I was asked to share my testimony at the last Strands of Grace meeting (our church's women's meetings). It was so sweet to remember my testimony. I thought I'd share it in case it would encourage anyone else.
And, Charity, girl, if you happen to stumble across this blog, may you be encouraged to press on and share the amazing news of the Gospel! I love you, sista'!
The Power of Intentionality: How Friendship Can Rock Someone’s World and Glorify God
Ken Sande says we can glorify God by four things. Trusting God. Obeying God. Imitating God. Acknowledging God. I put a slight spin on that to help me remember that I can glorify God in whatever situation He provides. The acronym is TOIL.
Looking to God.
That is toil. I’d like to share with you how toil – the hard work - of my old roommate, Charity, rocked my world and glorified God.
TRUST GOD - I was in need of salvation & Charity TRUSTED GOD to do His will in my life
- I was lost, never heard the Gospel, never read the Bible, didn’t even own a Bible
- I was struggling with sin and miserably entrenched in it
- I was lonely, “looking for love in all the wrong places”
The first thing Charity did was trust that God placed me in her life. I know this because years later she told me that she “prayed for a roommate” right before meeting me. Charity trusted that God would provide opportunities for a relationship that pointed me to Him! She didn’t get caught up in where I was but focused on where God was simply joined Him in the work He was already doing.
OBEY GOD – I needed Charity’s friendship & she OBEYED GOD by allowing it to happen
- Charity lived transparently in every way, sharing her life story, helping me see that being Christian wasn’t about following a bunch of rules but being in relationship with the Savior. She humbly showed me how prone to sin she was and how desperate she was for Him.
- She INVITED ME to ask questions, go to church with her, attend Bible Study with her
- She LOVED ME by challenging me in my sin, speaking truth to me, and asking tough questions, and even giving me my first Bible
- She LOVED OTHERS in a way that I couldn’t understand, as she eagerly showed God’s love to people from all walks of life.
- She SHOWED ME HOW INTIMATE HER RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SAVIOR WAS by praying in such a personal way that I knew she knew God as her Daddy
- She LIVED DEPENDENTLY IN HIS STRENGTH though she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis the end of our 1st year living together, she was thankful and joyful
To give you a few specific examples of how she lived by faith, she would pray at meals when we ate out, would pray before driving somewhere as her car was unreliable, she always gave God credit for those seemingly “little” blessings in life. She was not ashamed of her Savior.
IMITATE GOD – Charity imitated God and I followed her example
The Lord used her as she imitated Him. I wanted what she had.
- I wanted peace as she had
- I attended a Bible Study and not long after going, on March 9, 1997, I confessed my sin and gave my life to Christ.
- Because of her example of reading God’s Word EVERY day, I desired to read His Word for myself. By God’s grace, I read my Bible daily for 21 days in a row. The streak of reading the Word and journaling continued for 135 days. Her encouragement was priceless.
- Charity’s gracious example has affected me to this day. Having a Quiet Time in the morning is the priority. I have missed days but even on those days I am so aware of not quieting myself before Him that (more often than not) I at least cry out to Him for a moment. And He always provides me that moment!
- I value accountability b/c of her loving example. I know I cannot live the Christian life in isolation.
- She showed me by example how critical it is for me to be a part of the body of Christ through the local church! Though I chose not to attend her church, she attended my Baptism, watched me dance on the praise team, and attend other special events with me. She knew her role of mentor wasn’t over though I was saved!
LOOK TO GOD – God sharpened both of us through our friendship
- It wasn’t until William and I married that I can recall us switching places, the mentored doing the mentoring. I would like to really stress here that it is critical that we are on guard for our pride, thinking we know just what God has in store. I can remember William and I sitting across from her and her husband and me trying to exhort her in a particular area. It was the first time that really stood out to me that our relationship really had taken on a new level. I was reminded to look to God and ask Him to reveal how I might better love others, be a gracious sharpener, and humbly receive other’s sharpening.
God used Charity’s TOIL, her trusting, obeying, imitating, and looking to God, to show me the hope of Jesus. God used her intentional friendship to change my life forever, for which I give Him all the glory!