I’ll never forget the first time I heard someone use the word testimony while talking to me.
I’d called Dave Ramsey‘s radio show looking for financial advice. I’m sure I must have sounded like I felt – shaky, scared, alone…I don’t think Dave quite knew what to say when I told him my husband had walked out suddenly leaving me five months pregnant with our fifth little boy. Most people didn’t know what to say, especially in the raw months immediately after, but Dave offered me the gift of taking Financial Peace University for free.
A new class began right after Kaleb was born, and he and I shlepped the 45 minutes or so each way once a week to take the night session. I’m sure people there wondered why I brought my newborn. I was breastfeeding and couldn’t leave this precious little bundle behind. I think, even more than that, in those early days, he was my lifeline, my reason for living, and I was terrified of losing him too.
On the final night of class, everyone spoke of their plans for the future. I explained my situation and how desperately I wanted to provide for my children. When I finished speaking one of the men who ran the class just hung his head low and shook it slowly,
“You’ll have an amazing testimony one day,” he said.
And I thought felt all the air I had been holding in for months leave in a rush,
“Really? Really?? Really???“
The words played in my head repeatedly.
I didn’t want an amazing testimony!
I wanted my husband back. I wanted the love we shared. I wanted the friendship and laughter we enjoyed right up until a few days before he announced he was leaving. I wanted the hand holding as we fell asleep. I wanted the inside jokes. I wanted the peace and security from resting my head on his chest. I wanted my boys to grow up with two parents sharing the burdens and the benefits.
I wanted so much.
But I did not want a testimony.
I was willing to put in hard work to make our relationship work. I was willing to move past his affairs, to beg forgiveness for the wrongs I had done, to love, honor, and cherish even through the pain.
But God had other plans.
God wanted me to have a testimony.
And I have finally accepted that testimony.
I have worked harder than I ever thought possible to make our relationship work – God’s and mine. I have asked Him to forgive my wrongdoings and have accepted His forgiveness though I am not worthy of it. I have found faith, hope, and Love in spite of myself.
And now I have a testimony.
That testimony does not prevent me from feeling anger and pain and fear and doubt. I wish my husband had chosen differently, but I now have the power to overcome such negativity and wouldn’t trade a relationship with my ex for what I’ve discovered since his leaving. God has used my testimony to reach others in similar situations; I cannot think of anything I’d rather do.
And to Mike, that Dave Ramsey leader, thank you for speaking the word testimony to me. I am glad God put you there to plant that thought in my heart.
Your Turn to Share:
Have you had a testimony you didn’t want?
How have you fulfilled that testimony?
What works could God be performing through your struggles?