My Personal Testimony: Life is a Gift

Photo credit: Maria Constantine, thepotentialofyouth.com

Special thanks to Phyllis for inviting me to give my testimony on her blog Songs of Salvation! When she asked if I’d share, I realized that although you, my friends, get to know me through my stories and posts, I haven’t actually spelled out how and when God started working in my life. Today, my hope is that my testimony encourages you, wherever you are in your spiritual walk.

My testimony

I am truly grateful for my godly heritage and growing up in a Christian home, though an imperfect one. Regardless, my family’s faith wasn’t enough. I needed to make it mine.

One Sunday, something the pastor said must have made sense to my five-year-old mind. After coming home from church, I crawled onto the couch next to my parents and told them I wanted to get saved. They led me in a simple prayer, and I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and come into my life. That day, I started my walk as God’s child, but like any new believer, I had much to learn (and for that matter, still do).

A crisis moment came shortly after I received my driver’s license. I was driving my brother and me to our young adult Wednesday church group when another car ran a red light and crashed into us. Although we walked away with only minor injuries, my car was totaled, and I was angry. Why would God let this happen to me? The ensuing drama (the other driver’s word versus mine) and the long phone calls with insurance agents were torture to my sixteen-year-old self.

But God had spared my life. The same day as my accident, another accident almost identical in nature resulted in the deaths of all drivers. Perhaps it was a wake-up call that life wasn’t about my plans. I needed to see it as a stewardship, a gift from God.

Looking back over college and the start of my career, I can see God’s hand opening and closing doors. Sometimes, I begged for a new opportunity or an answer to prayer, and God seemed stubbornly silent. Other times, His response felt as if He had opened the windows of heaven and poured down a blessing. What I’ve learned and continue to learn is that regardless of how or if God answers my prayer, He has my best interests at heart and I can trust Him.

One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 40:31 which says,

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (KJV).

In my own strength, I get tired and weary. But when I wait upon the Lord, He provides the strength to run the path set before me.

The bottom line: No matter what you may be facing now, if you’re God’s child, you’re not alone. He can and will give you exactly what you need: His presence in every situation.

~ Kristen

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My Personal Testimony: Life is a Gift – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Don’t Throw Paint at a Heart Problem

I feel a little guilty. The other day, I set a beautiful piece of furniture out by the road for trash pickup. However, before the garbage crew arrived, some unlucky person thought it was a steal and snatched it.

What’s wrong with that? Let me back up the story.

When I first purchased the hutch, it was ordinary and old, but with a friend’s help, I transformed it into a Pinterest-worthy piece.

But there was one problem. While I thought it would look perfect in my home, a bug had already made it his home.

I first suspected something was wrong when I moved the hutch from my parent’s garage to my new house. Initially, I dismissed the sawdust inside one of the drawers as a side effect of moving. Someone probably knocked the wood during the haul.

Then, the other week, a fresh mound of sawdust appeared on the carpet, and my skin crawled. I enlisted my family to move it curbside.

I thought about setting out a sign to warn people not to pick it up. But what would I say? “Warning: Bug Living in Furniture”? That just sounded weird.

Besides, people might not believe me. From the outside, the hutch looked perfect.

But pretty is only paint deep. Burrowing inside is something that will ultimately destroy it.

A Heart Problem

That bug is a little like sin. People tend to focus on the external. We have only to glance at a magazine or newspaper advertisement to be reminded that society obsesses over appearance.

On the other hand, God cares about the heart.

  • Proverbs 31:30 – “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (NKJV).
  • I Samuel 16:7 – “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (NKJV).

On our own, we can add a few layers of paint, but we can’t solve the root of the problem. Only God can. His work transforms from the inside out, making us brand new.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)

Becoming God’s child is a lot easier than figuring out how to treat an infested piece of furniture. All we have to do is confess that we can’t fix our sin problem on our own and instead trust that Jesus took care of it once and for all when he died on a cross and rose again, victorious over sin and death.

For Reflection

Looking back, I should have somehow warned people not to pick up the hutch. More importantly, though, I need to be sharing with others the good news that Jesus loves them and can give them a clean heart and a fresh start.

  • Has God placed people in your life who need to hear the gospel? What’s holding you back from witnessing to them and warning them about the destructive nature of sin?
  • Is there sin in your own life you need to confess so that it doesn’t hinder your relationship with God?
  • Have you been focusing too much on outward appearances and circumstances? Spend time in God’s Word to learn what He values (I Peter 3:3-4).

Please leave your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

~ Kristen

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Don’t Throw Paint at a Heart Problem – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)