If you have heard and received the gospel, If Jesus is Lord and you believe God raised him from the dead then you have a testimony. Every believer young or old, rich or poor, no matter who they are, have a testimony of Christ in their life. What Christ has done for us is the message that we often need to remind ourselves of and also need to share with those who do not yet believe. Today we share how Christ got a hold of our hearts. We pray it blesses you.
[Aaron] Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God.
[Jennifer] Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.
[Aaron] And today, we’re gonna share our personal salvation stories. Welcome to the Marriage After God podcast where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after.
[Jennifer] I’m Jennifer, also known as Unveiled Wife.
[Aaron] And I’m Aaron, also known as Husband Revolution.
[Jennifer] We have been married for over 13 years.
[Aaron] And so far we have five children under eight.
[Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry online for over nine years through blogging, social media and writing over 10 books.
[Aaron] With a desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day.
[Jennifer] We believe that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one full of life–
[Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God.
[Aaron] Thank you for joining us in this journey as we chase boldly after God’s will for our life together.
[Jennifer] This is Marriage After God. Welcome back to another episode of Marriage After God.
[Aaron] We’re in season four still, yeah?
[Jennifer] We’re in season four still, episode three. And I just wanted to share with everyone that Edith is with us today, so you might hear some–
[Aaron] Coo’s and ca’s.
[Jennifer] And ah’s and ooh’s.
[Aaron] It’s actually really cute. We’re really loving that she’s talking a lot more.
[Jennifer] So she’s just looking at us right now.
[Aaron] So she might take over the mic is what you’re saying?
She may. But yeah, we hope your guys’ week is going well. And we wanted to share with you something that we created just for you. If you haven’t had a chance to download it already, you should go do that. It’s Date Night Conversation Starters. So it’s just, you know, on your next date night when you get out or even you could do it at home in bed, they’re just things to prompt you to get you and your spouse talking. Because we all need that inspiration sometimes. I know we’ve been on a date night before, Aaron, where we’re just like–
What do you wanna talk about?
Yeah, it’s like crickets. And it’s not that we don’t have anything to talk about, but maybe because we talk so much throughout the week that really it just feels, you know, stagnant a little bit.
[Aaron] More specifically, it’s 52 date night conversation starters. There’s a couple intentions here. It’s to encourage you to have a date night every week if possible. But also the intentions of the questions are to go deep with your spouse on, you know, what’s God’s mission for you? What’s God doing in and through your marriage? And all these questions kinda dig into those kinds of topics.
[Jennifer] So they’re unusual. Not ones that you would really just ask your spouse regularly. They’re a little bit different. So if you guys are interested in getting that, again, that’s free and it’s just for you. You can go to datenightconversations.com to get that.
[Aaron] Yep, all one word. And it’s super easy and it’s free. So today’s topic is really personal to us. I mean, we try and make all the topics personal because that’s the only thing we know best is our lives, and what God’s doing in our lives. But I don’t know if we’ve ever shared our personal salvation stories before. I know we allude to things here and there in our books, but I don’t know if we’ve ever, like, said, like, hey, this is how I came to the Lord personally. So I don’t know. We might have in the past, but right now we’re gonna share it. And I’m gonna share mine, Jennifer’s gonna share hers, and then we’re gonna kinda talk about how it’s impacted our marriage.
[Jennifer] Yeah, we thought it would be a good idea to share these very personal stories with you guys not because they’re outrageous, amazing stories or anything like that. To us they are. But for our listeners, I would think that an episode like this would stir in them a remembrance of what God has walked them through and a desire to share it with their spouse all over again if they haven’t or if they have. But just to remember the goodness of God and what He’s walked us through. And also to be mindful of that power, the power of God’s testimony in our lives, so that we can share it with others.
[Aaron] You just made a good point. You said, God’s testimony in our lives. I remember growing up, just a little side note, how I knew people that would say, like, oh, I don’t have a good testimony. Oh, I didn’t go through enough, you know, hard things or I didn’t, you know, stray very far, so my testimony’s not very impactful or interesting. But I hope that after you listen to our testimonies, you realize that it’s not our testimonies that’s anything. It’s the Lord’s testimony in our life. And salvation in itself is a miracle. It’s a miraculous, amazing event that happens in the heart of a sinner. And so everyone’s testimony, it’s the same testimony. It’s God’s testimony in your life.
What He’s done.
It’s what He’s done, yeah, not what we’ve done, or not done. It’s what He’s done for us. And so I just wanna encourage you if maybe you’re saying, like, oh I don’t have an amazing testimony. No, your testimony’s amazing because of what God did. And so, and like you said, that’s what we share with people is, hey, look what God has done. Look what God offers. Look who God is. Not, look who we are, look what we did. It’s the opposite, it’s about God. So I just wanted to read some scripture really quick from Deuteronomy. And this is God talking to the people of Israel. And actually, I think it’s Moses. But the idea is it’s a warning, but it’s also like an understanding. And so just real quick, it’s in Deuteronomy 6:10-12. It says, “And when the Lord your God brings you “into the land that he swore to your fathers, “to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, “to give you with great and good cities “that you did not build “and houses full of all good things that you did not fill “and cisterns that you did not dig “and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant. “And when you eat and are full, “then take care lest you forget the Lord “who brought you out of the land of Egypt, “out of the house of slavery.” And I feel like this is why we’re sharing our testimony, because how good is it sometimes to just remember what God has done in our lives, to go back to that moment of when God grabbed us and changed our hearts and started to transform us through His word. And this is the gospel right here. We have been given something that we did not earn. We’ve been given a kingdom that we did not build. We’ve been given water that we did not dig for. Remember, like we have all these allegories from the New Testament about Jesus being the water, being the bread, being the vine even. And so we have been given, just like the people of Israel, we’re given the promise land, that they didn’t dig any of the things, built the houses. They didn’t do any of that stuff, but God gave it to them. We’ve been given salvation, something that we didn’t work for, something that we didn’t earn. And He tells us when things are good, don’t forget what God has done. When we’re going through good times, sometimes it’s super easy to just think, oh, everything’s great. And not that we necessarily forget God, but we can forget what He’s done for us. How magical and how powerful-Not magical, how amazing salvation is. It’s an amazing gift.
[Jennifer] I think it’s also good to remember just the power of God and His testimony working in our lives because, like, the very end of this verse, Aaron, what you’re talking about is, he says, “Lest you forget the Lord “who brought you out of the land of Egypt, “out of the house of slavery.” And when I think of slavery for us today, I would equate that to sin. And if there are things that we’ve overcome in our life and things that we don’t walk in anymore, and so we’ve moved on, we still need to remember the power of God in our lives to overcome that sin to remind us that the things that we’re walking in currently, He also has the power over. And that’s encouraging! That’s good to know, right?
[Aaron] Well, it also helps us to have understanding and patience for those who are in a different place than us. That we can pray for them and remind them of the truth of, like, hey, God’s good and His salvation is for you. We’re gonna share our testimonies today because remembering what God’s done for us and constantly reminding ourselves or reminding others of how good His salvation is is one of the main works of a believer, right? We’ve been given this ministry of reconciliation. We have the power of our testimony. And again, it’s not our testimony, it’s God’s. And so.
[Jennifer] All right, well why don’t you start, Aaron?
Oh, you want me to–
Take us way back.
[Aaron] Yes, this goes back to, I’m 36 now and this goes back to when I Was 17 and a half. And even farther, actually.
[Aaron] Yeah, it goes back further.
[Jennifer] Because why?
[Aaron] Well I mean, I was raised by what my parents called themselves, first generation Christians. So my mom and dad came to know the Lord and none of their family really did. And so my mom just always said this: we’re first generation Christians. I don’t know if it was her way of making herself feel better for the things that she maybe didn’t know or just, I don’t know. But when I look back, I think, oh, I can totally see, you know, how they were walking and they were doing their best.
[Jennifer] I think she also, I remember her saying it with this hopefulness that because we were first generation Christians, Aaron, you’re gonna be even better than we were, you know?
[Aaron] She did say that. Which is awesome ’cause we actually tell our kids that.
[Jennifer] It’s like knowledge built upon knowledge.
[Aaron] We want you guys to be smarter than us and wiser than us and know the Lord to a deeper knowledge than us. And that’s what my parents had for us. So my mom and dad weren’t perfect, but they raised us to the Lord. They read the Bible to us. They prayed with us every night, me and my brother. They took us to church regularly. Like we were in a church, I was a part of, I think for a while, I was in a Christian, like, preschool and Sunday school and all of the things. Every weekend, it was never missed. And so I grew up in a Christian home. I grew up to know God, I grew up to know the Bible. My parents even, in my junior high and high school years, would have me write the Bible. Like, transcribe verse by verse entire chapters of a Bible as a form of discipline. It wasn’t like a mean discipline, it was just like, hey, you did this thing. Like I want you to sit and now you’re gonna write out, you know, these two psalms or you’re gonna write out this chapter in Proverbs or you’re gonna write all of the Book of John. So yeah, I had to write the Bible out and I appreciate it because it actually helped me know the Bible.
Yeah, you’re like familiar with it.
Yeah. Even though back then I hated it. I look back and I think, okay, cool.
[Jennifer] Why do you say that, why do you say you hated it?
[Aaron] ‘Cause it was hard. Sitting there for hours, like, writing it out.
Copying the Bible, yeah.
[Jennifer] I did something similar, but not with the Bible. I just remember having to write sentences. Like in school, I went to public school, writing out, like, I will be responsible. I will be responsible.
Oh yeah, repeating it.
[Aaron] Yeah, so I never really questioned if God was real or if the Bible was true. Those were, like, inherent. I just believed it. Whether that was just the culture I was in my home or if I actually fully believed it or not. I just never questioned it. I never struggled with those thoughts. But I don’t think it was like actually in me. Like I don’t think I identified with it as deep as I probably should have.
It was just head nods.
It was there and I knew it and I wasn’t concerned about it. It wasn’t a thing I questioned or worried about, but it wasn’t a part of me. And so I think I prided myself back then as being, you know, the quote unquote rebellious Christian or the quote unquote cool Christian. This is how I thought about myself. It’s ridiculous when I think about it. ‘Cause I was always at the Bible studies. I was always at the youth groups. But, like, I would also have my friends and we’d get drunk and I’d smoke and do what I wanted to do. And I had a horrible mouth. And that was who I was out here. And I just thought, like, you know, I love going to church and I love God and I do these things also and what’s the big deal? And so that was kind of where I was at is just this weird place. And it wasn’t that I was rebellious because I was mad at my parents or because I was mad at God. I had looked back and I think maybe I was just bored or I was just experimenting or I was just, you know, challenging my own, you know, way of viewing the world. I don’t know what it is. But either way, I was doing it. And there was several times throughout my young life, you know, in junior high and then early high school. I remember I would go to youth camps and, you know, there’d be a spiritual, you know, high moment and I would rededicate my life and I’d, you know, pray the prayer. And this would happen actually a handful of times throughout my life because I felt guilt. I felt shame. I felt like what I’m doing is not right and I wanna, you know, change and grow, but I don’t think I was necessarily rededicating my life out of wanting Jesus. I think it was more I was convinced by my shame and guilt. So there was never really any transformation or owning or the word repentance. My mind wasn’t changed. It was never lasting, if that makes sense. That is until I turned 17 and a half. And this was a defining moment in my life. So whether or not I was truly saved, you know, in those moments when I confessed and repented and said I believe. I don’t know for sure because God could’ve been working on me. I could’ve been saved and just my maturity and my growth and God was drawing me across. But either way, this moment when I was 17 and a half in my car by myself was the moment that I said yes to God. And it went kind of like this. I was leaving a Bible study.
[Jennifer] I think Edith likes this part of the story.
[Aaron] She loves this part, yeah. She’s never heard it. Edith, this is the first part. First time you’re gonna hear it. She’s smiling. So I’m leaving a Bible study because I was part of a young adults Bible study in high school and I had friends there and I got in my, I believe it was my Honda Civic or was it my Tercel, I don’t remember exactly. But I’m driving home, it’s late at night. I remember the street exactly. I’m, you know, driving in all the trees. This was in Norco, California where I grew up most of my life. And I’m sitting in the car, I had some music playing and I just remember all of a sudden a conversation with God started. I don’t know if I just kind of started talking to God or if God started talking to me. And I didn’t hear an audible voice, I’m not trying to make it sound like God was thundering in my car.
He was sitting right there.
Yeah, yeah, of course. But I was having a conversation with God. And the discussion began in a way where God asked me a question. He said, again, this was in my own voice, but I knew it was God communicating to me.
[Jennifer] Prompting your heart to think about these things.
[Aaron] And the reason I know this is ’cause I don’t naturally think this way, but He asked me, He said, who’s gonna be at your funeral when you die? And the reason this question is interesting is ’cause my personality, I don’t ever think about my own death. I don’t know if it’s my number. Whatever, I don’t know what kind of person, why my personality is that way. I just don’t think about death. I don’t think about my death. And to be honest, ever since I was a little kid, I actually, like, have this idea that I’m not gonna die. I don’t know if that’s like an invincibility thing or not. I don’t think I’m invincible. But I just believe that I’m gonna probably see the Lord return while I’m alive. But I don’t know. I’m just saying this is how I thought since I was a little kid. It’s never changed. So having this conversation with God about my funeral was quite weird for me. But I thought about it and I was like, huh, okay. At my funeral, maybe some of my friends that I, you know, drink with. And my parents, of course, and my brother maybe. And maybe some family members. It wasn’t a thing that was gonna be, like, a big deal, my funeral. And that was kind of the conclusion I got to. And then I feel like the next question God asked me was, okay, whoever goes to your funeral, what are they gonna say about you? You know, the eulogy. What things will be spoken about me? And that was another thing because I never really thought about those things. I never was concerned about how people thought about me. Edith’s liking this. I’ve never been too concerned about what people say about me. And then this is another question. He was like, what are they gonna say about you? And I was like, huh. I’m like, I don’t know. Like, I’m not doing anything. I don’t have any, I’m about to graduate high school and I have no direction in my life. I like to go get drunk with my friends. I kind of play this, like, in between world where I’m at church and then I do my own thing. I just broke up with my first real girlfriend and it was pretty traumatic and weird. And I’m kinda like in this weird limbo place of like, I actually have no idea who I am, what I’m doing, where I’m going and if I have any purpose in life. Those two questions brought me to that point. Maybe think about things that I had never thought about, right? Again, my personality. I go with the flow usually. I’m not a big, like, I have this, like, you know, 10 year plan and I’m gonna be, you know, an executive. I’ve never thought that way. I just kinda took things as they came. But God was asking me some really hard questions that I didn’t know how to answer. But the point is, is what He brought me to is me realizing that I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t have purpose. Because the things that people would’ve said at my funeral would’ve been nothing, would’ve been meaningless. Oh, you know, we loved him, he was our son. My brother would’ve said, you know, I didn’t spend much time with him, but I think he was a good guy. My friends would’ve been like, yeah, he was a little fun. Nothing of substance would’ve been said about me. Now, I was only 17, right? So I hadn’t experienced much in my life. But the point was God was putting in me a desire for something. And when I was writing this out, I was thinking about Peter. What did Jesus do when he stepped into the boat and he talked to Peter the first time, you know, when he called him? He said, you fish, you know, for fish, but I’m gonna make you a fisher of men. He changed his purpose in life. He actually gave him a purpose that was more than just making money, more than just getting by, more than just surviving.
[Jennifer] What I love about that image of turning him from fishing fish to fishing men is that he didn’t, the purpose is still fishing and God related it in a way that that probably really motivated him. I mean, I’m just thinking, like, he didn’t give him this completely separate, different thing over here. It’s like, no, you’re already doing the thing that I want you to do, now do it this way. Do it my way.
[Aaron] Yeah, well he had a talent. You know, to catch things.
I just think that’s cool.
[Aaron] And so God redirected the talent on how to catch men with words instead of nets. And so that’s what God was doing with me in my car by myself. I’m having this, like, existential conversation with the Creator of the universe and it’s all around who He wants me to be even though I wasn’t even asking that question of myself. He had a plan, He had a desire. And it wasn’t because I was special. It wasn’t because I did anything great. It wasn’t because I was-But He came to me and He invited me to follow Him. And He said, you don’t have a purpose right now. You aren’t chasing meaning. And He told me, He said, if you follow Me, I will give you purpose and I will give you meaning. That’s what He told me. And I wanted it. I was like, yeah! I want purpose and I want meaning. And He told me that He would use my life to touch people. So what He essentially was saying is, like, your vision of your funeral isn’t gonna look much different with Me in your life. You know, and He wasn’t saying you’re gonna die soon. I didn’t feel that way. He was showing me that the legacy of my life–
[Jennifer] Yeah, what an impact you could make.
[Aaron] Would be different. And that the things that people would say about me when I’m gone will not be about me. They’ll be about Him. Because if it was about me, like I said, it was meaningless and with no substance. And so He essentially, just like He, when I think about it, He called Peter and said, hey, follow Me and I’ll make you fishers of men. That’s what I feel He invited me to do. He said, follow Me and I’ll give you purpose. Follow Me and I’ll give you meaning. And He actually told me, He said, you will find no purpose or meaning elsewhere. He said, if you don’t follow Me, you will have nothing. And it didn’t feel like a threat, He was just telling me. He was like, do you want this? I have it. What you didn’t know you wanted, I have it. And so He invited me to follow Him.
[Jennifer] So what’d you say?
[Aaron] In the car, I said yes. On the way home by myself. I was like, I’m gonna follow You today. Moving forward, I’m done with whatever it is I wasn’t pursuing before, whoever I thought I wasn’t gonna be or was gonna be. I’m done with it, I want You and I wanna follow You and You just tell me what to do.
[Jennifer] So how was that time different than, you know, the youth camps or the other times that you rededicated your life?
[Aaron] Because the other times were me addressing my own sin. This time was me saying yes to Christ. And you know what, I am forgiven and I have peace with God. And if we look in Romans, it tells us how to be saved. It says, “if you believe in your heart “and confess with your mouth,” right? It doesn’t say, if you’ve come to conclusion with your sin. It doesn’t say-Now those things are required because to believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord means to–
You have to acknowledge.
Agree that I’m a broken sinner.
[Aaron] So that happened simultaneously in the belief but God came to me and He invited me to receive what He had for me. So again, was I saved when I did the rededication of my life? I don’t know. What I know is that moment in the car when I said yes to God when He said how I was gonna have meaning and purpose, that it was gonna be His meaning and His purpose in my life, I said yes to Him. And you know what it’s been ever since then? A journey of understanding the gospel. A journey of understanding my own depravity and understanding how good He is. That’s been the journey I’ve been on. And so my journey hasn’t been one of me trying to be perfect, it’s been a journey of following God and along the way, He’s showing me how imperfect I am and how He can change me and transform me and that’s what I would hope anyone listening would realize is that that’s what God wants for us is to follow Him and be transformed by His word, right? And when we obey Him and love Him and follow Him. But from that, like, moment, literally, like, there was some, I mean-They seem small in hindsight, but back then they were very big things ’cause I’m around a bunch of other kids my age, right, who are all going through their own existential crises and they’re all going through their own family issues and school and what are they gonna do with their lives, right? And literally from that moment, I quit smoking that week. I stopped it right then. I had a terrible mouth. Not that I was, again, trying to be perfect. I just was done with it. I was like, I’m not gonna talk that way anymore because that’s not how my Lord talks. And I stopped cussing and that was a big thing ’cause people noticed. Like, hey, like, why are you talking like that? I stopped getting drunk with my friends and actually my closest friends actually stopped being my friends.
[Jennifer] Did you think that was gonna happen?
[Aaron] I didn’t put any of those together. And to be honest, like, I was bummed, but I was like, okay. Like, I love you, but like, this is what I’m gonna do. I’m not gonna go do those things anymore. And what was interesting is that at school, ’cause I was in high school, remember, and I, you know, just did my own thing. And there was people that didn’t like me. There was people that were mean to me. There was people that picked on me. There was people that made fun of me. But then all of a sudden, like, I had peace with people. Like, someone that wanted to, like, fight me didn’t wanna fight me anymore. Someone that used to make fun of me was asking me for advice for their family relationships. Which I wasn’t, like, hey I have all this advice. Just they noticed something different and would quietly be like, hey, I’m going through this thing with my mom. How should I, like, handle that? And I’m like .
[Jennifer] In moments like that, did you feel like God, did you question, God, is this the purpose You had for me?
[Aaron] No, I just, I already told you, like I don’t think that far ahead. I just was doing it.
Just working in it.
[Aaron] Yeah, and I don’t remember what I said to these people, I just remember it was a drastic-Halfway through my senior year, like night and day difference in my life. And people noticed it and I started making, like, new kinds of friends. Like people like that wanted to be around me because of that. And I thought that was awesome.
[Jennifer] It was like you were like a light turned on and they’re drawn to it.
Yeah. And again, this isn’t because I’m anything special. I just started following God.
You said yes.
I started volunteering at my local youth group. I began getting mentored by the youth pastor there. And all I know is before this moment, I feel like I had nothing. And I feel like down to this moment I had everything. And I haven’t stopped following Christ ever since. I haven’t done it perfectly. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve felt condemned at times and had to be reminded that there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus. And most importantly, this journey has been a day-by-day sanctification that I’m growing in my relationship with the Lord, that I’m growing in my knowledge of Christ and I’m getting deeper understanding of what the gospel is in my life. And it makes me love Him more. And even when we go through hard things. We talked about last episode, you know, trials and hardships. And my resolve in the Lord gets stronger, you know? It says, count it all joy, my brothers, when you go through various trials because it produces steadfastness, steadfastness in what He has said. The thing that I’ve said, I believe You. I’m gonna follow You. Help me. But that is the basics of my testimony. But again, it’s not my testimony. This is what God did. I didn’t ask. It’s not like I was, you know, trying to, like, produce something in myself. He used the words that I had heard from His word and He used my heart and He knew my character and He knew what I deep down desired and wanted without me even knowing I wanted those things. And He drew them up out of me. He knows the depths of my heart and He drew up something that I didn’t know was there early on in my life. That’s God’s work in my life. So I don’t know, that’s a little but about me.
[Jennifer] Awesome. All right, well, I guess I’ll go next. So when I go to start out my testimony, I feel like I have a habit of saying, I feel like I’ve always known God or I’ve always believed in God. And that’s not because I’m anyone special, but just because I have known Him since I was so little. Like I don’t remember a time that I didn’t know Him. So I was also raised in a Christian home. My parents mentioned God. You know, would take us to church. It wasn’t as consistent. Like I don’t remember it being every single weekend. There were times that we went more and times that we didn’t. And then going on holidays and things like that. My parents did divorce when I was four and both my mom and my dad would take us individually, you know, when we spent time with them to church. We had conversations about who God is or about prayer or things that we’re, you know, wrestling with. And, you know, what does God think about that? And so going to His word. I had an aunt who was really influential in my understanding of who God was at an early age and she loved prophecy, she loved end times things, she loved the Jewish culture. And so I think that she just played a huge role in sharing God with me. And so I would always tune into the things that she was talking about. She would be the funny aunt who would take all of us and the cousins to the movies and on the way there, something would come up where she would say, okay, we’re gonna pray for this person. And she’d have all the kids repeat after her throughout this prayer. And so it was just a way of learning how to pray and feel comfortable to pray without ceasing. And I really appreciate her influence in my life for all of that. And so I felt like I knew God from a really young age. When I was in fifth or sixth grade, I went to my first youth group night. And a friend of mine had invited me and so I went and loved it so week after week I would ask my mom, hey, drop me off and pick me up. Me and my brother would go. And it was a fun time where we spent time with a lot of friends from school there, but it was also a really fulfilling time in my faith where, you know, we would sing, we’d get in the word. Sometimes I’d go to a Bible study like half an hour before it started and just trying to understand who God was during that time. You know, I went to all-nighters, winter camps. Pretty much any Christian event that was taking place, that was my life and I loved it. I loved going to these things. I loved participating or volunteering in any capacity that I could.
[Aaron] The typical 90s Christian kid.
[Jennifer] Awesome, I loved it. So when I was 13, you know, there was this culmination of my understanding and my experiences and what I was learning about God and just coming to a place where I received all of it, understanding that I was a sinner, understanding that Jesus died on the cross for me, for the whole world’s sin, you know, and receiving His gift of grace and of salvation. And it was in this recognition and confession and receiving of this gift that I also felt like the Lord was calling me to serve Him for the rest of my life. So there was this commitment that, Lord, I wanna love You. I wanna honor You. I wanna serve You with everything that I have for the rest of my life. And, you know, I felt like He was asking me, are you gonna walk out this faith with Me? And so I gave Him my life. I dedicated the rest of my life to serve Him and I knew it was gonna be my passion, it was gonna be my purpose, it was gonna be everything. And I haven’t regretted that since .
[Aaron] You had a similar moment where God was, like, inviting you.
Yeah. And then that was also the same week that I got baptized and a friend of mine baptized me and I thought that was really cool. And so yeah, there was just this moment where it was, like, okay, I know God, but now I’m gonna serve Him. And then went through high school. You know, I had a Christian group at my high school and we met, you know, once a week during lunch. And I think what drew me so deeply into my faith and Christianity and wanting to know God and be a part of His body was this sense of belonging. You know, I wanted to belong and I just felt like that was my family, like that was home to me. And security. And I wasn’t really thinking about this, Aaron, but earlier you said that God basically showed you the thing that you desired most and said, I have it. And when I look at my life, it was belonging and security. That’s what I longed for probably especially because my parents divorced when I was so little. And so yeah, I walked with God. I met you, Aaron, at a Bible study that I had been attending. That kind of grew larger and we realized we had some similar friends. But even that Monday night Bible study was just an awesome time of digging into our faith and experiencing God. And then you invited me to serve and volunteer at the youth group that you were a part of. That was super fun.
That was a lot of fun.
[Jennifer] We played a lot of games with the kids there.
Those were fun years.
Yeah. So through that, through serving together, we became friends. I think we saw a very similar passion to serve God. And we kind of knew it. I don’t even think we had a talk about it, but I think we saw it in each other’s hearts that that is what we wanted to do in life and I think that drew us to each other. And so yeah, it was an easy decision to get married and say, now we’re gonna use our marriage to serve you, God. Like that was just the next step in our relationship, right?
[Aaron] Well yeah, I remember telling you, hey, I don’t know what we’re gonna do, I don’t know how–
How we’re gonna do it.
[Aaron] How we’re gonna do it. I don’t know how much money we’re gonna make. But I wanna do it with you and I wanna do it for God. That was my proposal to you, wasn’t it?
[Aaron] So whatever we’re gonna do, we’re gonna do it for God and we’re gonna do it together. And we have. We have done that. And currently, this podcast and the books we’re doing is just the most recent iteration of that. You know, we were doing the youth group before. Then we went to Africa.
We did missions.
We went to Florida and then we went to Canada. Everything we’ve been doing has been for one goal. It’s not to build our thing, it’s not to make a name for ourselves. It’s to build God’s thing and to proclaim His name. And we’ve been beneficiaries of that, of course. I don’t wanna pretend like we’re not. But that’s our main goal. And if it wasn’t this thing we’re doing now, whatever the next thing we’ll do is gonna be for that same goal. And that’s why we wrote Marriage After God. Actually, that was our most recent book is to show marriages out there that that’s God’s mission for our marriage is to proclaim His name through our marriages and our marriages as individuals and our marriages. So yeah, I’d thought I would say, I mean, that’s been the foundation of our marriage ever since before we were married because I have no interest in doing anything else. But serving God, so.
[Jennifer] Okay, so just to kind of wrap up my personal testimony. I just wanted to share that after I recognized that, you know, Jesus is Lord of my life and my Savior because I was a sinner and I needed Him, I walked out my faith with God knowing that it was a process of sanctification, meaning that there were still times that I sinned and still times that I made selfish decisions but because I had the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit convicted me in those times, I was able to repent and then move forward. And this process that I experienced with the Lord and that one honestly that I continue to walk in, it is a process and it has transformed my life and it has matured me, but it’s matured me over time. And I think it’s important that we understand that sanctification is a process, not that the moment that we give our lives to Jesus, yes, our sin is covered, but that we still live, you know, in this world as humans and we sin. And so there’s this process taking place of the Holy Spirit being able to speak to our hearts and convict us in a way that we can then draw near to God, repent of our ways and be transformed in that renewal of our mind. And so that’s something that I’m still currently walking in with Him as He matures me. And I’m so grateful for that. I’m so thankful that the Lord cares about, you know, every detail of our life and desires to mature us in that way. We love Him, you guys. We love Him so much and as you’ve heard through our stories, we loved Him from a young age and hearing His gospel, hearing His testimony and His power and who He is and what He did for us has changed our lives and has changed our marriage.
It has saved our marriage.
Yeah. So like Aaron said, one of the things that we wanted to share on this episode was not just our testimonies, but how it has had an impact on our marriage ’cause I think it has had a huge impact on our marriage and I think it’s good to recognize that and for our listeners to consider their testimonies and how their testimonies of walking with God has impacted their marriage. But like you said, it has become the foundation of our marriage. Do you wanna explain a little bit of what that means and how?
[Aaron] Yeah, I mean it’s kinda like what I was just saying is this everything we do. We’re gonna do it for the Lord because that’s what we want. That’s who we serve. And we came to that conclusion individually and then we constantly are coming to that conclusion again in our marriage.
[Aaron] Which is a huge thing when we have this mentality because when issues come up, when arguments, when difficulties, it’s a place to run back to and, like, is this gonna get in the way of what we’re doing? Because to throw one thing away, you have to throw the other thing away. And to keep the one, to keep the foundation, to keep that foundation we have, you can’t throw the other thing away ’cause they’re all intertwined. And so it’s often been the thing that we remind ourselves of. What are we doing? Like, is right now this turmoil that we’re in worth giving up what we said we would never give up?
Which is God.
No, it’s not. I need to repent then. Let’s work on this. Let’s calm down, let’s have peace, let’s pray with each other, let’s forgive each other.
[Jennifer] Yeah, I’d say a huge impact that it’s had on our relationship, Aaron, is just knowing the gospel and knowing what Christ has done for us, it makes it easier, even though when I say easier, it’s not easy in the moment because we’re still human beings. But to understand forgiveness, to understand the purpose of reconciliation. Because we have this bigger picture. It’s bigger than ourselves. It’s bigger than just me and my feeling of offense or what we’re wrestling with in our marriage. So when we get to those places where something happened and now there’s this question of, are they gonna apologize? Are they gonna forgive? Are they gonna reconcile? Are they gonna be able to move forward? What we can do, because we’re believers and we’ve already been saved from our own sin, is say, well, this is how Christ did it with His body, with His church, that’s our example. That’s what we look to.
Yeah, and then we often eventually get to the point of saying, is this thing that they did to me or how they treated me or how I feel more or less worthy of forgiveness than what God has forgiven me of? Which is the very purpose of the parable of the servant that’s forgiven, the 10,000 talents. Who immediately runs out and grabs his servant who owes him very little and like, says, give me what you owe me! Even though he was just forgiven this insurmountable debt. And that’s what we get to remember. When we remember the gospel, we remember what Christ has done for us. I can run back to that and be like, man, like this thing that I feel like I’ve just, like, been hurt in, what she did to me, how she’s treated me, it’s not more insurmountable than what I’ve been forgiven. Right?
[Aaron] And so it’s a godly perspective on our . Doesn’t mean it’s easy. But that is where we run to in those moments and it helps us humble ourselves.
[Jennifer] Humbleness, like that is key. You know, you just said that it makes us humble ourselves and I think that oftentimes, all the time, walking with someone else in life together, you see that contrast of pride and humility and it’s our choice what we’re gonna live out, what we’re gonna walk through, and Christ gives us the example of humility.
[Aaron] Yeah, we’re gonna work in the spirit or the flesh. And then just like what I talked about in my testimony, what God told me I can find in Him not just salvation but purpose and meaning, meaning I was dead and now I’m alive, you know? He gives our marriage purpose. It becomes much more than just this union of two people. It’s actually a ministry. It symbolizes something much more mystical, mysterious. It’s this picture of Christ in the church. That’s what my marriage represents. And so our marriage now is something much more robust, something much more meaningful and purposeful. Just like my life in Christ is much more meaningful and purposeful. Actually with now meaning and purpose where before I was walking outside of my purpose and meaning. But when you come to Christ, it says you go from glory to glory, right? And what that means is, that first glory is you are made in the image of God. Every man and woman is made in the likeness of God. So that that’s a glory. Like it’s an amazing thing. Humans are an unique creature in all of creation. And then the next glory is coming to terms and knowing that He has redeemed us and now we’re a new creation in Christ. That’s what the Bible says, we’re in new creation in Him. And so you go from one form of glory to another. And so your marriage, if you’re sitting in this place of where you’re just two people made in the image of God but not walking in that image and you turn your hearts and you believe the gospel, right? Then you go from one form of glory to another and now you actually see your marriage for what it’s meant to be, you see your life for what it’s meant to be, you see Christ for what He’s done for you, that you didn’t deserve it or earn it, but He’s offered it and you can take it. That’s incredible, heavenly purpose. You know, we become ambassadors, we become heirs with Christ, the Bible says. That’s an incredible thing to recognize. So our marriage has purpose because of God’s testimony in our life.
[Jennifer] It also impacts our marriage because we do, just like we’re remembering today God’s power in our life, we remind each other, so, Aaron, if you’re having a hard, difficult day or challenging circumstances, I get to be a person in your life that reminds you of what He has done and it is because you shared that testimony with me and then we’ve shared together in that testimony as we continue on in our marriage with Him.
[Aaron] Yeah, well and God’s testimony doesn’t stop at salvation, it actually continues on. It says that He’s gonna complete the work that He began in us, right? And so we get to practice like we read in Deuteronomy constantly looking back at what God’s done. Because we’re in the midst of something and we say, how is this gonna work, or what’s God doing? We can look back and see what He’s already done. And we can remember that and be like, well God’s faithful. And I think about the Israelites. They wandered around and they said, did God lead us out here just to kill us in the wilderness? And they so quickly forget that He saved them with 10 miraculous plagues, let them walk through the Red Sea, like led them by fire by night and a cloud of smoke by day, gave them manna. And He did all these things and they can say, oh, so did You just lead us out here to die? And that’s why it’s so good to remember the God’s works in our life because we can get to a moment and feel like, hey, how’s this gonna work out? What’s God doing? But we can look back at God’s faithfulness, right? And we can know that He is faithful and look what He has done and how He has worked in our life and what He has offered to us and given to us. So it’s a constant way that we can practice looking back and walking in our faith with God, the God that loves us and has done everything for us.
[Jennifer] So what would be your encouragement to couples today listening? What would you want to tell them to do?
[Aaron] Well, if they already know and love the Lord, to share their testimony with each other. Share God’s testimony of His work in their life together. To reminisce of how God’s worked in their life over the years, how He saved them from things, how He led them through hard situations and how He has blessed them, how He has disciplined them, how He’s used other people in their lives. All of these things are the works of God in our life because He loves us. And if you don’t know the Lord, if you are sitting and thinking, like, yeah, I’ve always, you know, known God and loved God, ask God to show up. Say, God, will You talk to me? Will You visit me where I’m at right now? And truly listen for His voice. Open the word of God, see what He says about you and believe the gospel. The good news about Jesus Christ, that Jesus, the Son of God, died and resurrected to atone for our sins. He took the sins of the world on His shoulders so that we can have a right relationship with the Father in Heaven. Believe it. Jesus is Lord and confess with your mouth that God raised Him from the dead, right? That’s how we’re saved. And then chase after God with that spirit that He gives us, that He seals us with. It says it’s given to us “as a seal upon our hearts “to keep us until the day of the Lord.” So and that happens at the moment of belief. When you believe, like, oh, what You said, Lord, is true about me and about You and about the world. And I’m gonna believe it and I’m gonna trust You. So that would be my encouragement of this marriage is to turn their hearts to the Lord. And if they’re already with the Lord to turn their hearts to the Lord again. And always be turning their hearts to the Lord.
[Jennifer] Awesome, and just I would just add to that. Take your next date night or time in bed together to consider how God’s testimony in your life has impacted your marriage on a very personal level and just talk about those things. ‘Cause it was encouraging for us to even talk about this episode with each other.
[Aaron] Well, and also talk about how God might wanna use that testimony, His testimony in your life, for others.
Yeah, or for things to come.
Yeah, cool. Well, we hope that this blessed you guys today and to God be the glory for all of our testimonies and all the ways He captures our hearts and draws us closer to Him. Aaron, do you wanna close us out in prayer?
[Aaron] Yeah. Dear Lord, thank You for Your gospel. Thank You for the gift of salvation. We thank You for saving us. We pray we would remember the testimony of Your power in our lives and let it impact our marriages in powerful ways. We pray Your testimony working in our lives would be a light in this world and draw others toward You. Help us never to forget how good You are, how faithful You are and how You are walking with us in this life. May Your gospel continue to go forth into this world. In Jesus’ name, amen. We love you all. We pray that this blessed you. We pray that you would grow in your faith, that you would turn your eyes to the Lord. And we’ll see you next week. Did you enjoy today’s show? If you did, it would mean the world to us if you could leave us a review on iTunes. Also, if you’re interested, you can find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.