VANILLA IT MAY NOT BE
I've attended many church services to hear speakers share their testimony. They were
very dramatic and inspiring for the most part. By the time I was a teenager I started feeling somewhat intimidated. I had given my heart to Jesus on Easter Sunday when I was a fourth grader. My testimony was kind of like eating vanilla pudding when you considered the differences in the testimonies.
I was just a normal little kid. I was very blessed to have wonderful parents that adored me.
I was the oldest of five and oddly enough I happened to love all of my brothers and sister. Mom
had taught all of us about the love of Jesus from birth. My Dad hadn't committed his life to the
Lord but he loved my mother being a Christian. It fell to him to see we got to church because Mommy didn't drive. He never made us feel it inconvenienced him.
When I announced I had given my life to Jesus he was very concerned because I was so young and He was afraid maybe I didn't fully understand the seriousness of my decision. I hadn't made the decision on the spur of the moment. I knew I was making a decision that would affect every aspect of my life from that moment forward. That morning I began a journey that has taken me on many unexpected adventures and I've had my commitment challenged more times than I can number.
I had my traumas growing up. My parents hated seeing my world become difficult. Dad was very protective where I was concerned. There were so many things for me to get into. Peer pressure complicated things. He watched me struggle with being different than the crowd by standing on my inner convictions instead of sampling drugs, alcohol, and pre-marital sex. He witnessed my limited choice of friends and missed parties of question. He was very aware of the periods of loneliness and emotional responses because I couldn't compromise and remain true to what I knew was right. He knew that serving Christ wasn't the easiest thing I had ever chosen to do. He was aware it took a special kind of commitment. He experienced the attitude of a teenager that had to apologize more than once. Even though I didn't always get everything right he knew I had purposed in my heart to get as close as I could with the Lord's help.
I was always aware that he watched my walk with the Lord and that what I did affected him greatly. He respected the decisions I made as I grew up in the Lord. He was proud of who I became and trusted me beyond belief. I was the apple of his eye. Daddy's in heaven today. I look forward to being able to rush into his arms once again, knowing this time we will never have to part again.
Just as I got hungry for natural food I found I got hungry for more of God. By the time I was a ninth-grader I was really hungry for something special, something tangible. As I knelt at the altar one Sunday evening the Lord of Heaven through the Holy Spirit gave me the gift of speaking in an unknown tongue. There's a variety of debates over this gift. It's not something I debate. It's my tangible gift from a loving God. It's not a gift required to go to heaven, nor is it a gift He will force anyone to accept but it's a gift that anyone can receive that gets hungry enough.
I'm not a daring person. I don't like to take risks nor even learn the hard way. As I look back I can sure see where my life would have been very, very drab without the Lord. God even chose my profession. When I was twelve I dealt with the sadness of death. Non-thinking adults made a statement about the doctors making mistakes that killed my grandfather. A fear of anything medical consumed me. When I was twenty the Lord had me go to the hospital to pick up a friends check to deposit for her. While I was standing at her housekeeping cart the Administrator of the Unit Secretaries came by. My "friend" introduced me and told her I was looking for a job. I was hired for a position I knew nothing about and would barely be old enough to do by the time I completed the 10 weeks of training. I spent eight years there and taught new trainees by the end of the first year. It's not the norm for you to be hired for a job before you even put your application in. There were many battles won on that journey.
I had settled into the position God had chosen for me and was happily minding my own business when He insisted on my going to Bible College. Get real, I was 29 years old. I finally agreed to one year and no classes such as Public Speaking. When would I learn? I spent five years and did numerous classes that required speaking in front of people, there wasn't really anyway around it when you are working on an elementary teaching degree. There were many fears to overcome so it was a journey I found difficult quite often. I had settled into my third year when I found myself dealing with the Lord introducing an eight week mission's trip to Germany into my agenda. I was sure He had to be kidding. I have no sense of direction. My Dad thought I had lost my mind because I could nearly get lost in my own back yard. I didn't want to travel! Dad had worked in construction and we had moved so many times I didn't care if I ever did anything but stay at home. It was so opposite to what I would have chosen I knew it wasn't something I dreamed up to do. By the time I got back to the United States I had been to Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Italy, Holland, and Germany. I grew up more in the Lord during that trip than I had all of my previous years.
One of the biggest complaints I have heard, especially from young people, is that they fear that they will be bored. I would have been bored without the Lord. He has always added challenges that would stretch me and allow me to grow into a deeper depth with Him. I've never regretted the decision I made on that wonderful Easter Sunday Morning.
When I started this testimony I viewed my journey to be very vanilla but maybe it's a little more flavored than I thought, it may even be equal to a rich chocolate pudding. Because I avoided the worldly destructive traumas didn't mean I didn't struggle with the destructive inner struggles. I've began to suspect the Lord is at it again. In my heart of hearts I get a sense that this new journey of writing may open my eyes to a new understanding to the wonders of overcoming such enemies as fear, insecurities and lack of self-worth. Since it's a journey He has planned for over ten years I'm sure it won't be boring. I'd like to welcome you to share in this journey.
Your gift of speaking in tongues makes you very non-vanilla-ish. It makes you vanilla or chocolate with chunks of Babe Ruth bar. Keep swinging at those things that God pitches to you. They are way out there to some.