Nikole’s Testimony

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Testimony Tuesday
 
Nikole and her husband, Ryan, have been members since 2003. They serve by their unmoving faithfulness and commitment to Life Tabernacle Church.
 
“O Lord my God, in You I put my trust; save me from all those who persecute me; and deliver me.” Psalm 7: 1
 
I am a child of an abusive, alcoholic, rage-oholic, dysfunctional home (just a repeat of what my father, his father, and his father’s father experienced as a child). The primary dysfunctional rules: ‘don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel.’ I trusted only myself. Perfectionism and anxiety were my result. My value or worth was based on my performance as a ‘good’ girl. An approval seeker who lost her identity. Frightened by angry people and personal criticism. Confused love, with pity for others or for myself. Stuffed feelings from a traumatic childhood and lost the ability to feel deeply, or to trust as an innocent child.
God our Father must be like my earthly Father, right? An authoritative figure, looking down at me with anger and annoyance at my imperfections. Ready to punish me with lightening for any mistakes? How can a God love me, when I did not love myself? I didn’t trust God to fulfill His promises; I did not trust others to follow through. How could a loving God let me live in a family with such dysfunction?
Bondage. I attended church throughout childhood; I had a praying mother. However, I questioned what I learned. Praying to Jesus and God the Father (equal time each of course). Looking for an identity in Christ. ‘Hoping’ I was saved by the ‘sinners prayer’ (which I prayed several times a year, just to make sure). Again, not able to trust fully what I was being taught. So many questions unanswered.
Freedom. One day, a man walked through the doors of a local coffee shop. I offered my telephone number to “help him find a pair of running shoes.” He, in return, offered a Bible study called Search for Truth. A year later we were married. I was Baptized in Jesus name (previously Baptized in the Trinity, so I was re-baptized as in Acts), and filled with God’s spirit (Acts 2:38). God opened my eyes; I was blind but could see. God’s breath was in my lungs. I was free. I automatically felt the chains being lifted.
Over the last 13 years, God moved me from shame to self-worth, from secrecy to honesty, loneliness to connection with others, from silence to having a voice, and from mistrust, to trusting in Him for my life’s path. No matter what dysfunction you came from, God can restore the person you were meant to be, and use your past as a Testimony to others on a daily basis. You CAN trust God; He will not forsake you.”