A Wallflower's Testimony
Myself and my baby, Dakota
My name is Tina. I'm 18, almost 19 now, and a senior in high school. For the longest time, I would love to hear people's amazing testimonies about how God brought them back from the gates of hell at the last moment and they ended up being an internationally known missionary. I would sit back and examine my own, seemingly boring life, and think that I didn't have a testimony of my own because of my relatively quiet life. However, within the past few years I have come to realize that it isn't true. I still respect those who have gone through so much before they accepted Christ, but I realized that for every amazing, heartbreak-filled testimony there is an equally amazing, but very different sort of testimony. That would be a testimony like mine.
Of course, both types of testimonies should be equally celebrated. It just took me awhile to see what was so special about my own.
I grew up in the church. The same church, as a matter of fact, that my mother and her family grew up in. My dad also grew up in the church, though a different one. It was a small church, and even though I hardly said anything, everyone knew me all the same. I was a wallflower. When I get the chance to be, I still sort of am. It has just been the last five years or so that I have learned how to speak up.
I accepted Jesus into my heart as my Lord and Savior in children's church when I was around 4-6 years old. I still remember the "altar call" in the gymnasium where they held the children's services. I loved Coach Tim, the current children's pastor. He was loud and crazy and fun. I was so extremely intimidated by him that I didn't ever really form a lasting bond, but I loved him all the same. (Oh, the joys of being a quiet, shy child! haha. I've come to terms with it.)
I was excited about it, but I didn't really FEEL saved. Of course, as I grew my faith grew, slowly but surely. Since I've always been someone who would rather observe than be observed, I would make it a habit to pay closer attention to who I thought were particularly strong believers in my church. I attended the small, private Christian school that was attached to my church. We had a Bible class every day from first to eighth grade. I switched to another, slightly larger, private Christian school for my freshman year of high school. I still had a Bible class every day. (I am a senior now, and have been homes chooled since sophomore year. I took one online Bible course called Apologetics sophomore year... an amazing subject, I encourage everyone to study it!)
I was pretty much at church on every day except for Saturday. And in grade school, I was a cheerleader (we were a very small, more-like-pom-squad-than-cheer group. But we were proud of our teams!) and had to attend games on those days. So, I pretty much came in contact with my church building every day of the week during the school year.
I was always the good child. I only ever had 1-3 really close friends. I was a wallflower. Until the second grade I was so shy I could hardly call my teachers' names. Thankfully, I've grown out of that phase! But any way... I was the sort of child that got sent to the principal's office for doing good things, to get a reward.
Now, for the longest time, I thought this would make such a boring testimony that it wouldn't really help anyone. But what changed my view was hearing the testimony of a girl that was nearly identical to mine. I got into no major trouble. My home life has been and still is great. I love my parents. I'm grateful for it all.
And I still am the good child that gets good grades. I have one best friend, and 4-5 close-ish friends.
But my relationship with God is still there, and it is stronger than ever. I have ups and downs in there, but nothing drastic. I have always attended church regularly. I've never even gotten a speeding ticket.
I'm a huge reader. And I've learned SO much about God and faith and Christianity and purity and relationships and so on from books, and listening to my favorite out-of-state pastors on their free podcasts... I used to think that maybe my knowledge wasn't as great because I didn't learn it from experience. But then I realized that my testimony was just as good as anyone else's because it could still inspire people. I could tell them what God has done for me! It might not be anything dramatic. But, it is just right for my wallflower self. God is all about doing things quietly. (Going into your prayer closet, not advertising the fact that you are fasting, etc.) Just as he is all about doing things loudly. (Think about Elijah calling down fire!) But it is all about the person. John the Baptist didn't do great miracles like Elijah, but he was just as important!
God started really doing a work in me when I started riding horses. If he hadn't put that passion in me, I wouldn't be who I am today. (Really... I hounded my parents for lessons for EVER. I got out the phone book on a monthly basis and wrote down all the stable names and addresses in it.) I learned my sport, and started working at my barn. I started coming out of my shell. My trainer and boss is a great Christian lady that helped me a ton. Now I'm teaching college kids (many of whom are older than I am!) as well as 6-13 year old's how to ride. And I'm learning how, in the right situations, to speak up. I've learned that people want to know what I've worked to learn. When I thought that I just wasn't important enough for people to listen to, I was wrong.
Really, by my testimony I want to let you girls know something. When you downplay your importance in the Kingdom of God, you are downplaying what GOD has put in you. Over the past five years, I have really grown into a more strong, confident, capable woman than I ever thought I could be. And it isn't because I was trying to change who I was. I will never be an in-your-face-praise-the-Lord-hallelujah kind of person that evangelizes on TV and helps bring the masses to Christ. God made me to be a quiet Christian. I'm rambling here, but I'm wrapping it up, I promise! Well, a quiet Christian that can't stop typing! haha. I don't have to be loud to be strong. I can reach the people that are intimidated by those in-your-face Christians. And we need those! So if you are one, then good job. I certainly can't do it. :) But, the point is, that even though remaining humble is important... you need to see how valuable you are to God! All types of girls are needed in the Kingdom. And strength will manifest itself in you in God's way, not the world's way. I heard one pastor say it this way: "A shy though now I just say quiet, not shy. I'm not afraid to talk to people any more, I just.. well, you get the idea. I'm not much of a talker unless I have a paragraph to say. haha. Christian is a refreshing Christian. If everyone was an in-your-face Christian, people would get tired of us. Likewise, if everyone was a shy Christian, the message wouldn't be all over the world right now."
So, to recap: Every single one of you have a part to play, and finding out what God has manifested in you is empowering! Let it shine. :)
And second... I haven't said this yet so it isn't technically a recap, but I wanted to point out that I hope my testimony from 5 years old to 18 years old can encourage you to keep the faith. I know I haven't lived as long as many other great Christians have, but I have prayed for wisdom, know that God wants the young to set an example, and have finally realized the value of my words. God CAN and WILL keep you for as long as you are on this earth. If you have had a major slip-up and fallen away from the fold, you can pick right back up and keep going. I've had to learn that my testimony is special because of how long God has been working in me. And although I don't necessarily shout it to the rooftops.... I've become very attached to my testimony and wouldn't have it any other way.
Wow, that was long.. wasn't it? If anyone wants to email me... go ahead! firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm extremely quiet in person, but can't stop typing, if you haven't noticed. So I would love to hear from anyone that wants to talk, or would like prayer, or anything else.