SAVED and baptised over 23 years ago, having gone astray during my latter teen years, and having been exposed to 3 years abuse in my apprenticeship which is when I went astray, I really didn’t get faith first time around.
I went a little way in the faith, but I didn’t submit to discipleship, and led a ‘happy’ worldly life until my world came crashing down on 22 September 2003. For the first time in my life I knew I needed God.
The following five months were the hardest of my life, and in my lowest of lows (lonelier than ever and in the deepest despair), I responded to a TV evangelist’s altar call. It was Saturday 8 November 2003. I prayed that prayer in sobbing tears, and didn’t feel a great deal different. But there was a peace I received that I’d call “resignation,” that life is life, and we can best accept it, crumby bits and all. This peace I couldn’t understand, but I had no problem simply accepting it. It didn’t make my circumstances any different, but God showed me they didn’t have to change for me to know relief.
All during this time I was doing the 12-Step program, which included a thorough moral inventory (which involved, for me, two months of sin-identification) and a repentance session with a sponsor (which took five hours one Sunday night). That was 14 December. On 18 December I was baptised in the Holy Spirit for the first time. God was confirming to me every week that he was very real and present in my life, and I was incredibly drawn to him, his Word, and to trust and obey his will – even when it meant I missed out, had to sacrifice in some way, or had to repent.
All through this initial period I was connected to the wonderful fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous – where recovery, unity and service are tenets you live. I fell in love with the process of God restoring me, to connecting with mentors and those I could help, and to serving in some of the most menial of ways. It was all joy. It was all joy in a period of great pain in my life – the loss of my family.
God showed me through this period the immense value in a redemptive mindset; that, with Jesus in focus, what is broken in life can be restored.
I learned the value in making amends. I learned forgiveness. I learned the value of parenting in truly devoted ways. I learned to repent every day. I learned to keep close account with God – that I was accountable to God.
I may not have ‘got’ God first time, but this time I was never letting go.
My story is a story of God’s glory in one human being.
Reveals God’s glory
Whenever I’ve the courage
What it takes
As courage He makes
Is simply the boldness
Our testimony has immense power for the incredible work Jesus has done and is doing in us. Our story reveals God’s glory.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.