I actually started writing something entirely different when I took a turn in my thoughts about my testimony, and soon I realized I was confused trying to tie it all together, so there was no hope anyone else would be able to follow my thinking.
If only I could stick in occasional signs to keep you pointed in the right direction.
Anyway, five or maybe even as long as seven years ago I gave a testimony at our former church. There's still a link on the sidebar, or if you're really that bored you can click on the word testimony in the above sentence.
Anyway, for a quite a while now, I've been thinking that my testimony is sorely in need of a re-write...it's on my "long overdue for updating" list...along of course with the list itself.
Out of the blue six or so months ago I got an email from a very nice man who told me my testimony was being "reviewed for possible publication" by the operator of a Christian "testimony" website...yeah, who happens to be the same guy who sent me the email. He actually wanted to know if I had an audio recording of what I had written, but I don't (at least not anywhere I can find) and that also gets into some murky areas considering I'm in the radio business. I honestly didn't want to expend the effort determining if his website was non-profit, where it's located, if I might in some way be violating the terms of my employment by giving him an audio recording, yada yada yada...
The request was completely unsolicited, and I'm sure there's no profit motive, but I sent back an email saying he was welcome to use my testimony but I had no recording available. Obviously the intent of even having a "testimony" is to share it, so this all seemed highly sensible to me...and still does...with one or two minor reservations.
A couple of months went by, I forgot all about it until another email arrived thanking me for giving the site permission to publish my story and it had been "accepted."
I will readily admit I was a little flattered.
I didn't waste much time before surfing over to the website half hoping to see my story prominently displayed, hard at work saving souls in cyberspace.
Couldn't find it.
Well, at least not on the first page of the site...or any prominently highlighted link.
Then I realized the majority of the testimonies were "categorized" under the main heading of "Stories of Hope."
The categories began with "Abortion" and ran the gamut from "Demons" to "Money and Finances" to "Orphans" and a bunch of others before the two final categories:"Success" and "Suicide."
I wasn't sure where to begin, so I made some educated guesses. I mean it was my testimony how hard could be it be to figure out what category it would fall under?
I checked "Alcohol Abuse"...nope, I wasn't classified there. "Orphans" was nearby so I looked there out of laziness...no luck.
There are a lot of categories, which sadly enough I figured I could theoretically fall under.
It took a while.
I finally found it under the category:"Drug Abuse."
Actually it still wasn't that easy to find...because there were...sub-categories.
A lot of sub-categories:
"Cocaine & Crack"
"Crank/Methamphetamines" By the way, there is no such thing as "methamphetamines." There are amphetamines (pills) and methamphetamine which is a powder. Saying, "methamphetamines" is like saying, "cocaines." Sorry, it's a pet peeve on which I've corrected numerous reporters over the years.
Anyway, the sub-categories continued.
There was:"Death," and "Drug Dealer," and then "Heroine, Speed, Ecstasy, etc." - That one also made me cringe not only because "Speed" is "crank" but also because I was worried inspiring stories of women of Christ might have somehow been misplaced in there.
There's only one "e' in heroin...the drug.
And the list continued:
"Death from Drug Abuse"
"Marijuana & Hash"
"Other Drug Abuse"
In all honesty, they could have thrown my testimony into any number of those sub-categories, although I'm thankful not to have been among the nominees for "Death" and I was never really a drug dealer.
So I slogged through, long after losing my wild idea of being an inspiration to anyone but instead more curious as to what deviant behavior got me a ranking.
"Other Drug Abuse" to be specific.
I have no real idea what that means, but that's where I found my testimony along with an image from my website which had been awkwardly squeezed beside it rather than properly resized...or better yet abandoned.
Please don't get the wrong impression. I still think this is a wonderful ministry idea...the site is TheHopeWithin.org. I urge you to check it out...when you have a lot of time.
I figured if my story could conceivably help one person, I would have been more than adequately compensated. Of course, I also realized that if someone actually found my testimony on that website they would likely be manically high on speed at the time.
Who am I to judge?
People find their relationship with God in all sorts of ways, and I truly pray that the website will give hope to people who perhaps consider themselves hopeless.
But, I also pray people on those journeys come to realize that God doesn't categorize, sub-categorize or quantify them.
None of us lead tidy lives...our roads to salvation are invariably messy, and although there may be many paths to God, I tend to think the separations between those paths are mostly man-made creations.
In God's eye, I believe it's a wide open road.
I guess I'm saying, don't allow our fallible foibles, and well intentioned efforts to distract you from "the way."
Train me, God, to walk straight; then I'll follow your true path.
Put me together, one heart and mind; then, undivided, I'll worship in joyful fear.