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JoeyH

My testimony

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I thought it was about time I wrote it. When I became an official member of my local Baptist church several years ago I gave a very censored version and several were quite surprised. ( IFB people who have been brought up in church all their lives find testimonies like mine strange.) I will go into more detail here.

 

*Catholic upbringing

i was brought up in a Catholic household. My mother was Catholic, father Anglican (non-practising). I went to Catholic schools, attended Mass every Sunday. I had nuns teach me all about religion BEFORE Roman Catholic teaching became more inclusive of non-Catholics. I enjoyed RE classes and even briefly considered geing a nun.

 

Despite that outward religiousness my mother was interested in numerology and was convinced she had ESP. She was quite convincing about that at times. She also was quite unbalanced for several reasons and as a result my household was constantly over-serious and walking on eggshells all the time.

For a while she improved a great deal after she joined an Anglican Church woman's bible study. I wanted to know why. I decided to read the bible for myself and that started me questioning why what I heard at school and what the bible said sounded so different to each other.

 

*My personal situation

My life changed a great deal when I was 12 and had a serious grand mal seizure. My diagnosis- complex partial seizures. That started me on medications that worked for a while but eventually their effectiveness wore off. The whole time they stopped full seizure but minor seizures still were occuring. That made me very self-conscious. The mood swings and other side effects were almost as bad as the epilepsy itself.

 

The family home became more unsettled when my brother was born (I was now 14). My mother got much sicker and the house was constantly miserable with the fighting. Occasional domestic violence was traumatising for my little sisters and I. The verbal abuse my mother dished out on my father and my siblings was almost as bad.

 

At the time I was turning to God more and more for comfort and I grew more and more interested in what the bible said. Some acquaintances of my parents were strong Christians, but Charismatics. I got some good Christian books from them but several very bad ones. At the time I still did not understand the Gospel. The "bad books" were from Charles Finney, Hannah Withall Smith and some extreme Charismatics/ New Apostolic Reformation writers.

 

As a result of those books and attending their church several times I became focused on experiencing God's presence and signs that I was a Christian. My reading of the bible just wasn't sinking in. Despite this spiritual confusion I decided to stop attending the Roman Catholic Church and youth group completely and through a young male acquaintance who I had quite a crush on I ended up attending the local Baptist church....

 

(to be continued)

 

 

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This next entry contains content I did NOT include in my short talk to my church, with so many young ears present. The one thing I said was a became a believer, but only a very shallow believer - after a destructive relationship I fell away. I have decided to give it because it will add several pieces to jigsaw puzzle of why I fell so deeply into sin later

----

How I wish I could type as a conclusion that young man brought me to that church, I was born again, we fell in love, got married and lived happily ever after - THE END. (He had the most beautiful opera voice too, going to Conservatorium!)

That Baptist church was nothing like like the Catholic Church or a scary non-denominational church my parents' acquaintances took me to several times. The latter's crazy tongue speaking really unsettled me. The people seemed like real lovers of the Lord. I heard the Gospel. The youth group at my local University filled in the gaps. I read the bible and it made sense to me now.

Sadly at the same time I met another young man who actually paid me the attention I had never received from anyone before. I was desperate for love. I had been so verbally abused that I did not believe anyone would ever want me. He knew the Christian talk so well I assumed he was a mature Christian.

Long story short - where my mother's abuse ended, he started and completed. It was a very destructive relationship. Even his own father said to me I was too good for him (!). After an abortion, extremely coerced sex and extreme verbal abuse I was a shell of a woman. I couldn't to go church. I was such a hypocrite.

I had tried to break up multiple times but I was addicted still. I finally decided to break up the day before I would be going away for a long nursing practical session in another city (common in Australia, 3 weeks in another city's health facilities to gain broader experience). I pretty well had a mini nervous breakdown. While there another nursing student took me under her wing. I became friends with her. She asked me if I wanted to go to the Christmas function with her boyfriend and several of his mates.

At the time I already felt like I had built emotional barriers against male attention and I honestly don't remember meeting my now husband that night. Some how he managed to stick around and we gradually grew closer the following year. By end of year we were engaged. It was easy to tell he wasn't Christian via lack of talk about God or anything related. I didn't care. I now hated all Christian men and never wanted to be with one again.

 

* Major cause of faith issue

While all this was going on my seizures were very gradually getting worse. Access to Nursing and Medical Journals made me look at epilepsy material a lot more. I came across this topic and I remember my heart sinking. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geschwind_syndrome

I fitted it perfectly. This is why I was interested in religion, so good at essay writing (especially when sleep-deprived - more irregular brain waves), had such problems with self-condemnation and so on. I quickly buried these thoughts but they came back with a vengeance later on....

 

 

----

I graduated with Registered Nursing degree but quickly had to stop working at that hospital. Extreme depression set in. I had had the first bortion, justifying it via career aspirations. I had been pressured by my doctor and mother in my second year of University and I went along with it.

In my fourth year of University the pill failed and my then fiancee didn't want it either. I now had to suppress even more guilt and grief to cope with my self-loathing.I was alone with my thoughts a lot of the time as my fiancee was often out on military exercises or doing further training.

 

At end of 1994 I was assessed for brain surgery, was told I was a perfect candidate BUT told I should try the new medications together instead. They did work very well, so well in fact I returned to work at a local nursing home I had worked at while doing my University degree.

 

We started the wedding plans finally. All this time I started to get tugging at my heart that God was willing to forgive me if I returned to Him. I suspect a regular visitor to a friend in the nursing home was praying for me.....

 

(end of first censored entry)

Edited by JoeyH

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Only 6 weeks before my marriage I suddenly repented. I called the local Uniting Church (later became non-denominational) and the following Sunday I went. I met a family who lived several houses down the street from me and they "adopted me" along with a grandmother. I suddenly felt so torn between my faith and my husband. I just couldn't break up with him, so I didn't. (Am still married to him too.)

 

The women's group was a blessing to me. One woman must have listened to me closely and invited me to a woman's "Wounded Heart" bible study. (Available via Amazon and free on Openlibrary.org) When I realised who it was for I didn't think I qualified. However discovered I had experienced a lot of what the survivors of incest did too.

 

After I had my first son was born my seizures got extremely bad. Despite my local neurologist's concerns I decided I would have the brain surgery after all. I suddenly was more aware of what was being said in church but I felt nothing. NOTHING at all. The church service musicians were still as gifted, my bible reading made sense again, but I felt no sense of God any more. My brain surgery + medication had cured religion (from atheist perspective) as well as epilepsy. My second son made no difference either.

 

I felt robbed. My Christian "grandmother" reassured me that my faith was just as real even if abnormal feelings were gone. I wanted to believe her but in my mind I now believed atheists' books about religion and brain disease instead of the bible. I had done just what the apostle Paul warned against here. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Colossians+2%3A8-10&version=KJV

 

----

 

Evil period (1-2 years)

After my husband was posted away from my home town I backslid to such an extreme I became convinced I had never been a Christian and no faith of mine would ever count. I permitted myself to read previously banned books/ bad websites and watch terrible movies. I think one day God suddenly revealed for a split second how my mind had gone. I actually felt something was looking at the world out of my own eyes. It terrified me.

 

I destroyed a book I felt like I was being warned by Someone (any readers know who that was!) needed to be got rid of ASAP. I did do that despite feeling no actual faith in God. Fear was my motivator.

 

That was the deepest pit of my life. I felt insane but didn't want to repent. I now didn't want there to be a God but still wanted to know if God did exist. I no longer read blatantly evil books but was looking for anything but God's way to pull me out of my mental and emotional turmoil. Self help books did not do it. Psychoanalysis websites were enticing at first but got progressively darker as I learned to translate the terminology. From time to time I would sort of ask God for help and get puzzled when they were answered in a way. I still managed to rationalize them away every time.

 

 

Repentance starting point

----

The nearly 180 degree turn started when I heard snippets of a street preacher's message towards end of 2006. (I hope that is encouragement to any street preachers out there - I am one who responded later at home.) It jogged my memory again. Inwardly I asked God "please if you exist, prove it to me". The words came clearly in my mind "Disprove the Resurrection".

 

At that time that was checkmate. I still had Apologetics material on the bookcase. I then asked God what bible book I should read. A surprising one to me - Hosea. I saw clearly I fitted the profile of Hosea's wife exactly. My conscience was extremely pricked. I still hadn't repented though - I felt like I was raging inside

 

A few days later I asked the same question and Proverbs came to my mind. Now that made sense. I had tried everything but God's Wisdom. I read a chapter a day, several translations and then searched for websites that dealt with bible verse/s which caught my attention.

 

Each day got harder. The KJV version really cut me to the core. The passage which brought me to repentance: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+6%3A16-19&version=KJV

That was my heart. I managed to hide it most of the time but I knew only God could change me now.

 

Soon after that I went to the local Assembly of God church Sunday service. Immediately after the service a woman introduced herself and I soon discovered she led a women's bible study for women who had troubled marriages and/or UNSAVED husbands. I knew God had done that for me. So I went there for a year until my husband was posted to the other side of Australia this time.

 

That is more than long enough, but that is my testimony of my deep backslidings. God has used them for good - online I do recognize the Enemy's tactics very easily as I read some very direct sources. I never read actual Witchcraft etc books, but some worldly writers get their material from the pit of Hell.

 

I also am familiar with Charismatics' many weaknesses, theologically and experientially. Faith built on feelings will eventually fail, as mine very clearly did for a lloooonnnggg time.

 

 

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