Testimonies

Suicide, a Teen, and a Priest on a Plane

Suicide is a rough topic. When it happens, it’s horrific. But even more often than people do it, they think about it. Some just toy with the idea, and some go as far as planning it out. Some really believe they want to die. Others just want people to pay attention to them long enough to make them want to live. When I was a teenager, the thought occurred to me more than once. When I confided in a stranger on a plane, he spoke the words that I have kept with me all these years. It’s a testimony and a message of hope for anyone struggling with the idea of suicide today.

My Situation as a Teen

From the time I was 12, I lived in Texas with my dad and step-mom.  Every summer and Christmas break, I would fly to Minnesota to spend time with my mom and step-dad and brother and sister. It was on one of those trips when I was about 16 that I found myself seated next to a priest. Well, he might have been a priest. He could have been a minister or a pastor. I just remember he wore a collar. Given the nearly three hour flight, we started talking, and for some reason, I opened up. I told him that I had recurring thoughts of suicide. 

I was an emotional kid who loved to write. For hours, I would sit in my bedroom and read or write poetry. Some of my poetry was pretty sad and dark. I was a believer, but I hadn’t given my whole life to Jesus yet, so I think that’s the way I processed my world. Anyway, as those sad thoughts were rolling around in my head and spilling out onto the page, the background music was 80’s hair band ballads. If you’re not familiar with the genre, they are basically slow songs done by heavy metal artists. Poison, Skid Row, Warrant, Tesla – songs of lost love and teen angst sung to a soulful, heavy guitar riff with pounding drum interludes. It was all very dramatic. So the thoughts came in.

Words I Won’t Forget

I don’t know why I shared those thoughts with my airplane seatmate, though. I certainly would never have told my own priest at the Greek Orthodox church I attended at the time. Maybe it is the same reason people put personal information online today. There is that little bit of anonymity that makes it okay to share your deepest secrets with a willing ear knowing that your family, your boss, and your friends in real life will never know. Anyway, after I finished talking, the man in the collar looked at me for a second, and then hit me with the words I will never forget.

You must be pretty important to God’s plan for Satan to work so hard to get rid of you.

Boom. Now, don’t take these words the wrong way. I don’t think I’m some big shot for God or anything. But the guy did have a point. Satan is a real adversary. He prowls about seeking whom he may devour. He was putting thoughts in my head that would take me off the path God had set for me and into the pits where he, himself, is headed. The enemy wanted me dead because I matter to God.

Comfort for Me and You

The words gave me comfort that I was important and hope that I had a future that was worth living for. To this day, I don’t really know if the guy on that plane was actually an angel, a good man of God, or just a guy who wanted me to shut up so he could sleep. What I do know, however, is that the message has stuck with me all these years. It’s something I held in my heart any time that the enemy tried those deadly whispers. And it’s something I now say to anyone who brings up the topic of suicide within my hearing today. 

If you are (or someone you know is) experiencing thoughts about suicide, you, too, are a target of the enemy. And you, too, are important to God and His plan. Satan has tipped his hand, and now you see all of his cards. He doesn’t win. He can’t win. So, fight knowing that Jesus has the victory, and rest knowing that you are loved.

Interested in another article about healing? Check out A Testimony of Healing After a Prayer in Faith. Or, try The Cure for Depression: Jesus is My Medicine, my testimony about how God healed me of depression and anxiety.

Like to read more from Evangelical Christian sisters who “tell it messy, true, and wonderful because we are His”? Check out Telling Hearts.

Testimonies

The Cure For Depression: Jesus is My Medicine

There was a time not so long ago that doctors made house calls. Sick people never had to leave the comfort of their own bedrooms. Instead, medical professionals would travel the distance to treat patients and write prescriptions. Not many doctors make house calls today, but there is one who still does. Jesus has been called the Great Physician because of the many people he healed during His earthly ministry. He still heals today, not just illness and injuries but also the sickness that is sin. This is the story of how God came for me and healed me. He was the cure for my depression and anxiety.

Lost and Hurting

When God found me, I was a mess. Newly divorced from my husband of over 17 years, I was depressed and anxious. I had been rejected. A lot. For the last seven of those years, my ex-husband had refused to say “I love you.” No matter how many times I said it to him, he just wouldn’t say those words. In fact, he made it quite clear that he didn’t. For the last few years, he had been making frequent trips to the Philippines for business. It was there that he had plenty of time to think of all the ways that I wasn’t the perfect woman for him. He did, in fact, find her a few years later in the form of a Filapena about 16 years his junior.

After the separation, I met my next husband very quickly. I was starved for affection, and my new man was loving and attentive. Despite the fact that I had always believed very sincerely in Jesus, praying and going to church, I had not given my entire life to Him yet. We started living together pretty quickly, even with my teenaged son still at home. The two didn’t always get along, and my son was dealing with his own issues. He got into drugs and made some stupid choices that hurt the whole family. My daughter had chosen to live with her father, and that hurt me deeply as well.

Heavy Medication Was My Solution

At that time, I was taking some pretty heavy medication for anxiety and depression. The doses started small when I was sad and lonely in my first marriage. But, over time, my system would get used to the drugs. Then it would take more and more to give me that “normal” feeling that everything wasn’t out of control. By the time I was set to be married again, I was up to 300 milligrams of Effexor XR a day. Two “red pills” at night kept me on an even keel during the days so I could function. If I forgot just one dose, however, I would jerk in the night and wake up groggy and disoriented. It was at that time that Jesus came for me.

But God Had Another Plan

First, God woke me up to the times that we are living in. He pulled off the veil so that I could see the truth behind government and Hollywood agendas bent on preparing the world for the coming one-world leader. He led me to prophecy sites and showed me that God doesn’t just listen, but He speaks to those who will hear. And then He called me into a deeper relationship with Him. I surrendered my life and started reading the Bible every day. He gave me His Holy Spirit, but that was just the beginning. He had to sweep my house.

I needed a lot of deliverance. While I was in the world, my sins gave Satan permission to bind and oppress me. I had opened doors that demons had felt free to waltz through. They had created strongholds in my life I didn’t even realize were there. In 2 Corinthians 10:4, the Bible speaks about warfare against those strongholds. It’s an active thing. Matthew 18:18 is all about binding and loosing. Again, it’s something we must do. The power to do it is in the name of Jesus Christ, but we must speak the words that rescind our permissions and close and lock the doors that Satan uses to gain access to our lives.

Steps to Freedom

I started by watching several Derek Prince deliverance videos, praying the prayers with him at the end. In Jesus’ name, I cast out any and all spirits that had attached to me. I took notes on the video for deliverance from generational curses, and then sat in my prayer closet one night and methodically went through every sin I could think of from both sides of my family that might be causing problems.

For over an hour, I prayed for the breaking of curses over myself and my children and rebuked, bound, and cast out all spirits of sexual sin, witchcraft, divination, addiction, depression, anxiety, pride, and more. I prayed prayers specifically to break soul ties to sever spiritual connections I had made through fornication. I learned to put on the full armor of God, and I was nightly in the Word of God, washing my soul with the pure water of Truth.

Free at Last

It was then that I got the idea to stop taking medicine. I asked the doctor for a lower dose, weaning slowly so as not to throw off my system. In about two months, I was down to just a quarter of my original dose every other day. And then I was free. I wasn’t taking any medicine for anxiety or depression, but I felt better than I ever had. I felt “normal” almost all the time. My relationship with Jesus was growing, and He was the one who filled my empty spaces. If I became sad or anxious, He calmed my fears with the promises He made in His Word to be with me and fight for me. He brought me peace and joy as I saw Him actively working in my life, changing me to be more like Him. 

There are a lot of reasons that people take medication for depression and anxiety, and I’m not saying that there is never a medical necessity for it. What I am saying, though, is that for me – and maybe others out there – the answer is not in a bottle. The answer is about allowing Jesus to come to you for treatment. He can heal your broken heart and clean and mend your fragmented soul.  He was my cure for depression. And to this day, He is my only medicine.

Interested in another article about healing? Check out A Testimony of Healing After a Prayer in Faith. Or, you might like this article about a new way to pray:  Make God’s Will My Will: A New Way to Pray. It’s a “God wink” story that teaches a new way to pray to get what you want.

Like to read more from Evangelical Christian sisters who “tell it messy, true, and wonderful because we are His”? Check out Telling Hearts.

Testimonies

Two Kinds of Testimonies: Are You Telling Yours?

Two women comforting each other and telling testimonies.
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Eye witness accounts are a powerful thing, especially today when fake news rules the day. It’s one thing to read an article or even see a video. It’s another thing completely when people you know and respect say something happened to them. For Christians, there are two types of testimonies. Both can go a long way toward evangelizing the lost as well as giving hope and comfort to fellow believers. 

Testimonies of How Jesus Saved Us

Some testimonies are dramatic. In the Bible, the demoniac of Gadara went from a raving lunatic who cut himself and lived naked among the tombs to a man who was in his right mind, devoted to Jesus, and bent on telling his story to everyone. Jesus changed him and gave him a second chance at life. 

My story and many others have the same basic components. I was lost, hurting (and hurting myself), and hopeless until I met Jesus. He let me know that I’m not alone, changed me, and gave me a second chance to live for Him. My testimony is about going from lukewarm to red hot after truly giving my life to God and being born again (see my home page). I used to live for myself, keeping Jesus in His Sunday “box.” But I was changed, and now He is my everything. I have a friend who used to be an alcoholic, one who was a drug addict, and one who was a prostitute. Jesus didn’t leave us the way we were. He came for us and changed us, and now we can give our testimonies to those who are lukewarm, alcoholic, drug addicted, or in sexual sin.

Now think about your own story. Where were you before Jesus came for you? Can you find people like you were to engage for the cause of Christ?  Jesus told the Demoniac of Gadara to tell others about what Jesus had done for him. Luke 8:39 says, “’Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.’ And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.” Who could you encourage or empower with your testimony today? 

The Testimonies of How He Continues to Work in Our Lives

After Jesus was resurrected, the Holy Spirit was given to all who believe on His name. Then as now, His sheep hear His voice, and He knows them and they follow Him. He manifests Himself to believers by leading them to truth and giving comfort and guidance. He’s not a far off God. He speaks to those who will listen. These interactions with God can be turned into testimonies.

A Testimony of Love and Comfort

One time, I was coming out of the grocery store, and I saw some birds in a puddle. The scripture from Matthew 10:29-31 popped into my mind, “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” 

When I got into my truck after putting my groceries in the back, a new song was just starting on the radio. It was “Sparrows” by Jason Gray. The chorus goes, “You may feel alone, but you’re not on your own. If He can hold the world, He can hold this moment. Not a field or flower escapes His notice. Even the sparrow knows He holds tomorrow.” I thought that was a pretty neat little “God wink,” and I thanked Him for speaking to me – but it wasn’t for me.

As soon as I got home, I checked into Facebook, and a sister in Christ was posting about how alone she felt. About how she thought no one cared and maybe even God had forgotten her. I was able to immediately relay the story and verse to her to let her know that God is very much involved in our lives. She may not have had a puddle handy, but my experiences, conveyed to her, gave her hope.

Every one of us has stories of times God has helped us or spoken to us in a way that gave us encouragement. Think about the times that Jesus has spoken to you and look for opportunities to inspire others with your stories. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.”

Your Testimony Is Powerful

Our testimonies of conversion as well as all the times Jesus has shown up and shown out in our lives can be a powerful tool for evangelism. They can even be used to uplift and strengthen the brethren as we tell of the many times God has helped us in our walk with Him. Your testimonies, your eye witness accounts, about a supernatural God who is who He says He is can make a difference in people’s lives. Start looking for ways to give your testimony today.

Interested in more articles about testimonies? Check out A Testimony of Healing After a Prayer in Faith. Like to read more from Evangelical Christian sisters who “tell it messy, true, and wonderful because we are His”? Check out Telling Hearts.

Testimonies

God in the Sanctuary, God in the Sea

As children of God, we know that He is always with us. Sometimes we definitely see His hand, and sometimes we have to trust by faith that He is there. I heard a sermon once based on two verses in the Book of Psalms. It was about God in the sanctuary versus God in the sea, and it made a lot of sense. Those times that we clearly see God working on our behalf, it can be said we see Him in the sanctuary. Other times, when our view is darkened by the mist and our ears hear nothing but the pounding waves of our lives, we may say that He is in the sea. Recently, I have had two such experiences that have taught me that whether or not I see Him in the moment, God is there.

God in the Sanctuary

Psalm 63:2 says, “I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and glory.” Sometimes things happen in our lives that we just know could only have been orchestrated by God. My blogging journey started with a “coincidence” that could be nothing less His hand. For the past couple of years, a blogger friend of mine from social media named Rachel has been encouraging me to start a blog. I always told her “no” and repeated what I now believe to be the enemy’s lies. “I won’t keep up with a blog, and anyway who would read it if I wrote one?”

One day, though, it was if my internal resistance was bypassed. I had put down a payment on a WordPress site and was flipping through themes before I even really knew what was happening. When I got into the actual website, it was harder than I thought, so I asked Rachel to help. She referred me to the person who had helped her get set up a few years ago in in Michigan. We set up a time for a phone conversation for tech help, and she gave me Renee’s phone number. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the number. It was local. Since the time Renee had helped Rachel, she had moved 1,500 miles away – right to within 10 minutes of my house in Texas! We got together the next weekend, and she helped me set up my site.

Since then, I have seen God move in my blogging ministry. He is in the way I get my stories and in the people He has put into my path to support me in all areas. All those doubts and fears that the devil made me believe have dissolved away as I see that God is in this. I see Him in the sanctuary, and I know that He has a plan. But God has a plan even when we don’t see it.

God in the Sea

Psalm 77:19 says, “Your way was in the sea, Your path in the great waters, and Your footsteps were not known.” Recently, I had something upsetting happen at work. I’m a teacher, and the end of the year can be a stressful time for everyone. I was helping with an after school project for an administrator to make a few extra dollars. This particular lady and I have, let’s just say, different religious and political beliefs. She has always treated me fairly in the past, but this day, whether it was my mistake or her general tension level, she snapped and rudely sent me home in front of colleagues. I was mortified and, of course, went right to the truck and cried to my Father.

When I am upset, that’s my general strategy. I cry to God and ask Him to give me a verse from the Bible. That always puts things into perspective and helps me move past any issues. No matter how upset I am, spitting and fussing and spinning around, usually one verse is all it takes to make me stop in my tracks. This time, it was Romans 8:28.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Romans 8:28

The verse came with something else: “Do you really believe ‘ALL things’?” I do. I don’t see right now how this situation could turn into a good thing. All I see is the hurt and embarrassment that surfaces hotly when I think about the next week of summer school under this lady’s direction. I don’t know how God will use this for my good and His glory, but I believe it. I will trust no matter what happens, He will be there for me.

God was with me when I could see Him clearly moving in my blog start up. He was also with me when something hurtful happened and I didn’t understand His plan. Either way, whether in the sanctuary or the sea, God is with us in the good works He has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them, and I praise Him for it.

Interested in more articles about Bible verses? Check out Three Simple Instructions From God to Us, an encouraging article about Hebrews 3-4. Or, try Twinkly Trash: A Closer Look at Job 28 where we discover the true treasure of God.

Like to read more from Evangelical Christian sisters who “tell it messy, true, and wonderful because we are His”? Check out Telling Hearts.

Testimonies

A Testimony of Healing After a Prayer in Faith

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, but prayer can change a situation in the blink of an eye. In both the Old and New Testaments, people requested and were granted healing. Barren wombs, leprous men and women, and a shriveled hand were all healed in both Testaments, and the raising of a dead widow’s son was performed in each. In His earthly ministry, Jesus healed the blind, deaf, dumb, paralyzed, and more. Today, untold numbers of people pray for and receive healing every single day. Sometimes it’s as simple as, “God, please let my headache go away so that I can finish my reports” – and it’s gone. Sometimes it’s as dramatic as the girl whose inoperable brain tumor disappeared when her family prayed. And sometimes, it’s somewhere in the middle. I have a testimony of healing that happened to me just a few short months ago.

It all started on a Saturday evening after dinner. I was sitting at my computer at home for a little too long, and when I went to stand up, my right foot (which was numb from sitting so long), twisted under itself, and I heard a loud “CRACK!” It hurt so badly with a piercing pain that was made worse with walking, so I stayed where I was and quickly found my insurance’s mobile app. A picture and a few messages later, the verdict was in: either my foot felt better by Monday, or I would need to go to the doctor for X-rays. My daughter had just had a similar incident with her foot and was on a peg leg for over a month. I cringed when I thought about trying to navigate my life as a teacher hobbling through the halls and down the aisles. But then it occurred to me: I serve a God who heals.

I grabbed my cell phone and quickly texted my pastor’s wife and 4-5 other strong praying Christian women and asked them to pray in agreement with me for healing. That was around 8:00 PM. When my pastor’s wife texted to ask how I was around 10:00 PM, I was still in considerable pain and limping. Right before bed, I thought to myself that no matter how things looked, I KNEW God still heals people. I went to Google and typed in “Bible verses about healing.” I read though the list out loud, affirming each one and applying it to myself. At the end, I said, “If you are willing, Lord, I know you can heal my foot.” I went to bed around 10:30 PM.

At 4:30 AM when I got up to use the restroom, I stepped gingerly on my right foot at first, but I wasn’t three steps into my journey when I realized that there was no pain. Zero. None. Zilch. Nada. It didn’t hurt when I was sitting on the bed, and it didn’t hurt when I got up and walked on it. If I pushed on it, I could get a tiny twinge of pain, but that was it. My foot never hurt one more second after that even though I had a large blue/green/black bruise for over a month. The ladies and I had prayed in faith, and God had healed my foot! 

We may never know this side of heaven why God chooses to heal some and not others. He has His reasons that are far beyond our understanding, and He knows how to make all things work for our good. But the Bible says “Ye have not because ye ask not,” and sometimes, maybe, people could be healed with just a little more faith that God still answers those kinds of prayers.

Interested in more articles about prayer? Check out Make God’s Will My Will: A New Way to Pray, a “God wink” story that teaches a new way to pray to get what you want. Or, see Hope For Lost Loved Ones: God’s Mercy in Trials, a new way to pray for lost loved ones.

Like to read more from Evangelical Christian sisters who “tell it messy, true, and wonderful because we are His”? Check out Telling Hearts.