Wednesday, December 01, 2010

My Latest Testimony

Recently, I attended a Speaker's Seminar with Carol Kent and we were given 3 assignments.  The 1st one was to introduce ourselves and share what God is doing.  Here is part of what I shared - it is the longer version.  :-)  We were given 3 minutes to share so I had to shorten this but I thought I'd share the longer one with you.  And of course, I wanted to add photos for you too.  :-)

My name is Lisa Braun and not only am I a memory maker, capturing moments in people’s lives,  and blessing people each month of the year through creating calendars; but I also love to spend time with women in ladies Bible studies, learning how to live more fulfilling lives and being the wives, mothers and women God is calling us to be.  J
I grew up in a very religious home, youngest of 7, with a father who tended to be more of a legalistic authoratariun, and a mother who suffered from mental illness.  It is by God’s grace, each of my siblings and I are where we are at this moment in our lives.  God’s hand was on us through these abusive years and we grew up often being taken care of by loving aunts and uncles rather than various foster homes.  It was not easy growing up in our disfunctional family.  We definitely knew a whole lot more about the “Fear” of the Lord, all his rules, judgement & condemnation rather than the love, forgiveness and grace of our Almighty God.
The 1st major highlight in my life was God grabbing my attention  during my rebellious years in 1986 at a Bible Camp that I was working at, showing me His Love through wonderful Christians who LOVED & ENJOYED life, displaying compassion, grace and forgiveness.  It was during these rebellion years that I met my husband and over time God has delivered us from the legalistic and alcohol driven lives and has moved various mountains.   I had been taught that one HAD to be baptized in order to be married but the rebellion side of me refused to be baptized JUST so I could marry the man of my dreams.  I will never forget how many nights I prayed as a young teen that my desire was to marry a tall dark-haired handsome man who loved the Lord, have children and be a mom.  God DOES answer prayers VERY literally at times!  J  Roger is tall, dark-haired, handsome and he commited his life to the Lord a couple months before we were married.  It was just over a year after our marriage that we both were baptized and together we made a public proclamation to walk together with God.  That was the beginning of our spiritual journey together.  (What I find amazing is now our kids attend this camp and I've had opportunities to bring Roger to this camp and show him...he's sitting in the huge chair in the photo).  :-)

I had worked at a variety of different office jobs, developing my personal skills through reception, working with people in personnel and data entry, being an active directory assistance operator before we started talking to machines  J and also processing policies in a life insurance company.  They were times of growing and of joy but also times of testing working together with others that believed differently than I did and nearly being fired from my job partially because of the Christian faith that I had.

Roger & I come from complete opposite family backgrounds – his being an alcoholic home, not growing up in the church, both parents being perfectionists & worked very very hard all the time  – and mine being a legalistic abusive home with a mother suffering mental illness but growing up in the church. But there's many things we've learned from both of our backgrounds and we thank God for our parents.   
We’ve are trying to meet in the middle and have chosen to raise our 3 wonderful children in the church and with God’s help, not keeping things hidden, but trying to live our lives as a testimony.  We dedicated each of our children to the Lord and consciously work at making an effort to keep the Lord 1st in our home & marriage.  Since the day our 1st child was born, which is now over 17 years ago, Roger has not touched a drop of alcohol.  Praise the Lord! 
Having gone through the pain of both of our dad's passing away now has taught us so much about grace and God's forgiveness and mercy which are new EVERY morning.

Surviving through the child-bearing and elementary years with my children, God carried me through this time by gifting me with the ability to lead women’s Bible studies in my community and church.  Studying God’s Word together with many women over the years has been an ongoing major highlight filled with numerous growing and pruning experiences.

From when I was a child, I loved to capture God’s creation through photography.  God knew that one of the desires of my heart was to share my photographs in calendars and He’s been so faithful and gracious bringing that dream come true.  For 5 years now I’ve been creating SK calendars with photos God has blessed me with.

It’s been in the past 5 years that my walk with God has deepened in an amazing way.  Beginning in February 2005, through a Marriage Encounter weekend, God filled me supernaturally with His overpowering & overwhelming love, both for him, for my husband and also for others.  This brought my marriage to a completely new level.  Then in November, I shared part of my faith story with Women’s Journey of Faith and on the Friday night of the conference, God’s supernatural annointing reached the depths of my soul and spirit.  I knew God was preparing me for some amazing things through this anointing. Another one of my desires was speaking to various women’s groups through my testimony and God began opening many doors in this. 
Then it was the following spring of ‘08 that He brought me to Bolivia to find my dad’s siblings living on Mennonite Colonies and to spend time with dear missionary friends, discovering that I too was a real live missionary right here in my own country of Canada.  This experience brought me to a deeper understanding of how I’d grown up and how my dad grew up. 
Through attending women’s Bible studies in Bolivia, I was also introduced to the depth filled Bible Studies of Beth Moore.  That began my deeper journey in leading women into an even greater part of God’s Word.  The awakening and soul finding walk that God has brought me through these studies has been an incredible blessing of amazing growth.  
In 2008, I experienced a huge blessing in baptizing a dear woman who attended our studies.  Later that year, God brought my biggest dream to fruition, and brought me to the Holy Land with my pastor, my hubby and my son Brandon.  AMAZING!  

The following year I joined the team with Women’s Journey of Faith and have had the incredible opportunity to work alongside a number of fantastic godly women who love the Lord and have a passion for gathering together praising God, nurturing other women into following the Lord and being the wives mothers and women God is calling them to be.
Then in 2009, I took a group of women back with me to the land of Israel, 2 of these women being ones who’ve been in Bible study with me for a couple years already and also my daughter Alysha.  There has been a few times in this past year that God has reconfirmed His anointing and calling on me, and made it very clear that He is continuing a work through me...He has brought me to my knees many times.   I am now in the midst of planning a 3rd tour to Israel for November 2011 with another group of dear ladies God has been drawing together, including my youngest daughter Kyrstin.

These past 5 years have been amazing....but there’s been much pruning as well.  I’ve often struggled with feelings of jealousy, unforgiveness and legalism.  God has been teaching me discipline..which I still need help with.  I’ve struggled over the years with maintaining my weight, feelings of confidence, self control,  self worth and love for myself.  God has been faithful and loving through it all.  He is teaching me to become better through my difficult experiences, rather than bitter.  He has brought me to my knees many a time and I have learned to desperately hang on to Him through everything.  Raising three teenagers, maintaining a marriage for 21 years, truly loving & forgiving all those around me on a daily basis and striving to be the godly woman and leader that God has planned for me to be......HOW could I ever live without HIM??  I could NEVER do any of this on my own.  I need God in my life each and every day!

Because of the desire I have to speak to women, and the fear I have of it, :-) and the practice I need for it... that is why I am attending this Speaker’s Conference.  I need to gain confidence in speaking his testimony through me and to better my abilities in shortening what is on my heart to say.  Thank you for having me and I really look forward to this time together with you all.  God bless!

1 comment:

genevieve said...

oh yes, my dear Lisa // God's golden thread is evident // I too believe //along side of a verse in Isaiah 58:11