My testimony of God’s grace
By Emma Chapman

EmmaIn my early Christian walk, I had always loved God, and had a desire to serve Him.  But, I was still weak and desperately needed to trust Him more, which I feel now that I didn’t fully trust Him and rest in Him. I always felt very bad when ever I had done something wrong, and I often did not get over the pain of displeasing Him. But praise God, He is gracious! About half a year ago in 2008, I started to backslide on/off for the next year. At the beginning of 2008, I began going to a Christian school after spending two years at a secular school. This Christian school was a lot different to my last school, as many students just called themselves ‘Christians’, but still quite a few were actually serious about God. Many of these people are good people who love God, but they seemed to be ‘allowed’ to do things as Christians which I felt that I wasn’t ‘allowed’ to do. It didn’t seem to make sense to me why anyone else could get away with these things, when I couldn’t. From then on, every few months I’d backslide and decide to join another church, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave the fellowship I already knew and loved. For most of 2009 I tried my best to make a stronger stand for my beliefs in front of people at school, but no matter how hard I tried, I just ended up being influenced by them. It wasn’t until about August-September that I really lost all control. It all started with a school camp I went on, when I started to think that I was missing out on so much in the world. They also influenced me into going to the school ball, which I had kept on telling people at school that I wasn’t interested in going at all. Once I got back from the camp, I lost interest in going to church and being around good Christian friends, and I started to act even worldlier. I started wearing make-up and felt that I couldn’t go to school without it, and also started doing things which were not right for me to be doing. Then came the night of the ball, which even in the state I was in, was quite shocked at how our school would let its students dress so indecently and dance to such terrible music. But I tried my best to push away any guilt I felt and ended up joining in with everyone else. Even though I had a great time, I felt really bad when I was in church the next day, and wished I’d stayed at home. For the next few weeks I felt miserable, until I reached the point where I decided not to even be a Christian anymore. I felt that I had completely failed God; I could not serve Him in my own strength anymore. For about a week I was fixed on being as worldly as I could, and did some things which I’m really not proud of. Even though I felt I was free from God, for the whole week I was plagued with thoughts of suicide, which really scared my friends, to the point they forced me to see the school councillor. That made me really annoyed, because I really didn’t want help at all. I was happy just to waste away and not care about life anymore. I saw my life as a life not worth living. By turning my back on God I had lost the sense of who I truly was. But on the day that I saw the councillor, my friends were reading their bibles and talking about the end time. My old Christian self started to rise up in me again, and I began to get excited about reading the bible again and talking about God. After we stopped talking and reading, the Lord spoke to me in a really strong way. He asked me; ‘What if I came and left without you Emma?’ This really woke me up, and I just knew this was the last chance He was ever going to give me. I had mixed feelings about what He had asked me, one part of me felt so blessed to know I was His child, and the other part of me was telling me to ignore Him. I ended up talking about it to Bro. Albert, and thought I about it, which greatly troubled me as I didn’t feel I could give up the worldly things I had been doing. The next day was a brother and sister’s wedding from church. It was very painful to see my brothers and sisters again, as I felt so distant from them. I was ashamed at my worldly state, and felt bad to be in their presence. But then, the brother who had just married sang ‘Jesus be the centre’, which was a song which had always blessed me and meant a lot to me when I was in church. I had to try my best not to cry. I wanted Him to be the centre of my life! I realised I was nothing without Him, and I needed Him. When I came home that night I confessed to my Mum, even though she is not a Christian, that I had had enough of the things of this world. I told her that Jesus was all that mattered.  We didn’t necessarily see eye to eye, but through talking about Jesus to her, made me realise who I was and that He had already paid the price! I realised nothing in this world could ever satisfy. Through this, I really felt that I had had a breakthrough with God! I remember then privately repenting to God afterwards in my room, and took out and hid away all the worldly things I was so attached to. The next day was Sunday, and for once, I’d never felt so grateful to be with my brothers and sisters. For the next month I dedicated myself to serving the Lord. There was no way I was going to ever turn my back on God again. I really praise Him for the grace He had shown me, even when I have not been faithful! Without Him we are all truly lost and are nothing.

On the 27th of October, we had a really lovely Tuesday night meeting. I remember many of us brothers and sisters prayed for prayer requests, and I remember praying for loved ones. It was the first time in a long time that I really believed and had faith in God that He would perform a miracle in their lives. But on that night, I really believe that God performed a miracle in my life. We were praising the Lord towards the end of the meeting, and I really felt His presence with us. Since I had come back to Him for good, I had been seeking His Holy Spirit. I have been blessed enough to have many touches by the Holy Spirit in my life, but it wasn’t until this night I really felt the Holy Spirit come in for good. I can’t explain how I felt, but somehow I just felt His Spirit just flood through me. It’s an experience with Him I will never forget. For the last few weeks of school, I really felt that I did not belong in this world anymore, and had little tolerance for worldly things. I am eternally grateful to Him for all He has done in my life, and all that He is going to do! Even though I still make mistakes, as we all do, now I know His grace and mercy is sufficient, and that He will never let go of me.

God bless anyone who reads this, and may you have a closer walk with Him,

Christian love,

Sis. Emma