What a privilege it is to have a sister in law who is not only one of my closest friends, but is also part of my growth group for the leader’s wives at Chesapeake. I can honestly say that the following testimony oozes with the humility that is truly characteristic of Abby’s life. Enjoy! And be inspired!
Having Faith in My Faithful God
Before I get into my testimony, I want to say that my desire tonight is to tell you about how the Lord has made Himself greater in my eyes, and how He has given me a new understanding of His grace and love that I have never experienced so deep or recognized up until this point in my life. This testimony is truly about my God and His heart for His children. Here’s just a glimpse into my life and a taste of how He has shown Himself strong to me. Here goes…
Looking back on my life, I can see how such a big sin area for me has always been laziness and my own desire for comfort. As a result, a desire for sleep became stronger and eventually an idol in my life. I wanted it too much and many times sacrificed my personal time with the Lord in order to have more of it. In my blind pride, I did not see the seriousness of this sin of selfishness and I had little to no desire to change or give up my comforts.
Once I had children, this area was slightly shaken up a bit only because of their sleeping schedules and need for my attention, but I still fought having to give up my own comfort and slowly my quiet time became inconsistent or squeezed in when there was time for it. Not having a set time or a plan to meet with Him was not helping me to grow in my love for the Savior. Also, I was becoming very self-sufficient and was trying to live the Christian life without God’s grace as my means to obey. Let me just say that it was not fun and I was constantly failing and feeling condemned. It is a horrible way to live and it is not what God wanted for me.
Well, back in January, Jimmy and I went to the Marriage Retreat held in Hershey, PA. When we arrived, I was feeling very self-focused and wished that this time away could just be for Jimmy and me to be together and have a vacation. Well, that was not what God had in mind. He was beginning to convict me for my hard heart and lack of desire to join in with the spiritual aspects of our time away. In my pride and arrogance, I kept fighting the conviction of the Holy Spirit because I did not want to change or admit that I really needed to repent and ask the Lord for grace and help. But praise God that even when we run from Him He does not let us go too far before He reaches out and gently brings us back to Himself. Jimmy graciously began to draw me out and ask me hard questions to try to help me see my need for change. The Holy Spirit began to convict me and show me that by neglecting spending time with the Lord on a daily basis I was becoming dull to spiritual things and taking on a very worldly mindset. Even though I began to see this clearly, I was still resisting the idea of changing. I was coming up with one excuse after another and wanting to be excused from having to wake up early. I would think things like, “My children are so young, it’s not really realistic to get up so early and have a quiet time…truly God must understand. It’s just this season I’m in.” Well, I left the conference aware of the Lord’s work, but not yet willing to obey in this area of my life.
You see, Jack, my almost 3 year old, for about a year has been waking on an average of 4 times a week as early as 5:45. What would happen is he would come into my room and wake me up. Although not outwardly visible, inwardly my heart was very angry. It was such a shame that God was using my son to try to help me to “GET UP!” and I was so proud that I was blind to it. I would even share with my growth group and ask them for input, but all I would ask them for was how I could get Jack to sleep longer. Thankfully, God kept pursuing me.
One night at my growth group, Daryl had one of Carolyn Mahaney’s blogs printed up for us to read. It was entitled, “The 5:00 Club”. That title definitely scared me, but I wanted to hear what it was about. Basically what the blog boiled down to was that Carolyn and her 3 daughters wake up at 5:00 each morning (or earlier) and will call one another to hold each other accountable. In our group, we were kind of laughing and joking about the thought of waking up that early, but at the same time, God began to stir in my heart faith for change. All of a sudden the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and I saw so clearly that the solution to my change was to wake up before Jack and spend time alone with the Lord. It was almost like I needed to know that other people in the world actually did this and that it was possible by God’s grace. Laurie told me that she wakes up at 5:30 and that she would call me if I wanted her to. I was so grateful that Daryl brought that blog and wanted to motivate us to press in to all that God has for us in this area.
That was 2 months ago, yesterday, and by God’s grace, I have been getting up each morning and spending time with the Lord, reading His Word and praying. Let me just say that my life has been changed ever since. I have experienced God’s grace in a way that I never thought I could. By the power of the Holy Spirit, I have been able to say no to sin, and He has given me faith for change in my life. He has used His Word to convict and encourage me each day and I believe that my heart is softer than ever and I am more in tune to His Spirit in my life. By His grace, I will never go back to letting a day go by without spending time with my Lord. Not because I want to “earn” favor from God, but because I need Him so much and recognize that only He is truly my sufficiency and my joy. So my heart for each of you is that you will be willing to obey God in whatever way He is calling you to. It may not mean getting up at 5:30, but it might mean making small sacrifices in your life in order to make Him your passion and priority. Do not fear letting go of an area in your life that you’ve been holding on to, but take that step of faith and believe that God is ready and willing to turn your world upside down in an amazing way.
May we all be encouraged to humble ourselves before God and believe that He has grace to do what is absolutely impossible in our own flesh.
Thanks girly, for your wonderful example!