Menu

alt

What's Your Testimony?

What is a testimony, but a telling of what has been done.

I can’t tell you the first time I was introduced to God.
I grew up in a Christian home with five sisters. 
My dad would count-down the time when we would leave for church. 
And we would be ready.
When the church doors were open, my family was there, sitting in our pew 15 minutes before service began.
We had the appearance that all was well.
But appearances are not always what they seem.

We lived on the outskirts of a small town in Pennsylvania.
My boys can tell you from their school studies how that little area had its own dialect. Instead of “you’all”, We’d say, “you’ns.” And to this day, my husband must figure out what I’m talking about when I ask him to bring the “Towel” from the bathroom. He probably still stands in the bathroom wondering what kind of tile he can scrape off the floor or wall, instead of bringing me the “towel” to wipe up a mess.

Pennsylvanian hills were a great place to grow up.
Through that introduction, I knew I wanted to know God more.
I gave my heart to God when I was five. 
He thought me worthy enough to die for, inspite of my sin.
I was accepted by a holy God. 
I would serve Him with all my life. And I meant it.

Ever feel so thirsty, you couldn't get enough to drink?
That's what God awakened in me.
I couldn't get enough of God.
My Sunday school teachers didn't prepare a lesson when I came to their class; they had to prepare for life.
When God is so awesome—how do you absorb enough of God?

At ten, I was baptized.I almost didn’t allow the pastor to do it. In my hurry to get to the pastor, I fell down the stairs of the baptistry.
But “double” baptized or not, I wanted to live for the God Who had given me such worth.

Living with five sisters is not too difficult. 
We shared one bathroom and of course bedrooms. 
As third born, I was independent anyway and didn’t care how others did things.
Since I wasn’t into “style,” no one wanted to wear my clothes. That eliminated conflict.

My parents never fought. 
But nor did they talk. 
In high school I told my dad I was afraid they’d get a divorce. 
He told me, “It wouldn’t be his fault.”
I knew it took two to fight and two to talk.

I felt unworthy and unclean around my dad, but didn’t understood why. 
I felt manipulated to do what he wanted. Even when I obeyed, I felt wrong.

It wasn’t until close to his death, I understood my feelings.
My sisters cleaned his room and found piles of pornography.
It wasn’t a sporadic fling. It was an addiction.

My mom had told no one of his addiction, though it started when he was in seminary. 
I never knew why he quit seminary. 
He’d tell people to ask mom, as if he blamed her. 
My dad could make anyone feel it was their fault for what he did.
So my feelings toward my dad had an explanation.

Proverbs talks a lot about how spending time with a harlot makes a man like a piece of bread.
But I've searched Proverbs to find what it does to his wife and daughters. 
It doesn’t say. 
But by experience, if the father is a piece of bread, his daughters feel like the mold that grows on the bread.

Sin doesn’t just affect the one who does it.
It’s like a pebble thrown in a lake. 
It radiates out in ripples to affect everyone it touches. 

My dad thought he was hiding his sin. 
He had his own post office box.
He went to church like nothing was wrong.
He was a deacon.
And a teacher.

No one knew, but my mom and God.
But it effected how he treated his wife and daughters.
God says, “Be sure your sins will find you out.”
His job suffered. 
You can’t manipulate people without eventually being repelled. 
He lost his job.
We moved to Indianapolis. 
He lost job after job until he retired.

What saved me from being consumed by my own feeling of unworthiness? 
God.
God brought a Christian science teacher into my life. 
He showed me my worth in Christ.
Never underestimate the power of your life as it touches another.
He was my life-line to what was real.
His prayers got through. 
He modeled a compassion for his wife I’d never seen before. 

Because of his influence, I majored in comprehensive science education at Cedarville University. 
All that means is I know a little bit about a lot of science. 
I cried through physics. 
I asked questions in organic chemistry that my teacher would say, “We’ll get to that in chapter 23.” But by the time we got to chapter 23, I’d forgotten my question.
Cedarville was a Baptist college that grounded my faith on the Bible and stirred my heart to pursue God with passion. 
I wanted to serve God through teaching.

I graduated equipped to teach junior high and high school science.
But who, really, is equipped to teach junior high?
I taught two years in two different Christian schools in New York state.
And just like Christian homes, Christian schools are not what they seem. 
When the first school could not pay us, a board member said, “Well, this is your ministry.”
Ministry or not, I still had to eat.
In the second school, I learned if the principal didn’t back you with discipline issues, you had a problem.

I wish I could say, I didn't get distracted by what others consider my worth—but I did.
But God—don't you like those words, but God—in His infinite love, drew me back to look at Him.

What could I do after spending my life’s savings pursuing a career I didn’t like?
I went from NY to CA to grad school in San Diego.
There God brought me my husband of more than thirty years.
That began a love story of God's healing.
I found Christ can live for real at home in families.
Through modeling what Christ commanded husbands to do—to love their wives, my husband showed me my worth.
He re-affirms that worth every day by telling me he loves me.
Though I wonder many days, how?
Especially when I was pregnant or nursing and going without sleep for the first 17 years of our marriage!

Isn’t it amazing how God teaches us Who He is through those around us?
What image of God do people see through me?

I wish I could share how my mom has learned her worth, but I can’t.
After years of a husband that mistreated her, she still feels unworthy.
The way she responds to us reflects that low worth. 
Much like that child who is most unlovable needs the most love.
Or like John wrote about himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved," because his childhood was pretty rough—think of being known as the son of Thunder.

My testimony is only half shared.
God blessed us with eight boys.
I could tell of the miracles God worked to allow me to stay home with them. 
We believe the Bible when it says, wives be keepers at home.
We sacrificed to obey. 
God worked miracles to provide.
Was it easy? 
No.
But as we obeyed, our trust grew.

How is it raising eight boys?
Each pushed me into a deeper dependence on God to nurture their God-given talents and train—or beat out—the old nature—theirs and perhaps a little of mine.

I spent years just caring for my family.
I didn’t have time to do anything else.
I learned how much I needed God. 
But also God taught me how much I meant to Him.
I found my worth doesn’t come in what I can do. 
It is found in Whose I am.
That’s when I was ready for His service.

I've written historical fiction and devotionals and Christmas and Easter programs for my church.
Today, I write weekly articles about what matters to women, wives and moms and what matters to God.

So my testimony—my telling of what God has done for me—Is it finished?
Not till He calls me home.
But until then, He continues to work in my life to make me complete for Him.
But the testimony He shows a God Who gives an individual worth, because of that intrinsic value God placed in them.
God takes that life and works those details, good and bad, into something He deems worthy.
Isn't our God great!


What would your testimony include? Who brought you to Christ? Or modeled Him?
 

I write about what matters...to you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what matters...to Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Faith
Find more articles about faith here:
Is Your Soul Happy?
Are You Ignored?
Looking for the God Moment
Do You Know Truth from Almost Truth?
I Believe in Jesus—What Now?
Do You Have Your "Son"-Glasses On?
Less Is More
Singing His Praise
Are You Trying To Do It All?
What Do You Do with All These Prayer Requests?
Have a Problem?
Do You Know How to Pray?
Looking for God in Every Moment
Are You Receptive to God's Blessings?
Tell the Senate: Mothers Aren't Birthing People
Is Your Life Complicated?
How Do We Fight Evil?
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Giving Up or Taking Away
the Bible is simple
Are You a Dripping Faucet?
What's Your Testimony?
The Final Move
Be Careful What You Wish For!
Are Your Prayers Answered?
I Choose Joy
What Have You Learned from Your Hardship?
Who Are You Trying to Change?
What's Your Five-Year Plan?
The Danger of "Aloneness"
My Colors
Are You a Whiner?
Are Your Works Approved?
Do You Think You're Stressed?
Is Your Soul Feeling Ragged?
God Speaks to the Heart of the King
What about the Details?
Have You Felt the Long-Suffering of God?
How Does God Lead You?
Do You Have Enough?
Don't Carry More than You Need
Cast the Seed
God Is Faithful
Are You Deceived?
Are You Essential?
Are You Safe?
Are You Tired of the Same Old Thing?
Does the World Make Sense?
Have You Seen God's Majesty?
Do You Feel Judged?
If You Only Had One More Day To Live
Are You Understood?
Do You Long for the Word of God?
Slow Down and Smell the Dead Leaves
Are You Hospitable?
Our Heritage Is Bought by Blood
Are You Disturbed?
Are You Depressed?
I Did It My Way
Finding the Simple Life with Meaning
The Simple Life
Do You Have the Right Words?
Did Your Dream Die?
On the Other Side of the Fence
Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence
Confessions of a Desperate Mom
Saving for Tomorrow
A Wedding Remembered
Who Will Stand in the Gap?
Are You a Protector or a Ruler?
Who Are You?
Are You an Image Bearer or a Wad of Cells?
Are You a Watchman?
Where Do You Find Meaning?
The Lamb of God as Told by a Scribe
What Love Is This?
Remember: The Symbols of Passover Explained
Tea and Rest
Do You Have Peace?
What Makes a Marriage Work?
When Life Is Awful
Are You Strong Enough?
Rules
Seasons
Be Faithful through Suffering
Do You Know the Word?
Wake Up! Strengthen What Remains
Are You Spit in God's Mouth?
Is Jezebel in Your Midst?
Do You Stand Against Satan Himself?
Are You Tired of Being a Mom?
What in the World Is Happening?
It's Not My Story
How Would Your Faith Compare?
Are You Sinking?
Are You a Rule Follower?
Useful for Him
An Intimate Moment with Mary
The Worldview that Makes the
   Underclass

Thoughts to Ponder
What Does It Take To Know the
    Heart of God?

See the Story in the Stars
Do the Scriptures Burn You?
Being in His Presence
Contentment: It's Not for the Timid
How Secure Are You?
How Do You Respond To Stupid People?
The Earthworm Is My Hero
Heart Issues or Issues of the Heart
Things Aren't Always What They Seem
More faith articles are found here:
alt
under the Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Or here:
alt
under the Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Articles on Suffering can be found  here, 
alt
under Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Special Days
Remember: The Symbols of 
   Passover Explained
    

Aug 12, 2017 The Heavens Declare the Glory of God
July 4th, Freedom
What Is an American Soldier?
Valentine's Day: A Day of Love?
Memorial Day-A Day To Remember
Veterans' Day-To Honor Our Men
Fall Colors
First Thanksgiving Day
    Proclamation

Christmas: Stories behind the Songs
Christmas: Stories behind the Songs, part 2

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

Receive weekly articles by giving your email address below: