In front of King Agrippa Paul shares his story of transformation after meeting Christ. Read this passage from Acts and the note from the New Believer’s Bible. Then reflect on why should we always be willing to share our story?
“‘One day I was on such a mission to Damascus, armed with the authority and commission of the leading priests. About noon, Your Majesty, as I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down on me and my companions. We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.’
‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked.
‘And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. Tell people that you have seen me, and tell them what I will show you in the future. And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’
‘And so, King Agrippa, I obeyed that vision from heaven. I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God—and prove they have changed by the good things they do. Some Jews arrested me in the Temple for preaching this, and they tried to kill me. But God has protected me right up to this present time so I can testify to everyone, from the least to the greatest. I teach nothing except what the prophets and Moses said would happen—that the Messiah would suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, and in this way announce God’s light to Jews and Gentiles alike.'” Acts 26:12-13, NLT.
Note from the New Believer’s Bible
A useful tool in our evangelistic toolbox is the story—also called our testimony—of how we came to personally know Jesus Christ. Paul often used this method effectively, such as in this account of his appearing before King Agrippa. After explaining how Paul had personally come into a relationship with Christ, he segued into the proclamation of the gospel message (Acts 26:19-23).
Every believer has a testimony. Some may be more dramatic than others. Such was the case with Paul, formerly the notorious Saul of Tarsus, who had been an aggressive persecutor of the church. Whether your testimony is incredible or ordinary, your personal salvation story will help you find common ground with nonbelievers.
You can tell them about your life and attitude before coming to Christ, then explain the changes that came afterward. When nonbelievers see that you can relate to their own lives, they may be more open to what you have to say. The objective in evangelism is to build a bridge, not burn one. Your testimony is a great way to do that.
Why don’t you take a moment to think about the changes that have taken place in your life since you became a Christian? You may even want to write down your testimony so that you will be ready to share it at the next opportunity.
21 thoughts on “Share Your Story”
My testimony is a story of God rescuing me from such a darkness that was intent on destroying me along with the people in my life. My testimony shows just how far the Lord is willing to reach in order to redeem just one single life. My testimony tells of the great work of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I came from a Christian home; two parents, an older brother, a younger sister, and myself. I grew up in the church so I knew all the popular Bible stories and was taught about God. Although I spent my beginning years learning about God, I did not have a personal relationship with Him. I knew of Him, but I didn’t know Him. As I grew up, I began to get into trouble at school and at home. I started feeling isolated and withdrawn. I felt like nobody loved me and I started to turn all of my emotions inward. Those emotions became anger and hatred.
Between the ages of nine to eleven, my emotions were all over the place and highly intensified. I felt like I was being physically abused at home. In reality when looking back now, I was not abused. I was punished by getting spanked. Sometimes bruises and welts were left and that’s when I felt abused. Through my perception of being abused, a fear grew in me and I was more and more withdrawn and that caused me to become suicidal. I looked for ways to release all the anger and hate that was inside of me so I hurt animals which sometimes resulted in death. With being “abused” at home and picked on at school, that was the only way I felt in control. The animals couldn’t defend themselves any more than I could.
On November 17th 1988, I made a decision that proved to change the direction of my life and the lives of my family. Through everything that was building up inside me to this point and the trouble I got into at school that day, the only way that came to mind to get out of trouble at home was to shoot my little sister, Bethany. I believed that if I shot her, that everyone would be afraid of me and would not hurt me anymore. That afternoon after school, I shot and killed Bethany. She was eight years old and I was twelve.
To this day, I don’t understand everything that transpired, but I know there was such a heavy, dark presence that day and I could feel it so tangibly. The enemy of my soul intended on destroying my family at that time and he almost succeeded. I received a sentence of five years (considered juvenile life as that was the longest a juvenile could legally serve).The following years were filled with darkness and incredible amounts of despair. I was locked up at the age of twelve and released at seventeen.
During my time in jail, God had His hand on me the entire time. At different times throughout those five years, He interjected Himself into my life through visitors, Bible study groups, CMA (Christian Motorcyclist Association), and other groups. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but I see it very clearly as I look back. During that time and long after, so many people prayed for me and my family. I can certainly attest to the power those prayers had.
Upon release, I was welcomed home by my parents and was preparing to start my senior year in high school. Right away, I hooked up with some of my old friends and started using drugs and alcohol. I was still suicidal and ended up cutting my wrist deep enough I severed the nerve and most of my tendon. God protected my life that day. After graduation, I got in trouble and was charged with a felony. By God’s grace alone, I received three years of supervised probation instead of the prison sentence the district attorney was trying to get me. That was my wakeup call by God. I vividly remember thinking this was my last chance to change my life or I am done.
I moved out of town, got married, and through a series of events, I met a co-worker that she and her husband were Christian bikers. She started to share Jesus with me and at the age of twenty one, I went to a church service with them and ended up giving my life to Jesus. Prayers were answered. PRAISE GOD!!!
As I started my new life as a Christian, I struggled big time. I was dealing with a failing marriage and decided to leave, I started drinking again, had sex with an ex-girlfriend while still married and separated, and still battled all the turmoil going on inside from my past. After four months of separation, God brought my wife and I back together as He began to heal our relationship.
From that time on, God has done a tremendous amount of work in me. He put my destroyed life together piece by piece. It was time to deal with the one thing that I refused to let go of; Bethany. No matter what God healed in me, I would not let Him touch Bethany and all the feelings associated with my taking her life. I truly believed God forgave me for every sin I ever committed and will commit, but He couldn’t, or worse yet, wouldn’t forgive me for killing Bethany.
God worked on me and put specific people into my life and after twenty five years of holding on to the shame and guilt of killing Bethany, I released her to God. That night of letting her go is forever etched into my mind as it was the very first time I ever felt and knew complete freedom and forgiveness. That night, the Holy Spirit told me so deep in my spirit that I’m special and I believed it for the first time.
The years following that night, God has opened up doors for me to share His love with so many people. God has turned a horrible tragedy that was meant to destroy into something life giving; spiritually life giving. He has restored my relationship with my family. Me and my wife just passed our 22nd wedding anniversary and have an almost seventeen year old son. I have shared my story of hope and redemption on KLOVE radio, Celebrate Recovery groups, church youth groups, Teen Challenge, and other groups. I have shared my testimony in great detail in my book, Life After. God has also spoken to many people through my second book, The Shame Identity. I currently volunteer at our local Youth Detention Center and that is an absolute highlight in my life. God has led me into this facility to speak into these young men’s lives and share His love with them. How incredibly cool is that?? Isn’t God so good?
As I come to the end, or the beginning rather, all of this is purely to brag on Jesus. He reached down into such an evil darkness and gave me life. He loves me enough that He died for me and I get to share Him with anyone who will listen. I am a child of God and look forward to an eternity with Him!
Thank you for sharing your testimony. Thankful that Christ can redeem us. And thank for bringing him glory with your life and story!! Praying for you as you depend on him.
WOW! Amazing testimony. God really does reach down to the depths of our hearts, as long as we allow Him to, He will give us a new heart.
Thank you so much! God is so faithful full of mercy!!
I so appreciate this emphasis on telling our stories, and the encouragement your story brings us, Paul. Because you told your story, I have a deeper appreciation of God’s love and power and am praising him today with deeper faith. Thank you.
YES, Tyndale! Every believer has a God-story to tell. Twenty-four times in the Psalms God says, “Remember and tell.” Remember what God has done in your life, and take the time to write it down or record it in some other way, for the benefit of others. “Tell everyone about God’s wonderful deeds,” (Psalm 105:2).
I wrote part of my story in the book Karis, All I See Is Grace. Yesterday, on Karis’s birthday, I discovered a letter written many weeks before, jammed down in the bottom of our mailbox, wet but still legible. It’s from a friend we haven’t heard from for many years. God can use our stories even when we’re not aware of what he’s doing!!
“I read your biography of Karis twice, Debbie. Once a couple years ago, and again last month. I have two copies and loan them out to others. A beautiful book. A beautiful story. A beautiful daughter. I wish I had met her.
I have never had a real solid faith in a God, or any type of organized religion. I have always felt that if a gorgeous sunset or a beautiful baby are proof of a loving God, then a horrible mudslide or Adolf Hitler are also “from” God. I have never been able to reconcile this, so I have chosen to not believe in a powerful, involved God.
Your book changed that. When God took Karis’s mind into his own so she would not have the horrible nightmares she had been having, and when the friend asked who Michael was, I finally, finally came to accept that there must be a God. One who interacts with us.
I still need to figure out the horrible stuff that happens. Perhaps I will.”
Thank you, Lord. Please bring people into this friend’s life who will nurture the seed planted by the Holy Spirit in his heart. Thank you for your whisper to me through this letter, that telling Karis’s story was worth all it cost me. Please bless Paul today with that same confidence. Amen.
Thank you for you kind words Debra! I pray that God will continue to strengthen your faith and reveal Himself to you in such a tangible and personal way. God bless you!
Thank you for your testimony. Letting go is difficult. I’m glad God’s spirit in us is bigger than the enemy. He will fight for us.
Amen Denise! God is so incredibly faithful and full of mercy for us!
I was married on June, 1 2002. On our way to the honeymoon we were hit by a drunk driver going 55mph. I was comatose for 5 weeks bc I did not have an airbag and was thrown from my seat. The driver, my new husband, was fine. Thought my parents were at the hospital every day, my new husband could not take sitting around and went back to his parent’s, with his brothers and horses. My father had to threaten him to get him to return once I had emerged from my coma. I had no memory, of anything, including my recent nuptials. I had to learn everything again; walking, talking reading, ect, as well as who people were. I had vivid, dreams when I slept that were similar to actual life. These made things confusing because things were slightly different in each of them, so, I had no way of knowing which was real life, or, if any of them were. I had double vision so I was not sure if I was alive, dead, or dreaming. I did not have double vision in all my dreams and that made it more confusing. The only constants I had were my biological family and the church family I grew up with. They may have said or done different things in each, but their appearance and voices were the same. I quickly learn who mom, dad, brother, and others were. I didn’t know I was married, even once my husband had actually come back! I recognized him as familiar, but had no name, or place I knew him from. I had learned to trust and listen to my parents so I did as I was told. I wanted out of the hospital and was released 3 weeks after I woke up. The first time I believe I was raped, actually, was by the husband that I did not recall marrying. I was not at a good state and he forced me to have sex for the first time. I was released into outpatient therapy and only spent 10 weeks in that. My new husband and I returned to TX. After 3 years of living with a wife who was going through cognitive and emotional rehabilitation, on her own, he could not handle it, and left. I had gained a massage license and worked at a spa. I met my second husband. We married, and after the honeymoon he became a man I did not know. He dealt drugs but was angry that I was not affected by them (something my counselor in rehab said was common for TBI’s). He kept me intoxicated with alcohol and tried his best to get me to do what he wished. Once I told him that I would never…. he threatened my life. He gave to his friends to ‘please’ them. If I had not, I feared my life, and I feared my salvation because he was my husband and I thought I should submit. I was raped by a massage client, as well as by his friends. I later saw the flaw in that logic of submission. Eventually, after he tried to shoot me, I called both our parents and told all 4 of them about what had been going on. His parents put him in a mental ward, briefly, while my parents came and rescued me to lived with them. I spent a year in counseling and recovery and began attending a seminary. I met my third husband shortly after. He was a preacher at a small congregation outside of the metro area in a small urban town. I worked and went to seminary in the nearby capital city, where my parents still live. I met another massage client who thought I performed other services. He was much larger and much stronger than me, and he eaped me. I dared not tell my husband, knowing it would break his heart that he could not protect me. After 5 years, he turned out to have had a long homosexual past so we had never been able to consummate the marriage. Also, he was a recovering alcoholic that had never been to rehab and the stress of not being able to perform lead the preacher back to alcoholism. He had the police called on him because he was in his robe in the afternoon and flash people (some children). I knew the only way to bring him back to God was to relieve him of the sexual frustration, so we divorced. I had several boyfriend between and after the third marriage. Some were fine, but not for me. Some were smart, manipulative, and cruel. Those are the guys attracted to nice girls like me. During all of this I have been battling for SSD but I either worked to much, was too young, or was not disabled enough. I was I 4 rollover accidents, including the on that sent me into a coma. If i was driving in the rollover, it was a vehicle malfunction. So,I have multiple, traumatic, severe injuries from head to toe. I am luck because I have also had great surgeons who could reconstruct me with only minimal, hidden scars. I know God has had me in the palm of his hand from before birth, but i have kept the ten thousand Angel’s that watch me on their toes! I do all I can to prevent any risks, now. I stay home most of the time, I do home health for 2 neighbors, and live where i can walk most places. I drive, but i am very defensive, when i do. I have nearly died 5 times so i am thankful for my life and do whatever the Lord asks of me.
I think I and others around me have questioned if God was real, and I keep saying if I could have done any of this on my own I would have, but life can get hard, get messy, get out of control but I know what God is capable. If that makes me weak, or someone who needs God, so be it. Obviously 50 years or the last 25 or the last 2 years couldn’t give this true justice…. I never opened up about any of my life or story because I was so embarrassed but more shame. I know most of my family don’t even know. I also know I’ve been judged by many people but if you haven’t walked my shoes I guess you would never know how hard things really were or how life’s pain continue to beat you down until you’re lifeless or your heart is literally shattered. You see I’ve opened my heart and home to all of my husband’s children and their siblings. We’ve been married twice the last 27 years. My husband had two children from a previous relationship, but when we were married, we lost our only chance to have one early on. During the course of our marriage, he has had three children outside of our marriage. He left me for the two younger children’s mother. THe first child he had outside our marriage was a friend from church. There’s so much more to this story. I was devastated, especially when I found out I could not have any children. I did not understand why God would allow him to do this and for me not to be able to have any. It tore me up. I kept hearing I was defective, or that my husband has what I’ve always wanted with other women. It literally tore me up for 20 years. But this last time we got back together in 2010, I or we, thought it was going to be different but without realizing not dealing with past hurts they will rise up, eventually it tore this family apart.I had accepted two of the three children into the home, and his oldest from a previous relationship, but wanted nothing to do with the one he had with my friend. You see, she came clean and told me they had an affair way before I knew her, I forgave them both. Befriended her and for her to end up pregnant. This was the ultimate betrayal. But my husband never seen it that way. I was the bad person who didn’t forgive. I tried, but what does a person do? I was young, and hurt. So when we get back together and life is great for about 5 years, little by little, deterioration. And literally one by one, each of the kids left the home. Mad. Hurt. Or just because. For unknown reasons, it took a toll on our marriage. Until he decided to handle it the way he has before or with his own struggles and left our marriage again due to another affair. Don’t get me wrong I totally had my part in destroying it with my own hands, so much that I’ve blamed myself for most of it, convincing myself I deserved it… But leaving me completely from a full house of fun and laughter eventually to a broken shattered heart and home. I literally was lifeless… I gave my heart and all the pieces back to God and fully surrendered. Long story short, I truly did all I could with God, transparent, honest and broken. Forgiveness was the first thing we worked on, and as hard as it was I did, forgave everyone who hurt me intentionally or not. A year and half later I reconciled with one of the children, seemed liked soon after, the next one. And so forth. And going through their own life’s pain, they moved in…. one by one. The last one just moved in this past Feb 2020. Now if you can imagine as hurt and broken in 2017 I wanted nothing to do with the children. With all the hurt, betrayal, bitterness, shame… I was done. Done- done. But when I was set free from shame. That is when I felt free in my head and heart. All the voices, words that I wasn’t something enough or I was this horrible person… left. Nothing literally weighs me down anymore… I have all 5 kids in the home and the 2 grandkids.
Thank you so much for your story. I just can’t begin to tell you how much I felt this story to my very soul. I am always in awe of how God uses others to manifest His grace, mercy , and love. You have blessed me.
Praise God! There is great power in our testimonies! God bless you Gwnedolyn!
Thank you for such a powerful story of God’ s love. All things are possible with God. Continue to make Jesus famous with the help of the Holy Spirit, Your Advocate.
Amen Matshediso! The Lord is so good to us!!
Your story inspired me, thanks God for people like you.
Thank you Nombila! God is so good!!
What an incredible demonstration of God’s grace and love for us. Thank you for sharing.
You’re welcome Sherrie! When we turn to Jesus, He truly turns things that were meant to destroy into things that point to Him and are life giving. Such an awesome God we serve!!
Tell your story! I so vividly remember many aspects of my life which molded me into who I am today. The story would be too long if I gave details, so I will say that I had a godly father who was removed from my life through circumstances, and am convinced that his prayers kept me from destroying myself. I developed a lack of self esteem at an early age, maybe seven because of levels of molestation. At 6 my mother left me with caretakers who abused my younger brother and me. My mother returned after 6 months and left again when I was 11. I felt I wasn’t good enough to have parents. I struggled through school, graduated high school at 16 and became pregnant. I was a mother at 17. I had to leave the child with his grandmother. My mother sent for me but verbally abused me, thus cementing my lack of self esteem. at 21 I was failing nursing school and my professor sent me to a Psychiatrist. I heard myself tell him I couldn’t sleep. He prescribed sleeping pills. That night I took the full bottle and left the gas on near my bed so I would definitely die. I woke up as though I didn’t do anything. The devil said to me, You can’t even succeed in killing yourself. You’re a failure! I dropped out of Nursing school in the last semester before graduation, but took the Practical Nurse exam and went back to being a bank teller. A few months after, a teller was transferred from another branch and was labeled a trouble maker. I was told to stay away from her. The opposite happened, and she was the person The Lord used to help me think and talk more positively. Over the years, I yearned for The Lord because I was introduced to Him at a church when I was 11. He eventually took away all my suicidal ideations, surrounded me with Christians who spoke life into me. For the last 10 years, I am an international missionary nurse, helping in any way I can to relieve human suffering. I’m eternally grateful to An Awesome Father Who gave up His Son so we could have the life He has for us. Isaiah 41:10.