My relationship with God began at an early age. I grew up in a solid Christian family, where each family member was encouraged to have their own personal walk with Jesus. I believe that back then, I had started off at a very young age, really knowing God in a personal way and having a sincere love for Him, bubbling with joy and possessing childlike innocence. Yet I had a rebellious streak in me. And as we know, the enemy will exploit any opportunity he can.
Somewhere along the way, I opened a door and allowed the enemy to take over part of my life. I became disconnected from God and for a season, I lost that precious relationship from earlier years. At one point, I even stopped reading my Bible and spending time with God in prayer, yet I never realized the indispensable gift slipping from grasp--my salvation. I became vulnerable to the voices of demons and began to succumb to the lure of sin. At the time, it never occurred to me that my sins were even sins, since my eyes were blinded over. Being unfamiliar with God’s Word, I failed to realize the Bible clearly states in 1 Co 6:9-11 that no unrighteous person will enter the Kingdom of God.
It was between the ages of 8-10 that I got involved in secret sin. I had no idea that it was even sin, but the devil had me hooked like a fish to the bait. All along, I kept it under wraps so that my parents would never know. But sin will find you out! The illusion that you can keep it hidden is a hellish deception to keep you in bondage and eventually, you reason within that you’ll never escape it’s hold. You can’t hide from God. He sees everything in our lives, whether good or bad.
As the years progressed and I kept my sin hidden, it snowballed. I was self-deceived as my ever-present curiosity got the best of me.
Beginning in 2008, I made some very foolish mistakes. The open door I had neglected to close only enabled the enemy to gain a bigger stronghold in my life. Before long, I was even lying and stealing, all within my own family. Not even twelve years old yet, I also took advantage of my father’s computer to view adult content on the Internet. I would usually arise early in the morning to do this, so that I would not be discovered. But as the story often goes, I was eventually found out, and I recall the grief this inflicted. I was disciplined, but I don’t believe that I was truly repentant. I believe I was more remorseful that I had been found out than I was really sorry for what I had done.
About two years later, we moved. There, my sin continued. The youthful lusts of my past and my intense curiosity grew like a weed. I brought much disgrace upon my head through the dishonoring of my parents, among other sins. Meanwhile, I thought I was a Christian, when in reality, I had drifted far from God. The lying and cover-ups continued. I was really convinced that I would get away with it. It amazes me that at the same time, God had been granting me so many dreams in which I was overcoming demons and I would see Jesus and heaven, but I never lived a life worthy of my calling as a Christian. I wrote a number of poems that spoke of God and how we need to live a holy life, but I wasn’t starting with myself!
In December 2012, revival was brought to my family through Pastor Kim’s holy fire books. I received the baptism with the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking with new tongues, and there was deep repentance. I believe that the initial experience was absolutely of God, but I don’t recall ever repenting for the sins I was currently involved in. It shocks me that I never even gave a second thought to that. The truth is, I was a hypocrite. I wasn’t really changed. I might’ve thought I was, but I was fooled. Granted, God did some wonderful things in my life, but I had not yet turned from my wicked ways. I continued in the pattern of my strong will and disobedience. Did I ever stop to think that I was only hurting myself? I’m sure that thought crossed my mind more than once. But I kept on in the pleasures of sin, which as we know, are only promised for a short time (Heb 11:25)
About five years prior to this spiritual awakening, I, along with my two younger sisters, had begun a Life Transformation Group\ (LTG) where we were assigned a specific amount of Bible reading and a list of lost souls to pray for daily. I was ten or eleven at the time. We would meet weekly to discuss each other's lives, and answer certain questions, which included the confession of sin. Although there were sins that I was confessing, I kept many other things hidden. If I recall correctly, there were times that I lied about having completed the assigned Scripture reading. And, like I said, I wasn't coming clean with any secret issues.
There were so many dreams I had where God gave me victory over demonic creatures, but in reality, I was in bondage. I did what they told me to do and never gave it a second thought. Heaven and Jesus were also revealed to me through dreams during my childhood. I had so many heavenly experiences with God throughout my life. Occasionally I would receive words of encouragement for others. I also received inspired poems from the Lord. In addition to this, I was blessed with artistic talents.
Regardless of how much He did through me, I was in a dangerous place when I was caught in the web of sin. As long as it was hidden, I was bound. So the cycle continued.
I eventually stopped committing these sins around age 15 or 16. Gradually, every sin from the past faded from memory, as I pushed them aside and under the rug, until I really paid no consideration to the need for repentance
After returning from Eastern Europe, by the time we had settled in North Carolina, I thought my relationship with God was actually going well. I was hearing from God, had re-established my daily prayer and Bible reading, and I felt that now, I was really starting to lead my life in a way that was pleasing to the Lord. I didn’t necessarily feel like I was a sinner, or that I was presently practicing sin. I was even starting to think differently. My perspective of everything, both spiritual and physical, seemed very different. Now, I was so careful about being honest to my parents and not lying about the smallest thing. God seemed to be at work in my heart. I was under the impression that He was “changing my thinking”, as I recall telling my dad one evening. And He was beginning to do a deep work in me. This was only the start of a cleansing that would take place over a period of weeks. I had no idea the transformation that was on the verge of happening.
The true start of this transformation was the night my dad and I were having our customary one-on-one together, quality dad-and-daughter time. I was telling him all about how God was changing my thinking and how personal He was becoming to me. During that flow of thought, my dad suggested I recommit my life to God. He explained that often, people know God at an early age, but as the years progress, the need to refresh their commitment becomes necessary. The same could be applied to me. I had known God from an early age, but I hadn’t been faithful in my walk.
As my dad was discussing this with me and even after we talked, the idea of recommitment was still a consideration in my mind. As it turns out, the very next day, February 15, 2014, at the age of 15, I took this vital step. Following this, everything changed.
Two days transpired until one morning before school, I was simply going about my normal routine when it struck me out of literally nowhere: I came under the powerful conviction of the Holy Spirit concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. It overtook my thoughts. I was overcome with mixed feelings, such as fear, guilt, shame, and remorse. I thought to myself with a lump in my throat, I could never confess these sins to my parents. They’d never understand! All this time they were so convinced I was a godly girl. I had their trust. And besides, I can’t bear the shame this will bring.
All throughout the first few hours of school, the conviction of the Holy Spirit weighed so heavily upon me that I could think of nothing else. I tried to get my mind off of it, but it overpowered me. I felt like my heart was sinking beneath the ground. I wanted to run and hide. But we cannot run from the Holy Spirit, The Spirit of God is everywhere.
The same day, out of desperation, I brought the issue up with my mom while avoiding specific detail. All the while, tears were welling up in my eyes. I couldn’t help but cry. Could I have been so blind? For so long, it had somehow sufficed to sweep it all under the rug and “forget”. It never ceases to amaze me that God would chose to reveal my sins to me at such an unlikely time! I had become the object of His abundant mercy. “What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—“ (Rom 9:23)
Later that day I went straight to a closet, shut the door, and poured out my heart to God in repentance with so many tears. I must’ve cried for at least a half hour or more. I earnestly repented to God for everything I could think of that the Holy Spirit had brought to my remembrance. With everything in me, I repented as hard as I could, and I believe it was there that He granted me sorrow unto repentance.
However, even after I stepped out of the closet, the reassuring peace I longed for was lacking. I felt a pressing obligation to go reconcile with my mom or dad, but fear held me captive. I just couldn’t! I took my Bible and searched the Scriptures for verses or passages that referred to sin and confession of sin. Part of me wanted to find an excuse, a way out of having to confess. The other part of me sensed that I really ought to confess to my parents, that I could not hide it from them. Then I came across 1 John 1:9, which says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,” I realized there are two different ways to confess -- to God and other people.
As hard as it was, I began the painful process of confession. Yes, it was heart-wrenching. Yes, there was a sea of tears shed. But after that period of confession, peace came into my heart at last, peace that passes all understanding. I knew that God had forgiven me. Joy came and I was able to sing with a freedom in my heart once again. I have now begun to experience a certain degree of intimacy with God. Thank God for new beginnings! He allowed me to start over again. What a gift! In his great mercy, He delivered my feet from the snare. He has truly changed my life, and I am eternally grateful.
It’s truly an act of God’s mercy that He brought my past sins to my attention. Praise God! However, the cleansing still had a long ways to go. As the Lord brought more things back to my remembrance, I would confess those, too. There were so many things I had forgotten about! I tried my best to be as honest and transparent as I could. Slowly but faithfully, the Lord dealt with my heart. I recall this time of my life as a trail of tears, if you will. Many tears, but much joy in the Holy Spirit! It’s in those darkest times of my life—the deepest valleys—that I’ve found He has been the closest to me. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Ps 34:18)
As with any process, He continues to drive the foolishness and disobedience out of my heart. He continues to purge me and cleanse me in this purifying process, which is what I’ve been seeking anyway. I am so grateful that God delivered me from what once bound and held me captive. The “old me” has been swallowed up in life!
I urge you today, if you find yourself reading this testimony and know you’re life isn’t right, that you seek the Lord for His forgiveness. He is willing and ready to receive you back. Don’t believe the lie that you’ve gone too far! There is no one who’s sunk too deep that His mercy can’t reach. He is pursuing you with passionate love, hoping you’ll hear His voice. Even if He has to leave the ninety-nine just to go after you, He’ll do whatever it takes. Please don’t forfeit the indescribable gift that can be readily yours.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy put, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God…” (Ps 40:1-3)
Attribution notice: Scripture quotation taken from The Holy Bible NIV, copyright Zondervan, used by permission.
Author's Note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to read The Truth Set Me Free, My Overflowing Joy in Knowing Jesus, and Given a New Heart and Sweet Peace, which are the testimonies of myself and three of my other children. Also see the Home page of this blog for more testimonies. You are invited to view my collection of blogs at Writing for the Master.
Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.