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One of the reasons I’ve been reading Anna Wood’s The Cross Is All since she started her blog last September is the intensity and depth of her own posts. 

Some recent converts to Christianity think it will be a trouble-free ride — their problems instantly solved.  They fall away because the altar call or altar prayer that they took part in didn’t do what it said on the tin.  As John MacArthur said derisively of popular preachers, ‘Just say these little words, pray this little prayer and poof! you’re in the club.’  What MacArthur is saying is that the Christian life is a long journey of trials and tribulations.  Anna has posted her own Christian testimony, excerpts of which are below.  

If you find common ground with her story — difficult home life growing up, chronic illness, bullying at school, parents’ divorce, personal rejection — please do not lose heart but, like Anna, ask the Lord to guide you.  Some would lose — or have lost — their faith at these points in life, devastating as they are.  Somehow, Anna’s faith deepened.  People might wonder why.  Well, at times like these, the Triune God is our only bulwark.  Faithful Christians remember Psalm 146:3:

Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.

And yet, we all depend so much upon each other for our well-being and happiness.  Let’s read some of what Anna has to say:

(I hesitate to write this–I tremble to write this–but I have been asked about my life. I am not important. What has happened to me, things I have experienced, lived through, are not important. Only my God is important. My life is only important in what it reveals about my God … 

God alone is all–He alone is everything. He alone is worthy of all praise, all love, all worship, all devotion, all obedience…He alone!)

… Life is hard. If it isn’t hard for you now, wait; it will be. Many years ago, I read that everyone is either going into a trial, are presently in a trial or are coming out of a trial. At the time that seemed overly pessimistic. I’m not so sure now. Looking back over my life (and the lives of many whom I know), it would seem to be true.

My life has been far from perfect from strictly a human standpoint … my father was a schizophrenic abusive alcoholic, my mother suffered from clinical depression and was bi-polar in her later years. My earliest years were spent on the run from my father (not always–sometimes–for short periods–he was good, but it never lasted). When I was five, we settled in my mother’s hometown. I never saw my father again. Two years later I was diagnosed with severe allergies. Throughout my childhood (starting with my babyhood), I suffered many bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia (I am always amazed when I meet someone who has never had either–I am so very used to them). I came close to dying many times and the doctors told my mother I would never live long enough to grow up.

In school (through junior high), I was the class patsy. My school years are a blur of mocking and derisive laughter (the weakest, sickest frequently suffer these things). It only got better when we moved and I went to a different school. I made it through high school and into a Christian college…where I learned that God understood many things that I hadn’t realized that He understood…and so, embracing this new understanding of God, I fell away from Him…and sinned against Him. Unfortunately, it took me a long time to know it. However, He, in His mercy, lead me to repentance and furthered my knowledge of Him…

Starting when I was nine years old … I never knew when I would wake up which Mom was going to be there: mine or someone who seemed to hate me and told me (and family and friends) repeatedly how much I hated her. Nothing I could do or say could change that. I always thought that, one day, she would see…she would know…how very, very much I loved her. It never happened (the last conversation that I had with her–two days before she died–consisted of her yelling at me and letting me know…again…how very much I had failed as her daughter). After my marriage, she began to spread lies (which, at first, I wasn’t aware of) about me. For a time, she turned my best friend against me. She let it be known in the congregation that we attended that I stole from her and mistreated her…neither was true but that didn’t stop the people from believing it (even though these were different congregations from the one I had attended when I married–they were still unhappy that I had married outside of our group). If I tried to speak up for myself at all, it was made clear to me that they believed my mother (the “sweetest Christian lady” they knew). More than once I was told, “I just don’t see how you can live with yourself, the way you treat your poor, sweet mother. She is the dearest Christian lady that I know.”

… My mom hadn’t taught me to cook or clean or how to organize or shop. Due to her illness, and my illness, and the circumstances of our lives, she had neither the time, energy nor the inclination to do so. I knew nothing about being a wife or a mother when I married. I was sinking. At times, I would seek to find an “older woman” to teach me, guide me. The excuses that I got about why they couldn’t take the time to do so ranged from “I’m busy with my own family” to “You wouldn’t be having these problems if you treated your mother better–so no” to “I’m tired. I’ve taught Sunday School for years. It someone else’s turn to serve.” What I learned, I learned from books.

Anna discusses the challenges in her life today, then says:

My life isn’t perfect but I serve a perfect God. He is the One and Only One that I need. I love my husband and I love my children (even the two who have rejected us–and by words and deeds–have tried to hurt us) but God is all that I truly need. If I lost everyone, I could be content in Him. I know this to be true for I have experienced rejection over and over in my life: my father, my mother, my children, friends, the church…those who should have loved me haven’t always done so…yet, God has. In their lack of dependability, God’s absolute dependability has shown forth ever more greatly. He has taught me to be satisfied in Him and in Him alone.

My life hasn’t been easy but it hasn’t been nearly as hard as it could have been. I am blessed beyond measure. We don’t have much stuff…but we have more than we truly need. Stuff doesn’t matter anyway. Only God does. I have seen the unfaithfulness of men’s hearts first hand. I, too, have been unfaithful at times to others. God has never been unfaithful to me. He will never be unfaithful. He can’t deny Himself. Recently God has allowed us to move back home and has blessed me (and my husband) immeasurably with the love of friends and family…even in the midst of the rejection by a son and a daughter. They hurt us, yes, but, God’s love heals. Their rejection of us is nothing in light of my rejection of God. I wouldn’t know this if I hadn’t experienced it. Because God has left the door open for us to return to Him when we have sinned against Him, so we, too, leave the door open for our son, our daughter, the brother, the sister, to return. Of our nine, seven remain faithful to us and, much more importantly, to God. The eldest is even studying to preach. God, as always, is good and worthy to be praised.

I have learned that troubles are a blessing if we have the right attitude; that though others may forsake us, God never will; that God’s Word is true and meant to be believed and obeyed; that when we show love to others, we are showing love to God; that the things we want, we don’t need; that the things that we think we need, we probably don’t; that God is absolutely all that matters; that to love and obey God, we must forgive those who sin against us–no matter how painful the experience. This is important: no one can ever do anything against us that even comes close to the things we have done against God. Our sins against our Lord will always be worse than any sins done against us. I am the most wretched of sinners for, at times, I have willingly ignored my God and, at times, I have willingly served self rather than serving Him. My sins are great. My God is greater still.

Anna’s beautiful, troubling and heartfelt testimony of one woman’s faith in God and in His Son Jesus Christ speaks for itself.  Be sure to read it in full.

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