Trading Our Way for God’s Way

COPYRIGHT
November 7, 2022

Trading Our Way for God’s Way

Monicca’s Story:

I was the seventh child born into my family, and ours was not a Christian home. However, when I was still young, my oldest brother became a Christian and joined one of the prominent churches in South Africa. He started taking me to Sunday school and he later became a pastor in that organization. Because of him, nearly all of my free time was spent at church and I lived a careful lifestyle. Most days, I would come home from school and go straight to church for a service or practice. I never got involved in sinful activities because I didn’t have time to be with friends from school or participate in any worldly activities like partying.

In high school, I met my future husband, Confidence. He was in his last year of high school, and I invited him to my church. He did not know it, but that day I prayed that if it were God’s will, He would bring us together in the future.  

Shortly after that, I moved away for college. I was a chorister and a Sunday school teacher for my church at the time and I wanted to work for God as a minister, so I joined the church’s college program. For two years I trained to be a pastor. Yet, at that time I was not even saved. I thought I was a Christian because I was very involved at church and did my best to live a good life. However, I did not understand what real salvation was.

Later on during my training period, I reconnected with Confidence and we fell in love. Sadly, before we were married, I became pregnant. The church I attended taught that Christians should live a life without sin, but they did not live what they taught. Yet, becoming pregnant before marriage was still not acceptable to them. Since I already had been ordained as a minister and was supposed to begin serving a large congregation, my pregnancy was a big problem and this brought a lot of conviction in my life. I felt unworthy to continue serving and decided to leave the organization, and I also went to the church leaders and apologized to them for my wrongdoing, which was not easy. Confidence lived in a different town at that time, and the whole situation put a strain on our relationship. Then, when the baby was born, he only survived one day. I wondered if my relationship with Confidence might be over at that point, but that was not the case. We experienced a lot of heartache by not following God’s ways, but He did bring us together and we married in 1998.

My spiritual eyes were opened and I finally began to understand what salvation really is.

The year after we married, Confidence was saved and we started attending his family’s church, the Apostolic Faith. There, my spiritual eyes were opened and I finally began to understand what salvation really is. I learned that we should not just say a prayer and then immediately move on; after praying and repenting of sin, we need to wait for God to answer. Also, I had seen people who claimed to be Christians and lived two lives—a good life at church but a sinful life outside of church. At the Apostolic Faith they taught that Christians cannot serve two masters; we need to choose one or the other.

As my understanding of the Gospel deepened, one day I prayed and truly repented, asking God for forgiveness of my sins. I promised God that I would serve Him with all of my heart for the rest of my life, and He saved me! For the first time, I experienced true salvation. It was totally different than my experience with Christianity growing up because there was a real change in me—not from my own efforts, but from God transforming me on the inside. When He came into my heart, my behavior changed automatically. The sinful things I had done before, I did not do anymore. There was a real difference.

In time, God gave Confidence and me three more children, and we served God together. However, there were still struggles in some areas of my life. It was difficult for me to express myself, so when problems came, I would bottle up all of my stress on the inside. It felt like I was facing my troubles alone. Burdens piled up until I became overwhelmed and depressed.

I wanted a way out of my troubles and wished my life would end. However, God showed me my children, and the thought came to me: “If you die, what about your kids?” Then He reminded me of the joy I had felt at salvation and the promise I had made to serve Him with all my heart for the rest of my life. I decided to pray about all the troubles that were weighing on my heart, and then I felt relief. It took time, but as I continued to bring my concerns to God, He lifted my burdens. He also sanctified me during that time. From then on, my life became peaceful. The depression went away and I was able to fully enjoy my family.

Later, God filled me with the Holy Ghost, and I started serving in children’s ministries. My husband served as an assistant minister and mainly as an interpreter for over fifteen years, and then in 2018, he was asked to be the district superintendent of South Africa. Thinking back now on how I once wished to die, I realize that if I were gone, it would have affected God’s call on my husband’s life too. At that time of discouragement, I did not imagine all God had planned for our future. Now I can see that our choices have real consequences, and I am so thankful God helped me to follow His plan.

Today, I truly love and appreciate the life God has given me. I want to serve Him in whatever way He sees fit, and my focus is to make Heaven my home.

 

Confidence’s Story:

My upbringing was in the Apostolic Faith Church. My father was a pastor and he later became the district superintendent of South Africa. Looking back, I can say that being raised in the church was a comfort to me. Seeing God work in our home was a normal way of life, but it was so normal that I did not realize how special it was until I had lost it.

As a youth, I did not appreciate being raised in the Gospel. In fact, to a certain extent I resented it. Church seemed boring to me, and I wanted something exciting. I planned that once I was old enough to be independent, I would leave church behind and do my own thing, and that is exactly what I did. Yet, whenever I ran into problems in life, I would return to what I had been taught at home—I would pray. That was all I knew to do. I remember praying at times, “God, if You will help me pass through university, I will work for You.” Unfortunately, when I finished my studies, I forgot those promises and continued on my own.

In His mercy, God kept calling after my heart. After I graduated from university, I started my career, and when I was twenty-eight years old, Monicca and I married. My father had passed away three years before that, and then my mother passed the year we married. Up to that point, my life had been blessed by my parents’ faithfulness, and I had taken it for granted because I had never known anything else. For example, though our family had never been well off, we were always healthy. We could not afford nutritious meals, yet we were never malnourished or sick, and that was true even through my years at university. After my parents passed away, I noticed that I started to get sick often. I could not eat the same diet anymore because it was making me ill. This was just the start of the troubles I experienced as I moved further away from the Lord.

My first job after graduation was as a creditors accountant at a computer equipment company. I was responsible for implementing systems for their suppliers, payments, and training. In time, I started noticing that other people seemed to live better than me, and thought I would be happier if I had more material possessions. Regrettably, greed led me to try to steal from the company. I issued a fraudulent check, intending to turn it into my own bank account. However, my employer caught me before the money was transferred, and I was immediately suspended. I was facing criminal charges that would destroy my future.

I knew my actions were indefensible and was ashamed of what I had done. Because of my upbringing, I instinctively sought God in my desperation, asking for His help. Though I did not go as far as surrendering my life to Him, I made a sincere prayer: “God, help me. Forgive me, and let Your will be done.” When I went to my disciplinary hearing, I confessed everything, including some things my employer had not known about. The man who was chairing the hearing was so amazed by how repentant I was that he decided to let the whole thing go! I was astounded. They told me, “You are forgiven.” They even offered to let me keep my position at the company, but I decided I should leave. Even then, they insisted on paying me for the rest of that month, including the time I had been suspended at home. I walked away with nothing on my record.

This whole event caused me to realize how good and merciful God had been to me. Despite the selfish and sinful life I was living, God was still there for me.

This whole event caused me to realize how good and merciful God had been to me. Despite the selfish and sinful life I was living, God was still there for me. I started to see how good my life had been when I was in a Christian home, and how terrible things were going without God in my life. I had always been healthy growing up because God was helping our family, and with my parents no longer praying for me every day, I was exposed to problems in a way that I had not been before. I had passed university not because of my own capabilities, but because I made a promise and God was faithful, even when I was not being faithful to Him. Then, when I became wise in my own eyes and nearly destroyed my future by committing theft, God delivered me. I should have been in jail with a criminal record, but God prevented it. Through all of this, I realized that God is good. Unworthy as I was, He showed me mercy and love. From that time, I began seeking God in prayer and going to church again. When I repented of all my sins, God was merciful and saved me.

My wife started attending church with me too, and God saved her as well. Because I had been raised in church, I knew that I needed to seek my deeper experiences. Soon God sanctified me, and then baptized me with the power of the Holy Ghost. There have been challenges along the way, but those foundational experiences helped me to stand firm, and God has led us. God also gave us children, and we are blessed to serve Him together.

Before I was saved, there were times when I felt good about my life and thought, “Ah, things are working for me!” But that all fell apart. Now I know, “God is good and He is working for me!” I owe Him more than I could ever repay. My desire is to serve Him more and to remain faithful wherever He calls me to serve. Though my parents did not live to see me saved, I am encouraged by the hope that I will meet them in the clouds when the Trumpet sounds.

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