Testimony Tuesday was an idea that popped into my head at the end of last summer. I am speechless at how God has used it to minister to people, encourage people, and speak to people at different places in their lives.
We have heard about missions, adoption, adultery, death, life, submission, and much more.
We have heard from all walks of life–from North and South Carolina (and later from other states, too!)
But today what amazes me is that we can be taught by a high schooler. Yes, a high schooler. *gasp*
Emily was in our youth group at Nazareth. She has always showed a level of maturity that is beyond her years. I am thankful that The Lord allowed us to know her and love her and be loved by her when we were there. He’s gonna do great things in her life and I’m excited to see it! Enjoy reading her testimony of how she learned the difference between guilt and conviction at a dark time in her life. Let her words speak to your heart and leave a comment to encourage her today!
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12
I know I am young in age and in the Faith, but I have seen The Lord work wonders in the past couple years. Whether it is in relationships, studies, or within myself God has been consistent in molding me. There have been times where I have fought it, and other times I’ve submitted; but I’m thankful for his persistence in changing my heart to match His will and giving me the peace that passes all understanding.
What I wanted to share is not something physically that you would be able to see, but what has been going on within me over the past couple months that, through The Lord, I have been able to overcome.
It’s what I’ve called The Guilt Factor.
Now what I’ve been enlightened to is that there is a difference between guilt and conviction. Conviction is when God is molding you, bringing you closer to Him and His grace by pulling you away from sin in your life. Guilt is when you start dwelling on the wrong you have done, but so much so that you stop seeing the grace and power of Christ. Guilt drags you into this pit of despair and bombards you with the same cycled voices of doubt, fear, and misery:
“There is no point, you’re going to mess up again.”
“Who am I, do I even have purpose?”
“I’m not good enough, I keep making the same mistakes.”
…it’s not that I wanted those thoughts but I had started dwelling on the devil’s voice within my head. I began to be imprisoned by this guilt factor, by this fear and worry of never being good enough. I began to worry about being worried. My soul was in pure agony for months…I’m sure on the outside I faked it well, put on the smile and was the “happy” Christian girl everyone expected, still came to church regularly, and socialized. But my heart weighed a Ton, literally a Ton, inside my chest. I had no idea what to do. I knew I should let go but I wasn’t sure how; it’s so easy to say “Okay God, here you go; I trust you” but to actually do it is a completely different matter.
So my nights were filled with tears, my days felt meaningless, and my life went on as if I was a drifter with no purpose. It was honestly one of the worst times of my life because I had allowed my joy to be taken from me. But throughout those couple months God never gave up on this sinner of little faith (Amen!). He implanted seeds of scripture, sermons, and encouragement over that period and after going to Liberty for CFAW (College For A Weekend; which was AMAZING and you should definitely go). I began to actually start believing that I was free from this burden of guilt.
Their theme verse is 2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of The Lord is, there is liberty”; however God knew me better and my translation of that verse is “…there is freedom”. Oh how that created a milestone in regaining my joy! I’m so thankful to have a God that never gives up on us even when we deserve it.
But what was the final key in bringing back my peace was a phone call from my Nana. My mom had called her, knowing I was upset in Spirit, to see if she could help. And how The Lord used her! She knew just what to say and I couldn’t tell you her exact words but oh how they just soothed my soul. I honestly believe God created us so similar in Spirit because the way we are able to talk and understand one another is unreal; we just feed off one another and I’m so thankful for God blessing me with such an amazing role model to talk and relate to. Although no one could really see it, I went through one of my deepest valleys; God was there the entire way, consistently seeking and never giving up on His child.
I realize now, looking back, that I was struggling with letting go of my past, and my sins, and truly submitting to God’s grace. God loves us just as much on our “good-Christian days” as our “bad ones”. God gave me this picture:
When a parent is proud of their child for being good at athletics, academics or other things they are quick to claim “That’s my girl/boy!” But what about if their kid is into drugs, or is failing school..they’re typically not as thrilled to claim them, and sometimes give up on them. God showed me that even at those bad choices and low points He still says “That’s my son” or “That’s my daughter”. It just leaves me speechless at His endless grace and eternal Love.
So, I encourage you to be willing to let go of your sins, let go of the discouragement that “you’re not good enough”; because every time you focus more on your sin and throw yourself in that depression of how awful you are, you disown the very thing Christ came to accomplish. He came to set you free from the burden of the law, to empower you by the Spirit of The Lord, and cover ALL of your sins (past, present, and future) with His blood. It’s hard to come outside the “you have to work for it and earn it” mindset, but the Love and Grace of God through Jesus comes from no works, nor actions, but faith alone. I still struggle at times with allowing His grace to conquer my guilt; but the thing to do is stop dwelling on what you know are lies and start dwelling on the Truth because when you feed the Spirit it becomes easier and easier to beat the flesh.
Some of the seeds God gave:
“Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
“So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God”
“..I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”
-Elsa from the movie Frozen also showed me how I was..too fearful to mess up and to be myself in Christ. God truly works in every aspect of our lives!