It is a great pleasure to be able to share Dee Dee’s testimony with you today. I grew up in a church where Dee Dee served. I say it that way because I that’s how I always remember her at church–serving. She has a love for outreach and a desire for women to draw closer to The Lord. She has always been very involved with the WMU, even at a State level. It is refreshing to hear her words today of encouragement and experience. She is one who has been super encouraging to me as we have followed The Lord to SC–keeping in touch, praying, and inviting me to speak to her missions group at her church. I greatly admire Dee Dee and I pray you are encouraged today as much as I was by reading her testimony!
Confessions of a Sixty-Something
I write in my Bible.
I can’t do church without a pencil.
I can’t read a book – even fiction – without thinking “I just must write that down.”
I once pulled over in the parking lot of the USPO to record a missionary story I heard on the radio.
I have 10,432 bits of wisdom written in my journals, most of which I feel compelled to share.
I have spent the past few weeks rereading those journals to see just what God wants me to share for Testimonial Tuesday. Most of my journal writings are sermon notes, thoughts God gave me in devotional readings, or quotes by some of my favorite writers. In my search I also came across little snippets that I have recorded about my five grandchildren. Why would they be among my sermon notes? Because we grandmothers have to write something down when we think about it before we forget! One such entry related how I had loaned my special church pencil and a little notepad to my grandson who diligently drew a picture of me. How sweet! He laid the paper gently on my Bible then took it back suddenly. Upon returning the drawing to me he whispered, “I drew a picture of you, Nana, but I forgot to put the wrinkles in your neck.” I’ve told my kids when I am gone not to just brush those journals off as dry sermon notes! Young mothers don’t have time to write down such tidbits. Someone has to do it.
And speaking of young. “Young Chick” Christ Followers ~ and you know who you are ~ energize and inspire me! Never have I seen more young women juggling family, home, and work, while living out their faith. Women who sell all and move to where God is working. Women who every Sunday morning and Wednesday night are in churches teaching children about Jesus and how to be on mission. Women who invite small groups into their homes to build relationships in order to share Christ. Women who minister to other women who feel small and insignificant. Thank you, Ladies. I just want to remind you that when you get discouraged with the “busy,” Romans 8:31 says, “GOD is FOR You.”
I could share so many stories of the way God has blessed me. My testimony begins with my greatest gift ever, the gift of being born into a home where Christ was revered and where parents loved each other as Christ loved the church. For that reason, I have always known about Jesus and came to know Him as my personal Savior as a child. I wish that gift for every one of you and your children and your children’s children.
Because I received the wonderful gift of a Christian family, I have spent more than 50 years trying to give gifts back to Jesus. I have purchased Him all sorts of gifts with my time – years in the choir, teaching Bible study, directing Vacation Bible School, serving in leadership positions. We spend a lot of time thinking of the perfect gift for our loved ones, don’t we? Can you remember a birthday or Christmas when you gave those closest to you a short list of what you wanted and you got all kinds of lovely things, just not what you wanted most? I remember years ago all I wanted was a new frying pan with a lid. I asked for the same gift one occasion after another and finally ended up buying one for myself. We laugh about that now. How many times have you given your spouse or a friend a gift because you thought that’s what he or she wanted?
It took me a long time to realize what God really wants. God gave us His short list of wants in Micah 6:8: “He has showed you, O man (something makes me want to insert ‘Old Woman’ – has something to do with the fact that my grandson notices the wrinkles in my neck), what is good, and what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” To act justly? To love mercy? In New Testament thinking, I believe that’s saying, “Your greatest gift to Me is to be like Jesus and walk with Me.” One of the songs in my playlist is “Just Like You” by CeCe Winans. Love it! The chorus goes like this:
“I wanna walk like You. I wanna talk like You. I wanna live like You, just like You, Jesus.
I wanna pray like You. Wanna love like You. I wanna look like You, just like You, Jesus.”
Weren’t you impressed that I said “in my playlist”? Downloading iTunes has been a recent technological accomplishment of mine. I love Pandora. I have to admit that I love my iPhone and would gladly give up cable TV to keep it. Technology is a wonderful thing, and I am astounded at how God is using the Internet to grow His Kingdom all over the world. I KNOW He controls Facebook because He showed me.
About five years ago, I had just discovered that I should be on Facebook. Like other mothers, I joined to spy on my children (my “thirty somethings”). Isn’t that what we were born for? One morning I was scheduled to go to the Mills Home in Thomasville to deliver some curtains that some church ladies and I had made. The night before, my daughter and I had talked and as VBS director, she was feeling pretty discouraged because there was a possibility VBS might be cancelled due to lack of volunteers. I decided to send her a quick Facebook message which evolved into a very lengthy epistle. Oh, my! As soon as I hit the SEND button (or whatever that button was called five years ago), a sharp pain hit me in the stomach. I couldn’t breathe. I intended to send a private message, but as soon as I hit the button I knew I had messed up. Yes, I know now there is a way to delete the message immediately, but this Facebook savvy mother had not yet learned that. I can’t remember everything I wrote, but I do remember one sentence that was very ugly – so destructive. A sentence that had the potential to wipe out every ounce of witness I ever had, every relationship I had built in Jesus’ name, every everything. The repercussions would be widespread. BUT GOD . . . (I love that little phrase, too, Angela Wieder!) miraculously intervened.
As soon as I hit that button, a message came up which read, “Something happened as you were writing this message. Perhaps you could try again later.” Ordinarily the message would be formal, like “An error has occurred . . .” or “Your message exceeds the allowable number of characters” . . . definitely something more formal than “Perhaps you could try later.” You can imagine that I kept going back to FB all day to make sure the message was not “out there.” Yes, something happened as I was wrote that message. The whole concept of “I wanna walk like You, I wanna talk like You, I wanna live like You” had left the temple!
I will never forget the moment that God saved my ministry. I know without a doubt that the mission to which He called me many years ago would have been destroyed with the push of a computer key. Thankfully, our God disciplines. Thankfully, our God intervenes when our actions have the potential to destroy His plan for us. Thankfully, our God forgives us when we fail Him.
How do I ever expect to look and live and talk like Jesus? Only by immersing myself in His Word and giving Him what He really wants.
One last thought from a wrinkle-necked Nana:
“Finally, sisters and brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”