Sunday, March 4, 2018

Been Changed?

Today's blog brought to you by my son, Elijah. 
This is his testimony, in his words, and we are so thankful. 

Photo Credit: Nathan Smith 

"My name is Elijah Allen and I’m 12 years old.  I was placed in foster care when I was 18 months old and adopted three years later.  Even though’ my mom cared about me, she didn’t have the means to take care of me and my brother.  She would leave us home with our 8 -year old sister for days at a time.  I can remember crying when the people in black came to pick me up, crying, driving off in a car and looking back at the giant building.  I can remember some things, but not a lot.   

God has used many people to help me know about him. 
·       Ms. Edith, my first grade Sunday School teacher
·       my Mom and Dad
·       Shayne, my oldest brother who is there for me in my hard times and helping me in school, preparing me for major situations and talking to me, sitting down with me and trying to understand what I might be going through. 
·       Emily, my SIL because she wrote me a letter and made my day feel brighter
·       Mr. Tim (Shoemaker) who helped me understand the important things in situations by telling me what I needed to work on or do better when I was having a hard day. Jessica, I thank her for being loving and kind and funny and being a wonderful babysitter.   
·       Pastor Lane, because he is just a nice friend to have, he is welcoming and supportive.  
·       Ms. Verna who supported my mom’s decisions and loved me for who I was. 
·       The sweet ladies here, like Shirley Kanode, who when I’m having a hard day give me hugs and kisses on my cheeks. 
·       Mr. Phil who tells me to straighten up when I’m out of line and is teaching me the importance of being respectful.  I guess that’s the military in him. 
·       Pastor Jake who is a caring Pastor who is helping me understand what it means to be a Christian.
And the other people like Aunt Nae, Memaw & Granddaddy, other family members and Teri & Jay who are always there supporting us. 

I’ve really struggled in the past with doing what I’m told, listening to my parents, throwing things and being respectful to people around me.  But, what God has helped me to see is that even if you’re going through hard times and having frustrations and struggles, He will help you turn into a better person than you thought you could be. 

In 2014, it was really hard – I was in the hospital several times and I had to follow a schedule and couldn’t do what I wanted.  The hardest thing was being away from my parents.   Even though I gave them a hard time and told them they didn’t love me and I never accepted their love, deep down inside I knew they really did. Then I went to Fresh Start, which is residential treatment and I was there for about four months.  I learned different ways to help me with all the problems I’ve had and sometimes I think that all of this was for a good reason and God’s purpose to help my future.  But I wasn’t ready then to accept Christ.  I wasn’t sure about or thinking much about God, I had gone forward at Bible school but I just wasn’t sure. I felt sad and frustrated because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do about that.  In Sunday School I would hear people say that if I felt like I wasn’t saved, then I probably wasn’t. 

This life is about hard times and struggles, but it’s changing.  In January of this year, we were in the car and I told my parents that I didn’t feel different, that I didn’t think I was changed and didn’t feel like anything was getting better. 

Later that night, we came home and I came into the living room and asked Mom and Dad about what I had said in the car.  We talked about if for a while and then we prayed together and then I prayed and asked to be saved and accepted Jesus into my heart.  That’s when I felt relief and like everything, all of my sadness and a lot of my frustrations were gone. 

After I got saved I felt like God was helping me and understanding that what I was going through may be hard, but He wasn’t going to give up on me.  I knew all these things that I’ve gone through are helping me to be the Christ-like person that God wants me to be. 

What I’m trying to say for those people who don’t believe in Jesus, is that sometimes it can be difficult and hard and even sometimes you feel like everybody around you is out to get you; what they’re really trying to do is understand what your feelings are in a way that they hope you understand.  Like God, he wants you to understand that he was here to die on a cross for your sins, that He loves you with everything that He has, and He will never leave you."

And after sharing his testimony, our Pastor baptized my sweet son.  This child who continues to teach us every single day about loving unconditionally, grace and forgiveness.

Elijah wanted his big brother, Shayne to stand with him. 

So many feelings as I read his testimony to our church family. It was a sweet gift he gave me.

Jesus is Lord

We love our Pastor ,and his humble example, so much.


Elijah's Daddy singing during the service 

Our growing family

After church, we celebrated with lunch at our home and so many friends and family,  so many people who have prayed for us on our adoption realities journey, and who love us through all the chaos.  

If you want to watch, check it out on YouTube

Happy Sunday y'all! 
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