T is for a Testimony I Never Wanted

sun beam through darkened woods.

Without our struggles, we can’t understand the call of Testimony.

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?

God Bless…

13 Comments

  1. […] talk about God’s plan being like a giant tapestry. Up close, the unravelling threads look messy and disorganized. Some […]



  2. […] T is for Testimony […]



  3. Linda on April 26, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    It is amazing how God sends a word or touch when we need it just to take the next step. I appreciate your honesty about your feelings too. You do indeed have a testimony! I am amazed by it.



    • Strahlen on April 27, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      Oh my gosh Linda – You are so right! God does send a word or touch when we need it.

      I think in my case, He sent more than that. He sent the giant shove that I needed to wake up! I just didn’t realize at the time that that shove would lift me up rather than knock me down!

      Thank you for your encouragement – I am a sinner; honesty about my mistakes, things I have done and things I have failed to do, isn’t always easy.



  4. Joanne Viola on April 26, 2014 at 6:37 am

    Growing up in the church, I always wanted a “testimony”. Then life happened & much like you, I did not want one 🙂 As time has passed, I have come to embrace the greatest testimony I will ever have – “Jesus loves me, this I know!” for I have come to know how deeply He loves me! I visited from The Friday Five this morning & am so glad I did! BlessingsQ



    • Strahlen on April 27, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      Thank you for visiting Joanne. It is incredibly powerful when you finally understand, “Jesus Loves ME!!!” After questioning my worth for so long, I can truly tell you I understand how this is a great testimony! Thank you, and I hope you come back often!



  5. Ceil on April 25, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Hi Strahlen! I am coming over from Wanda’s blog.

    So nice to meet you! And you do have a story to tell, and I guess that’s what testimony really is. Wouldn’t it be nice to just coast through life? Yeah, I don’t know what that is either!

    My husband has been unemployed for a year and a half, and it’s not looking very promising. Testimony? I guess… My hope is that I can testify some day to how it helped me be stronger and have greater faith. Just like you!

    Have a blessed weekend 🙂
    Ceil



    • Strahlen on April 27, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Ceil! I’ve just recently found Wanda’s blog and am so inspired by her faith.

      I have definitely wished we could just “coast through life.” Some days I still do wish for that, but I know our trials have reasons and am willing to trust God to figure t out even when I cannot.

      I am so sorry to hear about your husband. I work 2-3 jobs depending on the time of year and still struggle financially. We lost our home to foreclosure when my ex didn’t pay child support. There have been some scary moments, but God does carry us through. Hold onto Him, and He will give you the Testimony.

      I will have my boys pray for you and your family tonight.



  6. floyd on April 25, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Wow… What a God inspired perspective. Only our Father in you can be so strong, so wonderful, so wise. Bless you and your boys, sister. You go girl! You’re an inspiration!



    • Strahlen on April 27, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      LOL It still amazes me just how wonderful our Father is! I really appreciate your enthusiastic encouragement, Floyd – Thank You so much! 🙂



  7. The Friday Five: Welcoming the Weekend on April 25, 2014 at 7:44 am

    […] know some times we get the very thing we didn’t want, Strahlen shares about that in T is for a Testimony I Never Wanted. Here is snippet of what she […]



  8. Wanda on April 25, 2014 at 7:33 am

    Strahlen, a beautiful testimony it is indeed. So encouraged by your words.



    • Strahlen on April 27, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      Thank you so much, Wanda.



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