I’m Courtney and I grew up with a Christian family. I went to church weekly as a kid and tried to follow the church rules. I knew in my head God was alive, but lived as if he was dead or nonexistent, I guess you could say I didn’t know in my heart He was real. Then, in 8th grade I felt God’s presence during a church retreat worship service. It’s hard to explain God’s presence, but for me it was an overwhelming understanding of God’s love for me. I knew he was real, and I cried my eyes out over how much he loved me. I was so overwhelmed by God’s presence that I knew I wouldn’t want to spend a day living for anyone except Him. I decided to surrender my whole life for following Christ, and since 8th grade I have followed him wholeheartedly. (And, looking back, it’s MORE than worth it. We don’t lose when we are obedient to God’s Word, we win big.)
The meat of many testimonies is in the events of their life before they came to know Christ. The power of many testimonies is in a dramatic life turnaround, deep wounds that God healed, forgiveness after being abused, or freedom from addictions. As a young middle schooler I hadn’t yet travelled down a long winding path to destruction that I needed to turn around from, no person or situation has wounded me that deeply, there are few people I have had to forgive, and in all of high school not one person asked me to drink or try drugs. I’m a little different in that, the power of my testimony is most clearly seen in all God has done AFTER I decided to follow Him.
God forgave me of all my sin and selfishness. I would have drowned in it on my own, but God’s grace erased every mistake and most of the dirt in my heart. The rest of the dirt He is still erasing as I walk with Him every day.
He led my grandpa to a relationship with Him right before my grandpa passed away, now I know I’ll see him again someday.
God gave me a new identity and a purpose. That’s a short sentence, but probably the most meaningful one to me I’ve written so far.
One night when I was driving home I sensed God was with me and I didn’t know why. I said out loud in my car, “God what are you doing?” Several hours later that night, (My dad works night shifts at a pharmacy), my dad was held at gunpoint for the first time in 17 years, and the man said he would kill him and his family if he didn’t give him certain prescription drugs. My dad said he felt God’s peace and knew it would be okay. My dad’s okay=).
One time God gave me a dream to try and raise $10,000 in one year for an organization that helps other people and tells them about Jesus called Speed The Light. I knew God had put it on my heart, I also knew there was no way I could reach it. I cried, because I knew I would burn myself out trying to reach this goal, and I wouldn’t reach it. But for me and for you, God has a dream for our lives that’s bigger than we can imagine, and I don’t want to be the limiting factor on what God does in my life. So I decided to go after the $10,000 goal. 30 friends and I wore the same T-shirt for a month and asked people to support us by donating to Speed The Light. We raised almost $3,000. Everyone else thought that was great, but I was really broken about it and thought it was a failure because the goal was $10,000. The year was still young, only April, but I didn’t know what else to do. So I got a job in September, and gave away almost all of my work money, my Christmas and birthday money. I thought to myself, “At least when I don’t reach this goal, it won’t be my fault.” December 31 came and I hadn’t even made it to $4,000. I was like “God I told you I wouldn’t make it.” To make a long story short, we did the fundraiser again the next year, we rose just short of $17,000 that month with 174 participants. I did the math.
Almost 17,000 + Almost 3,000 + my work, birthday, Christmas $= OVER $20,000 in two years. God did what I thought was impossible, only he did it better. I thought he couldn’t do $10,000 in one year, he did $20,000 in two years. Then we continued Illuminate this past April, and raised around $14,000. So really he did $34,000 in 3 years.
But he actually did even more than that because several students around the nation have taken the t-shirt idea and used it to raise thousands of dollars for Speed The Light in their own states. God is amazing and faithful and when we step out in faith he steps in and moves in crazy ways. I’m a really ordinary quirky person. But GOD is great, God is awesome, and he DELIGHTS in using ordinary people to do extraordinary things for his glory.
God also moves in ways that seem little to us. One time I was running outside and my stomach started hurting so bad I had to lie on the side of the road and I couldn’t move. Then I prayed for healing, it went away, and I ran home.
Over and over again when I put God first in my life, he takes care of everything else. For example, when I have the choice to study, and I really really need to study, like this is not a joke I really need to study, but I also haven’t spent time with God yet, so I pray instead, I end up doing good on the test anyways, like A work good, or the test doesn’t matter like I thought it did.
God has put it on my heart to give away money that I wanted and thought I needed, but every time, once the money is gone I don’t really miss it, and I have never had to go without clothes, gas, a place to live, tuition, and food.
A couple weeks ago I gave my last can of pop to my friend. I love pop. Love it. That night at chi alpha, the neighboring room was giving away free pop. BOOYEAH
I could go on and on because God’s goodness is never-ending, and he does sweet things CONTINUALLY through people who follow him. But, what should excite you more than the testimonies God has made through my life, or anyone else’s life, is the testimonies he wants to write through your life. The same God who did all those crazy awesome things in the bible is real and with us today. And he is still in the business of writing crazy awesome stories through ordinary people like me and you when we give our lives to Jesus and are willing to be obedient and follow wherever he leads.