Continuing with the guest posts, here is a personal testimony from kingjameswriter1965
My Testimony, Clarified, Bona Fide and Sanctified
Notice: This was complied from three separate other notes. I wanted to be clear about my salvation and resultant life.
I often find myself thinking about how mighty God is, and how weak I am. I have never been completely on my own since I was a child. I have always depended upon someone to take care of me, and that still continues to this day.
However, my ways of thinking have changed over the years. Since my salvation I have known a tremendous change that was made in my life. I can forever depend upon Someone Who is far greater than any ordinary human being. Before I knew Him, I had my mother, who was fallible and made mistakes. I thought she was the greatest person alive, and rightly so, since she was my only parent for a good number of years.
My mommy, Lillian Dorothy Lowenstein, November 25, 1927-December 18, 2006.
But at age 14 I began to search for more in life. I was at the normal age when girls begin to experiment with things like hair and makeup, hanging out, going to the mall, teasing the boys, etc. I didn’t dare try anything my mother wouldn’t approve of, since we came from a Sicilian Catholic background and she would protect me from bad influences. She sheltered me so I thought it nothing to be by myself a lot. I didn’t have any siblings, so that was never an issue. My mother didn’t have any friends that lived in our apartment building, nor did she do anything with people she knew from work. She was old-school all the way, and she rubbed that reserved attitude off on me. But she and I were best of friends, and yet, in my heart I desired something more.
I was always terrified of God in my younger years. I was exceedingly shy, and I couldn’t even think of the Name of Jesus without intense embarrassment, let alone speak it out loud. My mother, being a staunch yet non-practicing Catholic, always said that we “never talk about politics or religion.” And since I thought her word was law, I in fact never did speak of such for fear of embarrassing her. Yet, I was aware of something gently pulling at my spirit, a desperate craving for knowledge of Who God is. What is He? Is He in Heaven? Does He look down on us and smile? What do all these statues around the church mean? Why do we light candles and go to Mass? Why do we have communion? What’s the point of all this? And most of all, Who is Jesus? I had these odd questions for some time, and I never spoke of them out loud, and they went unanswered until the day I was born again.
A little background here: My mother and I were “non-practicing” Catholics. We didn’t go to Mass together since I was a toddler in New York, but I had went by myself fairly regularly after going to Catholic school, even serving as lector in my parish for a brief time, shaking and sweating in front of people. But I thought that was what God wanted me to do.
There was one unfortunate instance while I served at the Catholic parish. One of the priests had taken a liking to me and was watching me all the time. I wasn’t aware of this at first because I was always so nervous and desperately wanted God to approve of my conduct. This priest mentored me and showed me how to read the lectionary before the congregation. I wasn’t aware that he had begun to see me as a sex object.
One day he was speaking to me about I remember not what, but when he was finished speaking his hand rubbed against my breast. I swear before God Almighty (and I do not like to swear) that I have NEVER spoken of this to ANYONE before, and you are hereby privileged to know something about me that I was ashamed of and angry about for decades until God cleansed me of all ill will towards anyone. I left out of there totally embarrassed and feeling violated, and never returned. That priest will pay double in the judgment for treating one of God’s precious children in such a manner. But as for me, I have forgiven him in my heart.
I will never forget the day when I was saved. For the life of me I cannot recall exactly when it was, only it must have been the summer after the school year I played hooky from school to the fall of 1979. I was bored, like a 14 year old gets, flipping through the channels when something made me stop at the religion channel.
It wasn’t a hard thing for God to meet me where I was that day, sitting in front of the TV while my mom was at work, wanting to watch the anime “Star Blazers” more than do my studies. I turned the knob to a religious channel and saw this weird-looking little man, Pat Robertson by name of the 700 Club, with his eyes closed, praying, I guessed. I was at first taken aback by this, and I started to change the channel again, but for reasons unknown at the time, I listened to him and something pricked my heart. My eyes stayed fixated on this odd scene, my ears listening to what the man was saying, and I suddenly realized that this was what I was searching for. I found myself reaching my hand out to the screen and agreeing with everything he said. That was the day I was born again.
When I came away from that little altar call, as I now know that is what it was, I realized something brand new and powerful had happened to me. I was no longer the same person as I was when I woke up that morning. I didn’t know why or how, but I was made a new creature in Christ Jesus!!
Sometime later, I got this really strong urge to buy a Bible. On impulse, I knew to look in the Yellow Pages (this was before the internet) for a store that would sell them, like a bookstore or gift shop. So I looked up a Fraser’s Gift Shop on Walnut Street in downtown Philly, and went to get it.
When I got there I remember feeling awed, as if something (or Someone) was leading me. Somehow I found what I was looking for, a red King James Bible with no notes. I can’t remember all the details as it was 30+ years ago, but I remember the cashier putting it in a bag, and me leaving the store. As I went past the threshold, I tripped over something. It was as if the devil was angry I bought a Bible, and he immediately tried to “trip me up.” Embarrassed by the near fall and all but dizzy from the whole experience of being a newborn in Christ buying a copy of God’s Love Letter, I walked across the street to get on the bus to go home.
I treasured my new Bible. I kept it hidden from my mother because she didn’t like to talk about religion, and if she saw it she’d ask me why I had it, or so I thought. I remember the smell of the pages. I remember reading it when my mom wasn’t home. I was immediately impressed by the verse in Matthew 6 (my favorite verse, the very first verse I memorized)–
“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:6
I read my Bible in secret. I prayed in secret, as it were. My very faith was born in secret. We lived in a high-rise apartment building and it was just my mom and me. I had no friends. We never spoke to anyone. But Jesus Christ became my best Friend from those days on, and I knew I loved Him.
This is also how I knew what I possessed was a King James Bible. I found the language VERY hard to understand, and since I wasn’t going to a Christian church at the time, I failed to learn what it meant, but it was oh so rich and satisfying nonetheless. My soul fed on these wonderful words in spite of my ignorance. I started seeing everything in a different light. I was completely in awe of God, and I knew something powerful had changed my life.
I always wanted to please my mother in doing what she said to do, and now with this power of the new birth, I really wanted to please the One Who gave me this gift. I had no clue how to figure it all out, only that I had a sudden desire to go to a Catholic school. I was ignorant and oblivious to any other religion except what I knew of. My mother didn’t mind this and allowed it, and I went for four years, and came out more knowledgeable of the Catholic system, even having had Confirmation (I was clueless), but no closer to the real God of the Bible Who saved my soul that day in front of the TV set. I had no idea that there was such a thing as a Bible-believing church that WASN’T Catholic-oriented, and THAT was what I needed. I didn’t find this out until 20 years later, when the Lord found me again on the internet, and there He used a man of God who told me what God required of me to be a Christian.
John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School, my alma mater
So I began my term at John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School. In my ignorance and because I didn’t go to a Bible-teaching Christian church (this wouldn’t happen until I had revival 20 years later), I thought it was logical and good to go to a “church school.” And it was all girls, so there would be no problems with boys, whom I hated at the time. My mom was good to me, and she allowed it. She was well able to afford the tuition, and the uniforms were so plain (oh, those clunky shoes, lol), but what did I know, I just had this urge in my heart to do it.
I don’t think I ever told anybody what I had wanted to do with my life after my graduation from Catholic high school. After I was born again at age 14 my life had taken a backwards turn toward Catholicism since it was all I knew. My mother never had a Bible in our apartment and when I was little we used to go to Mass. I wanted to know Who Jesus was, so since Catholicism was all I knew of, I thought I would find Him there. But another “jesus” was what I found, a cold counterfeit, something as lifeless as that giant crucifix in the hallway of the high school, that left me wanting and disappointed with my life.
I graduated from Hallahan in 1984. I went on living in ignorance until after I was married and had my kids, and the computer came into my life. That’s when I had revival in the AOL chatroom. Since then, the Lord had given me my first King James Bible, He led me to a doctrinally-sound Bible-believing church, and has been supplying my needs every single day without fail. God is truly amazing in His patience towards His own.
After graduating high school I went to an art college for a time, but then I quit because I didn’t want to pursue a career in commercial art. I halfway considered going to be a nun at a Sisters of St. Joseph convent in Chestnut Hill, since they were my influences in high school and I thought it would make sense for me to join since I wasn’t working. I remember going to the convent one day and asking the head nun about joining. She told me to go think it over and “go out in the world,” and she gave me a year to do it. I never went back, and looking in hindsight I thank God I didn’t. It would have been bondage and torture to my soul.
So I did nothing with my life but ride my bike around Fairmount Park and catch the eyes of lusting men. I spent 5 years looking for “Mr. Right,” and my mother was very patient with me, but I never told her what I did because I kept it secret. I was a fool and an ingrate and still bear the scars of that wild life. And even though I knew I was saved I never went to a Christian, Bible-preaching church simply because I was still spiritually in the dark about it.
I met my husband in 1988 and lived with him until in 1989 we were married, and the year after that I had my first child. We moved three times. I was glad to have security and a spouse who supported me but things weren’t fulfilling in my life. I couldn’t get over how empty I felt, and even though he didn’t want anything to do with God or church, I wanted something more, something holy, pure and Heavenlike. He never satisfied my emotional needs, so I remembered and wanted Jesus even more. I just knew in my heart that Jesus loved me and wanted to work in my life. The Holy Spirit in my heart bore witness to this. We got the computer in 1999, and from there, in the AOL chatroom, I had revival. God met me where I was. I knew it was Jesus. It was as if I was saved all over again.
Up until that point I had been going to a Catholic church since I had this habit of going to Mass on Sundays. I still assumed that was what God wanted me to do. I went faithfully to two Catholic churches the whole time during 1990 until 1999 before my revival experience. My husband didn’t mind watching my daughter and young sons for a half an hour so I could go to Mass and then come home so he could go out. After I started going to real Christian church, I would stay out for an hour and a half to two hours, which he didn’t take kindly to. He would berate me for not being home and that he had to watch our children, then he would storm out the door. I don’t know how many times I cried because he made me feel worthless, good for nothing and a waste of space. As I said, he never emotionally supported me.
I had my three stair-step sons one year after another after we moved to our current home, and it was the same thing, only this time our family was bigger. Then I started feeling guilty because the Holy Spirit kept telling me to bring my kids to church. I pushed it away at times because I wanted Jesus all to myself. I was 34 years old and very immature. I was going to a church on the Boulevard at the time. Finally, after many patient urgings from the Spirit, His gentle voice saying, “You need to bring your children to My house,” I capitulated and took my family to church for the first time. I pulled them behind me in a Radio Flyer wagon. It took me about 45 minutes, but I knew that was what God wanted. I was sure of it this time.
It was there that I realized that I wanted to sing in a choir for Jesus. I was walking in the hallway and I heard singing coming from one of the rooms. I followed that lovely sound until I found a door. I peeked in and saw people sitting with binders in their laps, and asked the director if I could join. He looked at me and told me to find a seat and he would talk to me after rehearsal. I felt small and alienated, yet God was with me and I knew that I wanted to give my whole life to Him in song, praise and worship. It was there where I saw the saying on a poster, “Singing is praying twice.”
We eventually adapted to walking to church and went regularly until God moved us to another church in a closer location to our house. One of the men who taught my oldest son Sunday school suggested it, since he and his family had gone there before. I remember being reluctant to tear up the roots I had planted at the Boulevard church, so I went back and forth for a while. Soon I realized that there were cliques at the Boulevard church, making me feel left out and alone. I knew God wasn’t pleased with that, so He caused me to take my family to this new location. I’ve been going since 2003 and never want to go anywhere else. I have found my church home, and God’s perfect will, at last.
I’m glad I didn’t become a Sister of St. Joseph. I’m glad God delivered me from getting pregnant and a drug addict in my wild days. God gave me my children, four healthy babies and grandbabies for my parents to cherish and love. God even gave me my indifferent husband, since He knows what He is doing and was always with me and He knows what’s best. God gave me a home, a loving church, blessings untold and a home in Heaven. It’s all because of Jesus, the very Jesus I loved and sought for all my life. I have finally found true peace and joy. It didn’t happen overnight, but for years. I am ever grateful to my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for saving my soul. Glory Hallelujah to His mighty Name.
I love how Jesus Christ took me when no one else would. I was never popular with the other kids, only shy and withdrawn and I missed out on certain childhood joys that I’ll never have the chance to experience again in my lifetime. But Jesus saved my soul that day, and all my questions are now answered and fulfilled. I’m 50 years old today, and I have everything I need spiritually in my life, things I could only dream about in my younger years. I sometimes feel so much joy in knowing Him that I almost feel like a kid again.
Jesus gave me more than a new life, He gave me a reason for being. He gave me joy, and peace, and a willingness to set my wants aside so I can do what He wants. This didn’t all happen at once, but over the course of two decades. I now know this is true, and I look forward to seeing Him in Heaven as He really is, with no more questions and no more doubts. At long last, I KNOW THE TRUE AND LIVING GOD..
Update: My husband had passed away on February 5, 2016. As I mentioned here, he never wanted to become a Christian and wanted nothing to do with God. He was blind and foolish, and has reaped his eternal reward the second he took his last breath. I am now a widow, and intend to stay single for the rest of my life. I am neither vindictive nor glad he is gone, but I now know a new freedom to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and be a witness to my now grown children. Their father was their idol, but my God continues to be and will forever be my Lord JESUS CHRIST. As long as He gives me breath, I will serve Him, no holds barred, nothing held back. Truly, to know Jesus is to be free indeed. AMEN.
*Note: This testimony appears exactly as it does on the author’s blog, without edits or modifications