1 MY TESTIMONY

Now that you know about my fifteen years as a Jehovah’s Witness, my testimony will make perfect sense to you. Without that background information, you would not understand my reluctance to go to any church, and that is putting it mildly.

All I knew, and what I was told, after walking away from the Kingdom Hall eighteen years prior was that no church or religious organization used Jehovah’s name. That was a sticking point for me because amid everything else I was taught, that was the truth. I did not have a great deal of factual knowledge after spending all those years inside the Kingdom Hall. I was amazed how little I knew about the Bible. Oh, I could quote many scriptures, but they added up to nothing in my original quest for “truth.”

Here is my Testimony:

My youngest sister has been a born again Christian since she was a teenager. Oh, how we used to disagree at those times we talked religion. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not mix with born again Christians very well. Looking back, I did all of the aggressive fighting and she humbly tried to explain her relationship with God. I would hear none of it.

My Mom and Step-Dad, Frank, would go to see her sing at Church, and then they would go home. However, there was one time, twenty plus years ago that their lives changed forever. Frank had to take Mom home because she could not stop crying. It was the Holy Spirit bearing witness to her soul. As a result, they began to attend this church, not only to hear my sister sing, but to learn more about God and what He had in store for them.

Tony and I moved to Florida near my parents in 2004. After a time, my parents asked us to go with them to Church. On the inside, I was having a panic attack, but on the outside, I calmly said I would be glad to go when I was ready. “Never,” I thought.

It was 2008, and I had just left my job as a controller. I had a journal going and decided that I would write a book. I felt so strongly about this book, that I purchased a laptop for $800.00 and just started writing. The funny thing about it was that I literally could not stop writing and would be up at 5:00 in the morning, still writing. I felt that I needed to get the information out of my head and on paper, or I would go mad.

At the time, I felt that it was amazing; a latent talent. Who knew? When it came time, six weeks later, to name the book, the first thing I wrote down was Heaven by Attrition. I was confused since the book I wrote was about the recent downfall of the housing market and how I used my “controller skills” through my life to save businesses, only to watch the owners

take the monies for their own pleasure. So, the book was a little humorous and the title I came up with was; Wake Up! And Smell Your Business Burning. Or should I say “we?”

I gave the manuscript to my doctor, and after reading it he gave me the name of a publisher, along with their address and phone number. I had a conversation with the publisher on Monday, and sent the manuscript immediately. Consequently, there was nothing to do but wait.

That Wednesday, I was doing dishes in the afternoon, when it struck me that I had not come clean on the promise I had made to my Mom and Frank four years prior about going to church with them. Maybe it was time. I was, however, dreading the thought of going and was somewhat afraid. I chided myself and picked up the phone, without thinking and called Frank at work.

It took courage for me to pick up that phone because it had been approximately eighteen years since I left the Jehovah’s Witnesses and I swore I would not go into any church. I was truly burnt!

 

I really wanted to get it over with, and it was just one day, what could it hurt? It would mean more to them anyway. Except when I went to make the call, an inner voice said, “What, are you crazy?” I tried to ignore it, but was I crazy? Meanwhile the phone call was being put through and it was too late to hang up.          Suddenly, I was terrified. Frank answered and I asked

him if I could go to church with him and Mom this Sunday. Now, in my mind, I was saying to myself, “Hang up now!” I unexpectedly felt too strong about this to go backwards. What was happening to me?

Unpredictably, the phone went quiet on the other end. Then he said, “But the Head Pastor, Jerry Cisar would not be there this week, the Associate Pastor, Daryn Kinney would be giving the message.” My inner voice said, “Oh goody, now you can put this off.” Abruptly, what came out of my mouth was, “that’s okay maybe there is a reason for it.” Who said that? My head was spinning with confusion. Frank said that he would speak to his “roommate” and get back to me.

You see, I had already told my parents it was critical that if I went to any church, I would want to speak only with the “head guy.” I was definitely not a trusting person and a little wary when it came to religion. I wanted to know how they viewed Jehovah.

Well, I was in it now, and there was no going back, even though I was questioning my decision, when the phone rang. It was his roommate, “Mom.” She asked, “Are you really going?” I did not hesitate this time and answered “Yes.” Next, she informed me as to what time they would be there to pick me up. I asked her what I should wear and she said that I could dress in anything I wanted just as long as I was presentable. I was a bit surprised, because when I would go to the Kingdom Hall, dresses and skirts were required.

Now, for three days I tried to think of some way to get out of this promise, to no avail. I was pretty anxious when that day finally arrived. I thought I was headed for another religious trap. I tried to calm myself by thinking that this would only be one time, one day. I would just grin and bear it. It was only then that I relaxed enough to ask questions on the way down to Gulf Coast Community Church.

When we arrived, forty-five minutes later, I was warmly welcomed and introduced everywhere. I could see in Mom’s face that she was happy to show me around, that made me feel special.

When the service began, there was singing and praising the Lord, accompanied by a full band up front on stage. This was totally foreign to me. Later, I would recognize this as the “Worship Team.” The words to the songs were projected on a screen above us so we could follow along with the singing. No song books needed to be purchased here.

The first song struck me hard. There were phrases like; “You were once lost, and now you are found. You were blind and now you can see.” I became very emotional and started to cry. We were standing and I had to sit down, then Mom began handing me tissues, and I recollect other people crying too. For joy! So, I thought that this must be a regular occurrence, but why was I affected?

There was a five-minute break. I really did not want to leave my seat for fear that everyone would be staring at the mascara running down my face. When I finally got up, no one seemed to

notice. In fact, the parishioners made a point of coming up to me and told me that they were glad to see me there. It was a comforting feeling that made me feel welcome. I believe this church holds about one-hundred and twenty people and I believe I spoke to everyone.

Kingdom Halls were not like this. You would get a nod and a smile. There was no real warmth. My Bible study teacher, who was about my age, did not introduce me around. See seemed nervous and then I realized why. You see, my attire was all wrong, even though I was wearing a presentable pants suit, (it was 1975). So, I was admonished to wear a skirt and blouse or a dress, for the next time. Ha, I did not even own a dress or skirt. I learned quickly from going to Kingdom Hall that until you made an effort to familiarize yourself, nobody else would do it for you.

Oh, they were pleasant enough, but when they smiled, it did not reach their eyes. I discovered later, because my husband was not with me, I would be categorized with the other “spiritual widows.” In fact, most of my good friends were spiritual widows. We stuck together through it all, including the demands that went along with being a witness of Jehovah.

At any rate, at Gulf Coast Community Church I felt the difference immediately. There was warmth I could not put my finger on. Later, I would identify it as the Holy Spirit. Now it was time for the message. I was so excited, I was beside myself. This message was called, “Unwavering Confidence in ‘He Who Is’.” I still get goose bumps, because it was on Jehovah! Why we

should use His name, who He is and how important it is for us to worship Him. Before you could say boo, I was in the back lobby sobbing my heart out. The emotional floodgates opened. I felt like I was hit over the head by God. To this day, I believe I was. I felt the Holy Spirit right then and there.

My relationship, my personal relationship with God, through Jesus Christ was just beginning.

Oh how, when I was a Jehovah’s Witness, my friends and I would make fun of those Christians who professed to have a close relationship with Jesus. I stood convicted. It is an experience that you cannot explain. I was totally blown away, to put it mildly. I could not wait until next Sunday. I really do not remember the ride home because I was in my own little world sorting it out. I had finally found God!

The next day, Monday, I received a phone call from the publisher. They said that with some extensive editing, they would publish my book. As soon as I hung up, I was on my knees praying to God that now was not a good time for my book to take off. I really meant it and I know it sounds silly, but money is the worst temptation for the adversary to ensnare us with. I did not want anything to come between me and my God.

That book is on all of the major bookseller’s websites, like Amazon, with five stars, where, it quietly sits.

should use His name, who He is and how important it is for us to worship Him. Before you could say boo, I was in the back lobby sobbing my heart out. The emotional floodgates opened. I felt like I was hit over the head by God. To this day, I believe I was. I felt the Holy Spirit right then and there.

My relationship, my personal relationship with God, through Jesus Christ was just beginning.

Oh how, when I was a Jehovah’s Witness, my friends and I would make fun of those Christians who professed to have a close relationship with Jesus. I stood convicted. It is an experience that you cannot explain. I was totally blown away, to put it mildly. I could not wait until next Sunday. I really do not remember the ride home because I was in my own little world sorting it out. I had finally found God!

The next day, Monday, I received a phone call from the publisher. They said that with some extensive editing, they would publish my book. As soon as I hung up, I was on my knees praying to God that now was not a good time for my book to take off. I really meant it and I know it sounds silly, but money is the worst temptation for the adversary to ensnare us with. I did not want anything to come between me and my God.

That book is on all of the major bookseller’s websites, like Amazon, with five stars, where, it quietly sits.

My heart sank when I received a small sized letter from the church. I knew it was too good to be true. Immediately I thought, “Okay, now they want money.” Guess what? It was a warm greeting from the Head Pastor, Jerry Cisar from the Church expressing his disappointment because he missed meeting me. I cried.

 

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