As a young child, I was brought up in church, and made a profession of faith at a young age, but always doubted my salvation. The church I attended did not believe in showing you out of Scripture how to be saved, they just expected you to walk down the aisle and know how to be saved, so I was always wondering whether I was truly saved. At age 30 I went forward and made sure I was saved. It was exciting for a while, but that wore off, because I had “no” relationship with the Lord. My husband, Jerry, and I and our three children attended church and were very faithful, doing all the “right” things (in the flesh I have to add, following all the rules, other people and ourselves had put on us) thinking we were doing the right thing.
The Lord put several things in my life, I know, to bring me to HIM. I truly didn’t have a close relationship with Him and I was very, very miserable. I know He was pursuing me, though (I praise Him for that!). All my married life and as the kids were growing up, my family was my “life.” As I said, I didn’t have a personal relationship with the Lord. I didn’t know how to, so I resorted to trying to make the Lord happy by following all the rules, placing them on my children too, unfortunately! And of course, I failed living the Christian life on my own and felt guilty all the time thinking God was up in heaven ready to punish me anytime I did something wrong. Oh how wrong that was!!
Well, as life went on the kids grew up. My daughters getting married 6 months apart was so hard on me, of course, since they were my whole life. And then when my son decided after high school to go to Nashville to live, I thought life was going to come to an end. It totally devastated me. And that’s exactly where the Lord wanted me! Also, one day I found a lump in my left breast. Without a true relationship with the Lord I was so scared! Fortunately, it turned out benign but I will never forget it!
Another serious situation took place and it got to the place where I couldn’t handle it. I was completely at the place where I didn’t want to go on anymore. I wanted to quit church, and throw in the towel being a Christian–if that was what Christianity was all about, being miserable! My husband couldn’t understand me; it’s only by the grace of God we didn’t end up separated.
“BUT,” praise the Lord, He came to my rescue! I asked my Pastor, John Alley if he could talk to me. I had heard he was doing counseling. He said he would. I went to his house on a Wednesday night after church and sat there and told him the situation. He sat there and listened, but didn’t give me any advice. I left there thinking, “boy he didn’t even seem to feel sorry for me, just told me to meet him at church on Friday evening around 4:30.” It seemed like it took forever for Friday to get here. When I got there I sat down, and he proceeded to ask me some questions about my childhood and different things. I was very upset, crying and all. He gave me a test with questions on it about different ways I was feeling about things. Well, again that evening I left there thinking the same thing, “man he is not helping me. What’s up with this? I thought he was suppose to feel sorry for me and all that.” Well, since it was Friday, I was suppose to wait until Monday evening and I truly thought I couldn’t make it until then!
Sunday morning finally came and my husband left to drive the church van and I just fell to pieces. I started crying and couldn’t stop. I called Pastor Alley and he said we probably hadn’t gotten far enough into the counseling. Well, I thought Monday evening would never come. It finally did and I arrived at his office. We started to talk again. He started showing me verses in the Bible and explaining the “exchanged life” to me with the line and wheel illustrations (Gal. 2:20). How I was crucified with Christ, buried with Him, and raised with Him literally! How at this very moment I am seated in heaven with Christ because I am “in” Him (Eph. 2:6). How I don’t have a past, present, or future, because Christ is my “life” (Col. 3:3-4) and my past is His past, my present is His present, and my future is His future! And how when Christ died on the cross for me, He looked down through time and saw me and died for “all” my sins, even ones I will commit in the future. How Christ was living in me and that I couldn’t live the Christian life, that only Christ could live it through me (John 15:5). And that I couldn’t handle my problems, the “guilt” I had, the “rejection” I had, every single problem I had; I didn’t have to handle it, Christ would handle it for me (I Peter 5:17). Wow, what a relief it was to me to realize “I” couldn’t live the Christian life. It was light a light bulb came on and I understood what the verses were saying. I had heard them before but just didn’t get it!
He explained to me that I needed to surrender everything! Not just some things, EVERYTHING! He said I needed to surrender my mind, will and emotions, my body, my future plans, hopes and dreams, my home, my marriage, my mate, my children, my geographical location, my recreation and entertainment, my career, my past success and failures, my habits, my finances, my problems, my time, my integrity and character, my attitudes, my business conduct and relationships, my Christian walk, my response to authority, my right to possessions, my right to a good reputation, my right to have acceptance, my right to be successful, my right to have pleasant circumstances, my right to presume on the will of God, my right to life itself, my right to beauty or strength, my right to have friendships, my right to be heard, my right to take up offenses, my right to avoid reaping what I sow, my right to be right, my right to___________.
He asked me if I wanted to pray there or go home and pray. I told him I would go home. I felt I needed to do this on my own. I will never forget driving home, couldn’t wait to get there. I went straight up to my study room in our house and got down on my hands and knees and surrendered everything to the Lord.
Ever since that day, June 17, 2002, my life has TRULY not been the same! I truly have a personal relationship with the Lord. My total desire has been to seek my Jesus! I can’t get enough of HIM! I found out it’s not about me; it’s all about Him. I used to sing “Christ is all I need” but didn’t know what that meant. But, oh Christ is ALL I truly need now.
I have learned so much over the past 5 years and can’t wait to learn so much more about our wonderful Savior! His mercies ARE new every day!
We thank Vickie for sharing her testimony. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. John Alley received Christ-centered counseling training at GFI and Luther Rice Seminary.