For our ninth post in an ongoing series right here on the blog, Stephen Welsh, pictured here with his girlfriend and our volunteer coordinator for the summer, has been willing to share his testimony with us all. If you would like to share your testimony or a devotion with us, email firstname.lastname@example.org with blog testimony in the subject line.
I suppose my story begins when I was born, but if I backed up that far none of you would finish reading this out of boredom. I’ll stick to some general details and begin my story when I was six years-old. I come from a decently large family; I’m one of six kids. I have two nieces and four nephews so my parents boast six kids and six grandkids. My Mom tells me that when I was six years-old I came downstairs claiming to have heard God talking to me. I prayed a prayer and was told I was a Christian.
I don’t remember being interested much in God after that point or knowing what it meant to be a Christian. I completely forgot about God as I became a teenager. I remember thinking I was a Christian only because I acted better than my family members or friends acted. I spent little to no quiet time alone with God, I didn’t pray on a regular basis, and I had no relationship with God for the most part. I went to church regularly, but didn’t understand how many so-called “Christians” I knew could live worse than many non-Christians I knew. If the Christians I knew were what God wanted Christians to look like, I didn’t want to be one. They were hypocrites.
Between my sophomore and junior year my family went through some hard times causing my house to become a worse environment than it was previously. I began dating a girl as a way to get out of my house and feel loved. After dating for about a year, I began to feel convicted that we were not honoring Christ in our relationship. I’m not sure why I felt convicted. Aside from going to church I wasn’t really following God. The Holy Spirit was speaking to me though. After breaking up with my girlfriend, the Lord began to un-harden my heart and remove my anger towards people. He planted a seed in me that I needed to keep watering.
During the next few years, I began reading anything I could get my hands on about God and Christianity. I listened to sermons non-stop during my workdays throughout the summer. I began reading my Bible and praying. I can’t pinpoint one place in time that I fell in love with God, but I know I am now. I am not perfect; God is still in the work of constantly changing my heart, but that is something I celebrate. I am not sure what your background in Christianity is, but this is my experience with God. He did not judge me for my past. Even when I walked away during my youth, He never stopped pursuing me. He has brought me back to Himself and has no plan to let me go. God has been there for me when people were not. When friends and family don’t act like they love you, God does and will always continue to love you.