can i get a witness? (whoop! whoop!)

Something tells me I’ve used this exact blog title before, but I’m too lazy to go back and look. Oh, well.

I’ve been thinking a lot about some things. Some of it is stuff that’s always on my mind–God, His will for my life, how to use my time wisely, giraffes… Some of it is 52 Zoos-related–bills, e-mail requests for tickets, the logistics of 12 zoos in 15 days, party planning…

And some of it has to do with my previous posts on faith–and the ongoing comments. I have a lot of notes scrawled on random papers scattered across my desk. I have ideas swirling in my head, prayers whirling in my heart, butterflies whirling in my belly. I’ve been thinking about creation. And evolution. And the Bible. And religion. And freedom. And peace. And the deep longings of my heart.

I’m not one to shy away from a good argument. I’m fairly witty and pretty quick on my feet. Verbal sparring appeals to me on some level–more than it probably should.

But here’s the deal. I’m feeling a tug. And it’s not a tug to convince, cajole, coerce or condemn. It’s a tug to love. To demonstrate through actions, not words. To show Christ’s love, not defend it. To be humble, not arrogant. To care more about people’s souls than the need to be right.

I’ve been thinking about some sweet little kids in an orphanage in Cambodia. And some precious girls who are being rescued from the sex trade.

God is doing a work in my heart tonight–He wants to use me as a vessel to pour out His love. I’m not a very loving person on my own. But I’m learning to let Him love others through me. I don’t always get it right. My selfish nature gets in the way far too often. But I want to love. And love well.

I’m not called to be a defense attorney (nor a prosecuting attorney)–just a witness. I don’t have to know all the answers. I can search for them, sure, but my job is to share what I know from my own personal experience. What I’ve seen with my own eyes. I’m called to share my story. And that’s what I want to do.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord.” (2 Timothy 1:7-8)

“Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” (Psalm 63:3-4)

If you know Jesus and He’s done a work in your heart and life, will you testify to that today? If not here, then somewhere, before the day is over, will you give a brief testimony of what God has done for you? It’s okay if you’re not Wilma Wordsmith–the attitude of your heart is all that matters.

It can be something simple like–I’m praising God today for the money to put gas in my car. Or I’m giving glory to God today for delivering me from a nasty addiction. Or I’m thanking God today for helping me love this difficult person in my life. Or I’m giving God glory today for softening my husband’s heart toward spiritual things.

It doesn’t have to be your whole testimony–just a part.

I’ll start. I’m giving glory to God today for giving me a love for His Word, a passion to know Him more deeply and follow Him more closely. I’m standing here in awe of the way He has worked out every detail of every zoo trip–when, by all accounts, it was impossible. On paper, this year makes NO sense. It’s a work of God. And it’s humbling and beautiful to think that He cares so deeply for me and my family–and the things that matter to us.

Like this:

Your turn!

28 thoughts on “can i get a witness? (whoop! whoop!)

  1. Meg @ Spicy Magnolia

    Thank you for this post! I had started a blog post about something and didn’t know exactly where to go with it, and the Lord used your post to help form the words to complete it.

    Right at this moment, I’m so thankful for the family the Lord has blessed me with and the long weekend we have to be in each others company! Happy Fourth to you and your family!

  2. Donita

    I am thanking God today for do-overs!
    This past week, indeed, this past year I feel like God has put a bunch of do-overs in my path. Places I stumbled before that I have encountered again. People I failed in the past have come around full-circle. Situations I wish I had done differently and now I get a chance to do them differently.

    I was thinking about all this and remembered a teaching I once heard about Samuel’s stone of Ebenezer…his stone of remembrance. I prayed, “God, is this a season of do-overs? A season of remembrance? Have I really come full circle?”

    And then we sang:
    Here I raise my Ebenezer;
    Hither by Thy help I’m come;
    And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
    Safely to arrive at home.
    Jesus sought me when a stranger,
    Wandering from the fold of God;
    He, to rescue me from danger,
    Interposed His precious blood.
    (Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing)

    Thanks for encouraging me to tell my story!

  3. Laura

    I just want to echo Janelle Taviano…thank God for Jesus….the Cross….and the constant drawing us in….even in the hard times….He is love that is so perfect that we don’t have to be!

  4. Carrie

    I’m so thankful that the Health Dept. did not shut down our pond with BRAND NEW waterslides this week (they were considering it), and that they allowed us to use our camp water again today after determining that there was no problem with the chlorination – thank you, God, that we didn’t have to send campers home or alarm parents! Also, we had a camper accept Christ last night, and 2 more raised hands that said they were interested in hearing more!!! Praise Jesus! 🙂

  5. Omom

    Even though I’m going through some sort of trial right now I’m so thankful for the ways He keeps bringing my focus back to Him. A song, a word, a scripture, a blog….it always speaks to my situation and keeps me taking another step in Him.

  6. Emily Kay

    There’s a fine line between “arguing” the gospel and “defending” it. That’s why it’s so hard to participate in theological discussions…especially with non-Christians. After all, the gospel is foolish to those who do not believe.

    While this is more my husband’s testimony than my own, it directly impacted my life so I feel like I’m allowed to include it as one of my own. 🙂 God has brought us SO far in a mere three years. You know how people say that it took God hitting them over the head with a 2×4 t get their attention? Well, for my husband it was an F-350. Just short of three years ago my husband was struck by a truck while riding his bicycle at a family camp we were both attending. The deer guard on the truck snapped his upper arm and it was rendered useless for several months. The accident effectively ended his landscaping business but through a series of “chance” encounters, God led him to the manager of a company who was willing to hire him on the spot in spite of his injury. He was working 4 weeks after the accident, broken arm and all. The new job with a stable income plus the insurance settlement allowed him to pay his medical bills (he was uninsured at the time of the accident) AND buy an engagement ring and propose to me two months later. Had he never been hit by that truck, it may have been years before we were able to get married. A year and a half later we were offered the opportunity to buy our first home (the whole process took less than a month…to some that seemed dangerously impulsive). Two years TO THE DATE after he started his first job, he began a new career with the San Antonio Police Department. Oh, and had we waited to buy a home like many said we should have we wouldn’t have been approved for financing because of the new job and we would have been stuck in a one-bedroom apartment with TWO babies. It really is AMAZING how God has directed each step we’ve taken because He is ALMIGHTY and knows exactly what we need!!!

  7. Joy

    I’m praising God in advance for the way He will bring much greater glory to Himself out of the death of our church than He did during its life. We meet tonight to vote to dissolve and hopefully to pass the torch to a young, Bible-believing, Bible-preaching body that will have a God-honoring ministry to our community… if our little body can put its own desires and dreams under God’s dominion.

  8. Kelsie

    Marla, yes that makes sense. Thank you for clarifying. 🙂 Testimonies are great, don’t get me wrong. I was concerned that we were diminishing the importance of apologetics…
    I will conclude by praising God for an opportunity with a neighbor lady today. My husband and I are burdened for our neighbors, and we desire greatly to be a powerful witness to them. May God use all of us!!

  9. Suzy

    I am forever grateful to the Lord and absolutely amazed at how he can take the ugliest of circumstances and make something beautiful. 9 years ago my husband had an affair; it was one of the most awful times in my life and yet through that affair I became saved, my marriage was rescued, later my husband became saved, I gave birth to a 4th child who would not have existed if our marriage had failed and so far, 2 of my 4 children have also been saved. I believe that through all of that ugliness the Lord dramatically altered the course of my families future for many generations to come. Thank you God you, are so amazing!!!!

  10. Marla Taviano

    Great question, Kelsie. I should have worded that differently. That verse has come to my mind many times since this whole debate began. And it’s actually the main reason I started the conversation.

    Here’s the thing. I DID give a reason for the hope that is in me. And I still will. What I DON’T want to do is give that answer OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER to someone when it is clear that the only thing that will ever convince him/her of Christ’s love is the Holy Spirit Himself whispering to that person’s heart.

    Does that make sense?

  11. Kelsie

    Marla, I have a question about your statement, “To show Christ’s love, not defend it.” What about 1 Peter 3:15 “…always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” John MacArthur comments that Peter “is insisting that the believer must understand what he believes and why one is a Christian, and then be able to articulate ones beliefs humbly, thoughtfully, reasonably, and biblically.” What are your thoughts?

  12. Lisa H

    I’m thankful that God is a God of second chances. His mercies are new every morning. He never gives up on me. No matter how many times I fall, He is always there to pick me up, wipe the dirt off my face, hold my hand, and say, “Come on, let’s keep walking together.” What a wonderful God!

  13. Shannon

    Thank you for such beautiful words and for allowing the Lord to speak through you.

    I am praising Him today for the peace He gives me. My husband and I are going through infertility treatments and, even though this is an emotional rollercoaster, He continues to give us peace. We know His plan is so much better than ours and I am humbled that He cares about even the smallest details of my life.

  14. Rachele

    I’m praising God that I can be at home with my son and watch him grow even though we live in such an expensive area, that God has blessed my husband with a good job that he enjoys and for Marla’s heart and that I can read her words and be lifted up.

  15. Jessica Green

    I am praising God for 2 beautiful children through adoption!!! He has blessed my life in more ways than I can even say but when I see those 2 precious children my whole being smiles because they are truely miracles in so many ways! There birth mothers choose to give them life instead of abortion and then choose to be so selfless in choosing adoption for their child because they wanted more for them than they could give and then choose us to be their family. So my children are double miracles, first they are here, living and breathing and they are with us! There were dark days before God blessed us with our son and duaghter but I survived through him, walking by faith not sight when it seemed life was out to get me. It’s through God and his amazingness that I write with a joy that is overflowing and unexplainable even when life may not have turned out as I expected. His ways are better than mine!!!

  16. Amy

    I’m thanking God today for healing me through a catheter ablation that was performed on my heart over 5 years ago and now I’m alive to testify of God’s faithfulness and mercy. I’m alive to praise, worship, honor and adore the great God who created the heavens and the earth and yet profoundly and intimately knows every hair on my head.
    I’m alive to hear and see my children laugh, feel their arms wrapped around my neck in a tight hug, smell their Strawberry smoothie freshly washed hair before I tuck them in bed with a hug and a kiss. I’m alive to celebrate an upcoming 10 year anniversary with my husband.

  17. Amy

    I’m thankful that God is a forgiving God and a loving God. He took me from a miserable life in homosexuality to a life blessed with a wonderful husband, two wonderful children, and one child on the way. God could have easily given up on me, but He kept calling my name.

  18. Valerie

    I’m thankful for finally feeling some sort of peace in dealing with our infertility and pregnancy losses; I’m thankful to finally have a glimpse of what He has in store for us as we move onto adoption. I’m praising Him for the strength He has given us as we’ve endured this storm, and the hope we now feel in our hearts.

  19. Gail

    I’m praising God for being the same yesterday, today, and every tomorrow yet to come. I’m giving Him glory for revealing Himself to me in a way I can handle (like how He put His hand over Moses to protect Him). I’m praising Him for a husband who is so very, very faithful, whose love has taught me about how Jesus cherishes me as part of His bride, the church. I’m praising Him that Susannah was able to pray and rest in Him last night and went to sleep without the fear she’s been battling for the past few weeks. I’m praising Him that I’m not who I used to be. I’m praising Him for letting me share in a friendship with a believer like you, Marla, and with all my other bloggy friends who challenge me to be who I know He wants me to be. All praise and honor and glory to His name!

  20. deanna

    I’m blessed with Godly parents who raised me in church and now a Godly husband who is helping me to raise our son in a Christian home.

    I’m not perfect by any means. I still sin. But because I am one of HIS, I know that when I leave this world I’ll be in a much better place.

  21. janelle taviano

    I am thankful that God is choosing to not only to draw me to His side of love…but also draw me close to HIS side of suffering. To have HIS arm wrapped around me tightly until I somehow..spiritually adhere to suffering, unfairness, and be there for a while, to where others forget that I am here….and yet in the stillness of who HE is…HE lets me know..GOD HIS FATHER , “I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU…” so did GOD turn His back on Christ at the Cross…I know HE, in this chapter has never turned HIS back ..and HE cont. to keep me close…to where in some sense, you feel the blood of CHRIST on you….and you whisper….amen, amen….amen….I know You are teaching me…and I stand still ….attached to the side of Christ….that bled.

  22. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    Hi friend. 🙂

    You know, after my initial comment on the first of the faith and politics post, I knew it would be best for me to step away from those discussions. For me, those are an invitation to pride, to a warming sense of self-congratulations for articulating my right-ness so nicely, and (again FOR ME) it’s just better if I step away and let others speak their hearts.

    Like Annie said, in my life, it simply comes down to He first loved me when I had nothing to offer Him. He is love and He is light and He is truth. He has poured out blessings of every shape and size in my life, but even if He chose never to bless me again, He is still worthy of praise. Apart from Him, I have no good thing. He pursues me in my rebellion and upholds me in my journey. He is stability, constancy, faithfulness, and all that is good begins and ends in Him.

    He is freedom and He has set me free from myself.

    Glory, glory, glory to God. Thanks for the chance to testify.

  23. Annie Whitehurst

    Oh, Marla. I could just cry….
    Over the past couple weeks with the big “debates” about Christianity, and the comments from non-believers, this is exactly the type of thing I wanted to say, but didn’t really feel I knew how….if that makes sense.

    Everyone was debating back and forth using scripture and big words, and scientific terms, and I wondered HOW do you join that?

    How do you simply say, I love Jesus, He saved me, I trust Him and I believe Him.

    I take His Word at what it is because I have seen Him in every area of my life. I have felt His blessings & love all my life–I know His grace and experienced it when He led me in making choices and I married the man He made just for me—I know of His mercy, strength and power and believe with my whole heart that because of them, He has given me hope in the midst of the most unimagineable heartache of loosing a child–I know firsthand, His redemption and His ability to bring joy after such pain and sorrow.

    How do you debate with someone who wants facts and evidence…. The only facts and evidence that I have is my own life. I know what our Heavenly Father has done for me. I know what He can do in anyone’s life, if they let him…To me, that is the best evidence–real people, right now, who can testify to who the Lord is and what He has done.

    Thanks for the reminder that all we’re called to be is a witness. To share and show the love that God has shown to us. My bible study group meets today at my house and I cant wait to share this with them!!!! Wishing you a wonderful day…. ~annie~

  24. Holly B.

    I’m praising God today for saving me from myself. Through His mercy, and through sending Jesus to take my sins upon Him, He has been faithful to forgive me and to redeem hurts and my bad choices in life! On top of that, He’s given me more than I deserve–a relationship with Him, hope in life and in death, and an amazing husband, just to name a few!

  25. Cindy Eisel

    Love the way you love Sister! So blessed to be a witness to how you live out your intended self. Also blessed to see how you model it to your girls!

  26. mary

    Praising God for saving my marriage,blessing my life and doing exceedingly and abundantly more than I could ever ask or imagine in my family’s life.

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