What Our Testimonies Reveal
By Jennifer Slattery
“But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His immense patience as an example for those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life.” 1 Timothy 1:16
My hands were shaky, my stomach queasy. I’d been to the bathroom five times in twice as many minutes as my jumble of nerves worked against my courage to obey. Having committed to share my testimony, as unglamorous as it was, with my church’s women, I knew I couldn’t back out.
Though the thought had crossed my mind over a dozen times. But I knew my story, as ugly as parts of it were, revealed the power of the gospel within me.
I also knew, God wanted to use me to bring hope and healing to others.
Determined to surrender to His leading, on May of 2012, I took several deep breaths and left the safety of the bathroom to unveil all to women I considered friends.
I was certain they’d hear, clearly, the message of God’s unyielding love and grace. I felt equally certain that, by the time I finished, I’d lose any respect or admiration they’d held for me.
It’s easy to share our triumphs. It’s much harder to tell others our secret shame and deepest regrets. That takes courage, a decision to “die to one’s self” as Scripture puts it, and leaning hard on Christ.
Telling others how I’d dropped out of high school and experienced a period of homelessness as a teen was rough. But not nearly as rough as it must have been for Paul, the author of today’s verse, to share his past. Prior to encountering Jesus, he’d been known as a murderous tyrant. He’d witnessed incredible brutality and “agreed completely with the killing” (Acts 8:1). His very name must’ve caused countless Christians to freeze in fear.
The people he now spent most of his time with.
What kind of love—for God and mankind—would it take for such a man to open up and share all?
What kind of love would it take for us to do the same? And what might God do with our testimony if we did?
Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, is the author of eight contemporary novels, and helped write Wholly Loved’s Bible study based on the life of Sarai (Gen. 12-23) titled Becoming His Princess, available for free (in ebook form) from Wholly Loved Ministries. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.
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