“On the Jericho Road, there’s room for just two. No more and no less, just Jesus and you. Each burden he’ll bear, each sorrow he’ll share. There’s never a care, for Jesus is there.” – On The Jericho Road
This is my personal testimony, my most intimate story of how love rescued me. Of learning about the greatest story ever written or recorded.
I made a promise a long time ago to to take any opportunity given to share this story with others. It’s definitely not easy telling your most intimate story, but through my weakness he continues to grow me and make me strong. My true love has taught me to trust. He has stretched me enough times now that I still haven’t gotten used to it, but I’ve learned to believe in it. To believe in the greatest love. To believe that every. story. matters. To believe that we’re here to share life, share love, and share encouragement with one another. Over time, I’ve learned to trust him more and more because each time I go to him and surrender he leads me to greener pastures. This brings me to one of my favorite verses in the bible. A psalm of David…
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quite waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3
Now, let’s start at the beginning of this testimony about the one true LOVE.
I was a little girl raised happy and healthy with more than enough love. It’s funny how God used that to build my curiosity about this thing called love. When my mother and biological father had me, my real father was unable to overcome his struggles with addiction and so he separated himself from us. This could have gone wrong, but love stepped in. My grandparents took us in and my grandfather took care of me as his own. Shortly after, my mom met the man I now call my dad, Keith. He was happy to bring love into my life as well. He adopted me and I am forever grateful for his compassion and unconditional love. I had such an abundance in an area that could have seemed so hopeless. I had to learn more about where this thing called LOVE came from.
Thankfully I had family and friends who took me to church. I was able to learn who God was and especially about HIS love. I asked him to come into my heart at 8 or 9, it was around 3rd grade. I was changed. He gave me a pure heart and a love for others. The start of something I knew was worthwhile and worth clinging too.
So here’s were it gets interesting. You were probably thinking that my life was just happily ever after after that, not so. Since I loved others so much… during my adolescent years, I pretty much got along great with everyone (the good, the bad, and the ugly;). I made time for these people over GOD. I lacked maturity and wisdom because of this and I began a journey of poor decisions, hurt, disappointment, shame and hard lessons. I used a lot of my time and wasted plenty of energy doing lost, worthless, and selfish things. Among those, a long dead end relationship that I had to learn to let go of, a bad habit of drinking and driving that led me to a terrible crash, and a turning point.
It was when I crawled out of the seatbelt I was hanging from in that upside down car and tossed out all the beer bottles mixed with shattered glass around me that I looked up and said, “ok God I get it, you have a plan for me.” However, like I said, it was just the turning point. He had more than a plan for me, he wanted to use me in HIS PLAN.
I started then seeking a better lifestyle, praying constantly for guidance and direction. He was starting to shape me I guess because he brought a wise man, a god fearing man, into my life. My husband, Jared. Things began to be promising, we shared the same values, goals and dreams and before we knew it we we’re married with 3 babies and more responsibilites than we knew how to handle. Although I went to church and prayed I was still not giving GOD my time or attention, and I wasn’t putting him first. I was only interested in how he could help me, not how I could help him?
My life crumbled… I was trying to make the best decisions for my life ALONE. It wasn’t working. I noticed quickly that the effects of my decisions were slowly destroying me. I felt broken, hurt, empty and alone. Adulting was hard, and I was desperate for help. Why didn’t someone tell me marriage wasn’t a fairly tale, why didn’t someone tell me my kids would drain me, why didn’t someone tell me I sucked at managing money, or I wasn’t fooling anyone by being a “pretty good person.” I really needed to learn more about myself so that I could GIVE more of myself. No one told me because those are hard things to teach. I finally fell to my knees and surrendered it ALL.
When I finally opened the bible, tears fell on each page as I read through practically the whole new testament in one night. I found myself worshipping and praising this great story and this great love that was offered ME. The greatest story I’ve ever heard… the good news. He’s here to help. He’s an expert at our life because he created it. If I’d only surrendered and joined his team sooner, spent time with him, learned more about him, trusted him, and love him.
I’ve walked with and without him in my life and It’s much easier with him. “When you know better, you do better”- A quote from Maya Angelou. Now, this doesn’t mean my life is super easy now, I still face countless challenges and trials and it feels like even more actually because I’m convicted by the one who cares.. He wants me to chose the right way and mostly that’s the hard way. But that is where the good fruit is, that is were you grow and become who he made you to be. Where he comforts you and holds your hand. I had to relearn all I thought I knew, I also had to confess that I didn’t know much. 😉 We humans want to have it all figured out. I think the real knowledge is to understand that we’ll never have it all figured out.
I wanted to share some things he has helped me to figure out though. Each fundamental area in my life has improved and developed much deeper meaning and fruit since I’ve based it all on my faith and the scriptures. My spiritual, physical, financial, and personal hobbies/career have developed into extensions of my life that exist to serve others rather than myself. I look at relationships differently now too. Family, friends, my church, and my community have meaning and significance more than ever! These things are still not where I dream them to even be, but I’ve seen incredible progress in them that bring me more fulfillment and happiness in life than I’ve ever known.
Once I experienced it, there was just no denying it. It’s what keeps me motivated to stay the course, to run the race, to live for the most, and to have victory. I challenge you all to reflect on your own story. What will you be remembered for, what will you rejoice about? Start writing your story down. What will it be the story of… hope? redemption? suffering? We all have a path that matters and a lesson worth sharing. Do you see God’s hand in it?
Love To You,