The Testimony of Lindsey Berger
The most powerful story you can share is your own. I can tell you story after story about the many hero’s of the bible, how they triumphed and failed, but there is something very empowering in how God shapes us through our testimony. People have argued for centuries about the interpretations of biblical stories, but no one can argue with your own life story. You experienced it, you have been changed by it, you have the responsibility to share it.
My name is Lindsey and like many people, I grew up in the church. My siblings and I were involved in children’s church, AWANA’s and the youth group. At home my dad led us in evening family devotionals and both my parents stressed the importance of scripture memorization. I was very lucky to have godly parents whom both love the LORD. Their example helped me understand the importance in following Him. God’s ultimate plan for me was to become His child and at the age of six, I stood in our kitchen and told my mother and father I wanted to accept Jesus. I remember praying a prayer of salvation and being very excited to become saved. My mind was flooded with questions, but I knew for certain Jesus was MY Savior. I continued to live happily as a little girl, but a few short years later life radically changed.
As Followers of Jesus Christ, we must recognize Satan is real and note as a believer he has no authority over you. When we are saved from the perils of darkness, out of the Enemy’s control, Satan cringes in terror. Before we are saved, we live in sin often oblivious to Satans schemes, but after salvation through faith in Christ, Satan begins to fear. He does everything in his power to pull us off the path of righteousness and convince us to love the path of wickedness. If we are not ready, we will start following his army, even if we are saved and have good intentions. The way of the world is wicked and easily entices us. Around the age of 9, I began to feel unsettled in my heart. I was being bullied at school by a few girls I had considered good friends with for several years. I would pretend their words didn’t bother me, but my parents noticed a significant change. I started lashing out in fits of anger and being hostile towards them. I threatened them and desired to harm myself. Inside I knew something was going on, but I didn’t know how to stop it. Although I was saved from the dominion of darkness, there was still a fight waging against my soul. I could tangibly feel that war swirling inside of me. Satan was furious and wanted me to give up My Jesus.
The bullying didn’t stop, these “ friends” of mine spoke ugly words about my appearance leading me to harm myself in the less noticeable way I thought. I developed an eating disorder called Anorexia. Most young girls who develop this eating disorder are between the ages of 15-24. I was 11. Many of them die from the disorder or struggle with it in some way mentally their whole lives. I would refuse to eat for days on end, sometimes just a bite here or there. I was required to sit with the school nurse everyday during lunch so she could monitor my eating. My parents sought counsel for me from a professional. As I think back to everyone who did what they could to help me, I can recall one distinct constant, kindness. My mothers patience, my teachers love, the nurse’s encouragement, the counselor who helped me conquer many fears, I am thankful God showed himself in all those women and thankful He never gave up on me. He also showed up in a profound way through the one man I loved most, my father.
One particular session with my counselor closed with advice she gave my parents. She told them about a movie on airing on tv that night she recommended we watch. My parents sat with me that night and we all watched together. The story followed two friends both who developed eating disorders, one willingly got help while she watched her friend who refused help die. It terrified me. My Heavenly Father gave my earthly father the most stern, harsh, but loving words I think I could ever remember. He told me I had only two options; either get better or die. I couldn’t bear what I was doing to my family any longer. My loving fathers stern words pierced me deep and I began a path to change. I recovered and fully regained my health after a two year battle with the disorder. Although I am grateful God spared me and granted full recovery to my health, I sadly coasted through much of my teen life, giving God recognition here and there, but not fully understanding the weight of what it meant to live for Him.
After college, I moved away from my family and started my first job in a city about 45 minutes from home. The year started off fine, but shortly afterward I was miserable. One thing after another plagued my life; a sexual harassment claim i had to file against a teacher I worked with, broken relationships and suppressed emotions from my childhood were finally catching up with me. I felt empty, worthless and very angry with God. I refused church, I refused the bible and I refused wisdom from others. Months passed and the anger I was harboring spewed out onto those around me. I hated everything. One Saturday morning, I was sitting at the desk in my room of my apartment I shared with three other non-believers. Alone, I began mulling over things I hated. The list seemed endless when without warning I began to cry. I wept silently for several minutes before I understood why. God was telling me it was time to surrender. I ran from God for so long because I was convinced I was too far gone to be loved by Him. His words filled my mind and I realized, I was loved just as much when I wanted nothing to do with Him. Even when my feelings of anger and hate were directed at Him, His unfailing love never changed. God never gave up on me. My strength and love for Jesus was renewed and I desired to live for Him in a way I never had before.
My life is not perfect. I still have days in which my strength in the Lord is stronger than others.
I don’t wish to imagine the current state of my life without Jesus. I am exceedingly thankful for His love on the cross and His personal love I get to encounter with Him as my friend. The love of Jesus can melt even the hardest hearts and wash clean the darkest and dirtiest of sins. There is no life without Him and eternity is a long time to be separated from love beyond measure.
My Life Verse,
Isaiah 40: 28-31
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not fait or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to Him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
If you are already a believer, I would encourage you to do two things. 1). Ask Him for a life verse. Its a powerful thing to have the Lord give you a specific word you can cling to in your life. 2). Write your testimony. I am thankful for the ability to refer back to my experience to continually rejoice in how the Lord has shaped me. It also gives me clarity and confidence in my own life to connect with someone going through the same thing or allow God to use my story as a way to speak truth into another life.
Maybe you are like I was and your anger or bitterness has kept you far away from God. Don’t allow the enemy to deceive you any longer with guilt that you will never be good enough to love. Jesus loves you just as you are; dirty, broken and empty. He desires for you to surrender all you are by taking the weight of your burdens so you can walk closer than a brother with Him. It’s time for a new start and that time is now.