testimonytuesdayMelissaHaag

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 NIV

As Christians we are called to plant seeds, and harvest souls. But there are seasons when it seems like all you do is plant seeds, and no harvest ever comes. It is tempting to give up. Persistence seems annoying. Rejection is devastating. But I am eternally grateful for those annoying, persistent seeds.

I was raised in a religious household where the Bible was used as a weapon. As a child I prayed to be saved, because I was terrified of going to hell. As I got older I started to question my beliefs.

In high school I found a church home with supportive people, a large youth group, and opportunities for me to get involved. I went on a missions trip, I played in the band, I got baptized. Lots of seeds were planted.

But those seeds were planted on rocky soil, and the hypocrisy of religion reared its head again. If that was how Christians acted, I wanted nothing to do with them. I quit attending church, although one family continued to plant seeds anyway. They brought me food and baby clothes when my daughter was born, and made sure that I knew I was always welcome in their home.

For the next ten years I ran as far away from God and the church as I could. I had my daughter and chose not to baptize her or expose her to any sort of religion. I reasoned that she could make her own decision when she was old enough.

Ten years later, after a lot of life had been lived, my sister and her family started attending a local church. They invited me, and I emphatically declined. They tried to explain to me that this church was different, but I wasn’t interested. Still, seeds were planted.

After a few months of my sister consistently inviting me to church, my sister pleaded with me one last time to go to church. I finally relented.

I attended a Saturday night service with them, and they were right, the church was unlike anything I had experienced. The church was in a barely converted strip mall. The floors were dirty, the music was loud – it was more like the last concert I had attended than church service. The message was simulcast onto a big screen. I sat in awe listening to a message that I felt was being delivered just to me.

After that experience I was confused. I actually kind of liked that church. But could it really be any different from what I had experienced in the past? My appetite had been whetted and I was hungry for more. The only church-related name I could really think of was Rick Warren. Years before someone had given me a copy of The Purpose Driven Life (another seed planted), and I loved it, so I googled him. I started listening to his messaged from Saddleback church online, and even took notes. A line from one of his sermons gobsmacked me. It was something to the effect that you can’t say that you love God but hate the church because as a believer you are a part of the body of Christ. Its like cutting off your own nose because you think its ugly.

I decided that I was going to go back to church. And I did, week after week. At the end of every message the pastor would repeat a prayer of salvation. One week I shut my eyes and repeated the words with him.

That moment was over 5 years ago, and my life has changed dramatically since. While I had always believed in God, I never had a personal relationship with him until that moment. Were it not for all of those seeds planted over so many years, who knows if I would have been sitting in that church, reciting that prayer.

No matter how fruitless your planting seems, don’t give up. Even ten years later, those seeds can still grow.

 

225933_1728820382047_2260824_nMelissa Haag is a wife, homeschooling mom, and entrepreneur. She lives in a small city in Iowa that is equal parts cornfield and city skyline. She is a self-employed hairstylist, blogger, photographer, and owns her own direct sales business. She spends plenty of time in her home office, but is easily lured out by her daughter, step-sons and two fuzzy dogs.

You can read some of Melissa’s ramblings on her blog at The World According To Plaidfuzz. You can also find her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
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womenwhoinspire featuredThis is the third post in Testimony Tuesday: Women who inspire. Click HERE to read all of the other posts in this series.

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Testimony Tuesday: Melanie Pickett