It is the joy of seeing transformed lives that first drew me into counseling. There is nothing like getting a front row seat to the transformative power of God’s grace. This year I have had the particular joy of watching one sister grow and change and flourish. When she first came to see me fear and anxiety had become paralyzing. She was isolated, ruled by fear. She couldn’t drive, couldn’t attend any social events, could be around loud noises, and couldn’t even attend worship services. She was experiencing ongoing panic attacks, and was plagued by doubts about her own salvation. My heart broke for her and I was especially saddened to hear that she had felt this way for almost two years, having gone through multiple doctors, psychiatrists, and counselors in order to find relief.
Since we started meeting she has grown in her appreciation of God. She knows God’s Word more and knows how to use it to speak truth into her life. She can identify false filters she uses to look at the world, and can point to the character and promises of God that combat anxiety’s lies. She has driven a car, gone places by herself, and navigated panic attacks. She has found joy and freedom! By God’s grace she is in a very different position today and she has given me permission to share her story below. May God use it to bless you.
In addition to the above testimony, listen to Pam share her continued thoughts about growth:
I thank God for the opportunity that was given me to reflect on my life and see how he has kept me, and is still keeping me, on the path to wholeness and holiness. Writing a testimony requires looking back at the past with peace, looking at the present with joy, looking at the future with hope, and looking at God with love.
Looking back at the past with peace was possible when I stripped it from investigations, regrets, blame, and pity. My testimony isn’t about how I solved the mysteries behind my suffering; why it happened, who or what was to blame. Nor is it about how I fought my way out, or how awful it was for me. It’s about pointing out the fact that God is sovereign and he is good. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:9).
Looking at the present with joy was possible only when I stripped away expectations, assumptions, and ingratitude. My testimony isn’t about how God met all of my goals and did it all according to my designs, to my satisfaction. It is about pointing to the fact that God is all-knowing and wise. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven…a time to break down, and a time to build up…a time to mourn, and a time to dance…he has made everything beautiful in its time” (Eccl. 3). I am free to rejoice in every step I take by God’s grace.
Looking to the future with hope is possible when it is stripped from confusion, uncertainty, fear, and doubt. My testimony isn’t about looking forward to “happily ever after” here, but in heaven. What I can know about my future is that God will be there with me and that he loves me with an everlasting love. He is my protector and provider. “The Lord is my Shepherd: I shall not want…Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me” (Ps. 23).
Finally, writing a testimony means looking at God with love for all he has done, all he is doing, and all he will do – but most of all, for all he is. I am grateful for the ability to know and express adoration for a God who is omniscient, compassionate, eternal, peace, just, patience, wise, sovereign, and good. I love him because he first loved me and purchased my soul at calvary.