It seems important, as I begin this blog, that I share with you my testimony. It is the starting point for any opinion I share, or any idea I come up with… you may agree or disagree with those, or maybe even partially agree with me except for a few points, but knowing where I’m coming from may help you better understand why I say and think the things I do.. My testimony is more than the “About Me” section, but more of a “how I became the me I am today” section. After all, the prompt before I began writing this post even said: “Share your story here…”
It all began on September 11. (You may be thinking of the Twin Tower attack, in 2001, but my story starts before then.) September 11, 1984 is my birthday, and when I was younger, one of my favorite stories for me to ask my mom to tell me was the story of my birth. Even though my memory doesn’t go back quite that far, I could still tell you how I entered this world. I’ll spare you the details, other than that my mom was having contractions the evening of the 10th, but had to finish watching Magnum P.I. (a TV show that ended around 10:30) before going to the hospital, where I was born at 12:42am on my due date. I’m told that only about 5% of babies actually arrive on their due date, so I have always been punctual.
My home life was a good one. I had a loving father and mother who had been high school sweethearts (married in ’79 and still going strong), and a brother, Christopher, who was about 15 months older than me; we even had a dog, Roxanne, who was about 2 when I was born. The perfectly complete family: Dad+Mom+son+daughter+dog. We went to church on Sundays, had holiday meals with one side of the family or the other, or both, and my mom got to stay at home with us kids while my dad worked at Davis Bessie (a nuclear power plant about a 40 minute drive from home). When I was in elementary school, my mom started working with the school system, so she worked when Chris and I were in school and was home when we were home. When she worked as a playground aide, she frequently had to tell me to go play at recess and not stand around talking with her. (I have always been fond of conversation, my elementary school report cards came back with average to above-average marks, but the teacher always wrote something along the lines of “Laura is a good student, but she talks a bit too much” in the comment section.)
When I was in middle school, 6th or 7th grade, the “church on Sundays” stopped. At the time, I didn’t have a clue as to why, I was just happy that I had one more day in my weekend to sleep in. I still believed in God, I knew basic stories about creation and the flood, so I didn’t give it a second thought. I remember being blown away with surprise as I was sitting in choir an Andrew Lloyd medley from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamboat when a line said “it’s all there in chapter 39 of Genesis” and when I got out my pastel pink Bible that had been given to me years ago… the story was actually there. It was in the Bible! The musical was based on a true story! I was intrigued enough, by this fun story that I hadn’t even known was in there, that as a friend had a sleepover birthday party at a hotel that I insisted on bringing my Bible and reading most of Genesis that weekend. But I lost interest in that Book, moved on to others, and didn’t look back.
A year or so after graduation from high school (June 2002), I was browsing a bookstore’s “Spirituality” section when I ran into some old friends who had just graduated. They too were looking in the “Spirituality” section, but they were looking up books on witchcraft; one was a wiccan/pagan and the other was Roman Catholic, and they had a good and happy life going on. They invited me to come with them as the one was celebrating the full moon that night, and as I didn’t have anything better to do, I joined them. This led to much money being spent on books and classes and supplies for me to gain the knowledge and tools necessary for me to also practice witchcraft. I never raised any spirits, nor did I even attempt to, although I was consumed by nature worship; my mantra was the portion of the Wiccan rede everyone has heard: “an it harm none, do as ye will.” My view of God was that He was like a jewel with many facets: depending on how you looked at this jewel, you saw Him differently; that explained all the different religions in the world, and no one way was better than any other, and what I was doing wasn’t hurting anyone.
In particular, I felt Ecclesiastes was the perfect Biblical book to support my pagan viewpoint. Ecclesaistes 3:19 says “For that which happens to the sons of men happens to animals. Even one thing happens to them. As the one dies, so the other dies. Yes, they all have one breath; and man has no advantage over the animals, for all is vanity.” If only I had known where Solomon was coming from when he wrote that! I could have saved myself a lot of trouble. The words are true, but I was grossly misapplying the verse. But, again from Ecclesiastes, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
At some point, my love of money kicked in. If the goddess (or “god,” they were supposed to be one-in-the same) wanted worship, why did s/he make it so difficult. Why did I have to buy books and take classes to love nature!? It did not seem natural, so I stopped attending classes. I went on a great many nature walks and felt good about myself, although I now noticed an empty space somewhere within myself; I still had so many questions, as I imagine most college students do whether they admit it or not, so I decided to do the most logical thing: I would take “a tour of different religions,” I wanted to visit different places of worship in my area and figure out which one was the best fit for me. It fit nicely with my idea that God was a jewel with many facets, yet I remained in control of deciding what aspect to worship.
At the time, I was working at The Owens Outlook, the student newspaper at the community college I was attending, and armed with some theater background from high school, I was assigned to cover the production of Much Ado About Nothing. There I met Abby, who introduced me to many more friends, none of which were annoyed with my questions about religion. I was invited to church… an excellent beginning in my survey of religions. I had attended church as a child, but as an adult I could critique the service in a way I hadn’t been able to before. I began attending Christ the Word and was soon invited to join the College Group that met every other Sunday evening. After about a month, I decided to go to the church of a different friend, while still attending the College Group Bible Study at Christ the Word. I planned to attend River of Life for one month, then move on again.
On May 15, 2005, I felt the Holy Spirit move in me and I knew that while I may move to a different church at some point, I would never complete my tour of different religions.
In the fall of 2006, I transfered from Owens Community College to the University of Toledo, and I changed my major at the same time. I had been studying psychology, a subject that still interests me, and while i enjoyed school. 12 years minimum for a PhD in order to use a psychology degree was a bit of a stretch even for me, so I switchedto the more practical communications major, which required much less schooling. I only needed 1 more year at UT until i could gradult with a Bachelor’s degree. While I still lived at home and not on campus, I was much more involved with student activities at UT than I had been at Owens. I also started attending a church, Grace, closer to UT, where some friends from Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) also attended.
There, I met and fell in love with, the drummer of the worship team, Andy. He was so spiritual, and he played drums and guitar for God, he couldn’t be bad for me, could he? Yes and no. He asked me to marry him a few days after Christmas in 2006 and I eagerly accepted. We had no pressure to set a date, but that is the first step towards planning a wedding. My parents married on my mom’s mom’s birthday (February 10) and I liked the idea of getting married on my dad’s birthday (May 21), but from Christmas to May is only 5 months, and not enough time! But 17 months seemed much more maneagable. In 2008, May 21 was not a weekend, and added to the fact that his mother, a teacher at a Christian school, “couldn’t handle the stress” of having her son’s wedding during the school year, my love of numbers pointed me to the perfect date: June 7 (6.7.8, get it?)
While we were engaged to be married, God was still working. I was devastated, and not just a tad sceptical, when Andy told me God had spoken to him through prayer and that I was not the girl he was supposed to marry. (Timing is everything: my parents went to see my brother, who was in the Army, and spring break had just begun… I had a few days off work, no school or homework, and I was home alone. He called Abby while walking out of my house at 10 at night to tell her I might need some comfort. I lost about 25 pounds from not eating for a week from lack of motivation to even attempt keeping my life together, and whIle I could stand to lose the weight, that was not the way to go about it. A few weeks later, he started dating the girl he has since married.)
That breakup was one of the best things to happen to me. Grace had been in a rut as far as sermons were concerned. I don’t remember the details, but what had started as a 4-week sermon series about who God is had stretched into over a year going over 5 basic points, the same 5 points every week for more than 52 weeks. I was ready to move on, but had been tied to Andy and felt stuck. Many of my friends from college had moved on, and I didn’t really have many things keeping me there. But I didn’t want to be ‘that girl’ that ran away from her ex when we had met on neutral territory. So it wasn’t until August 2007 that I came back to Christ the Word, and was welcomed with open arms.
I had never stopped attending the college group at CtW, and without their support I would surely have thought God had set me up just to watch me fall back down. Quite unlike Job, I would not have said “the Lord gives and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21) Then, the Lord gave me my true heart’s desire. The Sunday after Easter in 2008, Tim came to Christ the Word, and joined the college group, and quicky took his place on my “Cute Guys with Blue Eyes” list. My wonderful friends, along with my parents, organized a dinner out on June 7 (my would-have-been wedding date), and the ladies of the group took me for dessert afterward. I have never felt so loved by a group of people as I was that night, and I don’t think I will ever forget their kindness to me.
Over the summer, my car’s driver-side window had gotten off its track and the motor stopped working. Tim, knowing a few things about cars, asked for my phone number so he could call me when he got to the junkyard to ask details about my car and find a replacement motor for the window. (Gents, this is how he got my number, and I was none the wiser that he had any interest in me.) He called me once a week in June, usually on a Thursday, and we would talk for hours. In July, he upped it to calling me 4-5 times a week, and we were still talking for hours. Finally, at the end of July, he said we should get together and hang out sometime… and I immediately thought of how busy my weekends were with activities and my weeks were full with school and work, and I told him I could schedule him in in about 3 weeks on Saturday. Without skipping a beat, he suggested we could get together after church this Sunday, and that’s how our first date was at Cold Stone on August 3, 2008… and about 3 people we knew drove by in the parking lot while we were there.
One thing led to another, and on June 14, Tim proposed after church while we took at walk at Wildwood Metropark. Then the ring turned my finger green. He had been told the ring was sterling silver with white sapphires, and I loved it. But it was apparently plated over nickel and he proceeded to take the ring back and exert extreme self control in not beating the jeweler to a pulp over the incident. He came back with the ring I currently wear, and I’ve rarely taken it off since.
We were married on August 22, 2009 (ironically the day after my mother’s birthday) and were expecting our first child in April. We decided early on that we were going to let the Lord have control over my childbearing, and we have been immeasurably blessed by that decision (but that is a topic for another post).
I am so thankful to God for preserving me through school, and from saving me from what I now can see would have been a miserable marriage (among so man more things); while I am still imperfect, I was not submissive at all, as the Bible directs a wife to be, nor was Andy a strong Christian who would have been able to stand up to me when I needed it, nor could he have lead me in any direction. I pray he has grown and that his marriage is and fruitful one, and I can see how God answered my prayer in Tim as he is what I both want and need in and husband… right down to his blue eyes that I had noticed from day 1.
Together, we are imperfect. We are sinners following after Christ, but we are not alone; our families and the church family guide and support us as we in turn will guide and support those who come after us until one day, we will see God face-to-face. Tim thinks we will not die before Jesus cracks the sky… I am not going to say either way, but I am looking forward to what a glorious day that will be.
Proverbs 31:28-31 Her children rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the fruit of her hands! Let her works praise her in the gates!