The Lord is My Shepherd
by Amanda Clark
(The following is a portion of Amanda’s testimony, leaving out some personal parts relating to other people. We hope it will be a blessing to many.) I write this mainly because I want to leave a legacy for my children, so they will know that the Lord is real, and hopefully run to Him. However, the Lord may have other plans, and so I commit this into His hands, for His glory. Come, let’s see what the Lord will do this time!
If someone were to ask me for my testimony, my response would have to be, “Which one?” The Lord has done so much for me, has proven Himself faithful to me so many times, that I feel the need to write them all down so I won’t forget! But I will start with the one which makes all others pale in comparison. It is the one in which the Lord saved me. It is not, however, the one that happened first. Let me start when I was 11 years old. I had an experience at the altar in which I assumed was the Lord saving me. However, over the next 15 or more years, I loved the Lord “from a distance.” I called myself a Christian, but there was no evidence of that in my life. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that the Lord took what I knew in my head and inscribed it in my heart. That’s when the real difference was made, and my life took a 180 [a complete turnaround].
Looking back, I can really see how the Lord started the process, started wooing me, right around the time my marriage to __ ended. Divorce is a terrible thing. It hurts and it kills. But my Lord was there, beginning a work in my heart that would consume the rest of my life.
It was a process for me to see what I was. I had been told all my life that I was a sinner at birth, and that Jesus died on a cruel cross for me. I was brought up in a God-fearing church, and I understood that all I had to do was believe that Jesus died for me, and that was all that was required of me, and all that I could do. God did the rest. I sometimes wonder how much of that story we Americans take for granted. When you’re told all your life that someone died for you, you grow up accepting that fact. But what if we lived in a village in India and had never before heard the name Jesus, and along came someone who told us that a man died on a cross to save us from our slavery to sin? Well, it came down to that moment where the old story became just like new to me. Like I was hearing it for the first time. Yet at that moment, no one was speaking. I was all alone in my apartment.
The Lord used a set of circumstances and allowed me to fall in the mud over and over again until one morning I woke up and realized for the first time what I was. I was a sinner, in desperate need of a savior. I was like Isaiah when he said, “Woe is me! For I am undone.” It was as if I suddenly woke up and found that I could not blame my condition on anyone or anything else. It was as if the Lord said to me like he said through the prophet to David, “Thou art the man.” I saw, for the first time, that every thought and intent of my heart was evil. I knew there was nothing I could do for myself. I had tried and tried to do right and not wrong, yet I kept finding myself in slavery to my sin. I had felt guilty before, but this was different. No longer could I brush it off and say, “Well, Jesus died for all us sinners,” and go about my business. No longer was Jesus’ death a free ticket to live as I pleased as long as I believed that my sins were paid for. If you had asked me if that’s how I had felt before I would have denied it, but looking at my life the evidence was clear: I was living as if I had the right to do as I pleased and just ask for forgiveness later. God, in His lovingkindness, arrested my heart. It was miserable! My heart was so heavy, and tears streamed down my cheeks as I cried out to the Lord and said, “Oh, God! Please don’t give up on me! Please don’t leave me now! Please don’t take your Spirit away! Please don’t let me go! Please don’t leave me like this! I don’t know what to do! I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried to live according to your law, and I am a miserable failure, and I can’t do a thing for myself. What am I to do?” The realization of what I was is impossible to relate. But for those of you who’ve been there, know. For those of you who don’t, I pray that God will convict your heart. It was not a pleasant thing. I thought for sure I might as well give up. I thought for sure it’s over now. God will not contend with us forever. I was sure He was even more sick of me than I was. But, oh, what happened next. It was like my mind cleared of all that sinfulness and shame, and clear as day, the words came to me, “Are you going to believe that Jesus paid it all for you? Are you going to believe that He really did die for YOU, Amanda?” And I realized that this shame I felt was what He went to the cross for. And if I were the only sinner who ever lived, the story would have been the same. It was as if I were the only sinner who ever lived, and His death was just for me. And He was the ONLY thing that stood between me and hell. At that moment, I knew that even if I get cast into hell, I will go clinging to the cross. He applied His blood to my heart, and I was clean. One minute I was in agonizing disbelief and shame, and the next, I was overwhelmed by an unspeakable peace, and I could do nothing else but praise Him right there in my apartment all alone.
From then on, there was a newfound power over sin, and not just blatant sin. But even things I never realized were sin before. I was so grateful for what the Lord had done for me, I couldn’t do the things and go to the places and fellowship with the people I once did. My heart wouldn’t let me. Not only that, I had no desire to. Not that I never sinned again, but it was totally different now. Now when I found myself doing something that displeased my Lord, I would be filled with sorrow over the knowledge that I had disappointed him. All I would be able to think was, “How could I? After what he’s done for me? How could I?” and it would drive me to true repentance. And each time I went to Him with a repentant heart, it was much more genuine. I would run to Him because I knew I had disappointed Him. And oh how I didn’t want to disappoint Him! I love Him, and better than that, He loves me, even though I am unlovely. He has captured my heart and I am totally His.
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