The testimony of Terry Millar, Hope Christian Fellowship, Greensboro NC.
When I think of my past, I can testify that God's great mercy and love are being poured into my life. I was raised in a Christian home, by many people's standards. However, things were not always what they seemed.
I actually lived in a world of turmoil, always seeking the approval of others, especially my father. I learned, at an early age, the trappings of a "performance-based" lifestyle. I always wanted to be good enough for other people; yet I never felt I measured up, mainly because I did not measure up to my own expectations.
This performance mind-set transferred to my view of God. I grew up in church, even singing songs for church services. But I never actually knew God as a child. The Word of God states, "I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus," but I always felt I had to do all the right things and live the right way or God would not love me.
This belief, and others which stemmed from it, caused a lot of destruction in my relationships, including my marriage. By the time I married my wife in 1987, I was, as a believer, gaining a better understanding of who God was. However, I did not know the life-changing power of God in my life.
During the first several years of marriage, I began to seriously deal with some very tough issues of my life. I suffered from depression and sexual brokenness, both of which created rifts in my marriage. The banner over my marriage could have read, "When Victims Marry!"
I have always loved my wife very much, but the scars I had allowed to fester in my soul had taken such control of me that I was helpless to overcome them.
I soon entered Christian therapy and began to see things come to the surface for the first time in years. Although I was realizing and understanding why my life was such a mess, I was still powerless to change any of it.
About the time I had come to the end of my rope, a friend of ours called. She had attended some meetings at a church in town, and she urged us to come and witness what God was doing.
My wife and I agreed to go a few nights later. She was probably more open to what was happening than I was at the time. But I watched cautiously as people began to laugh out loud while the evangelist was preaching the message.
Although I wasn't totally certain about what was happening, I knew God was doing SOMETHING in the services. I knew some of the people at the church and knew that they would not be faking these manifestations. I finally came to the point of saying, "Okay, God; if this is You, I want it."
That simple step of faith opened the floodgates of Heaven, and God began to pour out His Spirit on me like I had never experienced before. I began to laugh out loud and uncontrollably for a long time.
As the nightly meetings continued, we went back repeatedly for more of this new gift from God. I knew He was doing a new work in both of us, but I wasn't sure what it was at first.
Every night we went down front for prayer, and every night we ended up on the floor laughing uncontrollably. One evening the pastor of the church explained that God had people on the "operating table" for healing surgery. He added that He was simply administering the anesthetic of joy so that we would not feel pain. How true his words were!
Sunday morning, after the revival meetings ended, I was sitting with my wife and a friend on the back row of the same church. The pastor gave an invitation to anyone who wanted prayer at the end of the service. The three of us had already been laughing during the service and continued during the time of prayer. God was already at work.
After laughing for a long time, I felt I wasn't in that church anymore. It was as if I was sitting in God's lap with my head laying against His chest like a small child with its father. He held me in His arms for a long time and began to softly stroke my hair. He told me repeatedly, "I love you! I love you!"
I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT! For the first time in my life, I knew that God really loved me. I didn't have to jump through hoops or live a perfect life for Him to love me. He just loved me.
I had always pushed God away, holding Him at a distance-- because I didn't trust Him to love me unconditionally. Now I knew that, no matter what I did, He would always love me because I was His child. The Word says that no man can pluck me from His hand. Praise God!
With this one revelation (and I know it was a revelation), the walls began to tumble down in my life. I no longer needed the approval of others. As long as I now know who I am in Christ, nothing can hold me down or control me any more.
God has restored to me the ability to write songs and sing them for Him. My wife and I lead worship in that same church now. My marriage is experiencing more healing every day, and I continue to see the hand of God move mightily before me.
Now I walk in the assurance that "I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus." God always causes me to triumph through Christ Jesus, and I am more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus.
I praise God for His faithfulness and perseverance with me. The banner over my life would now read, "HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER!"
Terry M, Hope Christian Fellowship, Greensboro, NC
Copyright TRM Inc. 1997
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