins like many others … I am an only child, born in one state, moved to another, and raised in the middle class suburbs. My parents divorced when I was 10 and my world totally changed. I spent most of my time with my mom, who worked hard to grow in her career and provide me with all of the things an American kid wants and needs. I spent every other weekend, many holidays and a couple of weeks per year with my very supportive dad and step-mom.
After high school, college didn’t seem all that great, or necessary, so I lived at home for a while and started working full time. After a couple years, I found a roommate and moved out. I eventually made the decision to go back to college at night, and made the transition into the corporate world.
In August of 2007, I got married. But, honestly, neither of us had any business being married. I knew deep in my heart from the very beginning that it wasn’t right. It was an incredibly toxic relationship that left me very broken for a long time. I said “yes” to what I thought was a fairytale and, come to find out, fairytales clash with reality. (Shocker, right?) In September of 2009, we divorced.
After my divorce, a dear friend and single mother of two, taught me a different way of living through the importance of self-accountability and intentionality. She showed me how to make life happen for me instead of allowing it to happen to me. I finally began to understand what being a grown up was all about.
Though loving and supportive, I was raised in an environment where there seemed to be an unwritten rule to avoid conversation about divisive topics. When it came to things like emotions, opinions, money, politics and religion, it was best to leave things unsaid. So, as an adult, my understanding about God was very limited. I viewed church-going, Bible-believing Christians as a narrow-minded group. Yet, even though I had negative ideas about the Christian life, for some reason I always felt a pull towards God and the Bible. I wondered if He was real and admired the passion in the lives of people who believed He was.
In 2013 I met Colin and quickly noticed something was different about him. I discovered that he was one of those church-going, Bible-believing Christians. But, because of my upbringing, I was worried asking about his faith would be offensive. And, to be totally honest, I felt pretty stupid for not knowing much about the Bible. But Colin was totally open to my questions.
The majority of my questions surrounded, “What is this whole God, Bible, Christian, Jesus thing; and why should I believe it?” To answer them, we began to read the Bible together. And, after several invitations, I even decided to attend a Sunday morning church service with him. To my surprise, I actually felt welcomed! No one judged me or made me feel ashamed, embarrassed or uncomfortable. On the contrary, they seemed excited that I was asking so many questions, and encouraged me to ask more! Soon, my preconceptions and skepticism began to fade.
I started attending church with Colin regularly. One Sunday, I remember looking around and thinking, “Wow! These people actually believe all of this stuff.” These people are not a bunch of blind and ignorant sheep. They are highly intelligent people who choose to believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior, and humbly live their lives to honor Him. Being a Christian to them means obediently living a deeply rooted, whole-life conviction, that every single word of the Bible is 100% true.
Knowledge of the Bible is one thing, but faith is something entirely different. It takes an extraordinary amount of trust to whole-heartedly believe in something, especially when you can’t see it. Yet, that’s exactly what God asks us to do! So, on September 21, 2013, I made the decision to believe. I finally accepted Jesus’ grace. By faith, I was all in! In that moment, I knew it was all real. Everything the Bible says and everything that Christ followers believe … it is all real! That was the very moment of my salvation.
God has made beautiful and incredible changes in my life since that moment. I understand why the song Amazing Grace says, “[I] was blind but now I see”. It’s like a light bulb turned on … I get it now! Why everyday Christ followers devote every area of their lives to Jesus. How prisoners can “find God” and completely turn their lives around. I understand why preachers preach and choirs sing their hearts out every week praising our great and powerful Savior!
On May 31,2014, Colin and I got married. Just six weeks later, we found out we were pregnant. It was a total surprise! Sadly, four weeks after we found out, we experienced a miscarriage. I felt a tremendous sense of loss and failure. But, almost immediately, we found peace. Not to say that we didn’t cry and grieve. We definitely did, and still do! We prayed and searched God’s word for encouraging messages of faith, hope and love.
Harder still is the post-miscarriage rollercoaster of infertility. The last five years have presented a very difficult emotional journey for us.
There are no promises that a life with Christ will be perfect and easy. But I don’t need easy because I have something better. I have hope. Seemingly impossible freedom from anxiety in the midst of uncertainty, and having the confident expectation that everything is going to be okay, provides a hope that is far greater than my circumstances.
God loves us. His love for us is unconditional, intentional, limitless, steadfast and eternal. He loves me. He saved me. And I didn’t even know that I needed saving! Grace is part of love, and being a recipient of God’s grace has lead to a total transformation in my life. Oh, the amazing grace I have experienced since that day I knelt by my bed and said, “Yes” to Him!
Romans 6:17 says those who have made the choice to accept Jesus’ grace become, “…obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed…”. Because of God’s love, my greatest desire is no longer trying to “live my best life” my own way. My greatest desire is loving God more than myself and growing (through obedience) in the grace and freedom of living according to His word (the standard of teaching).
It may seem like a contradiction to say living according to God’s word provides freedom, but I am a living testimony it does! I have never felt more freedom. Nor have I ever felt more alive than when I stand confidently in obedience to the Lord. All because of His limitless love for me.
The best part
The best thing about sharing my testimony is to tell you that God loves you with the exact same unconditional, intentional, limitless, steadfast love with which He loves me. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” If you are breathing and reading this, you are “whoever” so know this: God loves you!
We are all created to be with God. However, the Bible tells the story of Adam and Eve, who chose to rebel against God. That rebellious nature, called sin, has been passed on to their descendants – us. Because of our sinful nature, humanity is on a fast downward spiral moving further and further away from God. Our sin separates us from God. We are in such disrepair that we are unable to reconcile any sort of relationship with Him. Our best efforts to “be a good person” are nowhere near good enough. The broken state of humanity and the holy state of God are completely incompatible.
But the good news is that Jesus, God in the flesh, came to do what we can never do. Because He is God, Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience, something we are incapable of doing. Through his sacrificial death on the cross, Jesus paid the debt that we owe to God for our own disobedience and sin. Because he rose from the dead three days later, proving that He is God, we are assured of reconciliation to God through Him forever. This is His gift of grace to us. It is also the only way to eternity with God in heaven. All we have to do is accept it!
After saying yes to Jesus, my life, a life that I thought was pretty good, got even better! Once we say yes to Jesus, He gives us the Holy Spirit who lives within us and slowly begins to transform our hearts and lives. He refines and reforms us. Empowers and engages us. He gives us joy beyond circumstance, faith over fear, hope in the midst heartache and love unlimited!
Seek and you will find
If you have never truly thought about why church-going, Bible-believing Christians are so passionate about Jesus, I encourage you consider my testimony. Never be afraid to ask hard questions, but be willing to hear the truth. It may sting! But it will also grow you in ways you never could have imagined.
The Bible is an open book and anyone who has experienced the love and grace of Jesus is an open book too. If you aren’t ready to reach out and ask someone in person, Got Questions is a great online resource for answers. You are more than welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org too. It would be our honor to share more about the limitless love of Jesus with you.
My hope and prayer is that hearing my testimony, a story of an ordinary American kid changed by God’s great grace, will impact you in some way. I hope it provides reassurance that God loves you, and encourages you towards the loving arms of Jesus.
Colin shared some of his thoughts on life with Christ in an earlier post. Check it out!