1 Cor. 15:51 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,”
I am being called to give a Testimony of Christ; MY testimony of Christ. This might very well turn into a week-long series so you’ve been warned. If you are reading me for the first time, I welcome you. Please don’t be discouraged by the word Christ, read on because you want to hear my story.
Yesterday’s sermon was pretty good when Pastor called up a young woman to give her testimony of why she turned to Christ. That’s when truth slapped me upside the head. I hear so many people who give testimony of Christ, being raised with Christ all of their lives. Their parents and grandparents all had a hand in Christ and relayed Him to their children. This woman’s testimony was no different.
Amazing. People actually grew up with Christ in their lives? Surrounded by a loving family, their testimony is usually how they turned away, usually during the pubescent years and found Christ again.
Someone had told me recently that kids who are raised with Christ and turn away usually have a hard time returning to Him and accepting all that he has to offer. I have a tendency to disagree with that because if a child is raised with Christ and is turned away upon maturity, the soul search is just something that we need to do to find our grounding.
I was not raised with Christ. My parents were not grounded in Christ nor were my grandparents a part of Christ. My family lineage is of alcohol right down to my great grandparents, all alcoholics, so it is no wonder I took my first drink at a younger than ‘normal’ age. Yeah, I would say eight and nine is younger than normal to take your first drink, puff your first cigarette, and smoke your first joint.
The pastor said something today. Pastor said, “You know how when you’re not of sober mind, you’ll say and do things that you normally wouldn’t do? People see you as a drunkard and no amount of bible spewing is going to have them seeing you differently.” He went on, “Well,” he said, “That’s what people see when you’re under the influence of God. They see Christ in you. You’ll say and do things you wouldn’t normally do!”
He’s right. First, let me define Christian in MY eyes. For one, the term was not around in the Old Testament so when I hear people say that the men who wrote some book and call themselves Christians, I’ll assume have not read ‘the book’ in its entirety or even tried to understand what the message is that we’re supposed to receive.
Second of all, I was not raised in a Christian household. I didn’t have a mother and father that sat around reading Bible stories to their kids and I didn’t have a religious upbringing. I had what is deemed a politically correct term, dysfunctional family. I had a family who saw beer as a dinner meal, drugs as ‘cool thing’, whoopings when you were disobedient, and punishments were belted out, vocally and branded on your butt.
My dad (God rest his soul) never dished out the beatings, he was too busy sitting on a bar stool exercising his elbow. I will not say anything bad about my mother and father because they did the best they could raising six kids and staying married for 60 years. That’s it, we were raised. We fended for ourselves and grew. Me? I chose to find God. You see, all six of us were sent to a Catholic school but not all of us sought out God. Many strayed but it wasn’t because we were raised on God and turned, we never accepted the teachings of the nuns and priests to begin with.
Was I a perfect kid? By no means whatsoever. The thing is, the people who know me now would not have ever recognized me back then with skinned knees, bruised legs, a cigarette hanging out of my mouth and beer hidden in a paper bag, you know so no one knew what I was drinking? I was bad in every sense of the word! I was a liar, cheater, stealer, and a scummy sleazeball! If you think the girls today dress slutty, that is me only ten times worse. Imagine a size zero fifteen-year-old, long blond flowing hair, wearing a see-through white halter-top and cheek bearing hot pants. Yup, that was me.
So how is it that people who see me now see a beautiful woman? They don’t see beauty physically, I don’t think, they see innocence, purity, God’s light shining through me. They see the changed me. They met the changed me and liked who I was as a person whereas the people back home in Baltimore never had a chance to even get to KNOW the changed me. They just thought I was the battered kid from back in the day and that is who I am now. Boy, are they ever so wrong. Change bit me hard and now I just have the scars to prove where I’ve been
So what changed me? I’ll tell you, God changed me. I stumbled upon Him as a beaten battered sinner and He took me in and raised me. If you go to a church, don’t assume the people there are these perfect people living sinless lives. They’re all standing in front of God as a sinner, we are all sinners, we turn to God for him to cleanse us; wash us of our sin and to heal us where no man is capable of healing. The term Christian is for Christ Followers. It is not a religion, it is not to be thrown around like a basketball dribbled and put in the hoop when the timing is right. Christianity is a state of mind, a spiritual cleansing making what was old new again.
I’ll have to finish this up in a later post. I told you it would take me a week. Hang in there folks. My sister told my mother this weekend in a disagreement that she [my sister] died when I was born. She was no longer a princess…..