It was testimony time: I knew I had to get up and share with the congregation because there are so many blessings in my life. It wasn't good enough just sitting down and keeping it to myself. After all, we are advised to encourage each other and this was the perfect opportunity presenting itself to me. I had to tell my story for someone could have been in the congregation that needed to be encouraged by one or more of the situations I had overcome. So I got up, bold as ever and I was ready to go, or so I thought!
Well, just like everything in life, one needs to plan and organise so that things can follow in an orderly fashion. Oh no! That in no way applies to me! I have a wonderful memory bank and it never lets me down, or so I thought. I got to the front and I soon realised that being the centre of everyone's attention frightens me. My wonderful memory bank had frozen - I was blank. However, my memory quickly returned but my story got somewhat distorted and hence, was incomplete. I left a broken child, feeling guilty that I may have starved someone of the encouragement they longed for, or even worst, hindered someone from sharing their story. For days, I kept thinking 'I've made a fool of myself'. But I soon realised God was in it all the time because through that confusion, someone was being transformed.
I have always said it 'just a little organising and forward planning and my life will be much smoother'. Well, here's one area in which I've decided to apply that tactic instead of just talking about it. I have chosen to share with you an area of my life in which my blessings have been evident. I do hope it will be of encouragement to you.
Testimony - A Prayerful Journey:
I had a praying grandmother, who would look up to heaven for the supply of all her needs. My grandfather was the 'provider', he would bring food from the fields and we would have plenty to eat (sometimes he would also sell fruits to the market sellers) but sometimes the field didn't produce in excess of demand. So there were times we would have nothing for dinner and no money to buy food. Despite this we were never found wanting for anything. I would always worry, as one of my duty was to prepare the meals when grandma wasn't strong enough to do so but grandma would always be calm and she would say: "God will provide". The same thing applied when my high school fees and books were due or my uniforms weren't bought in time for the new school term. As a family we never once went to bed hungry, never have we walked the streets naked and we only ever missed school if we were ill or there was a natural disaster. Her faith kept us together as a family and she didn't just tell us about God, she taught us about Him through the way she lived her life. She walked in the light and she was blessed and so it was natural to want to follow her guidance.
My grandmother was my role model and therefore, having experienced the power of prayer I place it top of my daily routine. As a teenager, I remember talking to God saying: 'Lord, when I am old I want you to choose my husband, one that is honest loving and kind .'. At fifteen (15) years old I had, what I later understood to be, my first vision. Unknown to me, it was the revealing of my husband to be. The vision stopped the moment I met this person (5 years after my prayer) but I only connected the pieces two years into our marriage when the picture before me was a replica of that seen in my dreams, thirteen years prior to me getting married.
There are several lessons I've learnt from this experience:
1. To get the best out of life, ask for guidance from above (ask and it shall be given unto you);
2. Praying doesn't always mean an immediate answer will be given (it took thirteen years for this particular prayer of mine to be answered). God will answer your prayers at the right time not too soon or too late;
3. Patience is required when you pray. Had I not waited, I would not be reaping the rewards of my blessings at this moment. I have a wonderful husband and we are blessed with a wonderful son. I pray that we will be living examples to our son as my grandparents were to me. There have been and will always be trying periods in our lives but like He has in the past, I know that he will continue to send His angels to guide us. Please continue to pray for us as we strive to maintain a spiritually rich lifestyle.
I hope that you will be encouraged, knowing that prayer does work and as long as you put God first, you can overcome any situation. So whatever you are going through stay focused and do not let the situation get the better of you, talk to God about it and He will supply your needs.
Notes: This was originally published in the Olivet Herald (while I was a member at the Olivet Deptford Baptist Church)in 2003.
Janice, a freelance writer, lives in the UK and enjoys spending time with her husband, Vince and their son, Javin. She uses her gift to encourage others towards a deeper relationship with God, through her inspirational pieces while her travel articles provide general advice for the holiday-maker.