My Testimony

My Faith: For my early childhood, I was a Christian, because that’s what my parents were. Though I understood I was a Christian, I never really knew why, and we never
talked about it, went to church or even read the bible. My parents used the Awana’s
program at a local church as a night off of parenting, and I was introduced to scripture
and invited to ask Jesus into my life. Though I didn’t really understand it, I went home
one night, and once snuggled in the top bunk of my bed, I silently asked God into my
heart. I imagined Jesus and the children forming a protective ring around me, and
didn’t understand much else.
I began saying prayers every night I was awake
enough to do so. We didn’t continue the Awana’s program very long, so it wasn’t until
middle school, when I attended a Christian based event. My friends and I signed up
for the local Christian Camp, where we learned more of Jesus’ role in our lives and
how to be saved. I again re-accepted Christ in my life, from what I understood of Him.
I wanted to live with God in Heaven and do good things in the world.

Then my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer. I was in eighth grade. I didn’t
know anything about cancer, or what it could do. I remember going outside, sitting in
a plastic deck chair, looking up at the sky and silently asking God why? Why are you
doing this to me?
Why are you doing this to my family? What did I do? If I am really
good, and obey my parents, will you take it away? This is a mistake right? My heart
was broken.

If anyone has ever been witness to cancer, you can understand what a long, painful,
and horrible event it is. I was 12, and my brother 9. We watched in silence, never
talking about the impending truth.
We helped her when her hair fell out, we bought
her wigs, and bandana’s to cover. We helped her when she couldn’t walk anymore,
we pushed her wheel chair around, and got her in and out of bed. We helped her to
the bathroom in the middle of the night, and changed her bedding. We helped her
dress and undress, and shower. We helped her cook, we did the cleaning. My dad
worked full time, and hired some houskeepers, and care providers, when it got really
bad. After a year long battle with this disease, my mother died just before my eighth
grade graduation. I was messed up beyond belief. I couldn’t understand why I
needed to be so worried about obeying God, if this is what I got in return?
I was so
angry. I hated my father for not saving her. I hated everyone who was in my life at
that point and didn’t do anything. I hated myself for not being able to fix it. And I was
angry at God.

The pastor from the church my parents attended (after my mom got sick) came to our
house after she died. He sat in my room. I don’t remember a word he said. He
handed me a student bible. He said I could keep it. This was my first bible. I tossed it
among the destruction in my room. I didn’t open it for 5 years.

My anger continued into my high school years, I went from straight A’s to C’s, D’s and
Failing. Most of the time I didn’t even show up to class. I got involved with the wrong
crowds, which led to numbing my anger, and numbing my pain with alcohol and
marijuana. My childhood dream was to play basketball for the U of O, but I didn’t go
out for the team because I couldn’t pass a drug test. I made friendships, but never
let them grow close enough so I wouldn’t be hurt if something happened. My life was
a complete mess.
I didn’t recognize myself.

I finally started clean-up, when I was told I wasn’t going to graduate. That seemed to
be a good enough reason to start getting my act together (at least in the area of
education). I knew I couldn’t focus on school if I continued this lifestyle, so I prayed to
God for the strength to focus on getting out of high school.
God always delivers for
His glory! My grades improved to A’s and B’s, and though I was on the right track, I
still didn’t have my act together spiritually. I still prayed every night, but needed
serious guidance on how to deal with my anger, and what type of life I needed to live.
Then, a year into college I met a Christian man (my future Husband) at my work (we
worked with people with developmental disabilities with severe behavior disorders).
He talked about the importance of the bible, and talked to me from a place I needed to
be talked to, as if God worked through his every word. I was intrigued and revived
about my spirituality, I began to read my bible.
I started in Genesis 1:1, and learned
more things then I could imagine. I kept record of all the questions I had, and would
ask this man at work about them. Everyday, as I read and prayed I grew closer and
closer to God. I gained more understanding about my mother, and how and why I was
created. I again re-dedicated my life to Christ, I do this often as my understanding of
Him grows, and when I find myself of path from where I want to be. Though I accepted
as a child, as I understand more I rededicate my life path to God. My Husband and I
have been married now, for four years, and have two children. I am an Awana’s
leader at our church, which by no intention, end’s up to be the church that funds the
camp I went to as a child! All these lessons are created using the bible I was given
when my mother died. It wasn’t important what that pastor said that night, his words,
his demeanor, his attire, I remember nothing except his handing me a bible. It was
only important that he was there giving me God’s word. For those of you teaching
and bringing God’s word to people, remember that you only need to be there for God
to work through you. His word is perfect, His plan is perfect, and he will touch their
hearts at the perfect time.
Just be there.

-Valerie McClintick (2006)