As 2010 came to an end and 2011 began I found myself doing quite a bit of reflecting, maybe more than usual. I think for most of us a change of season or a change of year brings that on, but this year more than before this has been a prevailing mindset. For me, I think that comes from being in a great place personally, professionally, and spiritually.
Now don’t get me wrong my life isn’t perfect, but the reality is life is so much richer than it has ever been before. Certainly not in the monetary sense, because I’ve made a lot more, but it’s rich on so many other levels. Words like fulfilling, promise, satisfaction, peace, and trust all come to mind and when they do I find myself wondering where I’d be if I had not come to know God in a real and personal way. A real relationship with God and His Son Jesus Christ, not just religion; faith grounded in grace not acts, deeds, and ritual.
So much of what has gone on these last four years came from me not depending on me, not trying to earn something I’d never be worthy of, and me not trusting God for this but not for that…..just trusting God period in all things!
Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV©2010)
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
In the spirit of my one word for 2011, pause, and because of this reflective mindset I thought it was the appropriate time to share my story….my testimony and the reason why I’m trying to Leverage Life better now than before….because of this personal relationship!
My Story 1964-2007
My name is Tom Martin and I grew up in a family where church was a part of my life for as long as I can remember. But for me faith came to represent attendance and obligation which carried forward as I became an adult.
After graduating from college most people would say work dominated my life. I still went to church but it had become the thing I did on Sunday before playing golf. Just when I thought everything was the way it was supposed to be, the company I worked for twelve years was sold and I started questioning God’s role in my life. And then when I found myself with serious health issues I became disillusioned with God and drifted away.
As I tried to process what was going on in my world I think God used those two crises to get my attention. I realized that the people who were supporting me were the family and friends who came second to my career all those years, and I felt if they could extend me so much grace and mercy maybe God could as well.
As I recovered from surgery I was having trouble gaining clarity on moving forward with my life and my sister Molly sent me an email with a message that said, “not sure if this is what you’re looking for but it might be a place to start.” I thought it was probably something she’d seen on Oprah, but it was a youtube link to the “It’s Personal” series. At first it was difficult to grasp because Andy wasn’t talking about going to church he was talking about having a relationship with God, and after watching it over and over, I knew that was what was missing in my life all those years.
I started to attend Buckhead Church with family last year and found some of the clarity I was looking for in the Hope Mentoring program. David Schmidt was my Hope mentor and he helped me learn what it meant to have a relationship with God. Participating in Starting Point, joining a men’s small group, and volunteering on the production team have all played a role in my being here today.
This past year has not been perfect, there still were challenges personally and for my family, but there is a peace that comes from leaning into that relationship and just watching God be God in my life and lives of my family.
I’d like to thank my family for their love and especially Molly for have the courage to send that email. I’d also like to David Schmidt, Paul Cote, and Russ West for being the kind of friends who went out of their way to reassure me that they could see God working in my life when I had my doubts. And a final thank you to all of you who have prayed for me throughout this journey, I believe that my declaration today that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior is the answer to all those prayers. From My Baptism Video Testimony May 31, 2009
Feel free to contact me for more information or additional links to learn more about anything featured in this post or with questions on how you can also begin to have a personal relationship with your Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
trusting God period
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