Margaret Lee Barbour’s Testimony
October 15, 2006
I found this testimony in a file while I was collecting addresses for mailing invitations to Mom’s 95th Birthday Party. It was accompanied by this note:
Here is the testimony you requested. It is not very long, but had to follow the plan advised by our book – tailored to fit their program. It is only the “bare bones” and a lot more could be said.
I grew up in my Grandparents’ home, located on a beautiful farm in the western mountains of Virginia. We were all church-going, God-fearing, Bible-reading people. My understanding was that I should try to be good and not break any of the rules set forth in the Bible, (and added to by the adults around me). We also were watching to see if others were doing the same. I had many cousins to play with and we reminded each other often, after some infraction, that “you are going straight to hell.”
In spite of this I was a happy carefree child, trying to be perfect, and failing often. Sometimes in my more serious spiritual moments I would think, this isn’t working. There must be “something more” than this.
I think I must have been around 10 years old, visiting my Aunt Rose and her family in a little town in Virginia – her husband was a preacher – he was conducting a revival – and the message of need for repentance was presented. We, of course, went every night. One evening, after I went to bed, I couldn’t sleep. I can still remember that night – there was a beautiful full moon. I realized I was a sinner and would not go to heaven if I died. My dear Aunt Rose realized I was restless and came to see if I was ill. I told her of my fears and my need for forgiveness. She said, “Honey, God is speaking to you. Let’s answer Him and tell Him your need.” She prayed a simple prayer and encouraged me to ask the Lord to forgive my sins, I prayed, and He forgave my sins because Christ had paid the penalty for them. He is faithful, and I experienced a feeling of peace, believing that now I belonged to Him.
After that, the moon shone even brighter, but soon I was asleep, knowing I had eternal life. The next line is, “and she lived happily ever after.”
However: I began a program of what I have come to realize was self-reformation. I read the Bible each day, prayed, and tried to be very, very good. As time went by I became discouraged about failure and did not live an abundant life (Although I believe I was still God’s child.)
I grew up, married a wonderful man, and we started a family. At the invitation of friends we attended a church where I first heard the word “grace.”
With good Bible teaching, I began to understand the concept that heaven is a free gift, is not deserved, and cannot be earned. I thank the Lord for answering my prayer for the “something more” I had been seeking all my life.