Last night I watched the most riveting testimony online from Bethel Church in Redding California. It struck me profoundly, deep within my heart, and caused me to reflect greatly into the night.
The testimony was given by a beautiful dark-haired woman who looked to be in her mid-thirties. She was dressed fashionably in a crisp summer outfit, complete with accessories and perfectly coiffed. From her very appearance, one would think her to have a life well put together, complete with a husband, a couple of kids and a mini-van. Someone free of life’s troubles and strife.
During the opening musical montage, she walked across the outdoor pavilion to her seat in the garden with a beaming smile from ear to ear, as if she and an unseen partner were exchanging an enjoyable private conversation. Her manner was carefree and light, her countenance peaceful. She had a definite spring in her step and grace in her movements. She was truly a picture of loveliness. I wondered what on earth she was going to testify to, as I quickly judged, based on her appearance, that her life was perfect.
Then she opened her mouth and began to speak. I was proven wrong!
Her yarn of past atrocities unfolded at a rapid rate and left me aghast. I couldn’t fathom that what my ears were hearing matched the image I was seeing. A broken home growing up. Molestation at a young age. Cutting, suicide attempts and substance use. Pregnancy and motherhood in the teen years. Kicked out of the house and on the streets. Supporting a child while working at a strip club. Abused by a pimp. Incarcerated because of fraudulent acts and sentenced to 24 years in prison.
But, her story turned a corner. I rejoiced!
While in prison, she had a vision of Jesus walking into her cell and sitting on the end of her cot. He took her hand and spoke words of love and forgiveness to her. She had a true encounter with her Saviour and spent the night repenting of every sin she had ever committed from childhood to that present moment. She experienced complete salvation and began a journey of ongoing transformation in Christ.
Moving forward from that night, she located a Bible in the prison library and devoured it from cover to cover and the Holy Spirit made clear each word she read. She believed every word to be true and allowed those truths to sink deep into her soul. She began to pray and commune with Christ each day, sharing with Him her deepest desires and scariest fears. Jesus began to heal her life.
Over the course of a few short years after these victorious moments, her life was turned completely around for the positive. Her prison term was reduced to one year. She was reunited with her son, found a home and employment. There she met her husband, got married, had two more children and has established a ministry working with street girls. She also works to fight against human trafficking.
Now she lives a life of complete surrender to Christ. I was thankful I was spared such a life!
This morning I woke up with the old hymn, “I Surrender All,” running through my head. I love that old hymn and found myself singing it in the shower, humming it while doing my hair, replaying it while making my lunch, tapping it on the steering wheel while driving to work. In fact, I could not get it out of my mind all day!
“All to Jesus, I surrender,
All to Him, I freely give.
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all.
All to thee, my blessed Saviour.
I surrender all.”
Then, it hit me. That still small voice broke through the above ear worm and spoke to me. “D’Anne. In comparison you think you have it all together, because you are in Me and have served me your whole life. But, what will you surrender for Me?” And, immediately my mind was flooded with images. My husband, my kids, my home, my career, my money, my possessions, my luxuries, my country, etc. I was brought low. I could not answer. I was left speechless.
Daughters, even though I am serving the Lord with every fibre of my being, I am still contemplating my answer to that question. I want my answer to the Lord to be honest and true. I need to take serious stalk in where my priorities lie and whether or not I would truly lay it all down for the sake of the cross. Even if the littlest thing gets in my way of living in 100% surrender I need to deal with it. This is a daily process and one we must be ever vigilant in maintaining.