Cindy's Testimony

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Cindy's Testimony

Postby cindy10 on Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:56 am

OK, I'll start!
Some of you know parts of my story, so pardon the repetition...

I was born here in the Philadelphia area in 1963, to 2 Jewish parents, who are very serious about Judaism and all of the traditions that the Jewish people find so important and comforting! Family life was always extremely important, and we spent a lot of time together. I have an older sister, Robin, and 2 younger brothers, Danny and Jeffrey. And never once in my life, even up throgh the time of this writing, has anyone in my family told me, "I love you, Cindy"

Nobody ever understood me. I was a very friendly, outgoing, bright, and creative child! I could play Beethoven piano Sonatas at age 6. I had a ton of friends, and always even had "boys" calling my house! And while I appeared to be happy, inside I was blank. Empty. Nothing. I knew in my heart of hearts that there was something
differnet' about me. Something...special! I knew that nobody knew it, and feared that I would die without anyone knowing I was special. As young as age 8, I would fantasize about my own funeral, and people would be saying, "I never really understood her." I fantasized about "faking" my death, to see if anyone would show up at my funeral, and what they would say. Talk about being depressed! But nobody ever noticed, and I was in too much pain to even acknowledge it myself! Now, as a psychotherapist, reading what I'm writing, I suppose I was even suicidal at times. But I held on to that teeny tiny little glimmer of hope. There had to be something to live for! There just HAD to! There had to be a reason we are even here at all!

So, back to faith, or lack of it...While we belonged to a Conservative Synagogue (Conservative isn't just an adjective, but a "subset' of Judaism, along with Reform and Orthodox,) but not ONE of them ever believed (or believes) in God! I never, EVER understood that, even as a very young girl. I always felt empty at our Temple, and over the years, tried VERY HARD to "get into Judaism,' by sincerely reading our prayer book and, when we were in Temple, the 5 books of the Torah--we weren't allowed to have any type of "bible" in our homes...." But no matter how deep I dug into the Jewish faith, I couldn't find anything in it that satisfied or filled that big hole I had in my heart, that I desperately wanted filled!

So, I started looking for solace in other things. First it was food (which never really went away until God delivered me from food addiction about 5 years ago!) But, once I went off to college, living away from my parents, the things I looked to became a little more perilous. I longed for love, so I sought after the attentions of many different men, who, up until I met my husband, never really loved me. I longed to feel good inside, whatever that meant, so when I was a college student, I'd drink a little too much now and then, and experimented with some illicit drugs. Of course, doing those things didn't make me feel loved OR good about myself. To the contrary, I felt not only unloved, but undeserving of ANYONE'S love. I couldn't even gain the love of my own mother. So, back I went to food, and by the age of 30, I weighed nearly 300 pounds.

I met my husband in 1994, at the age of 28. By that time, I had pretty much abandoned any connection I had with a synagogue, but until I got married, I still attended services on the High Holidays (Rosh Hashana--the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur--the Day of Atonement) with my family. I'd sit there (and stand, and sit, and stand) and read the same prayers over and over again, usually in Hebrew, a language I could read and write, but couldn't understand 95% of the words... That last holiday season before Lew and I were married, I REALLY tried to "get into it' on Yom Kippur. I knew I had done a lot of things wrong, so maybe there WAS something to confessing my sins to God, although I still had no knowledge of Him, and the rest of my family continued in their complete disbelief. One prayer on that day, that we repeated about a dozen times, made me realize, once and for all, that Judaism wasn't the answer, and it never would be, for me. That prayer was basically a public group confession, in English. It went something like this:
We have lied.
We have cheated.
We have been adulterous.
...and so on.
And the last line was the best:
We have been xenophobic.
I had seen that word literally thousands of times in my life, and only on Yom Kippur, and I knew it meant "fear of foreigners." I thought to myself, "Why am I confessing to being afraid of foreigners?" I'm not afraid of foreigners at all! And this was the very last time EVER that I was going to stand in that place, stand up and proclaim a bunch of stuff I never did! Call it anger, resentment, bitterness, disappointment, or "righteous indignation," but I was TICKED! All of a sudden, although I'd known it in my heart for decades, I felt so betrayed! I had been taught by, living with, and afraid of a family who forced me into rituals, legalism, guilt, shame, and downright hypocrisy! Praise the Lord, though, that He had a plan for my life beyond what I could ever have imagined in my wildest dreams! I still had no concept of God, yet in some way, I still knew I was set apart for something special.

The Lord was watching me struggle I know, and over the years, He took control and saved my life several times when I should not have lived. But He still always had a plan, because He didn't want us to be separated from each-other forever. So, to take care of that issue once and for all, one evening almost 15 years ago, God gave me a wonderful gift. My dh, then-infant son Josh and I were driving home from a family trip[, through the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina, and God gave me the most fantastic sunset! Looking out the car window, I saw a unique intensity of oranges, pinks, purples, yellows and blues. Never before had I seen such a glorious sunset! And the longer I looked, rather than it "going away," and we all know how we've struggled to snap that perfect sunset photo, but that perfect time to do it comes and goes, and no picture? But this sunset lasted for what seemed like about 15 minutes, in this intensely magical state...and I heard God's voice. He said, "Its OK, Cindy. I am here. You can rest. I have always been here."

The rest of the story is about like anyone who comes to know the Lord as an adult--searching for the 'right church," starting to study God's Word, getting into a few Bible Studies...
It was the beginning of a journey. A narrow but vast pathway of living that finally fills that big old hole in my heart.
And for the most part, I stay pretty well on-track, but as I am only human, I struggle and make mistakes on a pretty regular basis!

I certainly don't claim to have "arrived" in any way, but the closer I draw near to God, the closer He comes, and when we meet when I open my eyes each morning, I ask Him if He'll stay with me throughout the day to direct my way. And He says, "I am here."

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Re: Cindy's Testimony

Postby DeVonne on Wed Oct 14, 2009 8:46 am

Thanks for sharing your "Her-story" with us! I always struggle with writing mine... but I will attempt to write it once again
This is a day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad!
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Re: Cindy's Testimony

Postby PammieKay on Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:41 am

CIndy, thanks for sharing. But I disagree with have "arrived". The first day you said yes to God was your Pastor always told (still Tells!) me that just the faith of a mustard seed..that's all it takes. Welcome Cindy, you have arrived.
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