Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Two Sons Who Freed Me From My Fear of Death" by Tina Lichtlin, Crossroads

I have permission to share this powerful article/testimony written by Tina, a new leader at Crossroads. Praise God!

Two Sons Who Freed Me From My Fear of Death

Not very long ago I was afraid to die. Because of this very real and perpetually nagging fear, I spent a lot of hours worrying about things which I had no control over. I also spent some time putting together my “bucket list.” You know the one. That list of half outrageous feats and accomplishments that somehow if completed before I died, would define my life as a “success.” Get a college degree, write a best seller, learn another language, run a marathon, go skydiving (isn’t this one on everybody’s list?), travel around the world in a yacht, live in my dream home… get the picture. “You can do anything if you put your mind to it,” they tell us growing up. We hear it, we learn it, we live it and we pass this profound information onto the next generation of children so they can go out and conquer the world too. Though probably true, we can do just about anything we set our minds on, is this really what God wants from us?

My name is Tina. Only three years ago, I was a non-believer and I lived life afraid of death. I’m not exactly sure when or why the transition took place in my life but I think it occurred when I decided I wanted to be truly happy. I was already about as close to happiness as I thought a person was capable but it just wasn’t quite enough. I was married to my husband of 20 years, a wonderful man who provided for me and my 2 beautiful children. My daughter was in college and my son was nearly graduated from high school. We lived in a fabulous home, took lots of vacations and had just about everything a successful family could ask for. With all that I had, why did I still feel such a huge void in my life? Maybe it was time to get busy working on that bucket list! I quit my job to free up my time, worked part time for the family business and began researching the best way to go about writing a book. I began designing my dream home and got things in order to sell the house we currently lived in. I looked into local schools, thinking I would take some college courses, get started on that degree. I was the living a bucket list life! True happiness, I was sure, was just around the corner.

In the meantime, my 18 year old son started going to Crossroads Friends Church (a new Friends Church plant in Wichita, KS). I thought it was weird. I mean, what 18 year old boy just gets up one Sunday and decides, “I need church in my life”? He never really had it in his life before except for a couple failed attempts at Sunday school when he and my daughter were quite young. I figured surely it was a phase. He kept inviting me and my husband to come along. After every possible excuse, I finally broke down and decided I better find out what kind of “cult” had this super glue grip on my non-suspecting son. So I went. Everyone was very nice, they welcomed me at the door, fed me pastries and coffee, offered me information. I was very skeptical at first, thinking, “Okay, what’s the catch?” It seemed fairly normal, actually pleasant for the most part but I was uncomfortable with the music and figured I would eventually make that my excuse to stop coming if I couldn’t find a better one. One week led to another and then another. I got to like the music, I even started learning the words and listening to it in my car! Soon I was bringing Sunday morning pastries. I got to know people and actually made some friends. But it was still all very new and somewhat foreign to me.

Then one night, a little over a year ago, my son walked into my home office at about 10 o’clock after an evening with his Church Small Group. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “Mom, tonight at small group, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.” I must have looked at him like he had 3 heads! I had absolutely no idea what he was saying to me. I asked him what this meant. My son taught me several things that night in my office but what stuck with me most was when we said goodnight and he said simply, “I’ll pray for you, Mom.”

My son must have prayed very hard that night and for many weeks afterwards. In March of this past year, just before my fortieth birthday, after a life of skepticism, denial, deception and lies, also at small group like my son, I too accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. I have followed my own son down a path that has led me to the only truth which has set me free. Through the power of prayer, my very own child asked Christ to reveal Himself to me. And He did! Because my son loved me that much, he continued to pray for my salvation. I thank God everyday for my son and also for the salvation of His own son, Jesus Christ. If you take anything away from this story, I ask that you never underestimate the power of prayer!

I’m not sure what’s in store for me next, but I do know that God has a plan for me and no matter what he puts before me, I will neither celebrate nor suffer alone again. Because of my trust in the Lord, I no longer harbor the fear of death. So what does this mean for my bucket list? Well, it recently became very short! Today, the one and only thing I want to accomplish here on this earth before I die is to honor and glorify my God and Savior, Jesus Christ. If I can do that every day of my life, God will shower me with the greatest gift of all, the gift of everlasting life! I am still working on writing that book and at the end of this month, I will move into my dream home. But none of that would matter without the grace of God who provides it for me. That decision to find happiness that I spoke about earlier? God has provided that for me too. God provides everything and expects nothing in return except our trust and love. Tear up your bucket list! Release your fears! Replace them with glory and honor for Christ and you too will witness the strength, the power and the gifts that the Lord provides.

-Tina Lichtlin, Crossroads Friends Church, Wichita, KS