The Good ShepherdI am sure that by now, everyone has realized that this blog is meant to uplift and glorify God. What many people do not know is why I have started this project and why I intend to follow this through until the very end. It all comes down to the great commission, which is making disciples of other people, and what God has done for me personally. So I have decided to share with you my personal testimony.

Through absolutely nothing that I have done, Jesus came and all but introduced Himself to me. I was not raised in church like many people are. The only things that I knew about religion, denominations, God, and the Bible were what my own curious mind thought to ask my mother. She was not raised in church for long, so there was not much that she could help me with.

It all started when I heard that my uncle had been saved. I was fourteen years old, had never read the Bible in my life, and I had no idea what it meant to be saved. I asked Mom as soon as she was off the phone with my grandmother, “What does it mean to be ‘saved’?”

She struggled to find the words to explain. Finally, she answered, “It means that God saved his soul; it means that he’s not lost and looking for God anymore. It means that he’s going to heaven when he dies to live with Jesus for eternity.”

Then the questions began: how does one get “saved”? Am I going to go to hell because I was not saved, but I was a good girl? How does God “save” somebody? Mom did not have an answer for any of it; she did not know. She was not saved. The best answer that she could give me was, “You’ll have to read the Bible to find all of this out. It will help you more than I ever could. It has all the answers to every question that you can think of.”

It was not a week later when my cousin heard that I was very interested in God and wanted to read the Bible for myself. I received a student’s study Bible in the mail from her, one that I still have today and have passed down to my youngest brother. I read that Bible every single day, and when things were bad or I had a question I would look up a key word in the Concordance and see what the Bible would have to say, testing it against what my teenage mind knew to be true. It never failed me.

Still I did not call on Jesus.

It was not until later in the year when I heard that a woman had been found murdered that eternity became real for me. A body had been found in a house that was, quite literally, just down the road from where I lived. I had passed that house, spoken with the man who lived inside, almost every day that I walked with my mother to pick my youngest brother up from school. She had been dead for a few days before her parents had called the police to look for her. Her boyfriend had murdered her in a fit of rage.

I panicked. I thought for sure that now that this man had a taste for blood, he would turn into a psychopathic serial killer that would target us next. Nothing anybody said would calm me down or made any sense. I worked myself up so badly that I was shaking like a leaf. Finally, Mom asked, “Have you prayed about this?”

The thought that I should pray about this had never even crossed my mind. I paused, thinking back over the last however long it had been, and finally said, “No… Will it help?”

In response, Mom said, “Why don’t you go pray and find out?”

So I did.

I prayed for the woman’s family, because they were without a daughter, an aunt, a sister, a cousin… I prayed for the man and for God to have mercy on him; I had heard that it had been an accident, that he had not meant to kill her, and that he would be out on bail within a few weeks. I did not know whether it was true or not, but I knew that God knew what was true. So I prayed for God’s justice to be done, and not our form of justice. Then I prayed for my family’s safety from whatever harm might or might not come out of this.

While I was praying, I suddenly realized: what right do I have to ask the Almighty God for anything, when I’m not even one of His children? So I prayed for that, too, not realizing what I was really asking or what it really meant.

That was when God came into my heart and into my life to stay for good. Even though I was in inner turmoil, I could feel His peace and His love raining down on me at that moment. I felt it come down my head and spread throughout my whole body, even to the tips of my fingers and toes, until I could not hold it in anymore.

Then God spoke to me. He did not speak in an audible voice, but it was something inside that spoke to me. I will never forget what He said: “I will keep you safe. I will protect you and let no harm come to you. Just follow Me, and I will be with you and keep you.”

So I did.

I followed Jesus for years. I yearned to go to church, but I was afraid that if I went to a church that I was not familiar with I would be taught something that was wrong and not part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Instead, I thought that it would be fine for me to read my Bible every day and pray every day until I made it back home with my extended family. I would find a good church then, one that my family trusted.

I did not make it that far. When we started going through hard time financially as a family, I thought that God had abandoned us to our fate. I thought that God had not kept His promise to me. I was a Christian now. Everything was supposed to be sunshine and lollipops for the rest of my life, right?

In retaliation, I went my own way. I stopped talking with God. I stopped reading my Bible. I did what I wanted to do, whether God would have agreed with it or not, and felt no remorse for it.

When it all blew up in my face and I realized that I failed at life without God on my side, I was twenty-two. I had done things with people that I regretted. I had been used. Nothing was going right. Thank God I knew who could help me make it right.

That was when I started to pray again. I started to read my Bible every night if I could. I started trying to get right with God again. It was not until I nearly had my life taken away from me that I realized that I really needed Jesus.

It was January 31, 2013, my mother’s birthday. She had picked me up from the animal clinic I was working in at the time, and it was snowing so hard at times that you could not see in front of the car. It was cold and the road was slippery. The same cousin who had sent me my first Bible eight years before was with us, and we ran off the road twice before we even made it close to home. All three of us prayed fervently for God to keep us safe the whole ride.

When I saw the restaurant that is around the corner from the house, inwardly I rejoiced because I assumed that we made it home safely. You cannot count your chickens before they hatch. Turning into the neighborhood, the car went over a patch of black ice and the car veered out of control. It was headed toward a light pole, and there was no getting out of the spin that we were in. Mom had her foot pressed all the way down to the floor on the break, and the steering wheel was turned as far as it could possibly to go in the opposite direction of the spin. Still we kept toward the pole.

I can only speak for myself when I say that I saw my life flashing before my eyes. The car was inches from crashing into the light pole. Then it simply was not.

None of us can tell you exactly what happened that day, only that we should have crashed and maybe even died that night. One minute we were on a collision course with the light on the corner, and the next minute we were sitting in the middle of the road, pointing toward home. There is no logical explanation about what happened, or even why we were paused in the middle of the road pointing home. We should have been facing the opposite way. Neither Mom, my cousin, nor I can remember what happened those few seconds between when we were going to crash and when we were back on the right course. It is like those moments in time do not even exist.

The following morning, my cousin called the house to ask if Mom and I wanted to ride down that way with her. She wanted to see the tire tracks. She wanted to try and make sense of what happened. Both of us declined, knowing exactly what she and my grandmother would find.

When they came to visit a few hours later, they confirmed what Mom and I knew to be true. They saw our tire tracks heading to the pole. They told us that there was absolutely no way we should have avoided that crash; it was too close. They saw that the tire tracks simply disappeared.

Even today I cannot explain what happened. All I know is that we should have crashed that night, and possibly even died. The only thing I can tell you is that, that night, God saved our lives. He also saved my soul, because that was the very night that I dedicated myself back to Him.

I was determined to live my life the very best for Him that I possibly could. It took a couple months for me to conquer my fear of church people and being taught wrong, but in May of 2013 I found me a good church with a good pastor that I attend with my aunt.

I have been serving God since. There are times that I have fallen. I have sinned willfully, knowing that what I was doing was sin and yet doing it anyway because it felt good. I have struggled to understand God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness applies even to my life, and He still loves me and wants me regardless. He simply waits for me to turn from my sin and turn to Him to be healed of it, allowing me to face the consequences of my actions. I still have difficult times in my life, and I still struggle with my personality flaws and weaknesses.

But through it all, God has been there for me. He has helped me to get back up and keep walking. He has forgiven me for my sin though I do not deserve His mercy and His grace, especially after sinning against Him. He lets the storms of life rage, but He is my emotional and mental support, the one who walks me through each day and helps me to overcome the daily struggles of life. He is the one who is refining me and helping me overcome my flaws and weaknesses.

I have no idea who I would be or what I would do without God in my life. He is so good to me, so much better to me than I deserve. Why He still chooses to love me and to accept me I cannot even begin to imagine, but I am so thankful for His presence in my life.

Reader, just as God has been there for me, He will be there for you, too. All you have to do is get on your knees, confess that you have sinned, ask for God’s forgiveness, and believe that the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross applies even to you. He is there, waiting and listening and willing to forgive you, no matter what you have done in your life. Just turn to Him.

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