My Testimony

Brad and I shared our testimonies on Sunday at church, as we were becoming members. And, I thought I might share mine with you as well…

My testimony has that mundane sort of feel I think we all tend to
minimize when we are raised in a home with Christian parents.  Saved
at a young age, and with nothing particularly profound, nor
particularly useful about my story.  I have to be careful though – to
minimize the daily average-ness of the modern Christian’s journey can
hedge upon mocking the Lord that sees fit to use our everyday lives to
His glory.

I was raised in a Good home.  My parents placed more value on our
spiritual walk than they did on anything else, and I am eternally
grateful for flannelgraph Moseses and Samsons and Davids. I am
grateful for being paid to learn Bible verses as a kid – verses that
still come to mind. I am grateful for being forced (for it felt forced
at the time somedays) for the half hour of Bible study that was
expected of us on weeknights during our teen years.

I must have been about the age of Judah when I started praying, night
after night: “Dear Lord, if you didn’t save me last night, save me
tonight.” It wasn’t very Calvinistic of me at all – and I’m not sure
where the notion came from for me.  But nothing happened.  I wanted to
Feel something, and I didn’t.  And then.  I would have been eleven or
so, and sitting only a few rows back in this church.  We had a guest
speaker, and I honestly couldn’t tell you who it was, nor what he
spoke on.  But one Sunday morning, I felt a glorious inrush of the
Holy Spirit.  I had not prayed for it, nor expected it – but it’s
honestly the closest I can come to describing a moment of conversion.
I left church that morning feeling eternally altered.

I was baptized a few years later, and enjoyed what my family can
attest to as a relatively uneventful teenage experience.  I was a
total nerd (I still am), and spent most of my teen years with my nose
in a book.  I struggled with who I was.  I know every teen does, but
while I had no expectation or interest in being popular, I certainly
didn’t want people to mock me for my Christianity.  I felt convicted
enough to bring my Bible to school, but my fear of others trumped my
desire to witness, and I always hid it in a stack of books.  Ironic,
considering I’m fairly certain everyone knew I was a Christian…At
the ripe old age of 17 I decided the youth group wasn’t quite cutting
it for me, and I joined my parents who were leading College and
Careers at our then church home.  And I met Brad.  A strong leader,
quietly confident of his own abilities, and a man who valued truth and
family and honour – I was drawn in, over the course of a few months,
to recognizing what made him by far the most incredible man I’d been
acquainted with… We began dating, and a year and a half later, and
only 18, I married Brad, and have been blessed with 11.5 years that
are better and richer than I expected or deserve.  Marrying someone
who cares more about your own well being than theirs is an absolute
rarity that I’m gifted with….

We moved to Windsor shortly after we married, and adopted what we
called a punch-in-the-face mentality – intentionally having three
children in under three years.  The ongoing, and 100 percent true joke
in our home is that I prayed for active children.  Because I somehow
worried that a Chudy/Sagert combo would produce children that sit
around and colour…. These bundles of energy are my constant reminder
that God does answer even our silliest desires… It’s a strange sort
of comfort – to know that if He is willing and able to hear this
prayer, then the cry of my heart that He would save them all, and call
them to a life with Him as their focus and joy may also be in His
will…

We have been back home in the Sarnia area since Trinity was 6 weeks
old.  One of the best, most treasured blessings of my Spiritual life
is being involved with a group of women who have met for over five
years now – many of who are here this morning.  We have seen some
amazing answers to prayer as we have gathered.  I always buy at least
one more book than there are women who say they are attending each
season and the Lord always brings someone new into our group.  I don’t
know what life would have looked like for me as a young momma without
these girls.

Most of my spiritual milestones since we have moved home have been hit
walking with a friend in their shoes. God in His mercy and providence
has allowed me to suffer very little of my own pains to this point…
It is amazing to me the small things in life that the Lord allows to
transform us – but it was the ridiculously simple act of bringing a
lasanga to a young mom I didn’t know that well that put me on the fast
track to hurting with people.  I thought I was going to help her
because her husband was out of town for the week… I didn’t know we
were going to develop a friendship over the agony of her losing her
mom to cancer… I don’t know why standing in her front hallway 5
years ago has had the transforming power that it did, but such is the
mysterious workings of our ever faithful God. My great hope in life is
that the Lord continues to see fit to use me when people lose babes,
and dads and battles with cancer and all the other struggles that lie
dormant in hearts.  Through these times I have learned the
faithfulness of our God, the blessing of friendship, the joys of
sharing a burden and the tangible knowledge that God truly does work
all things for the good of those who believe in Him.

My life passage is deeply intwined with the opportunities the Lord has
given me to grow in the sufferings of others: “Blessed be the God and
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all
comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able
to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with
which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in
Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort
too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if
we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when
you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for
you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you
will also share in our comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

The year after I shared that dinner with my friend was defining for
me.  I had no idea one year could hold so much heartache – but I went
to almost a dozen funerals – including saying goodbye to my
grandfather and uncle within three weeks of each other.  Laurel got
into a car accident in this time period – one that will continue to
shape her daily life.  Again – most of these are not MY hurts – but I
felt them nonetheless. The Lord used this season to continue to teach
me the joys of sharing burdens..

2011 has had a similar sort of feel to it… Welcoming Charlotte
into the world will always be one of the absolute highlights of my
life. God does make all things beautiful in His time; and a beautiful,
lively little niece that we pleaded with the Lord for was the right
way to start this year… But that moment had been preceded by one of my
favourite people losing his dad to cancer.  I had no idea how much
sharing that heartache would impact me… but he was one of the first
people I called when my mom was diagnosed with cancer only a few weeks
later, and it was such a mixed blessing to have his support.  I have
seen, through the course of the year how faithful our Lord is – as we
have trusted Him for the healing of my mom.  Only a few weeks ago we
got the cancer free update from the doctor – and we thank the Lord for
her health. It’s a year that has been riddled with cancer news, and
other deep pains of life.  I see the Lord wanting to draw me into a
deeper fellowship with Him at this time – learning to take all my
cares to Him first. I feel like I’m finally learning to stop apologizing for my faith. Recognizing Christ as all-sufficient makes it easier and easier to share Him – because going to Him truly is the only answer. And I have been struck anew with the brevity of life – and if you know me at all, you know I’m desperately trying to
make the most of every minute.

Finding a church family has not been easy for us. I have delayed
membership for months and months because I walked into this building
in a season of taking.  I don’t feel right about committing to a local
body, but only sitting in my pew.  So, I suppose I took the more
cowardly approach, and have waited until I felt ready to be a
functional, useful member.  I imagine Brad could tell you I make a
good mouth as far as what-part-of-the-body are you – I’m just feeling
eager to use the gifts that the Lord has seen fit to give me to be a
blessing to this particular local church body.    I struggle with how
much to say at this point.  Suffice it to say – I think I bruise easy.
Certainly easier than I’m willing to admit most days.  It’s taken me
almost two solid years of trying to skip out when the message is done
to finally allow people in.  Vulnerability is not my strong suit – and
I fear I punish people for past hurts.  That is to say – I think I
have punished you folks for things I have experienced elsewhere.  It’s
been months though, since I’ve walked into this door and my heart has
done that happy, contented sort of sigh that says “this is home.”
It’s home because you love the Word.  It’s home because I’ve made it
very difficult to be lovable – and so many of you keep trying, week
after week.  It’s home because you’ve prayed for my mom from the
pulpit.  It’s home because only a few short months after Laurel had
lost another babe we stood together and sang “it is well with my
soul.”  It’s home because my kids love it here, and you not only put
up with thier liveliness, you welcome it….

My hope and prayer as we join our family in yours this morning is that
you will accept my weaknesses, and be able to find ways to use my
strengths to His glory.  Thank you for the love you have poured out on
us..

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bishop Harber
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 14:44:01

    This is beautiful. Amazing and beautiful.

    Reply

  2. Jenn
    Feb 18, 2013 @ 12:07:27

    Nicole, just read this again today. Beautiful testimony. I think of you often and pray for you and I’m wondering how you’re doing these days? My email is houseofstone@shaw.ca if you ever want to fire me one. With love, Jenn

    Reply

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