Hello, everybody. This is Melissa/Missy's friend, Bethany.
I'm completely honored that she asked me to write a guest blog for her, I'm definitely not qualified but am extremely humbled that she thought of me when it came to guest-blogging.
Today I wanted to talk to you about my personal testimony, something that a lot of my family doesn't even know but I know without a shadow of a doubt that it can be helpful to somebody out there who reads this. So thank you, in advance, for your time reading this.
As someone who has grown up in church their entire life, I knew the answer to every possible Bible question you could ask a 5 year old. Which also meant, I knew how to ask questions about salvation to stay up late at night and that's exactly what I did. In November of 1999 I made a profession of faith in front of my family at 10pm, because I wanted to stay up. As a 5 year old I had no idea that was the worst decision I ever made.
Let's fast forward to 12 year old me, who was still the good little church-goer and absolutely terrified of death. Not hell, but death. I would get upset and cry myself to sleep not knowing what was wrong, but at the time, I knew I was a good girl and there's no way God could kill me so young.
I went through that for about 6 years, I had the worst possible friends you could think of in public high school, but I brought them to church and led many to the Lord. I didn't involve myself in things they did or activities they participated in. One day at church, at 18 years old (finally in a private school for my senior year) I realized I wasn't saved. I realized I was the girl who knew all the right answers, I knew how to lead someone to the Lord but I didn't know how to have a relationship with God because I wasn't saved. If you're not saved, a relationship is impossible.
That year completely turned my life around, I got the christian character award at school, went off to Bible college super ready for whatever God had for me and excited to achieve it. Just to be 2 weeks into college and completely wrap my car around a tree. How could that happen? I was so on fire and ready to serve God. My health after that started getting really bad and my dad drove to Arkansas to pick me up from Bible college.
I was clueless when I got home, nothing no longer made sense to me. I remember nights crying out, asking God why and felt like He wasn't hearing me. I struggled so much when it came to prayer and in the midst of this all I got a job back home at a fast food restaurant. I was still the good little girl, wearing skirts all the time, teaching Sunday School but I felt so lost for someone who was saved (and knew for sure I was saved.)
Suddenly, I started searching for a feeling. Not the truth or knowledge, but a "feeling." I looked for anything or anybody to "complete" me or make me just feel anything. I turned to a guy. Knowing full-well I promised myself and my parents I wouldn't kiss a guy until my wedding day, I thought maybe just a kiss would give me that feeling. Maybe this guy would give me this feeling. A kiss led to more, and suddenly all I was feeling was empty and depressed. Once the depression sank in, I felt nothing except numbness. I would cry out, praying for anything and when I didn't hear God or get the answer I liked, I would run further. I looked for that feeling in the pain of a tattoo needle and in that I got a bunch of literal reminders of the pain I went through in that area of my life. Thinking that wasn't enough, I searched for completeness in the bottom of a bottle. I tried drowning out my sorrows in alcohol for almost a year because I was so confused. Why would God let one of His children run this far?
I say all that to say this, trials are brought into our lives to make us more like Christ. There is no temptation we are tempted with that God wasn't tempted with. I felt like it was an over-night awakening. I knew someone had to of been praying for me because I knew God was speaking to me, specifically to me. I was so far and thought God didn't care. The truth is, God gives us the choice to do as we please. We have that right as His children to do whatsoever we will, but He wants us to choose the path He would have for us. So please hear me when I say, you can never be too far for God to not chase you. God chastens those HE LOVES. If He didn't love you, He would not chasten you. The only thing that can truly complete you is the Lord. The things I did completely break my heart and I have those reminders (on me, literally). Now I'm serving God in ways I never thought I could and for that I'm grateful. Those things I did and have been through just show how strong my Lord is. He gets the power in my life and I pray He gets the power in your's too.
Even with a rough past, you can still become a Proverbs 31 woman.
He chastens. He forgives. He loves.