The Gift of Testimony by Landon Effinger

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Imagine for a moment this scenario. A group sits silently in expectation. One person stands, shaking gently, with a Bible clenched in their hand. You listen intently as they tell a traumatic story of hardship and suffering. Your heart is filled with sorrow as you internalize the pain they have experienced. Your tears begin to flow, and the speaker begins to speak about their faith. They describe how faith led them through their trials and set them on a path of forgiveness. The night ends with prayer, and you sit contemplating their story. At this moment you wonder, how does my story demonstrate my faith?

This story describes a common impression of testimonies. When attempting a testimony, one must hit the bullet point list of emotion, trauma, faith, and forgiveness. However, this is not actually the case. A testimony does not require raw pain or pent-up emotion. In fact, the only requirement is being truthful. For example, I once heard a dramatic testimony, and later found out that the speaker had embellished their story in order to “make in more relatable.” The concept that testimonies require unbelievable stories is a misimpression. In fact, everyone has a testimony. God has placed each of us where He intended us to be. A testimony simply means sharing your life with others in order to connect on a deeper level. It doesn’t matter whether you are a new believer or an old one. It’s okay if you have doubts or questions. What matters is that God has given each of us a testimony; a life to share with others. The words of your testimony have meaning and potential no matter your situation. We are God’s handiwork and He is present in each of our lives. When we tell about our lives, we tell about Christ. He has written our story so that we might share it with others, and mutually encourage each other in faith. Testimonies don’t need to be complicated. One of my favorite testimonies comes from a one-on-one with a Spoke Folker (who shall remain nameless). They said,

“I have to be honest Landon, my life has been great. My family is all together, I haven’t had trauma. And I thank God everyday, that He has blessed me with the life I live.”

To me this testimony holds just as much significance as a traumatic testimony. This Spoke Folker’s testimony is that they are blessed, thankful, and trusting in God. You see each one of us has a story to bring to the table. God has given us the gift of testimony to share with those around us.

A song by Big Daddy Weave called My Story perfectly illustrates the concept of sharing your testimony-

If I told you my story
You would hear Hope that wouldn’t let go
And if I told you my story
You would hear Love that never gave up
And if I told you my story
You would hear Life, but it wasn’t mine

If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

So with that said…here’s my short testimony.

I grew up with an abusive mother. She tortured my family and caused me to self-loath. After 18 years, by God’s grace we were able to escape from her. For a short time, we lived in peace. Then my Dad, one of the closest people in my life, got into a bad relationship with another woman. Once again, I suffered through panic attacks and crippling fear. Yet, in these hardships, I found faith. I began reading my Bible and praying daily. I found peace in Him. Now I have been freed from these hardships and have been blessed beyond measure. While the scars of my past remain, I hold onto hope in Christ and for that I am thankful. As a daily reminder of God’s grace, I got a cross tattoo with scripture on my forearm. The scripture is 2 Corinth 1:9-10.

“But this happened that we might no rely on ourselves, but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again.”

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