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Testimony Of Megan Atherton

The 24th of April 1983 was a Sunday. I was 10 years old. As was usual for my family at that time, I was at Sunday school while my mom was in church. My Sunday school teacher, Imray, asked during the class if anyone wanted to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, they were to stay behind afterwards. I was the only one.

At some point shortly thereafter, I was tidying my room, which was a regular occurrence and seemed to consume entire vacations. I had some kid’s praise music playing and was sitting on the floor sorting out papers when I suddenly felt the most amazing sense of love in my heart. I sat there wondering what to do with it - should I go to my mother or my sister? I did neither. A short time later, perhaps the next day, I recalled that sense of love and wanted to feel it again. So I sat in the same place, doing the same thing, with the same music. As you can imagine, there was nothing! You can’t manufacture the love of the Lord.

2 years and a week after that Sunday that I would not remember but for the fact that I wrote it down in my Bible, my dad left. I remember during my highschool years seeing people who were from “broken homes” and thinking, “Shame. They come from broken homes.” It never occurred to me that so did I!

My mother and sister would make jokes together, most of which I thought were poor attempts. Occasionally I would laugh and my mother would stop to listen, as it was a sound she so seldom heard. In 1989 I was baptized with the Holy Spirit and He gave me a joy that gave my mother so many opportunities to hear me laugh that she no longer stopped to listen.

When I was 18, I, like many other young girls, made a list of the qualities I would like in my husband. I wrote them down too, in the same book of poetry at which I was trying my hand. Then, sadly, again like many other girls, I thought I had to “help” the Lord and “look” for the man. So I took the same road many young girls do, and probably a lot of girls in church too, though it wasn’t something you talked about there, and ended up sleeping with my boyfriend who I thought I would marry. I didn’t.

I always liked to listen to stories, true ones. I would ask people who were happily married how they knew that this was the right person for them, and the answer was invariably the same. “I just knew that I knew that he/she was the right person.” And when I asked Christians, they often told me of the confirmation that the Lord had given them before they got married. One man whose testimony I heard, said he wanted confirmation from the Lord so that when the going got tough during his marriage, he would have no doubt that it was the right person and would have that confirmation from the Lord to go back to. The Lord put in my heart a desire for that knowing and confirmation, which only He could give me.

The Lord is my provider. When I was in college, studying nursing, I gave in to temptations and ate chocolate and cookies for meals instead of food. This didn’t leave much money for proper nutrition or other eventualities. One Wednesday, our home group was having a cookout and I was asked to bring something to drink. I walked along the road and apologized to the Lord about having been a bad steward that month, not having any money left to buy anything to contribute. Having heard stories of people who the Lord had waiting in lines at the airport before sending someone with an envelope with the right amount of money and a “Thus sayeth the Lord...” kind of statement, I rather expected something similar to that from Him. No one came. I went back to my room where unbeknownst to me, my dad had delivered a small fridge for me that morning. Imagining it to be full of goodies (why else does everyone open the fridge in the store???), I opened it up. In it was only one thing. A 2 liter orange juice. I thanked my Father. I have told that story in various countries, including Tanzania.

In 1996 I went to live in England for 2 years, and there I met a man I thought I was going to marry. From very early on, he knew that I wanted confirmation from the Lord before I would get married. For 4 ½ years I continued, thinking he was the one. But there was a war going on inside me. My head said, “He’s such a nice guy. Why don’t you marry him?” My heart said, “NO!!!” I once tried to picture myself walking down the aisle towards him on our wedding day, and I turned and ran out the church. That, sadly, was somewhere midway in those 4 ½ years.

My sister told me in November of 2000 that I would have to be prepared to hear a lot about a man named Rick. Knowing my sister, hearing a lot about guys was a common occurrence. Usually, the talk of any one guy didn’t last for long before another name cropped up. They met online, and less than 4 months later she left South Africa for the USA, and married him 11 days after landing. I was livid! It was most “unproper”, and I was concerned for my little sister. My folks and I came over for the blessing of their marriage. I took one look at my sister and the peace she seemed to have with Rick, and decided that if my little sister could have it, so could I. That was when I decided I needed to break up my long term relationship. In times past I had actually thought that it wouldn’t matter if I married the wrong guy and was unhappy for the rest of my life. I could live with that. But seeing my sister with that knowing that I wanted, I realized I couldn’t let myself do that to me or the fellow.

Then I met Steve. Thankfully I didn’t find him in any way attractive, so I was able to relax and enjoy the time I had there in South Carolina. We had Bible study one night and I remember feeling alive. There were a few questions that were taught in church that had never sat well for me.

1) How could the church be the bride of Christ, leading men to sing love songs to Jesus like a bride to her husband, when the Lord destroyed cities for such things which we call homosexuality. I didn’t think He had changed His mind! At that Bible study I was shown in the Bible, how the church ISN’T the bride, but the body.

2) How can we be predestinated, and yet have a free will? That seemed a paradox. The answer was there, clearly, how there are those predestinated to salvation, those predestinated to condemnation, and the rest who have a free will.

It had been a very long time since I had been so excited about the Word of God. I don’t mean that “feeling” of going to services on Sundays, leaving feeling all “Christian” and “churchified”. I mean the Bible itself. It’s such a wonderful thing to find answers to questions you have, and whatever the question you have, you will find the answer in the Bible!

At the end of my sister’s marriage blessing, I suddenly realized that I didn’t want to leave, because I wanted to be around Steve so I could learn from him about how to actually LIVE my walk with the Lord. He was the first man I had ever really spent time with who I could respect in the Lord. At my new brother-in-law’s suggestion, I prayed and asked the Lord for Steve as my husband. Days later, He woke me with the words “Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” I never did before, and never have since woken with scriptures in my head. That was the first of many of the confirmations the Lord gave me so that I could know that Steve was the man He had for me to marry.

We spent about 5 weeks emailing back and forth, initially very coolly, particularly from Steve to me, and then after a very long email from him in which all I really got was “I thought it might be you, but...” our correspondence went from cool to almost friendly. Since I didn’t have a computer at home, I had to travel about 20km (13 miles) round trip to a store to use their free internet. Having printed my sister’s wedding photos, I had little money left. I asked the Lord to multiply the gas in my car, and I drove for a week watching the needle hover around a quarter of a tank. Then one day my dad called and told me where to pick up my air ticket, and “by the way, I put 200 Rand in your account for petrol.” I asked him who told him I needed it, and he said no one, but that I would obviously need it since I had driving to do before I left for the US. I thanked him for letting the Lord use him. Like The Orange Juice story. He was surprised and said if I’d needed orange juice, I could have just asked him. I told him how that story has been all over and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything! And now look, even YOU have heard my orange juice story!!!

You know that list I wrote when I was 18? Well, Steve fits all of the things I wrote, and more! It took another 10 years from writing it to meeting him, but the Lord is able to do abundantly more than we can think or imagine. And His testimony in our lives is there to give us hope when things seem dim and gloomy, as well as to show others that our God still lives today.

If you remember, I told you I wasn’t a virgin when I got married. That was something I deeply regretted. Well, I prayed, and as it turns out, in the same way as there’s blood when you first have sex, there was that sign on our honeymoon the first time. The Lord answered my prayer.

A year after getting married, I had the first of 2 almost identical miscarriages. Usually they are traumatic events for the woman. Well, the Lord worked it out so that we were able to see on an ultrasound that there actually wasn’t a baby there, He ended it naturally and quickly for me, AND He had the doctor I had asked Him for to deliver my child on call. Both times, both miscarriages. The 2nd time, he had a different doctor there after we had the ultrasound, one whose wife had had 2 miscarriages and then children. It was a great encouragement to us. We now have 2 young sons, for whom we are very thankful! And that same doctor was there at the birth of each of them too!

We have had some hard times financially in our (so far) 6 years of marriage, but the Lord has always provided more than enough through the members of His body, including at least 2 restockings of our pantry, people paying our mortgage for us when we were unable, etc.

My life is a testimony of the Lord’s grace (and forgiveness), provision (as you have already read), guidance and ability to fix up our multitudinous messes. My life is His. I gave it to Him in April 1983. The windy paths it has taken me are mainly of my own making. He, however, uses the scenery and experience of those windy paths to His glory and our salvation. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Rom.8:28


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