My Story – Teresa’s Testimony

My story

The other day I was sorting through old papers and came across a program for a Carol Service, Christmas 1997. I looked through it with affection, remembering the night. Then it caught my eye and my heart – Ladies Duet “For Those Tears I Died”. Those ladies were all of 7 years old and I can still see them, 2 little girls singing their hearts out. That was the night my heart broke with the knowledge of Jesus and what he had done for me but it’s not the beginning or the end of the story.

My salvation story started about a year and a half before that. In 1996, Tommy was really ill and God used that to bring Tommy to Him but I was alright, thank you very much. I had been turned off official religion as a young catholic girl who had to go to mass, come what may and every night during lent. It was completely pointless in my eyes and the thought of having to go to church actually made me queasy. Anyway, God loved me and as long as I lived a “Christian” life, was good to people, did no harm and acknowledged God as being there, I was fine. I actually said that to Tommy’s pastor and was highly offended when he said that I was heading for hell. I was a good person.

But I was really happy that Tommy had found something that helped him and I helped out by making tea for visitors from the church when they called to the house but I never hung around. As time went on, Tommy got more ill and there were times he wasn’t well enough to drive. But he wanted to be at church so I had to bring him. I used to drop him off and go back home. Sometimes I would stay for the singing – I always loved singing – and then as time went by, I would go up to crèche and stay there till the sermon was done. I never stayed for that, ever. I even went to Tommy’s baptism and left him back at the church for the service after but went home and came back for tea and cake when the service was over. During this time, Tommy was reading the bible and on the nights he wasn’t able, he asked me to read it to him. Somehow a bible ended up on my locker permanently – God has His ways.

Christmas 1997, Tommy invited me to the Carol Service. He said I would love it; it was being done by the kids, from as little as could be to about 12 years old. So I happily went along, looking forward to being entertained. And it was as lovely as I expected it to be. Towards the end, these 2 little girls came out and, so very earnestly sang

You said You’d come and share all my sorrows,
You said You’d be there for all my tomorrows;
I came so close to sending You away,
But just like You promised You came there to stay;
I just had to pray!”

And the song continued

”……………I felt every teardrop,

when in darkness you cried.
And, I’m here to remind you,

That for those tears I died.”

(Words and Music by Marsha J. and Russ Stevens)

Now I was crying a lot of tears at the time and yet the singing in that church always helped soothe me. Listening to that song that night, my heart broke and I thought – that’s why Jesus came!  He went through any amount of suffering to share and understand my tears! Tommy’s visitors had all talked to him about pain and a fallen world and had given him bible verses but I didn’t pay attention to that much. It was religion. But that night it became personal. Don’t every think that inviting someone to the family service with the kids singing or reciting is just cute. God can reach the hardest of hearts through the innocence of the young.

I didn’t surrender that night. In fact it was Easter week before it all came to a conclusion. I was now attending the church more often, even sitting through sermons sometimes. I spent a lot of time with the church family and noticed that there was a peace amongst them, even through bad times, that defied explanation. Sometimes scripture would immediately make sense, where before it was all double Dutch and occasionally interesting. But I was both prideful and stubborn. For one thing it was all too easy so there had to be a catch. Also there was absolutely no way I would give those kind people praying for me the satisfaction of being right. Terrible reasons I know.

Easter week, I was in dreadful form. I couldn’t talk to Tommy at all. He had done nothing wrong but I still blamed him for something. The pastor and his wife came for a cup of tea and ambushed me – make a decision! You know the truth! I was furious. I coldly and politely said I would think about it but that if Jesus would change me, that was a deal breaker. I was happy as I was and didn’t need changing. Valerie the pastor’s wife said that I would still be Teresa, just a better Teresa. That scared me. I now recognise spiritual warfare but then, all I knew was that I would be different, my life would change, I was giving up control of my life.

Good Friday we were expecting a young Christian couple up to spend the day, playing a board game, Risk, which we had done before, laughing and drinking coffee, eating goodies. Just another long Good Friday. I woke up and seeing the bible on the locker, and being a good catholic girl, I thought I should acknowledge the day that was in it. I opened the bible at random and it opened in Mark at the crucifixion. I read about Jesus suffering, his death, the veil of the temple being rent in twain. It was so vivid. It really scared me. I jumped up and told Tommy I was going out. This was Good Friday – nothing open. But I didn’t think of that. I went to the house of the girl who was due in our house and said, Come for a coffee. We went to Bewleys hotel in Newlands Cross and surprise it was open. We stayed there for hours. We drank at least 4 mugs of coffee. God bless her young heart, she sat there and said very little but smiled and listened to me work it out. She answered any questions I put but looking back I think she was really just sitting there praying most of the time.  Eventually we realised that the guys had no idea where we were. Peacefully – at about 7pm – we went home and when the guys asked where we had been, we laughed and said “Drinking Coffee”.  That night in the privacy of my bedroom, I surrendered my life to Jesus, telling him I didn’t understand everything, didn’t agree with everything I had been told about the bible but that I would trust that, in time, He would either explain it or give me peace about not understanding, That He has. We have had some times since then but the journey has been always under the control of the Sovereign God of all Creation.

My life verse:  Philippians 4:6-7 (New International Version, ©2011)

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

[Editor’s comment:  The above piece is a transcript (provided by Teresa herself) of the testimony that she shared during one of our Sunday Morning Services as part of our “Sharing Our Story” series and is published here with her permission and our thanks and with all rights reserved.]

Personal Testimony – Liz.

This is the personal testimony of a lady who spoke to 100 ladies at a Beautiful Womens Night organized by Enniscorthy Christian Fellowship.

Hi Ladies,

I’d like to welcome you all here tonight.  Liz is my name and I am privileged to have the opportunity to share my story with you all.

Here is my story.

I was brought up as a catholic and all the family went to mass every Sunday.  We lived a normal life and we were good neighbours and lived good lives and thought that was enough to get us into heaven.  I was to find out later in my life that this was not the way to be saved.

My husband and three children and I lived normal everyday lives in Dublin and moved back home to a mile outside the town in 1998.  In 2000 during the Fleadh Cheoil as my family and I walked about the town enjoying the festival I saw a sign over the credit union, which said, “Jesus in the Millennium”.  I told the family I was going in to see what that was all about.  My family tried to put me off but I felt drawn to call in.  I met Andrew and Lorna (the Enniscorthy Christian Fellowship leader and his wife), I also met John and Linda, another couple from the church.  They chatted about Jesus. They did not preach to me or ask me to join their church.  They were ordinary people and they were to become a very important part of my life. (My friends in Enniscorthy Christian Fellowship have heard this story so often that they are surely yawning now.  J)

Time passed, about a year and I had no involvement with anyone from this church.  A friend of mine invited me to come along to a ladies bible study in Lorna’s house.  I went along not knowing what to expect.  After a few weeks I began to look at Jesus with a new heart. In case you think we just arrived and studied a part of the bible and then went home, that was not the case.  On arrival we chatted and shared stories, always with a mug of tea or coffee.  We did little stories from the bible, which at first I wasn’t always able to follow as I never read the bible before.  As time went by I became more aware and familiar with the bible and wanted to know more.

One of my favourite studies was when Jesus visited Mary and Martha.  Martha rushed about cooking and fussing.  Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to his stories.  Which do you think you are?  I was certainly Martha but now I am trying to be more like Mary.

As time went by Jesus became a really big part of my everyday life.  I wanted to know more and more. So now I read a little of my bible everyday with the help of two little books.  One is called “Daily Bread” and the other is called “My Upper Room” .

I have had a difficult time in the last few years.  Both my Mum and Dad passed away.  I became very ill with Cancer but throughout this time I felt God’s presence.

When I was going through very bad days and could do nothing for myself, not even look at the telly, phone people or answer the phone.  I could not even do my little bible stories so all I did was lie in my bed with my hand on the bible.  My husband and family were all so very good to me as were my friends who would come to visit and pray with me.   I finished all my treatment in July and thank God for so many blessings.

Now I also go to church on Sunday with the Enniscorthy Christian Fellowship, I am so blessed to be a part of this church.  Everyone is so supportive of each other and we all follow Jesus with a passion.

I was once afraid of what people might say or think of me but now I have handed over my life and let God be in charge.

Thank you for coming along here tonight and listening to my story.  I do hope you enjoy the rest of the evening.  If you want to hear more or get some information about the church please come and ask any of the ladies in the church, they will be the ladies keeping themselves very busy J  If you would like to ask me anything I will be happy to share with you.  Just ask any of the ladies and they will point me out.

Liz.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God.  (Philippians 4:6 NIV)

And the Peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Joan’s Christian Walk

I became a Christian when I was 13 years old. I had heard plenty previously about the wrath of God and hell fire, all of which did nothing for me. I responded to God’s invitation to give my life to Jesus, when I heard about the love of God. I was overwhelmed by the fact that with all the people on this Earth that God loved me!

That was the beginning of my life’s journey with God. Sadly it has been a rough path, and I have let God down so many times, but He has always remained faithful to me, loving me, caring for me, and lifting me up when life was hard. There were many times when I didn’t feel him near me, but knew from his promises that he was there all the time…right beside me.

If you take Christianity seriously, it is a very difficult life. It goes against all our natural instincts. We don’t want to forgive our enemies. We don’t want to love the unlovable. We don’t want to fight for justice for the oppressed. Yet it has been the most wonderful and rewarding life there is.

Jesus is my father, my guide, my comforter, my counsellor, my friend and so much more. He gives me a peace and joy which nothing else in the World can give you. When we are not actually feeling that, which can be many times, He is still there loving and caring for us.

My favourite song which we sing is….No not by might, nor even power, but by your Spirit, Oh Lord. Healer of hearts, Binder of wounds, Lives that are lost restored. Flow through this Land, till every man, praises your name once more.

I am proof that these words are true. Jesus is restoring my life; He is healing my heart and binding my wounds. If anyone feels lost today, Jesus is longing to restore your life too. No matter what you have been through, or what you have done, there is no judgement and no condemnation if you bring it to Jesus and ask him to forgive you. He wants to make you a whole person. Thank God, He is still working in my life, slowly making me a whole person. If you have put your trust in Jesus and drifted away, He is longing to take you back to him.

The longer I walk with Jesus, the more excited I get, the more thankful I am to him, for saving me and the more I realize that I don’t deserve it. But He died for me and he died for you. I would publicly like to testify what a mighty God we serve and what an amazing Saviour is Jesus!

[Editor’s comment: This testimony was very kindly shared with us by Joan.  We are very grateful to her for giving us permission to publish this testimony.]