Why an Author Testimony page?
I have included this testimony of my salvation to provide insight into who I am as a person. I am a far cry from being perfect. Praise God that He is the Savior and Redeemer of even the most lost and wicked of men, of which I count myself. Without Him, I can only imagine, with a shudder, where my life might have led. Though there has been pain and turmoil in my life as a result of my own sins, I thank the Lord. I didn’t see it then, but I understand now, that He used my own defiance and depravity to draw me to Himself. And for that, I am eternally thankful.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (ESV, 1st Cor. 13:12)
A Beginning of Faith
I was born to a believing mother and unbelieving father. Though my mother wanted us to go to church and learn about Jesus, my father ardently opposed it. Yet, for reasons I still do not know, he permitted us to attend a Sacred Heart Catholic school. I was there from kindergarten through 3rd grade, during which I also learned about Jesus.
Despite the introduction to Jesus, I would not maintain a faith in Him. I “outgrew” Him as I got older. By high school, I thought of the Christian faith as that nice thing that some people believed. I had given myself over to the pride and lust of the flesh, seeking my own desires above all else. Within 18 months of graduating high school, I joined the Marine Corps and married a girl I had only known briefly. Soon, my new wife and I moved to southern California, where I served at Camp Pendleton.
Whether by her suggestion or mine (I cannot remember clearly), we began attending church at New Song Community Church in Oceanside, CA. I still did not believe in Jesus at this time, but I went, I sang, I volunteered, and I participated in Bible studies. At the time, being a part of church life was not a religious act for me. I went because, in my mind, it was part of being a patriotic, young Marine.
A Search for Faith
The more I witnessed Christian faith, the more I realized that it was something that I wanted. But at first, I had a really hard time with the idea of faith. It seemed a strange thing to place my trust in someone that I could not see. During my time at New Song and since then, I have met people to whom God has given the gift of faith, and I am always at awe at the shear magnitude and unwavering nature of it. God has not graced me this way. Faith has always been, and continues to be, something that does not come second nature to me. Though it comes much easier now.
But at that time in my life, I was far from faith but determined to develop it. I asked people questions, researched online, read the Bible, and prayed to God. Yet, it seemed to elude me. Try as I might, I couldn’t pin it down, dissect it, and figure out how it worked.
God blessed me with godly examples, encouraging friends, and (little to my knowledge at the time) a host of believers praying regularly for me. But as the years pressed forward, I began to feel the pressure of my unbelief. The pressure was purely internal. I felt like a fraud. I had essentially been standing in the doorway of faith letting the flies in. It was time for me to close the door, though which side of the door I would end up on was not clear.
A Growing Depravity
During this time, sin had taken a terrible hold on me. My depravity was growing larger by the moment. If the people around me had only known the wretchedness and filth I was swimming in, would they have continued to pray for me? Would they have prayed even more? I felt like I had hit rock bottom, as the saying goes. Then, one evening at a college youth service at church, I was overwhelmed by the urgency to pray the sinner’s prayer. I remember it felt like a “now or never” type of moment. There was a part of me that knew that if I didn’t give my life to Christ right then and there, then it was over and I never would. Praise God that I got up!
I stood up and found my dearest friend and told him that I wanted to pray for my salvation. He led me to a quiet place and there we prayed. No miraculous lights, no overflowing warmth, no radically different me. We finished. He was all joy. I was completely numb.
A Feeling of Weightlessness
We went back inside and told the others. They overran me with hugs and tears of joys. They had been praying for me for as long as they have known me. I didn’t have the heart to tell them what I was feeling at that moment, or rather what I wasn’t feeling. Shouldn’t I have been radically and miraculously changed?
What I didn’t know then, that is all to clear to me now, is that I wasn’t yet done falling. What I had thought was rock bottom was merely a ledge that I had hit and bounced off. I was still falling. The few years immediately after these events were the worst in my life. My relationship with my wife crumbled; my heart became bitter and hardened with jealousy. I became suicidal, even to the point of checking myself into a hospital. We divorced. Yet another ledge. More falling. I assumed the whole idea of God was wrong. I abandoned Him. Praise God He did not abandon me!
During this tumultuous time in my life, I gave myself fully over to every sin and evil thought within me. It had finally happened. I was done falling and had truly hit rock bottom. There was nothing left inside me. I was utterly broken. It was not until then when I could finally hear His still, small voice. Praise God!
Since that day when I came to the end of myself, I have had a persistent desire for the Lord. I wish that I could say that there was no more sin after that point, but I can’t. However, by God’s grace and mercy, He has forgiven me of more than I could ever deserve. He has not only redeemed my soul, but He has redeemed the very life that I live. Each day, I learn to follow and serve Him better. I am beyond thankful for what He has done for me.
Despite everything, I still feel that my faith is quite small, which is why I have created this website. I desire to better understand the faith and hopefully to strengthen my faith.
May the Lord bless you with open eyes and ears to see His glory and hear His calling.