Monday, November 7, 2011

Thankfulness: My Testimony

I've been thinking about being thankful this month, mostly due to reading many "30 days of thankfulness" posts and hearing an amazing testimony at my MOPS group. The people and circumstances for which I am most thankful, my husband and children, my family, and the season of life I am in seem too big to fit into a short blurb. Too weighty.

Like Alex, my husband. We feel in love 8 years ago, driving around the North Georgia mountains. Can I tell you how tender my heart is to know that I am part of a love story? That I really, really fell in love, not just married a nice, bland guy? I never imagined that happening for some reason. I think everyone deserves to fall in love. It is wonderful. I am thankful he spent this weekend fixing our car, that he always speaks his mind, that he will not bend to fit into my box of what I think 'husband' should be. I love he is both brash and tenderhearted. I love that he goes along with my stream-of-consciousness style of conversation, and finds me funny. I love that he will sometimes "take it" when I'm singing some goofy song and he'll do the next line. I love him.

Jeremiah and Sarah? Is there enough characters to describe my profound emotion towards them? That I got to carry two miracles? From the double-lined test, to the ultrasounds, delivery, and those first sweet days? How they squeal when we give kisses? It is like God put them in my arms and said, "You see? THIS is how I feel about you, Melissa." Whoa, do I love them.

And my 'nuclear' family, Mom, Dad, and Natalie. How I can only speak one-liners from our childhood movie favorites with Natalie. How my parents will literally do anything for us. How safe and secure we were growing up. How much we were sheltered from-- in a good way. We love each other like crazy, drive each other crazy, and probably seem a bit crazy. We're Campbells, after all. We love each other. Group hug.

What frames all of these relationships, though, is the Giver of them. Knowing Jesus. Let me tell you that which I am most thankful. It is my assurance of salvation. It is a precious gift. I want to brag about how good He is to me. I trusted Jesus at age 10. Starting at age 8, I would feel very antsy at the invitation time at church. I knew I was a sinner, and that I deserved hell. Blunt, harsh, but true. At age 10, I was ready to put my faith in Jesus, to be saved from my sins, to be baptized, and to become a member of His church. I knew the waters didn't save me. I knew they were a symbol. I knew 'it' (how to become a Christian) really, really well. And I truly believe that I was converted, or saved, then. However, if there is anything that God's enemy wants to challenge, it is our salvation. I never felt 100 percent sure of my decision. I didn't understand the totality of what He had done for me. I kept getting hung up on the human methodology. I "believed in my heart and confessed with my mouth," but I never said the 'sinner's prayer'. Maybe I wasn't really saved. Throughout my teen years, I would feel drawn to be 'rededicated' or even 'get my baptism in the right order'. But I didn't want to look foolish. Didn't want to be that person always walking the aisle.

Here's what made the difference: the work of the Holy Spirit. I actually learned who He is and what He does. Like he seals me in Christ, and is a guarantee of my salvation. That He is the power to actually live more like the person of Jesus. That He is the Spirit of God, himself. When I began to learn this, at about age 19, I really began to live out my faith.

But wouldn't you know it would take me almost a full 10 years more to humble myself? I was 28, a new mom, in a new town and church. A travelling evangelist was preaching that morning, and calling out to those who needed Jesus. I remember him mentioning baptism, and I heard that inner voice say something like, "Do this. Be sure. I have come that you may have life to the full." So I did. Walked the aisle, and got baptized (again) that night. And you know what? It was settled! Never, never again did I have to wonder about it. Yes, I was saved already and had evidence in my life that I had been born again. But that last little doubt, that thing the enemy would get me with in the still of the night, was gone. I still have battles to fight, but that one was WON. God gave me that gift because He loves me. Man, he always goes the distance.

Praise God. He loves me. I love Him. I'm thankful.

Thanks for letting me share this with you. Be encouraged!

1 comment:

David and Kate said...

That was great Melissa! Very encouraging. And I remember you two little love birds at the singles labor day retreat!