Testimonies and stories about meeting Jesus
I was born in a Christian home, and like so many I am a pastors kid. I was introduced to Jesus at a very young age, and I am very thankful for my heritage.
Not only was I introduced to Jesus but I was also introduced to the Holy Spirit very young and was speaking in tongues as I was learning my ABC’s.
Some pastors kids struggle with their testimony because they feel like it isn’t as powerful as people who meet Jesus later in life. Although my conversion story is very different than people who meet Jesus later in life, it still has a powerful message.
At a point in my life, early 20’s, I made a choice that I was going to live my life for Jesus and become a true disciple. That decision is a powerful one, and created in me a new level of relationship with the father. My story centres around that decision and what has happened since.
A Specific Date and Time
For others there is a distinct day and time when they remember inviting Jesus into their heart and having a salvation experience. Such is true of the story below and the encouragement of this post.
Tara is a close friend of mine and recently shared this story with our group and I am in turn sharing it with you. I hope you get encouragement from it and enjoy seeing Jesus connecting with someone for the first time through her words.
A REAL CASE FOR CHRIST: A Personal Testimony
I vividly remember the day two very dear people in my life asked me if I wanted to accept Jesus as my savior…
They had been lovingly and faithfully walking by my side for many months (one was my football coach; I was his team’s quarterback), and doing their mighty best to encourage me in a) being the quarterback/athlete they seemed convinced I could be, and b) the person they seemed to know I was. They often made sage observations about how hard I was on myself, how often I engaged in self-flagellation, and seemingly could not ‘play my position’ with any degree of comfort without eventually self-sabotaging… They did not seem to understand that I felt like a complete imposter. A war was constantly being waged within me. Two equally dominant sides duking it out in hand-to hand combat: one telling me to believe what these kindly folks were telling me (they seemed sensible and smart enough after all…), and one telling me that they would know the truth at any moment, and I wouldn’t be able to keep up this charade for long… No amount of success or adulation from anyone could assuage the pain of this battle, and assure any decisive victory over it.
So, when they eventually asked me: ‘do you want to make Jesus Christ your Lord and Saviour?’, one would think that I would hungrily embrace the opportunity to have someone else fight this battle for me who would likely win. Instead, I paused thoughtfully for a long time, and finally said (and rather flatly)… ‘no’. They looked at each other (completely flummoxed), and then back at me with eyes wide and confused: ‘what?!’
You see, it wasn’t like I was dissing Jesus, and believing He could not carry this load for me (they made a compelling case in telling me He could). I actually didn’t believe I had what it took to let Him. It was too risky to let go of what I was protecting ferociously – my heart. Moreover, I did not believe I had what it took to be ‘that good,’ and please Him/do His sacrifice for me any justice. All Christians I knew could follow the rules, presented with an air of confidence, they did not seem to ever air their grievances, always seemed positive, encouraging, rarely swore or spoke badly about anyone, and were faithful in their commitment to their beliefs, and what I believed was a prescription for a certain type of ‘puritan’ lifestyle. It all just seemed like more hard work, and more opportunity to fail, and I did not believe I had what it took to succeed given the flagrant imposter syndrome I already had. I would just be another imposter in this Christian journey too. Who would want to disappoint Jesus? It was deflating enough disappointing everyone else. So – ‘BIG NO’.
In other news, as one could possibly gather from my tone, I was mad. Very mad. Although I was still trying very hard to please everyone around me, despite tiring of this battle, I was alternately viciously angry at some of them; part of me was deliberately smiting them because of what I sometimes believed were their impossible standards and occasional hypocrisy. I had a giant chip on my shoulder.
I was raised to believe perfection assured acceptance. That meant high grades at school and piano exams, athletic success, popularity, and beauty. Never wavering in my commitment to any of it, lest I would be in great trouble (or so I believed; that was my perception anyway, and more often than not, I was right). It meant going to church every Sunday (unless I was gravely ill), not swearing, not beating up my sister, and definitely not talking back to my father. The words of the bible seemed to be used as weapons, at times, to justify what seemed like tyranny (‘Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you’ (Exodus 20:12) was translated to mean ‘do as I say or find yourself on the business end of my foot and out the door’). I kept it up for as long as I could, until I didn’t. I soon turned my back on my parents, and any thought of church/God/whoever was up there, and the pursuit of what I came to believe was intertwined intimately with the life I knew. In other words, I thought my parents’ expectations were that of God too. So, as I left them, I left Him. I was mad at all of them, and the ivory towers and glass houses I thought they lived in.
And mostly, I was mad at myself for not being able to keep up, if I was being honest. Christianity was just going to be another blown lead in a football game. Another tale of unfulfilled potential, and disapproval from others. I could not face that on an eternal scale.
Have you ever felt this – like you can’t measure up? That you are failing in your pursuit of Christian perfection? That if you mess up, you will somehow lose your future, be banished to a fiery pit? Do you find yourself sometimes hiding from your Christian friends when you mess up, feeling like an imposter, not wanting to go to church until you are ‘right and clean and ready’? As I wrote this, I was reminded of my mom cleaning the house before the cleaning lady would come. No one could see that we could be that unclean… For some, maybe you have come to eschew the idea of Christianity altogether for these reasons, like I was planning to do.
So….did I follow that plan? No. I took the leap anyway. Something pushed me – and I now know what (or should I say ‘who’). Some 15 years later, and on a journey of forgiveness (of others and myself), I see and understand that with my choice to accept Jesus as my saviour, ‘There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1). All I had ever believed about the journey of being a believer in Christ was colored by an upbringing by 2 people who did the best they could do to be perfect too, and were struggling as much as I was in keeping up appearances. They too were hurt and frustrated by the futility of their own journeys. It was not until I let the truth of Jesus start to penetrate and destroy the lie of the enemy that I had to ‘do’/perform to earn my salvation (which meant following rules and keeping up appearances/WORK), that I realized that I was loved and accepted and valuable JUST FOR ME. The shame, the fear, the hiding until I was ‘right’ (according to what I believed fellow Christians wanted of me – and thus Jesus wanted of me, in my mind), was not of Jesus at all.
I cannot say I never struggle with the fear of disappointing others, ‘failing’, and wanting to strive to make sure that does not happen. However, as I have learned to let go of pinning my value on everything I do, including my Christian ‘doing’, I feel an acceptance and ‘less is more’ resolve enter my spirit. And what I have come to know as ‘rest’ as I dwell in Him (Psalm 91:1-2). What I believed were the one-in-the-same standards of my father and my Heavenly Father, are not. As I accept this too, with forgiveness, grace and understanding of the personal struggles of my parents, and the people in my life who I have come to realize are just that – people – I can better ‘be’ in every moment of my life (vs. wondering what test I need to pass next/who I could disappoint).
My salvation has meant rescuing me from the constant looking over my shoulder and the trying to outrun/outdo the competition (real or perceived)… And probably most profoundly for me, I am not running away from Jesus anymore (and the Father – who I have come to know through Jesus; John 14:6: ‘Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life, No one comes to the Father except through me”’). He is the first to hear about it when I do screw up. I run TO Him. I feel safe and accepted doing so. Without fail. The rules, the expectations, the fear, the condemnation, and shame of not measuring up are NOT OF HIM. NOT who He is. And not who we should aspire to be either.
As we are in a time of considerable chaos and fear, and we largely cannot DO what we normally can do in this time of a global pandemic (by way of work and sport or socializing etc.), may this be a time where you can fully embrace that you are valuable and accepted and loved for who you ARE. And let that be enough.
It is for Jesus.
Thank you, Barry and Nadine Pawlak, for heeding the call to teach me the same.
Would You like to Share Your Story?
In the comments below we would love to hear your story. Feel free to comment and tell us about your journey with Jesus.