Natalie Morerod is a leader in C&YA and is currently studying in D2. In this post she shares with us her testimony of her spiritual growth. She considers here just how God used her discipleship relationship to help her let go of her sinful past and embrace the victory she now has in Christ.
Acts 18: 24-28
By the time I came to Midtown in 2015, I had been saved for 15 years. I had already struggled to work out my salvation with fear and trembling, and my life far less resembled the open rebellion of my college days immersed in seeking myself, and seeking my own glory, pleasure and comfort. By the time I got to Midtown, I was seeking to learn and obey what God calls me to do and to be.
The truth is, in 15 years, I hadn’t gotten very far. The couple of years leading to my move to Kansas City were a miraculous change compared to the first 13 because I had finally bought a bible of my own. I was sure of a few basic biblical truths, and I was all about them. I am not a shy or quiet woman by any means, and I was compelled to talk about the things I knew that I knew. But I only knew so much. Walking in the Spirit remained a problem for lack of virtue on which to build any added knowledge even if I was hearing it. That was about the time that God brought me to Kansas City.
Acts 18: 25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.
I was learning how God delights in using us, his children, for the work of the ministry.
For me, biblical discipleship began when I started attending Midtown. It started with a pastor and eventually leaders and followers in a new members class. The new members class led me to a bible study with Dan Reneau. The Cost of Discipleship class was next. That class forced me to look at the things I needed to leave behind, and it led me to a fellowship for college and young adults (C&YA) where I was learning to apply God’s Word with my peers. I was immersed in a horde of people bent on following Christ.
I still wanted more. I still needed more. God knew that, and he sent me my own Aquila and Priscilla. I was learning how God delights in using us, his children, for the work of the ministry. I was seeing humans conformed to the likeness of Christ all around me, but I still struggled with the idea of him being able to use me. I distinctly remember hearing that the beautiful, mission-minded SaDonna DeVaney was going to be my discipler and thinking that her and her square husband were not going to know what to do with me.
In our first meeting, I completely flayed myself open to SaDonna. Admittedly, I was trying to make sure she knew what she was getting into, so I confessed literally everything that I thought could hinder our relationship or my growth. She chose to wait to share her testimony with me.
The next time we met, SaDonna submitted herself to me entirely. She shared her testimony, the story of who she was, how she met Christ, how that changed things, and what He was doing with her now. She prefaced that story with a kind of off-hand remark.
“First of all, you have accomplished nothing as a sinner.”
I broke apart. After everything He had shown me, I still hadn’t realized how little I trusted God with the promises he had made me. Could he really love someone like me? Had he truly overcome all of the sins I had committed and chosen to see me as he sees his son? Did he really want to use me? Could he really? I was looking at a woman a table away who I thought was unattainable. Her family was so perfect. Her marriage was so perfect. Her ministry was so perfect. Her faith was so perfect. I was hearing this woman’s story of how imperfect she was before she encountered Christ. She told me things I didn’t think leaders wanted their followers to know. She was whole-heartedly showing me every ugly corner of her heart even after she became a Christian. She did all of that, and then concluded with a simple statement.
“You have accomplished nothing as a sinner because I have accomplished nothing as a sinner. None of that kept God from doing what God does.”
SaDonna is just a woman. She’s made up of fallible flesh just like me, but SaDonna fears the Lord and clings to his promises. I was privileged to witness her walk first-hand. I was doubly privileged to be taken into her family and to witness her follow her husband: a direct picture of the church submitting and subjecting itself to Christ. SaDonna was leading me to follow.
God used the DeVaney’s in my life to pray with me, counsel me, spend time with me, correct me, read with me, talk to me, ache with me, celebrate with me, and ultimately, to grown and love me. Through everything, they returned me to the Lord and his word.
Acts 18:26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto [them], and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
I am by no means finished learning God’s word, and I am not sinless, but I am a new creature daily by the grace of God. I look very little like the woman I was ten, five, or even one year ago. I may not be a Jewish man preaching to the Jews at Ephesus or passing through Achaia, but my prayer for my life is to follow the pattern of Apollos, of Aquila and Priscilla, of SaDonna and Todd, and of Christ, himself.
Acts 18:27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: 28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, [and that] publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.
Discipleship is the means by which God strengthened me in the grace of Christ Jesus, and my hope and prayer is to be used for the same purpose.
I thank God for the discipleship ministry at Midtown. I am grateful for the structure of it and the prayer and preparation I know goes into it. We are called to study to shew ourselves approved unto God. That call is true if you have recently come to believe and confess Christ or if you have been struggling through the details of your salvation for 15 years. I have heard and been taught, and am called to teach other hearers, too, so that they are able to do the same. Discipleship is the means by which God strengthened me in the grace of Christ Jesus, and my hope and prayer is to be used for the same purpose.
II Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also
II Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.