Testimony: Praise To The Glory Of God’s Grace

​This is the story of my salvation, of how God called me out of darkness into His glorious light, that I might proclaim His praises. Many miraculous things have happened to me since becoming a Christian, but this story focuses on the events surrounding my salvation.

As a little girl my mother would tuck my sister and I in at night and pray the Lord’s prayer with us every night. My family was not really religious and we probably attended church less than ten times as a family throughout my whole childhood while growing up. Though I remember desiring to go to Sunday school, but never went as we did not attend church either. My mother attended church briefly in my very early childhood and took me with her, and my gran told me about the power of the blood of Jesus. Most of my religious exposure came from school – schools in South Africa in those days had special times for bible classes as well as time for prayer in the mornings and assemblies.

Growing up I always believed in God as well as in Jesus and often prayed – mostly before an examination, but I also remember always saying sorry to God when I knew I had sinned. I always called on Jesus name when in danger. I was hit by a car when I was ten years old, I cried out to Jesus that I did not want to die. As a rebellious teenager I had frightening dreams and would always call on Jesus name to ease my fear.

My family was quite close-knit and ‘normal’. My dad worked a 9-5 job and for the most part my mother was a house wife and was always at home for us children. My parents were stable and are still married today, despite problems they faced as a married couple. I was the middle child of three children. I had an older brother six years my senior and a sister four years younger than me. I had no problems at school and achieved in academics and sports. I was a generally respectful and obedient child and gave my parents very little grief. My childhood was happy though not without hiccups. When I look back, I see God’s hand so clearly in all my affairs, such as a time when I was knocked over by a car and a nurse was on the scene with pain pills and a leg splint for my broken leg, or when my brother rescued me from the swimming pool after falling in as a young 4 year old. I also remember being at one church service when I was about six years old and some people were getting baptized – I remember thinking that I too would like to be baptized, though I did not understand the meaning of it.

Everything began to change when I reached high school. I read a book based on a true story about a young girl who wrote in her diary. She described her experiences with drugs in detail. Instantly I became intrigued and obsessed with the idea of taking drugs. I also read a book about how Satanism was seducing the youth. I started dabbling a little with witchcraft and eventually became a regular drug user. I used Marijuana, LSD, Ecstasy, Cocaine and anything else that was on the market. I sold my possessions and lied to my parents to buy drugs.  During this time my father was transferred to a small town on the west coast of South Africa called Langebaan, as he was a civil engineer and did the work of a contract manager. I was becoming very rebellious and demanded that I be sent to the boarding school in my home town, Port Elizabeth. My parents agreed and I was sent to a prestigious all girls school. I had in the previous year won the junior victrix ladorum for being the best all round junior athlete at our school sports day at the same school. In the boarding school I met another girl who was like minded – she also enjoyed drug taking and going to parties. We eventually conspired to run away together to Durban to live it up and do as we pleased. By the grace of God, we only made it as far as the next major city next to Port Elizabeth, East London, before concerned people phoned the police after seeing us hitch hiking on a busy road. We were taken to social workers who called for our parents to fetch us. My mother had spent the previous night driving across South Africa as she had received a call from the school that I was missing. I was relieved to see my mother, though sad and ashamed that I had hurt her.

This incident, however, did not stop me from my ways. A year later, my father was transferred to Pretoria and my whole family was to move up. My older brother had by this time been in quite a successful music band and wanted to stay in Port Elizabeth. I begged my parents if I could stay with him, as I wanted to attend the art college that was close by (and also wanted to be out of their sight so that I could continue using drugs and doing what I wanted). My parents again agreed to my demands. I was enrolled at the art college. During this time I was using cocaine and my parents found out about it as a family friend had noticed something amiss and had phoned them. My parents fetched both my brother and I and took us back to Pretoria. I managed to convince my parents that it was a lie, and that I wanted to go back to the art college. They did not agree. I decided to hitchhike to Port Elizabeth, though ended up in a dangerous area in Johannesburg, Hillbrow, notorious for Nigerian drug dealers. One of these dealers had seen me hiking and had picked me up – he took me to KFC and offered to pay for a flight to Port Elizabeth for me. As young and as naïve as I was I believed him. Fortuanately, God protected me even in that dangerous area and no evil happened to me. I had managed to phone a young boy that I had been seeing and who loved me (he is today my husband)

– he pleaded with the man to not hurt me. My brother had friends in Port Elizabeth who knew this Nigerian and told my brother there were plans to ship me out of the country and use me as a drug mule and sex slave. Thus my brother found my whereabouts and my parents arrived to fetch me. I shudder to think what could have happened to me as an ignorant and foolish teenager. This incident convinced my parents to allow me to return to my home town and live with my boyfriend’s family and continue attending the art college. Three months later my brother and sister were in a serious car accident. My brother died six hours later from internal injuries and blood loss.

During this time, I did go for two or three visits to my family in Pretoria by bus. On one visit I asked my mom to buy me a book for the bus ride back as the ride was over 14 hours long. I chose a book called, “He came to set the captives free.” Since then I have learned that it is quite a controversial book, however the Lord used it to open my eyes to my bondage to sin. On another visit I read a number of the “tribulation force” books about the rapture and coming of Jesus. I continued in the same lifestyle – drugs, partying, aimlessness, though something was changing inside me. I began to be convicted of my sins and a number of times felt as though I was dying while on drugs and cried out to God to forgive me, as I knew my life was not right with Him and did not want to die in my sin. I also prayed for a bible and soon enough a friend of mine gave me a mini new testament. I however continued to abuse drugs and live a sinful lifestyle, though my conscience was bothering me. When my parents visited they told me they and my sister had been baptized. I was interested, though still enjoyed taking drugs, particularly ecstasy and cocaine and did not really want to stop. While they were still in town I had a dream of my deceased brother. In my dream he was being pulled on a stretcher. He suddenly sat up and looked at me. Blood was pouring from his nose and he said, “My only advice to you is to get out of the drug world now.” When I woke up I decided it was time to get baptized and turn my life over to God. I told my parents and soon arrangements were made for me to be baptized by the same person who had baptized them. They were also getting ready to move back to Port Elizabeth. I drove to Pretoria with my parents and read another book that was in the car called “The Call” by Rick Joyner. Jesus was beginning to be more real to me.

Finally one of the most special days of my life arrived, the day I was to be baptized. As we neared the man’s house, I was overjoyed and overcome first by tears and then laughter. I just knew that my life was about to change. When I entered the house I sensed a Presence – a loving, holy presence.  The man explained to me that I was going to be purchased by the blood of Jesus and that God would be my Father and that I would belong to Him. I prayed to God and confessed all my sins to Him while the young man anointed me with oil and prayed for me. Thereafter he baptized me in the swimming pool in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. When I came up from the water I felt as though I were a new person. I had such an indescribable peace within me. I was instantly set free from my smoking and drug addiction. I had a new hunger in my heart – a hunger to fellowship with other Christians and read the word of God.

A week later we had arrived back to our old home in Port Elizabeth that my father had built for us. I was so excited to attend a church. Where would I go? How would I get there? I had already told my boyfriend that I had been baptized and had accepted Jesus as my savior – I told him that I now only wanted to be friends with him. He decided to take me to a church that my mom had suggested (though they still did not attend church even though they had been baptized). That night as I walked into the church I again sensed the same Presence – I can only describe it as a holy, loving presence that was like the sunshine, but my heart was drinking in the warmth. The service began with praise and worship. I was amazed as the people sang, clapped and worshipped the Lord Jesus with such enthusiasm. I joined in, singing with all my heart to the Lord Jesus. Suddenly the most amazing thing began happening to me. An electrical current raced though my entire body, increasing in intensity and it felt as though Someone was holding both my hands tightly down at my sides. My whole body was shaking. My heart was bursting, and from deep within me I was communicating with God with groans that words cannot express. As the worship ended, I opened my eyes and was just bursting to tell someone what had happened to me. God restrained me until the service had ended. I was filled to the brim and overflowing with intense love, joy, peace, contentment. On the way home I couldn’t help but sing and praise God. Later I learned about the baptism of the Holy Spirit which is promised to all who will repent of their sins and receive Jesus. My young friend became upset as I told him what had happened to me during the service. He had been uncomfortable in the church as he had been raised in a conservative Dutch reformed church. However, that night when he got home, he told me that he went down on his knees alone in his room and repented of his sins. Three months later he was also baptized and was given the gift of speaking in tongues immediately aft After experiencing God so intimately I was a completely new person. I was so in love with Jesus and passionately on fire for God, witnessing to anyone who would listen and attending church as often as possible to learn God’s word and worship Him. My whole appearance changed, my eyes were bright and there was a smile on my face! I could look people in the eye, and no longer walked with eyes downcast, looking at the ground. I no longer dressed only in black or wore too revealing clothes. My desire for drugs, cigarettes and partying was completely gone. I decided to return to high school to finish my schooling. I was enrolled at a private school that would allow me to complete my final year, even though I had not completed grades 10 and 11. I worked hard and finished my schooling as the second top student – all to the glory of God. Through God I also started a prayer group at the school and another young boy accepted Jesus as his savior and experienced God in the same way I had. He is still serving God today in the field of medicine. My dream was to experience a Year of your Life programme done through a bible school after completing school, but it did not work out. Instead I was accepted into University to study to become a teacher. I desperately wanted to do good and make a difference in the world and serve God with all my heart.

After the first year of being a Christian I suddenly began to experience many trials and felt as though God was withdrawing His presence from me. My young friend said that the “honeymoon” was over. I was very saddened and began to seek God wholeheartedly. I learned scriptures such as the parable of the sower and was determined to not be as those who quickly receive God’s message with joy, but then fall away soon after when tribulation arises because of the word. I memorized encouraging scriptures about God never leaving, nor forsaking me and read the bible and prayed every day. I began to mature in my faith – though was by no means perfect. I had to daily confess my sins, cast down thoughts and discipline myself. I learned how gracious and compassionate God is, and also developed a healthy fear of God as the one who would judge my works. I once again began to feel secure in my position in Christ Jesus as the one who saves us.

I was baptized in November 1999, it is now August 2011 and I am still free of drugs and cigarettes. I am now married to my young friend who experienced salvation with me, and we have two beautiful daughters. I give God all the glory and praise for the wonderful work He has done in me, as well as for all the wonderful works He is doing throughout the earth.

I wrote a poem about the wonderful grace of God a number of years ago that I hope can encourage others, too .

Praise To The Glory Of His Grace

A righteousness of my own I cannot achieve

For in my sinful nature nothing good lives

Humbly I come to God to receive the righteousness which through Christ He gives.

My nakedness I cannot hide from God

Nor whiten my filthy ragged array

By grace He clothes me in a shining white robe

And washes all my sin and shame away.

This grace is given to a sinner like me

Not through any good deed of mine

The Son of God hung on a tree

As the ultimate sacrifice of all time.

The righteous God sits on His throne

And the resurrected Christ at His right hand now alive to Him

I am not my own as a new creation before Him I stand.

Now very soon, Yes it’s at the door

Jesus will return in great power and glory

The dead and alive in Christ will meet Him in the air

We will further be clothed with immortality.

A heavenly city God has prepared

Where righteousness, holiness and peace abound

This is where He will bring all His heirs who once were lost but now have been found.

Jesus did it!!!

Photo credit: Google

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