Here's my testimony.
I was born into a Catholic household. I was baptized as a baby and my family went to mass every Sunday. When I was 3, my grandma (my daddy's mom) died. I asked daddy where she was and he told me, "She's in heaven with the angels. Good people go to Heaven when they die." Being a small child, I nodded and believed daddy. I had been pondering from a young age where people go where they die.
Around the time when my grandma died, my family was living in Venezuela. My mommy was a big hypochondriac. She had felt tormented perpetually and visited the doctor often. She had no idea why she felt tormented. At mass on Sunday, she felt no peace and comfort. She cried out to God for help, but nothing happened. She still felt miserable. She had this feeling that she was going to spend eternity in Hell. We later on moved to Chile where I attended private Catholic school.
My mommy finally became born again when we were living in Chile. She attended a Bible study where they were reading out of the book of John and she realized what Jesus did for her. She was rejoicing in her salvation afterwards. My older brother and I were both Catholic school attendents and mommy started reading more about Catholic doctrine. She compared it to Scripture and saw that it contradicts. She didn't allow my brother and I to go to mass at school anymore. My daddy, however, remained Catholic. By this time, my 3 siblings and I had already been baptized into the Catholic church. I had still been wondering where people went where they died. I learned of a place called Hell where the bad people (the unbaptized) go. I still couldn't help but ponder. But since my mommy became saved, that meant that I was saved!
My family finally moved back to the states after being overseas for 7 years. I was a happy little girl. Instead of mass, my mommy and my brother and sisters and I were all going to a Protestant church. My youngest brother who was just born never got baptized. I loved church. We went to a really big church so I went to Sunday school and children's church and I looooooved it. When I was 10, my mommy got me and my little sisters involved in AWANA. I was making really good progress and finished 2 1/2 books in the year. But the second book made me nervous. One of the sections in the book was talking about Heaven, Hell, the Rapture, and the judgement to come. I knew I wasn't going to Heaven and I was scared every night. I made a profession of faith when I was 11. I then learned that our family was moving to Colorado. I was really upset and I knew I would miss living in Virginia.
I hated living in Colorado. Our Virginia neighborhood had a ton of kids and we would always play outside at the end of our cul-de-sac. Our CO neighborhood had no kids so I only got to play with my siblings. We made up silly games in our unfinished basement but I still always felt lonely. Our church that we went to was extremely small. I didn't feel happy. My life started to fall apart when I was 13. I was always mad at the world. I hated my family. I hated myself. I hated everything. I stopped going to church and went to mass with my daddy. My mind was filled with suicidal thoughts. The only thing that stopped me from commiting suicide was my knowledge of Hell and I knew that I would go there if I killed myself. I had even gone to the point of cutting myself. I had been using a small knife until one night I took my daddy's big knife and I slit my arm.That was the worst night of my life. I screamed and cried as gushes of blood poured out my arm. I could actually see the skin under my arm. I thought I was going to die. The next morning, I went to the ER with my daddy. The doctor stitched up my arm and I talked to the social worker about my family life. My daddy looked at me and told me, "Olivia, last night could be the last time you would ever see your brothers and sisters and your mother." The social worker had the prerogative to take me away and put me in forster care. It turns out, the social worker saw nothing but rebellion in my heart. I went home that afternoon and found nobody in the house except my older brother. He said that mommy took the girls and my little brother to church where she and all her friends were praying. Mommy couldn't talk to me for days after that incident. Did my heart change? Absolutely not. Even though I wasn't cutting myself or contemplating suicide, I was still as rotten as ever.
My family moved for the last time back to VA because my daddy was retiring after 30 years in the army. I was happier because I knew I was back home. It felt like I was on a really long vacation and I finally came home. When I was 14, it was the summer of 2009. I was feeling torment about being in Hell. I had nightmares of me dying and standing before God and being sent straight to Hell. In Hell, I was tormented and I asked, "When can I come out?" Around the end of summer/beginning of the schoolyear, I cried out to God and asked Him to forgive me of my sins. I trusted in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I am much happier because I know that I am loved and I know that I will spend eternity with my Father. I rejoice daily in what the Lord is doing in my life. Am I perfect? No but I've come a long way since my spiritual birth. I was baptized last October. There are so many awesome Christians in my life who help me and give me advice from God's word. My daddy is still Catholic and we are praying for his salvation.
From spiritual growth, I no longer look at myself as ugly and worthless. I see a beautiful young lady who God made in His image and has redeemed through Jesus' blood. I use my gifts and talents to glorify my Father.
Even though the scar from when I cut myself is still on my arm, it is my testimony on my arm
"And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:1-7