This picture was painted by my friend Linnea. It is a visual representation of a “Faith Miner’s Daughter” coming out of the mountain. The woman is in the Word of God, which is changing her heart. The light radiates out and overtakes the darkness. The jewels form in this process and spill off the pages of her life.
I’ve been wrestling with the best place to start this blog. It’s difficult to communicate the past ten years in a single post. I figured the best place to begin is by telling you where this all began for me. I was asked to give a testimony at a women’s retreat in 2005. The topic was faith. The woman who approached me about it said to tell “a little about what God was doing in my life”. It had been a big year, spiritually speaking. Everything had changed since Jesus had shown up the year before. I mean, I had heard of Jesus before then but I couldn’t “see” Him until then.
I told the ladies this dramatic unveiling of Jesus reminded me of an experience I had in my early twenties. I was a young, inexperienced traveler who was sent on a business trip to Tacoma, Washington for the week. I drove my rental car into town in the thick fog of the early morning commute. I parked the car in a small lot adjacent to the building I entered for work that day. Upon leaving, I encountered an enormous mountain as I walked back to my vehicle. There, in front of me, stood this beautiful, snow-peaked mountain that simply “appeared” out of nowhere. I stood gawking in disbelief, wondering how I could have missed it that morning. I soon discovered it was Mt. Rainier, and this was a typical experience in the foggy climate of the Northwest. Jesus showed up like this- in a momentous, glorious appearing. The fog of my heart suddenly lifted. There He was… breathtakingly beautiful… and so close. I could not believe how close… and yet how far I had been.
The months following my conversion were amazing. Events of my life suddenly began to dawn on me in new ways – new perspective. I could now see and understand my life (and myself) in a different way. I felt abundantly blessed in the richness of His grace and the truths His Word revealed. It reminded me of a “rags-to-riches” type story. This in combination with my Mt. Rainier moment is what led to my testimony, “Faith Miner’s Daughter”. It really was fascinating to look at the practice of mining and how it relates to our faith (more on this in another post!). The ladies at the retreat really liked what I shared, so much so that I got a standing ovation.
I had shared the fact that I was giving a testimony with a good friend of mine at work. I remember distinctly saying to her, “It’s just a testimony”. She was like, “Just?” She corrected me with, “It’s all about our testimony”. There’s so much truth in her words. I’ve spent the last several years learning about the power of our testimony, and getting free enough from the past to speak mine without fear.
That day I shared what I could, but truly there was so much more I had not yet processed: family history of mental illness, alcoholism, divorce, sexual sin, and wickedness. These things are difficult to face; even more difficult to speak on. The rocky ground takes years to cultivate. Diamonds form deep within the earth, in unbearably hot temperatures.
Last week, I gave another testimony; for a ministry organization who helped my family in 2011. This one is not so well put together or resolved. It puts out there the struggle we’ve been going through these last years. The power in the testimony is seeing God’s grace and His mighty hand in the midst of our brokenness. It’s His unfailing love in pursuit of a son who has strayed beyond a mother’s anguished comprehension. It’s the answered pleas for help; the Sovereign combination of perfect mercy and justice. It’s His tender comfort in knowing you are being held and upheld. It’s power to stand, to speak the unspeakable, and to cling to the hope we have in His covenant promises. This is our testimony… raw, wounded, quaking, bleeding…and victorious in Christ. “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Revelation 12:11). Giving a testimony can feel like a death. We are putting ourselves out there and dying to what others may think, feel, or say about us and our families. It’s death of self-preservation and saving face. We must speak hope into the darkness and madness of this sinful world. Our testimony is all we’ve got….and it’s enough. To God be the glory. Amen!