My name is Donovan Louis Abshire. I am 28 years old, and I am a Christian. My wife Holly and I have been married for about 5 and a half years, and we have 3 children – Evan (6) and Kaitlin (4) and Erin (6 months). I am a member of a local nondenominational church, and I have been attending there for close to 4 years now. This is my personal testimony, and the path I’ve walked for the first 28 years of my life:
I had a fairly normal childhood. No abusive parents, and no absentee Father. Actually, I grew up in a Christian home, with strong Christian parents who spent enormous amounts of time with my sister and I. They always took an interest in our lives, attended all our activities, and supported and loved us. From as early as I can remember we went to church every Sunday, and at about age 10, I gave my life to the Lord.
In 1987 my father was transferred from Houston to Midland. My parents found a new church home, but I never really felt like I fit in there. I became disillusioned with what I saw in the church in high school. I never stopped believing in God or in Jesus, but I felt like all of the people in the church were hypocrites and didn’t really “walk the walk”. As time went on I fell farther away. I knew God existed, but I figured he wasn’t really involved in my life. Maybe he was there when the major events came up, but I didn’t believe he cared about the day to day things.
In 1994 God gave me the greatest blessing of my life: my wife Holly. We were married in March of 1994, and one short year later God blessed me again. Our first child, Evan, was born in March of 1995. In 1996 I graduated from Texas Tech, and we moved to Plano shortly there after. As I began my career I rationalized my behavior and my growing distance from the Lord and my wife. I thought “I’m not that bad … Sure I look at other women, and sure I like pornography, but I’ve never had an affair. Sure I lie sometimes, even to my wife, but never about the big things. Sure I get drunk, but I’m not an alcoholic. Sure I work long hours, but it’s for my family.”
As time went on, I became a “workaholic”, and started to neglect my family. I fell into the trap of feeling important at work, and as Holly and I became more distant, my work hours became longer and longer. In April of 1997 God blessed me yet again with the birth of my daughter Kaitlin. After Kate was born, Holly went through a very hard period in her life. She was not working, and had no close friends. She was feeling completely isolated, and I was not there for her, because I was working 12 hour days. Holly wanted to find a church (for the kids she said) but I always had an excuse. “It’s the weekend. I want to spend time with you, not sit in church all day. Besides, those people in church are all hypocrites. All they want is your money. They always walk around being ‘Holier than thou’.” Perhaps I was worried what I might discover about myself if I did go back. How far from God I had really gotten. How much my life was lacking.
Finally in December of 1997, I gave in and we started looking for a church. Our current church was the first church we went to. Holly really liked it, and honestly, so did I. I liked the message and what I saw in the bulletin. It wasn’t all “Hellfire and brimstone”, and the people seemed nice, and more importantly, genuine. Then a really amazing thing happened. Somewhere along the way, without me even realizing it, God changed my heart. My priorities began to shift. I started looking at things differently.
All of a sudden I realized that my thoughts of being “not that bad” were completely wrong. I realized that all my excuses, all my rationalizations, were just Satan keeping me from seeing how I really was. Holly and I began to get more involved in the church. We started teaching the Kindergarten class in Sunday school. After a few months of teaching, another amazing thing happened – I started to feel real joy – not the kind of joy that the world gives, but the kind of joy and peace that come only from God. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. The more I gave to others, the more I wanted to give. I thought I was teaching to “give something to the kids”, when actually, they were giving me more that I could ever give them.
Last December (2000) God blessed us again with a daughter, Erin. She was beautiful and perfect. About 6 weeks into her little life, she contracted a respiratory virus called RSV. Erin became extremely ill, and she spent two weeks on a respirator in the ICU at Children’s Hospital of Dallas. I believe that nothing happens by accident, and I know that the Lord was trying to teach me something (isn’t He always trying to teach us something). He was trying to teach me about how much we actually have control over in this world. (Turns out to be very little). Through that experience, God drew me closer and showed me where true Peace comes from. (Fittingly enough Erin means “Peace” and her middle name, Elizabeth, means “God is bountiful”). He also showed us how much we are loved by our Brothers and Sisters in Christ at our local church. God is faithful and great! Erin is beautiful and healthy now, and I am closer to God because of the experience. His plans are perfect and his love is never ending.
I talk to God daily, even about the “little things”, and he listens to me, and answers my prayers. Every day I strive to get closer to Him. Every day I want to know Him more. I know I’m not perfect, and I still have a long way to go, but I have peace in the fact that the Lord and I (and several Christian Brothers in the church) are working daily on fixing what’s broken in my life. Yes I still fall down regularly. The difference is, I try and get back up quickly, and keep pressing on towards the goal of Jesus. God is leading me to give more to others. Not just to “absorb” but to contribute. I want to grow and mature so that in turn I can help others grow and mature in Christ.
I’m not sure what the next 28 years of my life have in store for me, but I rest assured in the fact that God will be there with me, guiding my steps as I go.
Have you come to know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? It’s easy!
Step number 1 … is to understand that God, although perfectly loving, is also perfectly holy and just and requires a ‘payment’ for sin. That is what you would expect from someone who broke the law in society. That is also what you would expect from God. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is (spiritual/eternal) death (or separation from God). That’s the “bad news”. Fortunately there is GOOD NEWS as well!
Step number 2 … is to understand that God came to the earth as Jesus Christ, and died for our sins on a cruel and painful cross, so that we would not have to pay the penalty that sin deserves. This is God’s way of having mercy, and exercising justice at the same time. God’s ‘method’ of executing justice in this way was his method of satisfying his own law that sin must be punished. In this case, he became a ‘scapegoat’ for us all as he put the blame, or punishement, for sin, upon his very own shoulders! Jesus is called the “lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He is the “lamb of God” because he was God’s “sacrificial lamb” that was given to pay for our sins, in accordance with God’s perfect law, stated in Hebrews 9:22: “For without the shedding of blood, there is no remission (forgiveness).” This is attested to by the Old Testament law in which lambs and bulls and goats and other animals were slaughtered in order to ‘pay’ for sin’s just requirement. The Bible says that these sacrifices were only a ‘foreshadowing’ of the ‘real’ sacrifice for sins, the one true sacrifice that would be offered when Jesus Christ died on the cross in payment for our sins.
Step number 3 … is to repent and believe the gospel, or “good news” of Jesus Christ. That means turning away from sin and accepting Jesus Christ into your heart as your very own personal Lord and Savior. It means making a decision to live for him from this day forward. That is the most important decision you will EVER make! The Lord will BLESS you do that, and, as Jesus himself said, you will have passed from the realm of eternal death to eternal life, and will have come into relationship with God the Father — Jesus himself being the “go between” between you and God, as a result of his perfect sacrifice. If you have not done so already, won’t you trust him today?
Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24)
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:25-26)