My Prayer Testimony

Prayer is the Way to God

Faith Makes All Things Are Possible 

It is amazing how one simple act of kindness can lead to an incredible life changing decision. When I was in my early twenties, I worked in West Palm Beach, Florida as a Realtor Associate. Late one afternoon, I received a phone call from a woman in Miami Beach. She had recently inherited property and offered me
the listing. Great, I really needed the business; but God knew I really needed this more. The real blessing came from our conversation. I don’t remember what all we talked about but I do remember she was one of the first person’s to tell me she would pray for me.  Oh, how it touched my heart that a stranger would care about me. Not a chance encounter…thank you Jesus!

Prayer wasn’t something I was real familiar with but it was comforting to know somebody would pray for me.  I was desperate and fearful of so many things. First my grandmother died in Colorado and then my Mother was diagnosed with cancer. I had a deep sorrow and compassion for my Mother’s suffering. I had to
face the reality of the final separation of death.

Growing up, my family life was crazy chaotic—I hated the alcoholic rages and agonies of abuse. All I wanted to do was to escape.  So at 17, I left Pennsylvania and I flew for my first time on borrowed funds to the “Sunshine” state of Florida. When I left, my Mother said I was never welcome back. Ha! I never wanted to go back. I was finally free!…so I thought.

Determined to find a better life, I tried everything and anything from rebellion to religions. I was seeking love in all the wrong ways. I searched earnestly for five years for answers, for inner peace, love and hope.  God kept putting Christians in my life and the Devil keep putting people who would lead me astray. I was making some very dangerous choices.

My steps to Christ were the result of many prayers: first by strangers, then I began to pray for others and eventually I learned how to pray for myself.  My limited childhood experiences were repetitive prayers of penance (10 Hail Mary’s’, 5 Our Fathers and 2 Acts of Contrition for my long list of sins).  I couldn’t personally connect with God—He was too far away, distant like my Dad.  I was wounded and denied the existence of a loving God and no way could I believe in an evil devil.  Lost and beyond hope, I condemned myself in shame and guilt. I was sure I had committed too many sins so I judged myself doomed.

But somehow I had to pray for my Mom. I wanted her to be healed. I wanted her to be saved from death and whatever was beyond this life. I had forgiven her and we had reconciled our differences. By God’s grace, I
had come to an understanding of the hardships she endured. There was something very powerful about prayer—something I had yet to discover.

Then in my desperate loneliness, I agreed to go on my one and only blind date—little did I know he was a drug dealer and his grandmother was a devout Christian. Not a chance encounter…God was working.  Gladys Eaves became my spiritual guardian and new Christian Grandmother. She accepted me; she invited me into her home and church. She never criticized, never condemned or judged me. She introduced
me to Jesus, as my loving Savior!

One step at a time God drew me to Him. I finally came to understand and experience “God is love.” As a child those words were hurtful in the face of emotional, verbal, physical and sexual abuse. I felt abandoned by God. He knew I had to experience His love through a compassionate human being.

Thank God someone was willing to share a loving God with me in the beginning but also throughout
my whole faith journey. I don’t ever want to take my personal relationship with God for granted nor do I want to be selfish and not share His love with others.

God works in mysterious ways.  During this time of seeking, I was in a car accident with my drug dealer friend, we were on our way to the “Alive & Well” natural health food restaurant. I went down deep before I was lifted up from my despair. My physical therapist just happened to be a religous follower of a guru…he taught me to surrender and got me to pray my first prayer which was a cry for help. I could barely utter the words, “Help me God.” It was so hard to get the words out because I felt so unworthy.

From the time I accepted Christ I became very active in service. Grandmother Eaves invited me to campmeeting in Orlando, Florida. What is camp meeting? It is an annual gathering with inspirational speakers offering worship, classes covering practical Christian lifestyle teachings. Grandmother shared how she went every year to get her spiritual vitamins. So against my doctor’s orders, employers’ desires and lawyer’s advice I headed north with three sweet  grandmothers: Gladys, Ivy and Mae all 50 years older than me. Along the way, we had trouble with the car brakes, no problem Grandmother prayed. We made it that first night to hear Elder Caruba share about how much God loves us that He is sending His Son back to earth to take us home to heaven. The second coming of Jesus, I never heard such a thing. I went forward to receive Christ as my Savior the first Sabbath night.  After an intensive full week (7:00 a.m.– 9:00 p.m.) of personal Bible studies, classes, prayer and preparation I was baptized the next  Sabbath. The next week Grandmother let me teach her Sabbath school class at our home church in West Palm Beach. The next month I was on my way to Southern Missionary College in Tennessee to learn the teachings of the Bible! And also to meet my husband Ron!

My  first memory verse was from the book of Proverbs:  “Trust in the Lord  with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways  acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own  eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body…”  Proverbs 3:5-8 So much power in the Word of God…it really spoke to my current need and guided my thoughts. mind.

I  earned my Bachelors in Religion/Family Studies/Health and Masters in Ministry Leadership. God called me to go and teach. I have taught in churches, schools,  hospitals, government agencies and private enterprises. But what I’ve done in  the past means nothing if I am not actively pursuing God daily and sharing His love every day.

It is a great privilege to teach, coach and counsel women and men. What a joy to to walk along side a person and help them come to a deeper understanding of God’s plan for  their life. I love to be Christ’s ambassador and missionary of hope wherever God has me.

After  32+ years I’m still learning, God gives me a new testimony for every season of  my life…just this week I was tested, and I confess there was moaning but thank God for test-i-monies.

My  daily prayer is to ask God to change me and give me new opportunities that I  might become more like HIM. It is my desire to walk humbly with my Lord, and to remain faithful to these words from one of my favorite hymns: I surrender all to Jesus; All to Him I freely give; I will always love and trust Him, In His presence daily live.

Coming Next: Surviving 25 Relocations and Overcoming Cancer

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rhoda
    Jul 13, 2011 @ 07:08:17

    Great story Carol, nice website also!


  2. Rhonda Shaver
    Jul 13, 2011 @ 10:32:11

    Carol – I’m so inspired and encouraged by your testimony. I’d like to share it soon on my blog if you agree. My two older children are heavy on my heart with making life decisions without consulting God. They have distanced themselved from Him. Unfortunately, the church pushed them away from God instead of drawing them closer to Him. Sadly, they have found more acceptance from the world than the church.

    Reading your testimony reminds me that God still has a plan for their lives. I hope I read their amazing testimony one day of how God takes our messes and gives us a message. Can’t wait to connect with you in a bit!


    • Carol J. Smith
      Jul 13, 2011 @ 11:05:33

      Definitely feel free to share my testimony…thank you for your encouragement. The church has much to learn on how to be more like Jesus in the way we treat one another…He so generously gives us grace, unconditional acceptance and love. Your comment on messes (cracked pots) to messages reminds me of Paul’s testimony…the wretched legalist thinking he was doing right to the humble servant who learned to value the most vital relationship in Christ. We have to ask ourselves, do we want to be right or do we need to be in the right relationship? I choose Jesus!

      I plan to write more details about going from legalism to liberty in Christ. So many stories of growing up…moving forward and living God’s plan for the life He truly wants us to have…eternity now and forever!


  3. Trackback: A Prayer Testimony « Spurring Hearts

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